Blog Tour, Family Drama, Romance, STEM Fiction, Teen, YA

Stilettos and Stardust by D L Pitchford

Today I’m delighted to host the blog tour for Stilettos & Stardust by D.L.Pitchford

A modern day Cinderella with a twist…

When high school seniors Noah Barton and Eden Prince’s academic rivalry ruins a thermodynamics demo, their physics teacher decides to help them get along. By forcing them to be lab partners.

As graduation approaches, Noah and Eden are too busy figuring out college to deal with each other. Noah’s football-loving dad sabotages his chance to win a big scholarship. Eden’s traditional mother cares more about finding her a serious boyfriend than encouraging her dreams. Winning big at the regional science fair is their last hope.

Will Noah follow in his astronaut mother’s footsteps?

Can Eden show her parents the environment is more important than any relationship?

Will Noah and Eden finally learn to work together?

Follow Noah and Eden’s budding romance in this emotionally charged, gender-swapped retelling of Cinderella.

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A few months back I watched a documentary on the 1986 Challenger disaster.  It sparked so many emotions in me.  The excitement leading up to the doomed mission, the aftermath and of course the families of those left behind.  Stilettos & Stardust took my mind briefly back to that documentary and the thoughts on how hard it must be to have a mother working in space.  Noah’s mother is an astronaut and as the stories begins we know that she has been involved in an accident that will change the family forever.  Noah is devastated but determined more than ever to follow in her footsteps.  Eden however has a mother who wants her to be ‘looked after’, to never have to worry about security.  Eden however has very different ideas.  She is equally determined to win a scholarship and make sure that she is in control of her future, one that doesn’t involved a husband!

Bringing Eden and  Noah together as lab partners creates an incredibly volatile situation.   Both are competitive, argumentative and wanting to take control but to stand a chance of winning the scholarship they need to learn to work together.  We soon see that there is a very fine line between love and hate and before long the sparks are throwing up lots of complicated situations with families, friends and feelings that both are finding hard to understand.

I loved the STEM element of this novel.  It added so much interest and really gave the story a great hook.  Eden is rude, difficult and likes to be very much in control, it took me a while to warm to her.  But, once I got to know her I could see the beauty of the girl underneath and I was hopeful that all would come good for both her and Noah (who was easy to love right from the very start).   The thing I loved most was the way that both characters were equal, there was no damsel in distress – I think this may be where the reference to Cinderella comes from in the synopsis.  I personally wouldn’t class it as a Cinderella story, but a contemporary story about fighting for what you want and, hopefully, finding someone to share it with along the way.

A really lovely teen/YA read that will be enjoyed by romance and science lovers alike.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.  I shall definitely be adding a copy of this in to the School Library.  A super YA read!

About the author

D.L. Pitchford

1YA and NA author D. L. Pitchford is best known for her brutally honest stories and realistic characters. Throughout her childhood, art and literature were encouraged in every form. Pitchford fell in love with The Lord of the Rings, The Dark Is Rising, and Harry Potter. By age ten, she wrote her first fantasy book. Her love of writing grew exponentially.

In 2013, Pitchford received her BA in English, Writing, and Fine Arts from Drury University. During her studies, she focused on the human condition and penned the first scenes of her debut novel. IF WE HAD NO WINTER released April 2017 and has been commended for its gritty tone and character growth.

Pitchford lives with her husband and two sons in Springfield, Missouri, where she continues writing young and new adult novels.

Website: http://www.dlpitchford.com/
Twitter @dlpitchford
Author Page on Facebook
Instagram @dlpitchford

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Family Drama, Fiction, Relationship Tales

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

Today I’m delighted to be hosting then HQStories blog tour for The Library of lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

A librarian’s discovery of a mysterious book sparks the journey of a lifetime in the delightful new novel from the bestselling author of

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.

Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people―though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible.

All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend―her grandmother Zelda―who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.

Filled with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heart-warming reminder that even the quietest life has the potential to be extraordinary.

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For anyone who read and love The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, you’ll know exactly how wonderful Phaedra’s novels are. You won’t be disappointed with The Library of Lost and Found.  For those who have yet to discover Phaedra, don’t wait another minute.  I loved Arthur, and now Martha has found her way into my heart.  Lovely Martha who would always help anyone but eventually found the courage to finally utter that one word that can be the hardest of all. ‘No’.  And finally begin to put herself first.

The first thing that grabbed me about this was the title.  The word Library always does it for me.  It promises adventure, stories, enchanting characters, new lives sought and found, and old demons conquered.  And there it is all wrapped up within the pages of this enchanting novel.  Martha is so ordinary and yet extraordinary. She is remarkable in  her own special way and her tale was equally joyous and heartbreaking.  I absolutely adored this novel.  It left me feeling uplifted and full of hope.  Just wonderful.  Time with this author is well spent indeed!

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick was published on the 27th June and is available in paperback, eBook and on Audiobook.

Thank you so much to the lovely team at HQ Stories for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for my review copy.  It was a joy to read.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Family Drama, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

Today I’m delighted to take part in the blog tour for Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland.

 

Keep You Close is the heart-pounding, twisty follow up to Need to Know, one of 2018’s biggest thriller debuts.

‘A strange sensation runs through me, a feeling that I don’t know this person in front of me, even though he matters more to me than anyone ever has, than anyone ever will. ‘

You go into your son’s bedroom. It’s the usual mess. You tidy up some dirty plates,

pick up some clothes, open the wardrobe to put them away.
And that’s when you find it. Something so shocking it doesn’t seem real.

And you realise a horrifying truth…
Your own son might be dangerous…

Karen Cleveland brings her trademark themes of domesticity and deceit to bear in this gripping new stand-alone thriller that will make you question how much you really know about the child you raised.

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Goodness, this was super thriller with lots of twists and turns along the way.  Steph is an FBI agent woking Internal Affairs, picking up enemies along the way but driven by her pursuit to protect the innocent from the bad.  But what happens when the bad guy appears a little too close to home?  Suddenly she is filled with fear in the one place she should feel the safest, with the one person she knows the best… or she thinks she knows the best.  As her life begins to unravel Steph is forced to face the reality that her son might juts be a stranger to her and that the past always has a way of catching up with you.

This is a taught, highly charged thriller and one I thoroughly enjoyed.  As a mother I really felt for Steph.  We worry that our children will slip away from us but she faces a parents worst nightmare and some.  Karen carries the tension right the way through and has you wondering just what else Steph has to lose before this thing is finally over.  I have to say that after much consideration of ‘what would I do?’, I have to say I probably would have done exactly as Steph did in the end.  And I’m kind of hoping there might be more to come with this story…

A perfect summer read, it will keep you reading late into the night.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

Keep You Close is published by Bantam Press (a division of Penguin Books) on June 27th 2019 and is available in both print and eBook, and also on Audible.

About the author

Karen Cleveland

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Karen Cleveland spent eight years as a CIA analyst, focusing on counterterrorism and working briefly on rotation to the FBI. She has master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin and Harvard University.  She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two young sons.

 

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Family Drama, Literary

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

Today I’m delighted to take part in the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…

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Families can be incredibly complicated. They can bring us pain, happiness, relief, despair and security. These people who can take up such a large part of our lives, people who we don’t choose but that we are bound too. Helga captures this perfectly in The Modern Family.

When, during a family celebration, Liv, Ellen and Håkon discover that their parents are getting divorced there is naturally a massive fallout. Suddenly life is thrown completely off it’s axis and all are shaken by the effects. Everything they came to believe in is questioned. Blame is placed.

Most families have conflict. There is sibling rivalry amongst even the closest and quite often we become blind to the suffering of others, because ours always seems greater. This is one thing that struck me about this novel. The misunderstandings and the difficulty of looking at things through someone else’s eyes.

Helga has written the novel through the eyes of the three grown children. Each has a very distinct voice and each has a very different perspective to their family. It reminds us how complex these units of people are. There is such skill shown in the writing, you can feel the character (and their emotions) erupt from the page.

This is a beautiful novel, tinged with sadness but even during the heartbreak I felt the strength of the family. No matter what happened they were there for each other. This was never more apparent then at certain low points. For me it showed that no matter how fractured we become as life moves on and we each become our own person (and accept that our parents are too!), family can still be there. It may look a little different, but love and a shared history stand for an awful lot.

Another thing that stood out for me was the expectations quite often felt by children of their parents. Helga addresses this without pulling any punches, letting her characters show us in their raw, uncensored thoughts how easy it is to let expectations blind us. How our childlike feelings towards our parents can reoccur at any age.

A parent, generally, has a very specific role in our lives as adults: in this case to grow old quietly and to be consistent. What a shock when this is challenged by admitting, so late in life, that nothing is guaranteed and that, even at seventy, life can change so dramatically. The subject of age and how, in modern life, getting older doesn’t mean we simply stop dreaming of something more and suddenly what was right for our younger selves may no longer be so.

Therefore, this isn’t just a novel about the divorce of parents. It’s also about the complexities and struggles of modern life, and perhaps most of all it’s about embracing life and allowing those around us to do the same.

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A Modern Family is published in both eBook and Paperback by Orenda Books.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to Orenda Books for my review copy.

About the author

Helga Flatland

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Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors. Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize.

She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. Her fifth novel, A Modern Family, was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies.

You can follow Helga on Twitter at @HelgaFlatland

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Family Drama, Relationship Stories

The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick

Today I’m delighted to hop on the blog tour for Liz Fenwick’s wonderful The Path to the Sea.

Boskenna, the beautiful, imposing house standing on the Cornish cliffs, means something different to each of the Trewin women.

For Jean, as a glamorous young wife in the 1960s, it was a paradise where she and her husband could entertain and escape a world where no one was quite what they seemed – a world that would ultimately cost their marriage and end in tragedy.

Diana, her daughter, still dreams of her childhood there – the endless blue skies and wide lawns, book-filled rooms and parties, the sound of the sea at the end of the coastal path – even though the family she adored was shattered here.

And for the youngest, broken-hearted Lottie, heading home in the August traffic, returning to Boskenna is a welcome escape from a life gone wrong in London, but will mean facing a past she’d hoped to forget.

As the three women gather in Boskenna for a final time, the secrets hidden within the beautiful old house will be revealed in a summer that will leave them changed for ever.

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So, about a year ago I heard a little about this novel at the HQ Stories Summer Showcase. I had the great pleasure of meeting and chatting to Liz about her writing and Cornwall.

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Liz Fenwick, author of The Path To The Sea

Not only was I intrigued by her forthcoming novel but it was such a pleasure to meet such a warm and friendly author (who just also happened to have a giant jar of Cornish fudge to share).  So, when the opportunity came up to take part in the blog tour I absolutely jumped at the chance to read and review the finished novel.

I’m so pleased I did, it’s absolutely wonderful.  What did I love about it?  Well location, location, location.  Beautiful Cornwall.  Liz conjured it up so fabulously, I could literally smell the salt coming off the sea.   Add to that a big imposing house filled with memories and hidden secrets, an estranged family coming together as one lies dying – all these elements are the recipe for an engrossing and scintillating read.

The story unfolds through the eyes of the three women.  Three generations each with their own secrets.  Joan we revisit back in the 60’s on the fateful weekend when her husband dies tragically young.  All through the story we are not quite sure if she implemented in his death.  They were an ideal family and we know she loved him but something happened on that weekend  that would change life forever.  Every family have their secrets.

Diana is Joan’s daughter.  She has very little memory of the weekend her father died but her relationship with her mother has been deeply troubled ever since and she’s determined to get to the bottom of things.   For her there is a dark shadow over Boskenna and she’s not happy to be back.

Lottie has returned to Boskenna to be near her grandmother as she lies dying.  For her memories there are mostly filled with love and warmth but a tragedy still haunts her own thoughts as she returns to the family home.  Her relationship with her grandmother has always been excellent although not so much with her mother, Diana.  But Lottie also has her own distractions; complications bought about by an ex love and also the problems of a soon to be ex husband.  Complications she’s determined to put to one side whilst she tends to her grandmother but life has a habit of getting in the way.

There are so many secrets bubbling beneath the surface that threaten to come to light.  Yet it is almost a relief when all was revealed.  The Path to the Sea is a bittersweet tale but I throughly enjoyed my time at Boskenna.  If I close my eyes I too can hear the waves crashing and the feint sound of music playing in the past as laughter fills the house, before tragedy struck.  But at the end I was left with a sense of hope and a feeling of joy at having been in the company of these three women.

The Path to the Sea is the perfect summer (or winter) read and I thoroughly recommend it.  I shall definitely be seeking out Liz’s previous titles.  Oh the joy of discovering an author’s backlist!  I can’t wait.

Thank you so much to HQ Stories for my inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

About the author

Liz Fenwick

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Liz Fenwick was born Massachusetts and after ten international moves she’s back in the United Kingdom with her husband and two mad cats.  She made her first trip to Cornwall in 1989 and bought her home there seven years later.  She’s a bit of a global nomad but her heart forever remains in Cornwall.

 

 

You can follow Liz on Twitter at liz_fenwick

You can follow HQ Stories on Twitter at HQstories

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Family Drama, Guest Post

Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Maybe the worst thing hadn’t happened yet. You couldn’t know the awful things lined up in the future, looming.

The last thing Frances wants is a phone call from Alec, the husband who left her for her sister thirteen years ago. But Susan has disappeared, abandoning Alec and her daughter Kate, a surly teenager with an explosive secret. Reluctantly, Frances is drawn into her sister’s turbulent life.

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Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour the latest novel by Moira Forsyth, Tell Me Where You Are, but also sharing a special guest post from the author herself. But first lets chat a little more about Tell Me Where You Are.  

For thirteen years Frances has raised her two boys alone after her husband, Alec left her for her sister.  For Frances, that’s in the past, she’s moved on and has a full life with her two (now grown) boys, her job as a headteacher and a new man.  Old feelings are reawakened though when Alec calls out of the blue to say that Susan, the sister he left her for, has disappeared. Susan has also left behind her daughter, Kate and he asks for Frances to care for her whilst he tries to find out what happened to Susan.

Family life can be complicated and history can weigh heavy for all involved. Susan is almost like a ghost for most of the book.  We catch glimpses of her through the memory of others and she hovers in the background throughout.  Yet there are many skeletons in the closet of this family and Moira draws them out gradually, with a sensitive hand as you progress through the novel.  As the old saying goes ‘you can’t choose your family’ but you can choose whether to have them in your lives and some things are just too hard to forgive.  Aren’t they?

Tell Me Where You Are is a gentle, family saga that proves that family life can be filled with deceit and heartbreak but also filled with love and hope.

About the author

Moira Forsyth

Moira_Forsyth_Tell_Me_Where_You_AreMoira Forsyth grew up in Aberdeen, lived in England for nearly twenty years, and is now in the Highlands. She is the author of four previous novels and many short stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines. Waiting for Lindsay and David’s Sisters, originally published by Sceptre, are now available as e-books from Sandstone Press, which also published The Treacle Well in 2015.

Guest Post from Moira Forsyth

THE BEST JOB FOR A WRITER by Moira Forsyth

The Orkney based writer Duncan Maclean once told me that the best job he’d ever had was as a caretaker. Not much to do and no creative thought required, so plenty of time to think about writing, and indeed to write. My best job was as a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in a small town. If nobody was born, got married or died, and my minimal paperwork was up to date, I had nothing to do. I wrote a whole novel in the fifteen months I was in that job.

Now I’m an editor, a job many people might imagine is ideal for a writer. Lots of
practice in editing – my own work must be perfect!

I’ve certainly learned a huge amount about writing through editing. I’m much harder on myself as I redraft, refine and polish. Editing is crucial: the best novels are as tight as a good short story – not a word wasted or superfluous.

As a creative writing tutor, as fiction editor for a literary magazine, and since 2002 as
Editorial Director of Sandstone Press, I’ve been assessing, supporting and editing other writers’ work for nearly twenty-five years. It’s only since Sandstone became established and recognised as a literary publisher that I’ve been doing this almost full time, without another ‘day job’ too. The focus of my working life is other people’s writing.

On a daily basis I assess authors’ ideas and the quality of their writing. This makes
you think hard about what constitutes ‘good writing’ or a ‘good novel’. Once we’ve accepted a text, my aim is to help the author make it as excellent as it possibly can be. Close discussion and exchange of edited versions of the novel are particularly helpful for debut authors, but it’s also a process to which I submit my own work when it goes out to my trusted readers and then my editor. I bear this in mind when I speak to any author about changing their work – it’s not easy to have someone else tell you what’s wrong! Editing means keeping an open mind: you can’t just impose your own views, though I’d not be doing my job if I let something go that was weakening a book.

I’m not sorry I have a job in addition to being a writer. Writers who do nothing else
are at risk of losing touch with the kind of life everyone else lives, so that they end up writing about writers – a subject of limited interest. However, I can’t pretend it’s easy to keep going when I’m dealing daily with other people’s work, when there are meetings and emails, book fairs and launches, staff to support and blurbs to write; when there are designers, agents, and many others to communicate with, with whom it’s essential to build good relationships.

If your head is full of someone else’s novel, you can’t write your own. It’s not finding
time to write that’s difficult, it’s having a dreaming space in your mind for the slow, organic growth of characters and narrative. Despite these constraints, I know I have to start thinking about the next one. In that uneasy space between novels, getting anxious about how Tell Me Where You Are will be received, I feel a bit lost.

However committed I am as an editor, having no work of my own on the go means something is missing that is still, after all these years, important and necessary.

http://moiraforsyth.com/
https://twitter.com/moira_forsyth
https://twitter.com/sandstonepress
https://www.facebook.com/moiraforsythauthor/
Link to the book: https://sandstonepress.com/books/tell-me-where-you-are-1

Tell Me Where You Are is published by Sandstone Press on 15 May 2019 at £7.99 in
paperback.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Relationship Stories

The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

This evening I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for the latest novel by Harriet Evans, The Garden of Lost and Found.  From the moment I held it in my hands I knew I was in for a wonderful journey.

I adore a novel that features a house that is almost a character in itself.  They have such presence and there is something there, something that sucks me in, captures my imagination and whisks me away.  I am a homebody and I totally get the way we can become ingrained in a building.  Every memory clinging to bricks and mortar, every inch bringing new life and memories.  Of course the memories can’t always be good and even Nightingale House has had it’s share of tragedy.  This is a wonderful epic tale of love lost and saved, betrayal and trust, all wrapped up in a families history and even it’s future.  The house plays a big part but it is in the garden where memories are forged and generations come together.  The Garden of Lost and Found.

We begin in 1918 with Ned burning a painting, but not just any painting,  his most famous painting.  A painting whose story is ingrained throughout the pages of the book.  Why did he burn it? What madness possessed him.  It was all that remained of them. The children lost to them.  But how, when and where? It was incredibly enticing, I couldn’t stop reading, at times with tears, also anger but also with hope.  What a wonderful tale Harriet has created, almost as artfully as a painter bringing a canvas to life. I could see each character in my minds eye. They whispered their story through her words so I couldn’t turn away until I reached the very end.

Pure, wonderful escapism. Harriet wonderfully merges the difficulties faced by each of the women in this story.   From the 19th century right through to present day we watch the story of this family unfold.  Juliet, our modern day mum is going through a time of great change and upset.  As she tries to cope with all that it thrown at her she returns to the home of her grandmother and a house that holds many secrets; secrets that are now ready to be known. At times I read in horror at what was endured by the characters, and it was heartbreaking yet wonderfully moving.  A tale filled with love, courage, hate and bitterness but more than all of that it is a story of the importance of those who came before us and the hope that love can save the day.

This was a wonderful read that I consumed in a long weekend and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

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Synopsis

Nightingale House, 1919. Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous
artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and
Found days before his sudden death.

Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home – a gem of design created
to inspire happiness – and it was here Ned painted The Garden of Lost and Found,
capturing his children on a perfect day.
One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down…

When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale
House, she starts a new life with her three children, and opens the door onto a
forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers.
For who would choose to destroy what they love most? Whether Ned’s masterpiece – or,
in Juliet’s case, her own children’s happiness.
Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?

About the author

Harriet Evans

Harriet Evans Author PictureHarriet Evans is the author, Going Home, A Hopeless RomanticThe Love of Her Life, I Remember You, Love Always, Happily Ever After and Not Without You. Before becoming a full time writer Harriet was a successful editor for a London publishing house. She lives in London with her family.

You can follow Harriet on Twitter at @HarrietEvans

and on Instagram at @harrietevansauthor

 

The Garden of Lost and Found was published in hardback by Headline Review on April 18th 2019. It is also available in eBook and Audiobook.

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