Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Coming Soon, Debut, Historical Fiction

The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott

Today I am so thrilled to be able to chat about The Photographer of the Lost  as part of the Random Things Tours blog tour ahead of publication in October. The blog tour continues tomorrow with Jaffareadstoo (twitter: @jaffareadstoo ) where she will also be revealing the stunning cover so do take a look.  In the meantime here’s the synopsis and my thoughts on this wonderful novel.

Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own…
An epic novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I

1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she beings to search.

Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

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This is an absolutely stunning novel.  Beautifully written and heartbreaking it takes a very different approach to the subject of war and the ones who have been left behind.

Edie never really knows what happened to her husband Francis after he was reported missing in action in 1917.  Four years later and she is still no closer to the truth, that is until a photograph arrives in the post from France.  It is a picture of Francis and Edie is sure that it has been taken recently.  She must find answers and so reaches out to Francis’ surviving brother, Harry, for help.  Harry was the last person to see Francis alive and he too wants more than ever to find out what happened to him.

This is one of those novels that I feel I can never write a review good enough to give it justice.  It’s not just the subject matter that Caroline has captured so brilliantly but also that sense of hopelessness that must be felt when there is a lack of closure.  Never really knowing if a loved one is dead or alive.  Through Harry and Edie’s journey to France we see the reality of the post-war period.  Of course we are all familiar with the visions of war torn countries still appearing in the news today but the level of death and destruction during WWI was unprecedented. I recently visited the Imperial War Museum in London and some of the most moving exhibits were those concerning soldiers who lost their lives and the families they left behind.  One particular piece that I found most upsetting was a telegram informing a family of a soldiers death on Christmas Day, 1914.  The actual telegram.  I immediately thought of it arriving and being held in hands that had once held those of that soldier and the heartbreak the news must have brought.  These things make their loss relatable to us, they make it more real.

Yet it must have been equally if not more unbearable to receive a ‘Missing in Action’ telegram.  There is always that sliver of hope that they are still alive and yet how on earth do you move on from that? How do you ever find closure.  And the numbers of missing men.  It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Through The Photographer of the Lost Caroline has explored this through Harry and Edie’s search of Francis.  She moves back and forth through time giving us a deeper insight into what happened to Francis and the unknown fate of many others who went to fight for their country and never came back.  In my own lifetime I have seen countless images of people placing photographs of those missing in terrorist attacks and natural disasters.  The people that never came home and are unaccounted for.  I never knew that this is what people did a hundred years ago.  Pictures of the missing and pictures of the family that are missing them – all placed insight so that they might reunite them together in real life.  It invokes a very powerful image indeed.

Caroline has created a beautiful novel of love and loss.  Her writing is incredibly moving and her vast historical knowledge of this time evident throughout.  She brilliantly brings to life worn-torn France and these characters that are completely unforgettable.  Early on we see the beginning of their love ignite as Edie and Francis come together in a chance meeting at their local library and from that moment I was completely invested in their journey.

He was just a white-toothed grin, disembodied like the Cheshire Cat, and words with a scent of boiled sweets.  But then he was eyes that watched her through the Romantics and the Classics; a flicker of long lashes and clear bright blue-green eyes that creased at the corners, so that she knew he was smiling on the other side. He existed only in fragments and glimpses and elements, and a voice that linked them all.  But then he was a flash of profile, and finally a face that had looked directly down into her own as she had stepped out at the end of the row, as if he had always been there waiting for her.

This except is taken from the proof copy but I wanted to share it as an example of both the quality and beauty of Caroline’s writing. The Photographer of the Lost  is a novel that will stay with me for a long time and one that I thoroughly recommend.  When is comes to love we are not so different to how we were then.  Suffering comes in many packages and I feel that stories such as this are important for reminding us what was lost by so many.

The Photographer of the Lost is published by Simon & Schuster in October but you can pre-order it now.  Check out their website for further details.

Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and the lovely people at Simon & Schuster for my beautiful proof copy.

About the author

Caroline Scott

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Author photo by Johnny Ring

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost is partially inspired by her family history.

You can follow Caroline on Twitter at @CScottBooks

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11+, 9+, Adventure, Children's Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Summer Reads

Summer Reading – Rumblestar

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone

Recommended for Middle Grade (9+) & above…

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Here’s the synopsis:

Adventures are unpredictable and often terribly badly behaved – a bit like pickled onions if you’ve ever tried to fork one on a plate – but they have a way of unlocking people and turning them upside down so that all the astonishing things fizzing around inside them start to tumble out…’
 
Eleven-year-old Casper Tock hates risks, is allergic to adventures and shudders at the thought of unpredictable events. So, it comes as a nasty shock to him when he accidentally stumbles into Rumblestar, an Unmapped Kingdom full of magical beasts.
 
All Casper wants is to find a way home, but Rumblestar is in trouble. An evil harpy calledMorg is sending her followers, the Midnights, into the kingdom to wreak havoc and pave the way for her to steal the Unmapped magic for herself. But Casper cannot turn a blind eye because the future of his own world, he discovers, is bound up with that of the Unmapped Kingdoms. 
 
And so, together with Utterly Thankless, a girl who hates rules and is allergic to behaving, and her miniature dragon, Arlo, Casper embarks upon an adventure full of cloud giants, storm ogres and drizzle hags. Can he, Utterly and Arlo, the unlikeliest of heroes, save the Unmapped Kingdoms and our world from the clutches of Morg and her Midnights?

Live a life filled with adventure with Abi Elphinstone in this brand NEW series where a whole new world is waiting to be discovered…

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Abi Elphinstone’s stories are always filled with wonderful characters, courageous adventures and wonderful worlds.  Discover her today with her latest novel, Rumblestar, the first in The Unmapped Chronicles.  Want to discover more? Check out her earlier novels too. Visit the Simon & Schuster website here for further information.

Rumblestar Paperback ISBN: 9781471173660

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

 

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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7+, 9+, Adventure, Children's Fiction, Magic, Summer Reads, Witches

Summer Reads – Even More Pongwiffy Stories

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

Even More Pongwiffy Stories

illustrated by Katy Riddell

Recommended for YoungReader/Middle Grade (7+) & above…

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Here’s the synopsis:

A brand new bind-up edition of three classic Pongwiffy stories including Pongwiffy and the Pantomime and The Spellovision Song Contest and Back on Track!

Pongwiffy and the rest of the witches need to earn some money, and fast! But every idea they come up with to raise funds seems so BORING … until Pongwiffy suggests they put on a pantomime and sell tickets. Get ready for some theatrical chaos with the witches of Witchway Wood…

In the second story, all the witches are transfixed by spellovision and no one wants to do anything fun anymore. Until Pongwiffy decides to launch a song contest to liven things up!

Finally, Pongwiffy decides that being a witch of dirty habits is holding her back. It’s time to get healthy, but can a witch who prefers sludge to sprouts really get back on track? 

THREE laugh-out-loud stories of humour and warmth, enticingly mixed with much sludge, slime and very bad habits. Now with brand new illustrations from Katy Riddell! 

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Even More Pongwiffy Stories is published by Simon & Schuster and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.). It’s also available on Kindle.

ISBN: 9781471167423

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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2+, 3+, Picture Books, Summer Reads, Superheroes

Summer Reads – SuperKitty

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

SuperKitty by Hannah Whitty & Paula Bowles

Recommended for Young Book Lovers aged 2 & above…

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Here’s the synopsis:

Kitty is fed up of answering phones at the Sensational Superhero Agency and dreams of catching criminals with the superhero gang. But they ALWAYS leave her behind!

Then a call comes in about a stolen dinosaur bone . . . and Kitty takes matters into her own paws, following the superheroes in their pursuit of devious criminal Nefarious Norman!

Will she save the day and prove that small is MIGHTY?

Join Kitty and the gang in this energetic picture book about believing in your own abilities, not judging a book by its cover . . . and girl power!

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Oh my, I LOVE Superkitty.  This is a super cute book with brilliant illustrations.  Definitely one to share with your little book lovers.

SuperKitty was published by Simon&Schuster and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.). 

Paperback ISBN: 9781471175091

It’s also available on Kindle, Hardback and Digital Download.

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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7+, 9+, Chapter Books, Children's Fiction, Series

Summer Reading – Hamish and the Monster Patrol

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

Hamish and the Monster Patrol by Danny Wallace

illustrated by Jamie Littler

Recommended for Middle grade and above (or age 7+)…

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Here’s the synopsis:

Get ready for another hilarious adventure from bestselling author Danny Wallace brought to life with illustrations from Jamie Littler, perfect for fans of David Walliams, Roald Dahl, David Baddiel and David Solomons!

Things are afoot in Starkley… again! Out in the ocean something’s on the move … something BIG … something that might change everything …

While most of Starkley’s inhabitants have fled or gone into lockdown, Hamish and his pals in the PDF are coming up with a plan, because if they don’t save the world then who will?!

But this time they’re not alone. Luckily, the top-secret Monster Patrol is on hand to help … even if that ‘help’ is in the form of a strange new kid, a bizarre-looking fish monster and a bonkers old lady…

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Oooh we do love a bit of Hamish in our house.  It’s a brilliantly funny series and if you haven’t yet discovered it then I throughly recommend them for your newly independent readers (or simply for the joy of sharing them together – you’ll be sniggering along too believe me).  Oh and there are rather brilliant illustrations from Jamie Littler.

Hamish and the Monster Patrol was published by Simon & Schuster Books in April and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.). It is the most recent book in the series so you might well like to get stuck in right at book one, Hamish and the Worldstoppers.

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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Fantasy, Fiction, Summer Reads, Suspense, Teen, YA, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction

Summer Reads – The Cold is in her Bones

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

The Cold is in her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale

Recommended for Older Teens/YA and above…

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Here’s the synopsis:

One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

Suspenseful and vividly imagined, The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.

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The Cold Is in Her Bones was published by Simon & Schuster in March and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.) It’s available in paperback, eBook & on audio CD.

ISBN: 9781471160882

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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11+, 9+, Children's Fiction, Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Personal and Social Issues, Summer Reads

Summer Reads – The Words That Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

The Words That Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll

Recommended for Middle grade and above (or age 9+)…

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Here’s the synopsis:

A beautiful, powerful story about finding the strength and words to face your fears, from the author of The Girl in Between 

From the outside, it looks like Lucy has the perfect life. She has everything. Everything that money can buy.

But money can’t buy Lucy the words she needs to stand up to her bully of a father, the words to escape her suffocating family life, the words to become the person she wants to be.

Then Lucy finds an escape route. Every attic on her street is connected, and as she starts to explore the secret lives of her neighbours, Lucy realizes that she is not the only one to suffer in silence.

But can she find the strength to climb down and face her fears?

 

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The Words That Fly Between Us was published by Simon & Schuster in May and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.) It is also available on Kindle.

Paperback ISBN: 9781471160646

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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