Book Tour Author Spotlight: Heathcliff by Sue Barnard

About Heathcliff

It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now…”

Cathy’s immortal words from Wuthering Heights change Heathcliff’s life.  At just seventeen years of age, heartbroken and penniless, he runs away to face an unknown future.

Three years later, he returns – much improved in manners, appearance and prosperity.

But what happened during those years? How could he have made his fortune, from nothing? Who might his parents have been? And what fate turned him into literature’s most famous anti-hero?

For almost two centuries, these questions have remained unanswered.

Until now…

Purchase Link  – mybook.to/heathcliff 

About the Author

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet whose family background is far stranger than any work of fiction. She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. She speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.

Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

Sue’s first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet), was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014.  Since then she has produced five more novels: Nice Girls Don’t (2014), The Unkindest Cut of All (2015), Never on Saturday (2017), Heathcliff (2018), and Finding Nina (2019).

Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

Social Media Links –

Blog: http://broad-thoughts-from-a-home.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/suebarnardauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSusanB

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/suebarnardauthor/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Barnard/e/B00IF4ZJJU/

RNA: https://romanticnovelistsassociation.org/rna_author/sue-barnard/

 

 

Book Review: Overture by Vanessa Couchman

Overture

What if you had a unique talent, but everything conspired against your dreams?

France, 1897. Born to a modest farming family, Marie-Thérèse has a remarkable singing voice and wants to become a professional singer. But too many obstacles, including her parents’ opposition, stand in her way. And, through no fault of her own, she makes a dangerous enemy of the local landlord.

When the family circumstances change suddenly, Marie-Thérèse and her mother must move to Paris to work in her aunt’s restaurant. Her ambitions rekindle, but the road to success is paved with setbacks until a chance meeting gives her a precious opportunity.

She is close to achieving all her dreams, but the ghosts of the past come back to haunt her and threaten Marie-Thérèse’s life as well as her career.

My Review

Overture presents a charming and realistic portrait of early nineteenth century rural France and the struggles that befall a humble farmer’s daughter doomed to labour for her parents and a future husband, a daughter with a natural talent, a gift that sets her apart. From the outset, Marie-Thérèse is forced to face the restrictions of her circumstances, and this she does with resentment but also with loyalty and respect. She is a dutiful daughter, not wilful or rebellious. Opportunity comes her way when her widowed mother moves them to Paris to stay with her sister, Marie-Thérèse’s aunt.

Couchman has penned a slow-paced and charming coming-of-age tale. The author’s knowledge of the setting and period appear sound and she has crafted a convincing and well-rounded protagonist in Marie-Thérèse. The supporting cast are equally well-presented and the pacing and plot twists are executed with aplomb. A light an entertaining read, Overture will appeal to those who enjoy their historical fiction unladen with complex detail and exposition. Recommended.

Purchase Link

http://mybook.to/OvertureBook1

Author Bio – Vanessa Couchman is a novelist, short story author and freelance writer and has lived in an 18th-century farmhouse in southwest France since 1997. French and Corsican history and culture provide great inspiration for her fiction. She has written two novels set on the Mediterranean island of Corsica: The House at Zaronza and The Corsican Widow. Her third novel, Overture, is Book 1 of a trilogy set in France between 1897 and 1945. Vanessa’s short stories have won and been placed in creative writing competitions and published in anthologies.

Social Media Links –

Website: https://vanessacouchmanwriter.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vanessacouchman.author/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Vanessainfrance

Amazon Author Page: http://author.to/VanessaCouchman

 

 

A Matter of Latitude #BookTour Wrap Up

A Matter of Latitude Book Tour

There were thirty stops on this tour, with twenty-two reviews, all of them filled with praise. No one made these reviewers say what they have, which makes this a tour worth celebrating. Below are quoted extracts from the tour. My hat is off to tour host Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources. She is efficient, prompt and incredibly well-organised. And a big thank you to the bloggers!

Tenesar

Book Tour Review Highlights

“This book in set in Lanzarote and the author paints a beautiful description of the island.” The Divine Write

“Not only a mystery, but a great drama about corruption set in a lovely island…This story is thoughtful and emotional and is telling about themes like corruption, ecology and the characters have depth and as always the atmospheric setting is beautiful…” Fany Van Hemelen

“This is a great read, a proper whodunnit based on corruption in what most of us will consider the idyll of Lanzarote. The story is told in first person, with alternating viewpoints from married couple Paula & Celestino (every now and then a chapter creeps in told from the viewpoint of Richard, an author wanting to write a captivating thriller – a genius move, if you ask me!)

The web of corruption is gradually revealed, and Celestino’s “disappearance” is only the start. (By disappearance, read: being forced off the road, over a cliff, hunted by a rabid dog and wanted by those whose fraudulent and corrupt methods he seeks to expose).

The conclusion will keep the reader guessing on many points. Will Celestino return to his family safely? How did those paintings end up in such strange locations? Whose body did the author find? So many questions, but all nicely tied up at the end. I can thoroughly recommend this book to lovers of a good mystery.” – Just 4 My Books

“So this is the second book that I have read from Isobel Blackthorn and I still can’t decide which book I liked best! This was a really intriguing mystery/thriller and while quite slow paced it kept you hooked from the beginning….The character development for both Paula and Celestino was great and I really enjoyed watching it progress as the book did. There was a few great twists and turns and I was really excited to see how it ended. Will most definitely be keeping my eye out for the next Isobel Blackthorn book!” NZFMNBlog

“As someone who has enjoyed holidays in the Canary Islands for many years I just couldn’t resist reading this book – and it gives a totally different take on life there! If you thought Sicily was the only island purported to have mafia, think again as they appear to be front and central in the Lanzarote based thriller!

This is an engaging, enthralling story of fighting against corruption in a closely knit island community. It involves plenty of secrets, danger, mystery and suspense to keep you turning the pages right to the very end. It is a story where you’re never quite certain about just who is trustworthy and who is corrupt. It is also a tale of romance as Paula strives to uncover just what has happened to her husband – and why. I found it a fascinating story and will definitely be looking out for more by this talented author in future!” – Splashes into Books

“Another beautiful written tale about the Spanish island and another excellent mystery from Isobel Blackthorn. One of the things I enjoyed about this and a previous one I read (Clarissa’s Warning) is the incomer to the island that is now the place she sees as home. I speak no Spanish and so these characters would be me trying to settle on the island and so they speak to me in a way; the women from elsewhere struggling to fit in and learn the language. That’s hard enough but when you throw in trying to solve the disappearance of her husband then it becomes and even more difficult task and this is so wonderfully woven into the story.

The mystery element of the story kept me guessing to the end and I was fascinated by the corruption angle as it’s something I know nothing about. The author keeps up the suspense all the way through to the end. It’s a great book and as before now I really want a holiday!” Kirk72

“What is always noticeable about Isobel Blackthorn’s writing is the amount of dedication she puts into bringing the culture of her locations to the forefront. In both Clarissa’s Warning as well as A Matter of Latitude, I cannot help but admire her efforts to respect the identity of the locations where she sets her story.

The beauty of A Matter of Latitude is in the use of two prominent and distinctive voices in the story. That of Paula and Celestino….An exciting thriller that has many layers. It is definitely worth a read.” (as is this review! Check it out!)  Trails of Tales

“I’ve really become a fan of Isobel Blackthorn’s writing. She is an incredibly gifted mystery writer and A Matter of Latitude just proves that more. The mystery in this novel is so compelling and keeps you guessing all the way to the end. I love that. I really am not a fan when a reveal comes to quickly and that isn’t an issue at all here. Love this story! The characters feel real, which made me nervous for them. I highly recommend checking this one out!” Jessica Belmont

“Matter of Latitude is a slow-paced mystery thriller, with wonderful descriptions of the idyllic setting in Lanzarote…capturing the atmosphere and culture of the island….a fascinating read with a strong sense of culture….”  Orlando Books Blog

“My first read by Isobel and one I really enjoyed. Having a passing acquaintance with Lanzarote and recognising a lot of place names it made it more real for me.

A fast paced read. Crisp, fresh prose and an insight of Lanzarote away from the tourist resorts. This book will have you second guessing yourself as to who the culprit is! Red herrings galore and while not a gruesome book it is not as cosy as I thought. Art, corruption, murder and sunny Lanzarote. What more can you want?  A good read I recommend to you all.” BertyBoy123

“I really enjoyed the way Blackthorn combined suspense with an authentic feel for the surroundings and the native inhabitants. The struggle of ex-pats to fit in, despite loving the country they have adopted. You can live in a foreign country, speak the language fluently, adapt to the country and new culture, and yet many decades after living there still be considered an outsider or the foreign person.

The story starts with the attempt on Celestino’s life, and I will admit for a moment I thought I was in a post-apocalyptic plot. The beginning of the book really set the stage, even if it threw me for a minute. Meanwhile his wife and child are waiting for him to turn up, and when he doesn’t Paula starts to investigate his disappearance.

I thought the subtle pressure pot plot of the paintings was an extremely interesting way to go about this storyline. The guilty know exactly what is staring them in the face, hence the reactions, but it takes a while for the meaning of the pictures to sink in for others.

At the heart of this plot is the corruption that allows companies and people to profit off the destruction of our environment, but instead of going for other more well-known industries who are guilty of this, the author shows us how corrupt works at a lower level.

The kind the working man can see and is dragged into, albeit inadvertently. The real estate industry is highly exposed to corruption. It is a way to launder money and evade taxes, and on a more fundamental level it exposes the environment and thus humans, to an even greater risk. When land, fields, property and houses are gained by fraudulent means and sold on to developers.

Bought under false pretences, with the sellers pass on property on the basis of it not ruining or the buyers changing the environment. To do so these buyers have to be working hand in hand with the local and sometimes national government departments to get planning permissions. The corruption flows deep and steady.

It’s an environmental thriller about corruption combined with the eccentricities of expats.” (quoted in full) – Cheryl MM Book Blog

This is a thoughtful and emotional work, that kept me absorbed from beginning to end. Recommended.” Lis Carey’s Library

A Matter of Latitude is a mystery that also highlights the corruption and the destructive influence of tourism on the small island. The writing captures the characters relationships to each other and the idyllic setting of Lanzarote. An interesting read that kept me guessing.” – Rainnes

“All in all, this will be an awesome next read for anyone who loves an insightful, interesting look into relationships, and how differently we can all see things. It’s also for anyone who loves a mystery… This is also for anyone who loves a novel where the author has obviously put work into the setting, and the lore. I’d say this would be perfect to enjoy on your next holiday on the beach or wrapped up cosy in front of the fire if you’re staying in the UK this summer.” Vain Radical

“As I mentioned I have read previous work by this author and I knew that the story would be descriptive, where the scenery was as important as the story and I was not disappointed. As you follow the mystery, you are introduced to some amazing scenery and highlighted throughout are important landmarks to the country…Whilst this is a mystery, there is also an insight to how money and corruption is spoiling the landscape and whilst places rely on tourism, it shows what damage it is causing. Another good mystery that will keep you reading to find out that will happen next.” Terror Tree

“This is the first book that I have read by the author, and I am looking forward to reading more by her…The author paints a perfect picture with her descriptions of the scenery. Making me feel like I must give this place ago in the future… I think anyone who loves mystery novels will enjoy it.” – Bakers Not So Secret

“I really like this story, I thought it was well written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  I have been a fan of this author’s works for a while now and this is another fabulous book by her!

I thought that the setting for the book was great and the author did an excellent job with the descriptions in the book as at times I really felt as though I was there with the characters, the author did a great job of drawing me in to the story and I found it was one I needed to carry on reading.  The plot was compelling and I wanted to find out how the mystery would all end!

I loved the different characters and I thought that the storyline was great – highly recommended!” Donna’s Book Blog

“Well wasn’t this a nice intense little journey!…It is interesting to see the struggle of making a life as an ex-pat, on this gorgeous island, something that may still affect me in the future, so this lifestyle was something I was interested in learning more about. The struggle of not being accepted is a fear I think most people have and so to be abroad with a missing husband is doubly scary!…I have previously enjoyed Clarissa’s Warning, also set in Lanzarote, and Isobel’s writing where the scenery and backdrop take a life of their own. This was no different, the imagery used could have you sitting in the sun, soaking the ray of Lanzarote. I wish I was, less the hit and run.” Zooloo’s Book Diary

“A Matter of Latitude is an intriguing, suspenseful novel that weaves together modern global issues. The opening scene is an impressive attention-grab that keeps you turning pages for a very long time. The characters are interesting. I particularly enjoyed the focus on the politics of tourism. Having lived in the Dominican Republic, I identified with many of the issues, as well as the hypocrisy of ex-pats complaining about it. The novel sags a little in the middle and the character POV isn’t very distinctive, making changes in character voice a little hard to follow. However, once I got in the flow, I could follow the plot even if I wasn’t sure who was telling the story for a few paragraphs. Overall, this was a good suspense novel that gave me plenty of thinks.” Author Becca McCullough

I read and really enjoyed Clarissa’s warning and was very excited to see what Isobel Blackthorn would come up with next. I was ensnared by this mystery and kept guessing until the very end. I really enjoy Isobel’s books and can’t wait to dig into another one soon.” – J Bronder Book Reviews

“A Matter of Latitude shows Lanzarote in a light I’ve never seen before. First, in terms of imagery. As a tourist, I never visited the north of the island and it was interesting to read about the daily life of locals. Secondly, was through the tropical storm that occurs at the beginning of the story. The ignorant part of me never imagined that the island could have terrible weather like that, nor did I ever consider how it would affect local life.

However, it was the commentary on Lanzarote’s politics that opened my eyes the most. The author is actually a resident of the island for the insight into corruption was detailed. It backhanders politicians are taking from businessmen who want to illegally cash in from the tourism industry are nothing new in comparison to the rest of the world but are shocking just the same. The fact that much of the available funding goes to non-natives shows that politics is everywhere in the world, even on small, magical islands. Also, the heavy focus on the negative effects of tourism on the island made me consider my trips there from another point of view.” – Joyful Antidotes

Visit the A Matter of Latitude reviews page for more reviews

Find your copy on Amazon

Clarissa’s Warning Book Tour Round Up

Book Tour Reflections

Is a book tour worth the effort and the expense? This is a question on the minds of many authors as we think about ways to promote a new release. I have nine novels and a short-story collection under my belt so far, and after struggling for years to find reviewers, I am turning more and more to Book Tour service providers.

It is not uncommon for me to send out two hundred individual email requests for one title. Each of these reviewers I source using online databases and then scrutinise to see if they are available and a fit.  Usually, I get a 10-15% take up rate and half of those do not follow through. It is a risky process too, because you may end up with some poor reviews and even one or two  DFNs – Did Not Finish – from book reviewers who simply did not like your book, or worse, have no qualms trashing your creative output.

When it comes to Amazon, the idea is that customers leave reviews, but how many readers will do that? Many or most will not be all that confident leaving a book review, even in this age when everyone has an opinion and every company wants your views on their product or service. Only verified purchase reviews count in the algorithm, but all reviews count towards Social Proof that your book is worth buying. This is why us authors are always on the hunt for more reviews. Authors please note not all book bloggers are able or willing to share their reviews on Amazon. If you are looking exclusively for Amazon reviews, you might think twice about a book tour. 

I can happily say Rachels Random Resources takes the pressure off tired authors. Her service is excellent, she is highly professional and her reviewers are gracious. I am so impressed, have signed up as one of her reviewers. Below is a list of review highlights from the Clarissa’s Warning book tour. (copy and paste the urls to view the whole review)

 

Fuerteventura

Find Clarissa’s Warning on Amazon

Highlights from the Clarissa’s Warning Book Tour

“It’s nice to see the gothic genre given a more modern take. Gothic fiction combines mystery, horror, death and romance, traditionally in the setting of a building of Gothic architecture i.e. medieval, but any old, large imposing building will do. The heroine is generally unassuming, naïve but no sissy, and likeable. Claire Bennet from Colchester fits the bill perfectly. She’s had a lottery win and is using that money to buy a wonderful old building on the island of Fuerteventura which she’s admired every year during her summer holidays. It is probably a foolish thing to do, as the house needs a lot of work and it’s a huge leap for an ex bank-employee to take, but Claire is game. She’s even prepared to ignore a warning from Aunt Clarissa who informs her that the astrological and other psychic signs aren’t favourable to this rash venture. However, her warning comes too late. Claire is committed and so ignores anything she doesn’t want to hear.

She embarks on her plans, encountering some pleasant locals and some less so, and slowly her house becomes habitable. She’s forced to move in a little sooner than intended, and some inexplicable happenings began to occur. Claire is rattled, but she’s made of stern stuff and begins to investigate what might be behind it all. She’ll make some alarming discoveries, but also encounter true love.

This book is rich with description and thus we can conjure up the appearance and atmosphere of Fuerteventura in vivid detail in our minds. We quickly get to know Claire by sharing her wry humour and down-to-earth approach as we share her space, mental and physical. Aunt Clarissa is a colourful, eccentric figure but something of a cornerstone in this book, and Paco is another.

It’s an enchanting, exciting read and definitely has you considering whether there’s more than meets the eye in this world of ours.”

http://www.booksarecool.com/2019/clarissas-blackthorn-enchanting/

Fuerteventura ruins
Photo by JF Olivares

“Isobel Blackthorn stole my heart, after she made it drop to my stomach. Her capability of amalgamating horror, romance, mystery and travel had me floored.

The language and presentation of the plot has all the makings of excellent story telling.

I am not saying that it is a story unlike any other. Most haunted house tales do follow a certain line of story development. Despite that ‘Clarissa’s Warning’ is not predictable. The suspense was steadily built throughout the book and the ending was completely out of the blue.”

https://trailsoftales620253622.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/blog-tour-clarissas-warning-by-isobel-blackthorn/

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“This is a suspense filled, spooky story with legends, rumours, danger and romance all playing an integral part in events. If you’ve never been to Fuerteventura, you’ll probably feel like you have after reading this and if, like me, you’ve already visited, you’ll have memories of visits rekindled whilst reading it. The whole community and Claire’s integration into it are shared, as her friendships and even a romance develop alongside the restoration of the property. It is an engaging read that you’re never quite sure just who will survive to the end! The research into the previous occupants of the house, the steps taken to protect herself and the peril she faces make this a story that I enjoyed reading and have no hesitation in recommending to anyone who enjoys a suspense filled paranormal mystery and romance.”

https://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com/2019/03/21/clarissas-warning/

Cofete
Photo by JF Olivares

“I liked Claire’s character and was really pleased when she wins the lottery and becomes a woman of great means!!  I loved the way that despite not having to watch the pennies, she still does!  I also felt quite sorry for her at times as she had no belief in what her Aunt Clarissa had told her, but the local tradesmen obviously knew all about the old ruin and this meant she had great difficulty in getting anyone to work on it without really knowing why!

The story built up slow and steady, giving you plenty of time to take in the other parts of the story, such as Claire’s difficult relationship with her father and her relationship with her Aunt Clarissa.  The supernatural part of the storyline was done really well and I did enjoy the spooky things which were happening.  I loved the setting of this book, having been to two of the Canary Islands but never to Fuerteventura.  The history behind the ruin and the local opinions were really interesting also.  A suitably spooky story which was enough to make my hair stand on end and I did love the ending, although I won’t tell you what it is because it will definitely spoil the whole book!  Would recommend!!”

https://stardustbookreviews.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/isobel-blackthorn-clarissas-warning/

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“The backdrop of Fuerteventura for this story was just exquisite, with the local cafes, the volcano and the heat. All descriptions adding to this story building a wider picture of where Claire is and the history. To mix it in with the supernatural too was just delicious and cleverly done and adds a lot of tension in the book because it was so contrasting….This is my first read of Ms Blackthorn, but after reading this, getting a taste of her writing, I can safely say it will not be my last outing!”

http://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/bookreview-of-clarissas-warning-rararesources

Fuerteventura
Photo by JF Olivares

“I really found myself falling in love with pretty much everything and was completely sucked into the descriptions, it was like a little mini holiday in my head.” https://nzfnmblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/book-review-clarissas-warning-by-isobel-blackthorn-rararesources/

“This is the first book that I have read by Isobel Blackthorn and I must say that I found her writing to be particularly impressive. There is a great sense of location throughout and the fact that this was set on one of the Canary Islands was something that brought a unique factor.” https://reflectionsofareader.blogspot.com/2019/03/blogtour-clarissas-warning-by-isobel.html

“All in all, Clarissa’s Warning will be a great read for anyone who enjoys a good self-discovery novel, with enough spooky happenings for mystery lovers as well.” http://www.vainradical.co.uk/blogs/clarissas-warning-blog-tour/

“This is a fantastic paranormal thriller. You are kept guessing at the person out to get Claire and the haunting.” jbronderbookreviews.com/2019/03/20/clarissas-warning/

Fuerteventura ruins
Photo by JF Olivares

“Apart from possibly the ghosts this read like a beautiful love letter to Fuerteventura. I could capture so much of the island reading this even though I’ve never been. I now want to.  There is so much attention to detail in this book, not just with the island but the history of the house being renovated and the people linked to it. Also though the renovations themselves. You could really imagine the restoration as it happened over the time period in the book. Everything is just so beautifully written.

It’s a slow burner which isn’t something I normally enjoy but I think possibly because it’s so descriptive I found it easy to follow and allowed myself to be swept along with the story rather than wishing it would hurry up and get to the action. Again credit goes back to the writing to be able to keep my poor attention span involved in the book.”

https://kirk72.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/clarissas-warning-by-isobel-blackthorn-rararesources-iblackthorn/

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“I recommend checking this intriguing story out!” – Jessica Rachow book blogger

“While this is a slow paced read, it has depth and detail and triggers imagination. It is vividly descriptive….If you have any interest in history you will appreciate this book.” – Dog’s Mom Visits book blog

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“The author had a way of bringing even the smallest character to life, the picturesque detail lets you easily imagine the locals and you get to find out as much about Gloria who run the local café as you do about Claire…This is a gentle slow-paced mystery, which I read fairly quickly. With its mixture of genres, this has got something for a lot of readers. This is the 1st book I have read by this author and checking my kindle I am glad to say I have some more of their books to read.” –

http://terror-tree.co.uk/2019/03/clarissas-warning-by-isobel-blackthorn/

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“This was a fun and easy read. It’s not particularly a scary book, and there is nothing that will make you jump. However there is an underlying menace throughout the story that gradually builds up as the tale progresses and Claire becomes in more and more danger… You got a sense of how isolating it would be to move to a strange country all on your own and try to complete a project like this.

Within the novel I especially liked the way the story mixed up descriptions of the island with some history and some supernatural events yet kept things grounded with the detailed paragraphs about the restoration work. By the end you felt as invested in wanting it all to work as Claire did.

All in all this was an easy and enjoyable story that almost needs a category of its own of ‘Cosy Ghost Stories to read by the fire on a cold winters night’ Even if the story doesn’t make you jump the descriptions of the Island will certainly warm you up!”

Clarissa’s Warning by Isobel Blackthorn – a review