Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson @LauraPAuthor @AgoraBooksLDN #blogtour #MissingPieces

Delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson today! My thanks to Lucy Irvine at Agora Books for the invitation to join and the wonderful review copy!


Author : Laura Pearson
Title : Missing Pieces
Pages : 277
Publisher : Agora Books
Publication date : June 21, 2018


All Linda wants to do is sleep. She won’t look at her husband. She can’t stand her daughter. And she doesn’t want to have this baby. Having this baby means moving on, and she just wants to go back to before. Before their family was torn apart, before the blame was placed.

Alienated by their own guilt and struggling to cope, the Sadler family unravels. They grow up, grow apart, never talking about their terrible secret.

That is until Linda’s daughter finds out she’s pregnant. Before she brings another Sadler into the world, Bea needs to know what happened twenty-five years ago. What did they keep from her? What happened that couldn’t be fixed?

A devastating mistake, a lifetime of consequences. How can you repair something broken if pieces are missing?


Good grief. I am broken. Absolutely in bits.

The lovely ladies at Agora Books were kind enough to include the most thoughtful care package with this review copy, intent on dealing with your emotions while reading the debut novel by Laura Pearson. Now, I consider myself quite tough as boots so I laughed in the face of the “might make you ugly cry” warning. However, after reading just a few pages I already panicked, realising the tissues that were provided would not be sufficient at all.

Missing Pieces is written in two parts. Part one is set in the 1980’s. A time when Tom and his wife Linda are supposed to be happily awaiting the birth of their new baby. But something has happened and Linda is not the woman she used to be. She can’t stand her daughter, won’t even look at her husband and really, really doesn’t want this baby to be born at all.

Part two is set decades later, when daughter Bea discovers she’s pregnant. This prompts her to try and find out what happened all those years ago because the secrets and the guilt have affected this entire family. Even Bea, who has no memories of those days at all. And no, I’m not telling you why this family was torn apart. You don’t have to wait long to find out and I’m sure, like me and the Sadler family, you too will feel the impact to your very core.

This is an absolutely heartbreaking and devastating story about family, love, loss, grief and guilt. The Sadler family are highly realistic and believable characters and there is no hardship at all in becoming invested in them and feeling utterly bereft right alongside them. It’s hard to talk about them without giving anything away. My heart broke for Linda as she struggled to cope. Tom, who has his own issues to deal with, somehow manages to keep going, to take care of his family and despite showing he’s not at all perfect, he is the most wonderful father and the stories he tells his children managed to put a smile on my face, which was much needed!

Missing Pieces is beautifully written, highly moving and emotional. Even when I couldn’t see properly as the tears streamed down my face rivalling the force of the Niagara Falls, I couldn’t put this novel down. It is raw, it is devastating (yes, I’m aware I’ve used that word before but it is!) and yet, it’s wonderful and I absolutely loved it!

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know this family and even more so, to discover what an amazing new talent Laura Pearson is.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads


Laura Pearson lives in Leicestershire with her husband and their two children. Missing Pieces is her first novel.

Author link : Twitter




Skin Deep by Liz Nugent @lizzienugent @PenguinRandomIE #mustread #20BooksofSummer


Author : Liz Nugent
Title : Skin Deep
Pages : 372
Publisher : Penguin Ireland
Publication date : April 5, 2018


Cordelia Russell has been living on the Côte d’Azur for ten years, posing as a posh English woman fallen on hard times. But her luck is running out. Desperate to escape her grotty flat and grim reality, Cordelia spends a night at a glittering party. Surrounded by the young, beautiful and privileged she feels her age and her poverty. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. It hasn’t taken long for the corpse in her bedroom to commence decomposing …


Goodness gracious me! Wow! Double wow!

After having read and enjoyed Liz Nugent’s previous two novels, ‘Unraveling Oliver‘ and ‘Lying in Wait‘, I was immensely looking forward to getting my hands on ‘Skin Deep‘ and boy, was it worth the anticipation and the wait.

From a tiny island off the coast of Ireland to the glamorous Côte d’Azur, this novel oozes atmosphere. Cordelia Russel has been living in the Mediterranean area for the past decade, pretending to be someone she’s not.

I could probably have been an actress. It is not difficult to pretend to be somebody else. Isn’t that what I’ve been doing for most of my life?

Upon returning to her hotel room one morning, she can hear the flies buzzing as soon as she opens the door. There’s a corpse in her room but who is it? Who killed them and why? To find out, we go way back to Cordelia’s childhood in Ireland. A childhood of poverty and hardship and one that will shape her life.

Cordelia may just quite possibly be one of the most unlikeable characters ever and while that sometimes puts me off, in this case it most certainly did not. From time to time, I felt some pangs of sympathy for her which made me feel almost uncomfortable as I thought this self-centred narcissist didn’t deserve that emotion from me at all. She’s insanely manipulative, always wants more and doesn’t think twice about whatever means it takes to get what she thinks she deserves.

Liz Nugent is an absolutely phenomenal storyteller. With exquisite writing, ‘Skin Deep’ is utterly captivating, absorbing and riveting. It’s dark, disturbing, massively chilling with a cruel and jaw-dropping, yet quite satisfying conclusion. A truly memorable character-driven novel.

What can I say? I was completely enthralled. This is the third book I’ve read by Liz Nugent and I’m most definitely a fan and I dare say this is her best novel yet. I can’t wait for her next one!

Skin Deep is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads



Us Against You by Fredrik Backman @MichaelJBooks #mustread #20BooksofSummer


Author : Fredrik Backman
Title : Us Against You
Series : Björnstad #2
Pages : 448
Publisher : Michael Joseph Books
Publication date : June 14, 2018


A small, broken town sits on the edge of a frozen lake surrounded by a forest, its wounds still raw from a tragedy that tore its fragile community in two.

Beartown has lost its way. Now the cold and dark that surround the snowbound town creep in, and so do new conflicts and tensions. What was once a friendly rivalry with the neighbouring town is beginning to turn sinister and Beartown braces itself for another tragic blow.

How far will the people of Beartown go to preserve their reputations for a second, deadly time?


Something happens to me when I start reading a Fredrik Backman novel. A sort of chemistry I can’t quite explain. It almost feels like falling in love with the words and the characters. There’s something incredibly magical about Backman’s writing. Even when it seems little is happening, I find myself completely enthralled as if I’m under a spell.

Us Against You is the sequel to the fabulous Beartown/The Scandal, which ended up being my favourite book last year. Picking up after the dramatic events, it only took me a few seconds to become reacquainted with the forest, the town and its residents. The town is struggling in the aftermath of the big scandal and the ice hockey club is threatened with closure due to a lack of players and sponsors. But if Beartown doesn’t have its club, what does it have? What is left when the heart of the town stops beating?

Us Against You is sometimes moving and quite heartbreaking. At times it managed to leave a smile on my face, other times I had a massive lump in my throat. The story is always realistic, its characters believable while constantly showing the worst and the best side of mankind, making it incredibly thought-provoking and also hopeful.

Fredrik Backman is a wonderful storyteller. It almost feels as if you’re sitting in a pub with someone who’s telling you the story of Beartown and I once again became utterly invested in the lives of these characters, hurting with them and rooting for them. They wormed their way into my heart from the start and I won’t be forgetting any of them in a hurry.

Beautifully written and incredibly captivating, Us Against You is as much of a gem as Beartown/The Scandal is and it has caused another massive book hangover. I’m quietly hoping for a third instalment in this series. There are more stories to tell, I’m sure, but quite frankly, I’d take any excuse to return to Beartown. In the meantime, I’ll be trying very hard to catch up on some of Fredrik Backman’s other novels.

My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

Us Against You is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads


This Week in Books (June 20)


Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading


A small, broken town sits on the edge of a frozen lake surrounded by a forest, its wounds still raw from a tragedy that tore its fragile community in two.

Beartown has lost its way. Now the cold and dark that surround the snowbound town creep in, and so do new conflicts and tensions. What was once a friendly rivalry with the neighbouring town is beginning to turn sinister and Beartown braces itself for another tragic blow.

How far will the people of Beartown go to preserve their reputations for a second, deadly time?

The book I’m currently reading


Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor.

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future.

By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her.

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her…

What I’m (probably) reading next


England, 1813. Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bennet lives in the shadow of her two eldest sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, who have both made excellent marriages. No one expects Kitty to amount to anything. Left at home in rural Hertfordshire with her neurotic and nagging mother, and a father who derides her as “silly and ignorant,” Kitty is lonely, diffident and at a loss as to how to improve her situation.

When her world unexpectedly expands to London and the Darcy’s magnificent country estate in Derbyshire, she is overjoyed. Keen to impress this new society, and to change her family’s prejudice, Kitty does everything she can to improve her mind and manners—and for the first time feels liked and respected.

However, one fateful night at Pemberley, a series of events and misunderstandings conspire to ruin Kitty’s reputation and she is sent back home in disgrace. But Kitty has learnt from her new experiences and what she does next does next will not only surprise herself, but everyone else too.


What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx


To Die in Vienna by Kevin Wignall @AmazonPub @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for To Die in Vienna By Kevin Wignall. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.


Author : Keith Wignall
Title : To Die in Vienna
Pages : 270
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : June 14, 2018


Freddie Makin is a spy for hire. For a year he’s been watching Jiang Cheng, an academic whose life seems suspiciously normal. To Freddie it’s just a job: he never asks who’s paying him and why—until the day someone is sent to kill him, and suddenly the watcher becomes the watched.

On the run from whoever wants him dead, Freddie knows he must have seen something incriminating. The only trouble is, he has no idea what. Is the CIA behind all this—or does it go higher than that? Have his trackers uncovered his own murky past?

As he’s forced into a lethal dance across Vienna, Freddie knows one thing for sure: his only hope for survival is keeping the truth from the other side, and making sure the secrets from his past stay hidden.


Set in the wonderful city of Vienna, we are introduced to a rather unlikely spy. Freddie Makin has been watching a Chinese academic, Jiang Cheng, for the past year and thinks he knows everything there is to know about him. Until one day, someone is sent to kill Freddie, his equipment is removed and Cheng disappears. Freddie must have seen something he wasn’t supposed to but what? And who is after him?

Not that I’m an expert on spy thrillers because I’ve not read that many of them, but as far as this one goes, it was a tad on the slow side for the majority of the book. Now, that’s not a bad thing as the tension and action does build up along the way and you get a good feeling about the kind of person Freddie is. He’s quite the likeable character, someone to sympathise with and to root for as he tries to find a way out of this sticky web he’s found himself in. But if you’re looking for fast-paced action, nifty gadgets, car chases and explosions, you won’t find those here. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed this change of pace.

Things are slightly tricky for Freddie. After a failed mission in Yemen, he left a covert CIA unit five years ago and so he lacks experience, confidence and doubts his abilities. On top of that, he’s also suffering from nightmares and has trouble sleeping. Not the best combination when you need all your wits about you. And so we get that most classic of stories about an innocent person finding himself outside of his comfort zone and desperately trying to make it out alive. But Freddie has no resources to dig into, no fancy gadgets and no idea who to trust.

To Die in Vienna is an intelligently plotted, intriguing and suspenseful spy thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Freddie, who’s so far removed from the cliché spy we usually get and there are also a few wonderful supporting characters, none of which I trusted at all. This is an entertaining and engaging read that made for quite the fun afternoon. Will Freddie be able to bury the demons of his past? Will he survive this ordeal? That’s for me to know and for you to find out.

By the way, this will soon be a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal so look out for that! But, as always, read the book first 😉

To Die in Vienna is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads


Kevin Wignall is a British writer, born in Brussels in 1967. He spent many years as an army child in different parts of Europe, and went on to study politics and international relations at Lancaster University. He became a full-time writer after the publication of his first book, People Die (2001). His other novels are Among the Dead (2002); Who Is Conrad Hirst? (2007), shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Barry Award; and Dark Flag (2010). The Hunter’s Prayer was originally titled For the Dogs in the USA. The film The Hunter’s Prayer, directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Sam Worthington and Odeya Rush, will be released worldwide in 2015.

Author link : Website




Nobody’s Child by Victoria Jenkins @vicwritescrime @bookouture #blogblitz

Thrilled to kick off a the blog blitz for Nobody’s Child by Victoria Jenkins today, alongside the fabulous Sweet Little Book! My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for the invitation to join and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.


Author : Victoria Jenkins
Title : Nobody’s Child
Series : Detectives King & Lane #3
Pages : 297
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : June 19, 2018


On a damp October day, a body is found in an abandoned hospital, too burnt to be identified, but Detective Alex King knows that every victim is someone’s daughter or son.

Pushing aside her own troubles, Alex puts everything into finding the killer, but when someone else is found dead, she begins to suspect that the body in the hospital was just the first of many.

Just as Alex uncovers a heart-breaking link between the victims, she finds her own safety under threat. Is this a figure from her past hell-bent on revenge, or could the murderer be even nearer than she thinks?

Alex is running out of time. Can she catch the killer before they take another life, or will they get to her first?


Cor! Talk about a gripping crime story! WOO! What a corker!

If there’s a class somewhere that teaches an author how to write a prologue that will hook a reader from the get-go and leave them wanting more, I’m pretty sure Victoria Jenkins graduated with the highest honours. Those first few pages already had me on the edge of my seat and I knew I should strap myself in for yet another thrilling ride with Detectives King and Lane.

What to say about the case the detectives are working on. Good grief! Any attack is of course incomprehensible but these are even more vile and reprehensible because while they seem random, the victims are all vulnerable in one way or another. A body is found badly burned after a fire in an abandoned hospital. Identification is impossible. Who was this person and why were they targeted? Meanwhile someone also seems to have their sights set on Alex King. Plenty going on then in this story!

This third instalment in the series also sees tensions rise between Alex and Chloe, putting their friendship to the test. I must admit that this time around, both these fierce ladies managed to get on my nerves somewhat. Alex with her need to try and hide things, knowing fully well she’s not very good at it and Chloe with her incessant questions that made me want to slap her and tell her to let it go already.

I quite quickly had a potential suspect in mind but the ultimate reveals, yes plural, left me utterly reeling! And also quite sad because a lot of lives are affected and it takes a cold person not to become invested in them. That ending nearly broke me and left me with a huge lump in my throat.

Once again, Victoria Jenkins manages to come up with an insanely compelling and addictive page-turner. I remember telling myself when I picked up the first book that I needed to get hooked on another series like a hole in the tooth but within those first pages, I knew I was on to a good thing and now, three books in, I know I made the right decision. This series keeps getting better and better and the author yet again delivers an amazingly well crafted plot with interesting and fabulous characters and a multi-layered, suspenseful investigation. Bring on book four! I can’t wait!

Nobody’s Child is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads


Victoria Jenkins lives with her husband and daughter in South Wales, where her series of crime novels featuring Detectives King and Lane is based. Her debut novel The Girls in the Water is an Amazon UK top 30 bestseller, and top 5 bestseller in the Amazon US chart.

The third book in the King and Lane series, Nobody’s Child, is out now!

Author links : Facebook | Twitter



The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke @phoebe_locke @Wildfirebks @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

I’m so excited to host the blog tour for The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke today! My thanks to  Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my fabulous review copy!


Author : Phoebe Locke
Title : The Tall Man
Pages : 362
Publisher : Wildfire Books / Headline
Publication date : June 14, 2018


1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.

2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.

2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.

Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.

He is the Tall Man. He can make you special…


Have you met the Tall Man? Be afraid. Be very afraid!

This is one of those reviews where I’m being deliberately vague. I’m not telling you anything about the plot for fear of giving something away. All you really need to know is right there in the book description.

The Tall Man is a slow-burner of a thriller that packs quite the punch. For the longest time, I couldn’t at all get a handle on things, wasn’t quite sure what to make of it and felt a little confused. Yet I was constantly intrigued enough to keep reading.

Phoebe Locke does an absolutely brilliant job of giving just the right amount of teasers while all the while slowly building up to some incredible reveals. During the latter part of the novel, I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough, desperate to know what had actually happened. When the pieces of the puzzle finally fell into place, it was just the most deliciously shocking moment.

None of these characters are particularly likeable for all sorts of reasons that become clear throughout the story. I especially had a hard time dealing with the relentlessness of the true crime crew and the depths they’ll go to in pursuit of those all-important viewer ratings. It’s harsh and cruel and goes to show how little they care about the person behind the story, forgetting this isn’t just someone’s story but someone’s life.

This is a dark, haunting and chilling story about urban legends and murder. It’s about redemption, revenge and motherhood and it comes with a delightfully high creepiness factor. Utterly addictive, brilliantly plotted and highly suspenseful, this debut thriller by Phoebe Locke should probably better not be read in the dark. Loved it!

The Tall Man is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads


PHOEBE LOCKE is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy. Nicci has had two literary novels published by Fourth Estate and Cape, and also writes YA for Hot Key Books. She lives and writes in London. THE TALL MAN is Phoebe Locke’s debut thriller.

Author links : Twitter



Weekly Wrap-Up (June 17)


I’m pretty sure I blinked and the week was gone. No clue what happened.

Spent a fabulous Sunday afternoon with the OH’s family. There were tears (not me), there was drunken dancing (not me either), glasses were shattered and there was even some blood (also not me) and lots of tipsy singing (may have been involved in that 😳). Didn’t get home until 2am, up at 7am and realised I’m getting too old for this stuff 😂

I’ve once again been reading up a storm this week because … wait for it … here’s something you may not know about me … I watch football. Or at least the European and World Cups. So I’ve been reading around the matches these last few days and even during halftime because every minute and page counts.

Somehow I still managed to read 7 books. Sometimes I surprise myself.

Books I’ve read this week

Books I’ve bought this week

Behold the miracle of the reverse psychology technique as mastered by yours truly!

Oops. 😳

ARC’s received via Netgalley

All for blog tour purposes. All read as well. It’s all good.

On the blog this past week

Monday : Joined the blog tour for The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins

Tuesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Mine by Susie Fox

Wednesday : Joined the blog blitz for A Mother’s Goodbye by Kate Hewitt, shared an extract on the blog tour for A Dead American in Paris by Seth Lynch and posted my Week in Books

Thursday : Shared my review for The Blood Road by Stuart MacBride

Friday : Shared an extract from A Posy of Promises by Sharon Dempsey on the blog blitz

Saturday : Joined the blog blitz for Gracie’s Secret by Jill Childs

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Next week on Novel Deelights

Only 4 blog tours this week! I’ve even read them all already. You have no idea how accomplished I feel 😂.

Kicking off the week with my stop on the tour for The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke. I’ll also be joining the tours for Nobody’s Child by Victoria Jenkins, To Die in Vienna by Kevin Wignall and Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson. Plus, my reviews for Us Against You by Fredrick Backman and the second book from my 20 Books of Summer list, which is Skin Deep by Liz Nugent. (which autocorrect constantly changes to nugget 🙄)

In other news : Ha! There is none! I don’t have time for other news.

Right, I have some reviews to write and hopefully squeeze in some more reading before the next football match starts.

Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! xx

Gracie’s Secret by Jill Childs @bookouture #blogblitz

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog blitz for Gracie’s Secret by Jill Childs today! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invitation to join and the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.


Author : Jill Childs
Title : Gracie’s Secret
Pages : 324
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : June 15, 2018


Time stops for Jen when her beloved daughter, Gracie, is involved in a terrible car crash. Pronounced dead at the scene, it’s a miracle when paramedics manage to then resuscitate the little girl.

The relief Jen feels at Gracie’s recovery is matched only by her fury at the driver of the car – her ex-husband’s new girlfriend Ella. Jen has never trusted Ella, and now her worst fears have been confirmed.

But then Gracie begins to tell strange stories about what she heard in the car that day, and what she saw in those moments near death. It’s clear that there’s something shocking hidden in Ella’s past… but exposing it could tear all their lives apart.


Jen receives a phone call all mothers dread. Her three year old daughter Gracie has been in a traffic accident and is in a coma. Now, you can see from the book description that Gracie recovers but she’s a bit different as she seems to be able to remember things she shouldn’t. Everything points to Ella, the woman who stole Jen’s husband and the driver of the car Gracie was in.

I must say I wasn’t entirely prepared for how this story unfolded and I think a lot of your enjoyment will depend on whether or not you believe in that big, bright light at the end of the tunnel and angels. If you put that aside though, Gracie’s Secret is centred around a mystery and a mother’s love. There’s no hardship in sympathising with Jen when her daughter starts saying all kinds of weird things. As a single mother, she has nowhere to turn to. Her ex-husband is far too busy keeping his new girlfriend happy.

The story is mostly told through Jen but sometimes we get a few glimpses from Ella’s point of view. Obviously, Jen hates the woman who took her husband from her and is quick to jump onto anything that will prove her point. I must say I didn’t really take to Ella myself and while there is a moment where I felt I should have at least sympathised with her, by that point I was a bit tired of her playing the “victim card”. I’m putting that in between quotation marks because that may just be me and she may not come across like that to other readers.

What starts out rather emotionally quickly takes a more sinister turn. There are lies and secrets to uncover and Jen will discover not all is at it seems. Personally I found a few things to be a bit on the predictable side but ultimately, Gracie’s Secret is about the things a mother will do to keep her child safe.

This is a story about deceit, manipulation, betrayal and the unbreakable bond between mother and child. Sometimes moving, sometimes suspenseful and with quite the unexpected ending that, while somehow perfect, also made me rather sad.

Gracie’s Secret is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads


Jill has always loved writing – real and imaginary – and spent 30 years travelling the world as a journalist, living overseas and reporting wherever the news took her. She’s now made her home in London with her husband and twin girls who love stories as much as she does. Although she’s covered everything from earthquakes and floods, riots and wars, she’s found some of the most extraordinary stories right here at home – in the secrets and lies she imagines behind closed doors on ordinary streets, just like yours.

Author links : Twitter



A Posy of Promises by Sharon Dempsey @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #extract

Welcome to the final day of the blog blitz for A Posy of Promises by Sharon Dempsey! I have an extract to share with you all today. My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join!


Author : Sharon Dempsey
Title : A Posy of Promises
Pages : 196
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : June 13, 2018


Ava Connors is comfortable with her life just as it is, still living in the tiny terrace house where she was brought up by her grandmother, Maggie, seeing her long-term boyfriend, Finlay, and working in a florists.

But Maggie’s health is declining and Finlay is fed up waiting for Ava to make a commitment.

Ava has never really known her mother, Scarlett, and when she inherits an old and dilapidated house it ignites an interest in the mother who had abandoned her as a child.

Why did Scarlett leave her to be brought up by her grandmother?
Soon Ava begins to ask this question and in turn sets off a series of events that will change her life forever.


Chapter 1

Dating back to 1898, this handsome and individually designed house retains much of the original character, including decorative plasterwork to the ceilings, ornate mahogany staircase and sliding sash windows, and is set amidst mature gardens extending to circa half an acre.

The accommodation is of generous proportions and covers three floors, making it an excellent home for a growing family. On entrance, the wide hallway boasts the original wood block flooring, oak wood panelling, a cloakroom with high wall-mounted flush WC, pedestal wash hand basin, tiled floor, part-tiled walls and a built-in cupboard with ample space for storage.

The main drawing room offers an original marble fireplace with tiled hearth, inset and surround, picture rail, cornicing, and solid block wood floor. This room leads to a small bookcase-lined study with French patio doors to the side courtyard style garden.

The sitting room provides a view over the extensive rear gardens, with a window seating area, ceiling cornicing, fireplace with marble hearth, wood block flooring and door through to dining room.

Bedroom accommodation set out over two floors.

Master bedroom suite with period fireplace, separate dressing room and large en suite bathroom. Guest bedroom suite with separate sitting area and en suite shower room.

Two additional bedrooms on first floor and two further bedrooms are found on the second floor.

Outside there are exceptional gardens as well as a garage and ample parking. The property provides spacious family accommodation which retains many original characteristics and features, and is perfectly complemented by the generous and private site with delightful level gardens to the rear along with a sheltered patio area with southerly aspect.

Mount Pleasant Square is a mature leafy park off the popular Stranmillis Road and is recognised as one of the area’s most sought after residential locations. It is situated in a conservation area, and undoubtedly Belfast’s most desirable residential address. While this property enjoys considerable privacy and seclusion, the location could not be more convenient for access to Belfast City Centre, the vibrant Lisburn Road, main arterial routes, leading schools and academic institutions, parks and golf clubs.

Please note extensive modernisation required.

Ninety-seven Mount Pleasant Square. The address created a certain sense of contentment, as if to live there was to have reached a plateau of happiness and well-being.

Until that morning, when Ava received the estate agent particulars, she had it all sorted out in her head. She would sell up, pocket a mighty fortune and start her own business, or even go travelling, though she doubted she would go too far when she had her gran to consider. Realistically, Ava couldn’t go backpacking around the south of Ireland let alone New Zealand, knowing her gran was languishing in the Sisters of Mercy nursing home.

The point was, that for the first time in her life, Ava had possibilities, choices which only a significant sum of money could provide. She felt like a Jane Austen heroine, thinking of how money could turn one’s life around, except she didn’t have to hunt down a man of good standing to secure her financial future. Financial security had sought her out, and might as well have fallen straight out of the sky onto her lap for all she knew of how it had come about.

The paperwork had stated that she was now the sole beneficiary of the estate which comprised of number ninety-seven. She had no way of establishing the reason why she had been left the house. She certainly didn’t know of any rich relatives who would have left it to her and knew no reason why it should have remained a secret. It was unlikely her gran had known about the house, for surely, she would have told her that she had this inheritance to look forward to. Why had whoever owned the house chosen to neglect it and allow it to fall into such a poor sorry state? It was all a bit of a curiosity.

When she had received the initial letter requesting that she meet with Ms Boston of Hawkings Solicitors, Ava had assumed it was to do with her gran’s affairs and her move to the nursing home. She had even prepared for the meeting by digging out the deeds of her gran’s house along with social security numbers, her pension book and other such details.

The solicitor, a blonde elegant woman named Amanda, had expressed her delight at having tracked Ava down so easily. She had few details to go on, she explained. If Ava had moved, then the solicitor would have been stuck like a duck in a mudflat. She had extended her manicured hand to congratulate Ava on her good fortune, a diamond engagement ring winking in the sunlight as it cast prisms of light around the airless Ormeau Road office.

Ava sat there on the wine-coloured leather chair, dumbfounded, clutching the irrelevant paperwork, trying to process the information. A house? Left to her? Her initial reaction had been to assume that she had inherited the house from her mother. But firstly, as far as Ava knew, she hadn’t died, and secondly, she hadn’t visited Northern Ireland for many years, let alone owned a house here.

‘Yeah, I can see it’s a shock, but aren’t you the lucky one?’ Amanda had said, obviously happy to pocket the fee for tracking Ava down and finalising the details. It was clear to Ava that it wasn’t every day that Amanda got to play the fairy godmother role. She was probably more used to dealing with Disability Living Allowance fraud cases and chasing up legal aid paperwork on behalf of good-for-nothing joyriders and recreational summer time rioters, hell-bent on throwing petrol bombs at the emergency services, fire brigade and ambulances included.

‘This blue cardboard file has sat gathering dust for years. It must have been instructed well before my time,’ Amanda said. ‘Mr Hawking senior would have dealt with the original client way back in the seventies or eighties when the practice was in its heyday. We have a few leftover documents and cases to be tallied up from the days when Samuel Hawking ran the practice and this bequest file was one of them.’

Ava sat there, not really taking it all in, thinking that at some stage the solicitor would realise she had been mistaken and that she had the wrong Ava Connors. Ava could feel her skin prickle with the beginning of a heat rash – she always got over heated and itchy when she was nervous.

‘But why now? And who left it to me?’

‘All I can tell you is that the benefactor has requested that the house be signed over without disclosure of identity. Believe it or not, it isn’t all that uncommon. Sometimes people don’t wish for the whole world to know their business. You just got lucky.’


I don’t know about you but I’d be totally okay with a house falling into my lap like that!

Will Ava ever find out who the mysterious benefactor is? Want to read more? Then you’re in luck as A Posy of Promises is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads


A Posy of Promises is Sharon Dempsey’s first contemporary women’s fiction novel.

Sharon is a Belfast based writer of fiction and non-fiction books, with four health books published. He crime debut Little Bird was released July 2017 with Bloodhound Books.

She facilitates therapeutic creative writing classes for people affected by cancer and other health challenges, and runs a creative writing group for young people, called Young Scribblers, at the Crescent Arts Centre. She is a creative writing tutor at Queen’s University and Stranmillis College. Sharon studied Politics and English at Queen’s University, and undertook a newspaper journalism post grad at City University, London.  She has written for a variety of publications and newspapers, including the Irish Times.

Sharon is working on the follow up to Little Bird and a collection of dark short stories.

A Posy of Promises is the first in a trilogy.