Book reviews, War fiction

Eight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle – Book Review

CC80DBA3-6468-4237-93BC-62D443554AE0

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Eight Hours from England by Anthony Quayle – A candid account of SOE operations in occupied Europe described by Andrew Roberts as ‘As well as being one of our greatest actors, Anthony Quayle was an intrepid war hero and his autobiographical novel is one of the greatest adventure stories of the Second World War. Beautifully written and full of pathos and authenticity, it brings alive the terrible moral decisions that have to be taken by soldiers under unimaginable pressures in wartime.’

Anthony Quayle was a renowned Shakespearean actor, director and film star and during the Second World War was a Special Operations Executive behind enemy lines in Albania.
5A434D7F-E6EA-47A3-8820-A23A3BBBCFA5

MY REVIEW

Major John Overton is a Special Operations Executive (SOE) and is posted to Nazi occupied Albania, to set up a new camp. He finds chaos, but with determination he tries to overcome the politics, the weather, the landscape and the Albanian people to get the camp ready. Were they really there to help ? Or impose the British way on a different culture?

An adventure story set in wartime, with all its horrors and is all the more remarkable as based on Anthony Quayle’s own experiences. Beautifully written and very moving at times. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.
F2801124-9914-4D4A-92D0-BA84E669DADE

ABOUT THE SERIES 

In September 2019, to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, IWM will launch a wonderful new series with four novels from their archives all set during the Second World War – Imperial War Museums Wartime Classics.

Originally published to considerable acclaim, these titles were written either during or just after the Second World War and are currently out of print. Each novel is written directly from the author’s own experience and takes the reader right into the heart of the conflict. They all capture the awful absurdity of war and the trauma and chaos of battle as well as some of the fierce loyalties and black humour that can emerge in extraordinary circumstances. Living through a time of great upheaval, as we are today, each wartime story brings the reality of war alive in a vivid and profoundly moving way and is a timely reminder of what the previous generations experienced.

 The remarkable IWM Library has an outstanding literary collection and was an integral part of Imperial War Museums from its very beginnings. Alan Jeffreys, (Senior Curator, Second World War, Imperial War Museums) searched the library collection to come up with these four launch titles, all of which deserve a new and wider audience. He has written an introduction to each novel that sets them in context and gives the wider historical background and says, ‘Researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

Each story speaks strongly to IWM’s remit to tell the stories of those who experienced conflict first hand. They cover diverse fronts and topics – preparations for D-Day and the advance into Normandy; the war in Malaya; London during the Blitz and SOE operations in occupied Europe and each author – three men and a woman – all have fascinating back stories. These are Second World War novels about the truth of war written by those who were actually there.

 

ABOUT THE BOOKS

The Four titles are:

From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron – A vivid and moving account of preparations for D- Day and the advance into Normandy. Published in the 75th anniversary year of the D-Day landings, this is based on the author’s first-hand experience of D-Day and has been described by Antony Beevor as ‘undoubtedly one of the very greatest British novels of the Second World War.’

Alexander Baron was a widely acclaimed author and screenwriter and his London novels have a wide following. This was his first novel.

 

Trial by Battle by David Piper – A quietly shattering and searingly authentic depiction of the claustrophobia of jungle warfare in Malaya described by William Boyd as ‘A tremendous rediscovery of a brilliant novel. Extremely well-written, its effects are both sophisticated and visceral. Remarkable’, and VS Naipaul as ‘one of the most absorbing and painful books about jungle warfare that I have read’ and by Frank Kermode as ‘probably the best English novel to come out of the Second World War.’

David Piper was best known as director of the National Portrait Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The novel is based on his time serving with the Indian Army in Malaya where he was captured by the Japanese and spent three years as a POW. His son, Tom Piper, was the designer of the hugely successful Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London to commemorate the First World War Centenary.

 

Eight Hours from England by Anthony Quayle – A candid account of SOE operations in occupied Europe described by Andrew Roberts as ‘As well as being one of our greatest actors, Anthony Quayle was an intrepid war hero and his autobiographical novel is one of the greatest adventure stories of the Second World War. Beautifully written and full of pathos and authenticity, it brings alive the terrible moral decisions that have to be taken by soldiers under unimaginable pressures in wartime.’

Anthony Quayle was a renowned Shakespearean actor, director and film star and during the Second World War was a Special Operations Executive behind enemy lines in Albania.

 

Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt – a murder mystery about opportunism and the black market set against the backdrop of London during the Blitz. ‘With a dead body on the first page and a debonair

 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Cold Echo by CJ Carver – Book Review

A05454A5-51B9-47B9-A362-AB01C826FC8A

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Should you trust your best friend with your life?

Harry, Lucas and Guy were best friends when they were kids.  But then they made a terrible mistake and their friendship shattered, forcing them to cut all ties.

Years later, a man’s head is discovered in the woods, skinned and with the tongue cut out.  The police call on Harry, a psychologist, to help with the case, and when it turns out the victim is his childhood friend Guy, old skeletons begin to surface.

Then one of Harry’s clients goes missing.  

Forced into a desperate hunt to save the boy, Harry finds himself closing in in on a shocking secret, a secret someone will do anything to keep safe…

692D4F28-28D9-49C0-A59A-BBF799D0BB4D

MY REVIEW

This is a psychological thriller, with great characters and a twisty plot.

Harry Hope is a psychotherapist, his wife has left him and he’s a bit of a wreck, but then he is called to help at a crime scene only to find that the victim was a childhood friend…..this brings back memories of a summer as a child when three boys, Harry, Guy and Lucas accidentally set fire to a barn and a man died….

But who would want to kill Guy and mutilate his body in such a horrific way?

When a young client, Nick, goes missing, Harry visits Eddie’s Farm, and to his surprise meets Lucas. Is this a coincidence that the three old friends are all linked again? 

There is a gruesome murder, attempted murder, kidnap, animal rights activists and a creepy murderer in a mask. A great range of characters, some likeable and some just downright reprehensible and a twisty plot that keeps you hooked from start to finish. Thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review. 

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2mDj7oE

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

D9CECAE3-582F-4556-8B9D-2F05DBA259D5

Winner of the CWA Debut Dagger for her first novel Blood Junction, CJ Carver has written a further ten critically acclaimed novels.  Spare Me The Truth, the first in the Dan Forrester series, was shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award 2017.

Half-English, half-Kiwi, CJ lived in Australia for 10 years before taking up long-distance rallies, driving London to Saigon, London to Cape Town and covering 14,000 miles on the Inca Trail in South America. 

CJ began her writing career by writing about her adventures, eventually becoming a travel writer for various national publications including The Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, Autocar.  She is co-founder for the Women’s World Car of the Year Award 

CJ has been a judge for the Thriller Awards in the USA.  Her books have been published in the UK, USA and translated into several languages.  She lives just outside Bath.