High Tide by Veronica Henry review

High Tide, a beautiful story set in a fictional Fowey-esque town, where community spirit sits hand in hand with a whole host of characters you’re bound to fall in love with.

While many might think that High Tide looks to be an easy breezy romance story, as we turned the pages and delved deeper and deeper into the story, we found that the novel focused poignantly far more on the theme of loss, wellbeing and the emotional road to recovery and, it seems, the different ways characters could get there.

While romances and new relationships blossomed throughout the book, it was stirringly poignant to read a book set in a fictional seaside village inspired by Fowey where each character has been touched by loss in some way, shape, form or another.

At such unsettling times like these, it felt very close to home and showed how, out of grief, there can sometimes bring a little good.

Veronica Henry shows how communities coming together, looking after one another, can bring so much warmth, positivity and happiness in times of loss.

The autumnal winds that sweep a picturesque seaside village after the mad rush of summer is evident in this book and it was comforting to read something which echoed the thoughts and daily life from villagers who can relax into their lives again once the bustle of summer has passed.

High Tide

Veronica Henry writes in a way that reflects the beauty of fictional harbourside town, Pennfleet, while also creating characters that ring true in a very real and comforting way. From teens still grieving over the loss of their mother to young New Yorker Kate, who returns home for her mother’s funeral, this book features a whole host of characters who you encounter in an affectionate and tumbling stir of emotions.

Not to mention Nathan, the young and handsome funeral-cab-driver-come-entrepreneur-boatman, who finds himself romantically entangled with the village’s attractive widow, Vanessa.

Every single character you meet, as well as their romances brewing, will have you smiling, laughing, yet we hope not crying. (But we won’t judge if you happen to have a pack of tissues at your side.)

More than anything, there was a strong pull of community emanating from this book. By the end, it felt as if everybody knew each other, that their stories were all somehow intertwined, and their happy endings were invariably shared. Perhaps, right now, we can all learn a thing or two from this and be kind to those around us.

A beautiful and stirring seaside read, which will leave you wondering which character you loved the most.

Viper by Bex Hogan – A Review

We were so excited when Bex Hogan, author of Viper, happened to drop by to Lost in Books and tell us all about her gorgeous swash-buckling book series.

Viper is the first captivating read in a trilogy of books filled with adventure, action and magic. These books in their entirety will make up the Isles of Storm and Sorrow series. Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets magic and legend – and the result is Viper.

Lost in Books meets author Bex Hogan

The novel tells the story of Marianne, a young woman who lives on board a ship alongside a crew of highly trained and deadly assassins. Her future? To become one of them.

There’s just one problem; her father is the captain and he expects great things of his daughter. Great and terrible things that she doesn’t dare hope to achieve. With a strength and resilience to be admired, she sets off on an adventure, encountering anguish, heartbreak, and faithful friends along the way, to bring an epic battle forward which she must face.

Within the pages of this book, there is action and adventure at every turn. Danger, betrayal, heartbreak and agony. Beauty. This world is rich with the magic and characters that Bex Hogan has created and the urge to keep reading made this an immersive and thrilling read.

Not to mention we adored the eye catching book cover.

Laced throughout the story are themes of love, friendship, bravery and the power to fight evil against incredible odds. Marianne’s struggle to defeat her enemies through her strength, skill and a refusal to back down makes it a wonderful read to line the shelves of young adult fiction.

Everything about this book has a menacing and magical feel to it. Ancient maps, lost civilisations, sea monsters, myths and magical powers brought an unforgettable flavour to the entire novel.

On Bex Hogan’s book tour of Cornwall, it was so wonderful to meet her and hear about her insights on writing. She even signed some copies of Viper for us which we ran in a giveaway on our Twitter page.

Having grown up in Cornwall, Bex revealed that much of Viper is inspired by the landscape of our beautiful county, both on and offshore. The novel features such beautiful places, with wild climates and rough terrain, sandy shores and rolling hills across the twelve islands.

However, we felt that one of the most striking settings of all is the deck of the fantastic ship, where Marianne and her crew sail above and beyond perilous waters.

With a rocky romance thrown in the works (but, ssh, we won’t say any more), we believe this is a fantastic book for young adults and we’re excited to share it with our wonderful readers.

We’re looking forward to returning to Bex Hogan’s fantasy world with Venom, the next book in the series, which will be released during April this year.

If you want to be the first to get your hands on a copy, you can preorder it from us by clicking on our order form.

Happy reading!

What are you currently reading? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

 

The Umbrella Mouse – Review

The Umbrella Mouse is a delightful children’s debut from Anna Fargher.

The journey of a young mouse, Pip Hanway, as she fights her way from wartime London to safety, is a valiant tale filled with courage, remembrance and hope.

It’s worth remembering that it wasn’t just the astounding bravery of people that helped fight the war. Often overlooked, but gaining more prevalence in recent years, are the animals who fought side by side with us and helped champion the war effort across the country of Britain – and overseas.

From the horses involved in combat and the brave search and rescue dogs of the blitz, to the extraordinary messenger pigeons who carried top secret messages across Europe, this book certainly seems to have a home for them all. It is truly an excellent read for children wanting to learn more about how animals helped during World War II.

While the story of Pip’s determination to venture through a war-torn Europe is fictional, there are elements of truth found throughout the entire book. The umbrella shop (James Smith & Sons) in central London where Pip lives with her parents at the beginning of the book is real – and still trades today, though it was its sister shop on Burlington Street which was destroyed during the blitz. The friends she meets along the way are all inspired by the lives of animals who lived during the war.

But, perhaps, the most poignant of all, is the reality of Pip struggling for survival in a world where everything seems lost. Her determination to keep fighting represents the stories and lives of many individuals (both human and animals) who were affected by the war from 1939-1945.

Her courage and resilience is to be admired, by adults and children alike.

We believe that the bravery she exudes in the face of almost-defeat, and the unrelenting feeling of hope for a better future is what makes this book so special.

With a homage to all the animals who fought and lived and died during the war, The Umbrella Mouse is a truly uplifting and important book, beautifully written and guaranteed to leave an imprint (or perhaps pawprint!) on your heart.

Take a look at the selection of very special books we put together to mark Remembrance Day by clicking here.

April’s book group ‘How to Stop Time’ Matt Haig

As part of the bookshop we have set up a book group. This runs as both an online facebook group and also meets in person. We held our first monthly meetings in the last week of April, (we have an afternoon and evening meeting to accommodate all). For more information on the book group and to join either visit our Facebook page Lost in Books book group or send us an email to hello@lost-in-books.co.uk. The book chosen was the one reviewed below, Matt Haig’s ‘How to Stop Time’.

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This was an interesting read and our book group had mixed views about it. I, for one, loved the book, although preferred ‘The Humans’, one of Matt Haig’s earlier novels. The protagonist in the book is Tom Hazard, a seemingly ordinary 41 year old living in London. However, we soon learn he is suffering from a rare condition that makes him age very slowly and he is actually well over 400 years old. He is protected by a society of similar people run by the slightly sinister Hendrich, and has to move on every decade or so to stop people realising the truth about him. The society’s main rule is that he mustn’t fall in love.

The book takes us back to his beginnings in France and then England with his mother in 1599, a time of witch hunts and superstition. We follow his story moving between present day and the past in short chapters. This is where I believe the difference comes with liking the novel or not. It works well when it is read relatively quickly, and does not seem to work as well when the book is read slowly over a period of weeks, dipping in and out. The changes in time are not too difficult to cope with and the cast of characters is relatively small with quite a few famous figures dotted throughout. This was apparently done on purpose by Matt Haig as he thought, well why not! If his character is going to live throughout history why not have him meet famous figures. We learn more of Shakespeare first hand. For me, this gave an implausibility to the book which did trip me up occasionally although the descriptions are excellent. The ending of the book has a showdown and seems to be written in a slightly different style to the rest of the book. A few people felt this was the best bit, others confused by the jump in pace/style. There were mixed views on the character of Tom. Some really didn’t get on with him finding him too melancholy and introspective. Having read Matt Haig’s ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’, I believe there is quite a bit of the author reflected in Tom. He is at a point in his long life where he is reflecting on what to do next and feeling there must be more.

The love element is interesting as it seems almost naive the way he was once deeply in love centuries ago and now begins to fall for a new woman. Implausibility again as he has lived so long and learnt so much about the human character, and yet seems almost like a school boy with a crush now.

The prose is undeniably good with some beautiful turns of phrase which can almost be lost in the short chapter pace of the book. They didn’t stand out enough to sway the people who disliked the book. Ranking it scored from a 3 out of 10 to an 8 out of 10. Our book group gave it an average of 5.8 overall. The best recommendation is to read it over a weekend and enjoy the story, the historical descriptions and the concept and not get too bogged down in Tom’s character or the implausibility of parts of it.