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Book Review: The Girl Who Couldn't Leave - Catherine Miller

Such an emotional, heart warming story. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ An emotional journey of a young woman who has built such high boundaries around her to hide from the traumas of her past, that she never leaves her home. Catherine Miller has a knack for writing characters who touch your heart. Book Blurb She hasn’t left her house in five years. Can love unlock the door? It’s been 1,825 days since  Fiona Dexter  last set foot outside 14 Wellington Drive. Five years ago, something happened that changed Fiona forever. Now she is too afraid to walk beyond her front gate. It’s not the life Fiona had dreamed of but she has made it work, finding happiness in the safe routine of her days. On Mondays she treats herself to a glass of Chardonnay. On Tuesdays she has a working lunch at her desk (usually peanut butter on toast). On Wednesdays and Thursdays, she alternates spinning classes in her shed with yoga in the garden. Saturdays are for tidying up and Sundays are for relaxing in her favourite armchair. Bu
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Behind The Book - The Other Girlfriend Book Launch

It's been just over a week since publication day for my second psychological thriller, The Other Girlfriend. And what a week it has been! I started publication day off with a visit to Venture on Bargates in Christchurch, to drop off copies of The Other Girlfriend. Venture is a treasure trove of handmade items and books from local creatives. It's run by the CHI to offer local school students a chance to learn the skills behind running a high street retail outlet. I'm so thrilled to have my books stocked here and know that I'm supporting such a valuable part of local business and education.  It was then time for a celebratory lunch at  No.1 Brasserie & Bar . If you've not been, it's definitely worth a visit. The team are always so friendly and welcoming, and the food is always delicious! In the evening I had a fantastic launch party and book signing event thanks to the wonderful team at Westbourne Bookshop . There were tasty snacks, plenty of drinks and of cou

Book Review: The Friend Request - Laura Marshall

A chilling mystery showing there can be multiple sides to people you think you know well. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ A well written mystery, full of twists and turns which highlight the long term impact of school bullying. Having carried the guilt of her secret for twenty-five years, Louise is stunned when she receives a friend request from a girl she thinks is dead. Book Blurb Maria Weston wants to be friends with me Maybe that had been the problem all along: Maria Weston had wanted to be friends with me, but I let her down. She's been hovering at the edge of my consciousness for all of my adult life, although I've been good at keeping her out, just a blurred shadow in the corner of my eye, almost but not quite out of sight. Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston has been dead for more than twenty-five years. Purchase Link -  Friend Request: The most addictive psychological thriller you'll read this year eBook : Marshall, Laura: Kindle Store

Book Review: All That Was Lost - Alison May

I'm a huge fan of Alison May’s romantic fiction and this is definitely a change in pace, but wow, the result is an incredibly moving and powerful novel. I read All That Was Lost in one day. Well, technically it may have been gone midnight when I reached the end, but as I couldn’t sleep until I'd finished it, to me that still counts as one day! It’s not often that a book can keep me up at night, but Patience’s story drove all sleepiness from my brain, kept my eyes wide open and my gaze firmly fixed on the kindle screen, while tears streamed down my cheeks. And yes, I do mean streamed. Alison didn’t just bring a tear to my eye with this one. All That Was Lost is definitely a story about loss, but it’s beautifully told. I felt such a connection to the characters and they stayed with me long after I’d finished reading.  An amazing, emotional, 5 star read.

Guest Blog - Catherine Miller

T he original title for The Girl Who Couldn’t Leave was Six Yards from Home. I wanted to create a love story for someone who was unable to leave their house beyond their own front garden. Having a close friend with agoraphobia, I wanted to see this in fiction.   Because of something that happened to her, Fiona becomes reluctant to leave the house, even to go out for medical appointments. It takes someone coming in to start opening up her world again. A neighbour, Bethany, is desperate for child care and asks Fiona to help. She does so last minute and it starts to become a more regular arrangement.   Even though I’d submitted the idea prior to any lockdowns, I was writing it having been asked to isolate as one of those classed as extremely clinically vulnerable. It gave me an insight I’d never previously had as to how difficult that existence could be in terms of logistics.    I had my friend with agoraphobia read the manuscript early to make sure that I’d dealt with that aspect sensiti

Book Review: Dead Inside - Noelle Holten

A deeply insightful and disturbing delve into domestic abuse. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ As a probation officer Lucy is used to being firm when dealing with the perpetrators of domestic abuse. But when it comes to her own marriage it's a different story. This well written, gripping novel delves into the complex reality of toxic relationships and how abuse can be excused, rationalised away and kept hidden. Following your own advice can sometimes feel cripplingly impossible. Book Blurb When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet. The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband. Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer? Purchase Link -

Author Life - The RNA Conference 2022 & The Joan Hessayon Award

I spent last weekend at the incredible RNA conference at Harper Adams University in Shropshire. After 2 years apart, it was fantastic to finally be able to meet up with all my writing friends, as well as meet so many lovely new people. It had been a bit touch and go as to whether I would make it to the conference this year. I've been battling with pneumonia since April, and this was my first outing (besides hospital appointments) in two and a half months. I lacked my usual conference energy, so wasn't able to attend as many sessions as I had hoped, but nevertheless it was a fantastic weekend and I am so glad that I went. It was even worth the 5 hour journey from Bournemouth. Though I have to say, I am hugely grateful for fellow Joan Hessayon Award runner up, Laura R Leeson for giving me a ride back towards home, and saving me the hassle of catching yet more trains. This was my first conference attending as a published author. One of the main highlights for me in the past were t