#Blogtour The Heights by Juliet Bell

 

Today I’m so grateful to be part of the blog tour for The Heights, a wonderful book that’s basically a new take on Wuthering Heights!!

theheights

Length: 384 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal buy link for the book

What they say: Two hundred years since Emily Brontë’s birth comes The Heights: a modern re-telling of Wuthering Heights set in 1980s Yorkshire.

The searchers took several hours to find the body, even though they knew roughly where to look. The whole hillside had collapsed, and there was water running off the moors and over the slick black rubble. The boy, they knew, was beyond their help.
This was a recovery, not a rescue.

A grim discovery brings DCI Lockwood to Gimmerton’s Heights Estate – a bleak patch of Yorkshire he thought he’d left behind for good. There, he must do the unthinkable, and ask questions about the notorious Earnshaw family.

Decades may have passed since Maggie closed the pits and the Earnshaws ran riot – but old wounds remain raw. And, against his better judgement, DCI Lockwood is soon drawn into a story.

A story of an untameable boy, terrible rage, and two families ripped apart. A story of passion, obsession, and dark acts of revenge. And of beautiful Cathy Earnshaw – who now lies buried under cold white marble in the shadow of the moors.

The Review:

I’d read and adored Wuthering Heights years ago but for the life of me couldn’t remember the little details that I would have loved to have at my fingertips when reading this book, which is a retelli(ingeniously methinks) in a horrendously run down estate called The Heights in the town of Gimmerton where there is constant unease and unrest due to the closure of mines, the main, if not only source of employment. There are descriptions of a town that has fallen by the wayside and is now a tough and very divided place to live, coupled with those of the moors which are harsh and stark and vivid and wonderful!

The story is mostly told in the 1980’s, with the narrative diving back to the noughties as an investigation takes place into a possible murder. The tale being told is that of the Earnshaws and Lintons, of course centring around Cathy and Heathcliff.

The history of the Earnshaw’s had me and I winced at their misfortune and felt so much for Ray, the father who I thought to be so hard done by, although with the Lintons I fell for Edward Linton too. A lot of the characters weren’t easy to like for the most part, money and love as usual being key factors that drove people to be people they might otherwise not have been. The introduction of Heathcliff, and his relationship with Cathy was mesmerising as was, well, everything that followed really! I loved the darkness and wildness of the moors and the graveyard conflicting with the just plain dilapidation and constricting feel of The Heights.

The only thing that didn’t work for me was DCI Lockwood and his investigation which just seemed unnecessary to be honest. Even a journalist narrator would have held more substance for me, as Lockwood just didn’t seem professional, moving from person to person, interviewing without a clear direction. Saying that the rest of the book really had me entranced and not only with drive me back to Wuthering Heights, I’d say I’ll revisit this again too!

Thanks so much to HQ digital for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

About the authors(yes there’s two!)

Juliet Bell is the collaborative pen name of respected authors Janet Gover and Alison May.

Juliet was born at a writers’ conference, with a chance remark about heroes who are far from heroic. She was raised on pizza and wine during many long working lunches, and finished her first novel over cloud storage and skype in 2017.

Juliet shares Janet and Alison’s preoccupation with misunderstood classic fiction, and stories that explore the darker side of relationships.

Alison also writes commercial women’s fiction and romantic comedies and can be found at http://www.alison-may.co.uk

Janet writes contemporary romantic adventures mostly set in outback Australia and can be found at www.janetgover.com

Now. Would you like to follow the rest of the blog tour (I know I will be!)

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The Map That Leads To You by JP Monninger

 

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Length: 401 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Two strangers take the road less traveled…

Heather Mulgrew’s world is already mapped out: she is going to travel abroad with her friends after college, come back to a great career in September, and head into a life where not much is left to chance. But that was before an encounter on an overnight train introduces her to Jack, a passionate adventurer who changes the course of her journey and her life.

Throwing Heather’s careful itinerary to the wind, they follow Jack’s grandfather’s journal through post-World War II era Europe: Vienna, Budapest, Turkey—exotic places that serve only to heighten their feelings. As September looms, Jack urges Heather to stay with him, to keep traveling, to give in to the romance of their experience; Heather convinces him to return to the United States.

Jack has a secret that could change everything. And Heather’s world is about to be shaken to the core.

J.P. Monniger’s The Map That Leads to You is a breathtaking novel about love, loss, and the best-laid plans that are meant to be broken.

The Review:

Apologies if this review is all over the place. It reflects, in a way, my thought process on the book, which I predominantly loved, but with a few slight issues. This is the story of Heather, who is on a journey across Europe with her two best friends, Constance and Amy, who are the best of friends (I adore their friendship and their characters). More to the point, it’s the story of Jack, who Heather met along the way and who she quickly realises has taken her heart.

Jack is on his own journey, via his grandfather (a soldier in the war)’s diary. There are extracts from this diary that show of his issues and feelings about being away from home. This was a lovely touch, although I was a little disappointed because ultimately I don’t think it told me what I wanted to know. The journey itself is shown to us via maps, which I would presume to be excellent, although my kindle wouldn’t show them to me. The book reads basically as if you’re on the trip too, with vivid descriptions of the locations.

This was the part of the story that I adored, in particular as they moved from museum to gallery to monument to reminder of atrocities that had taken place, gathering the odd little facts that you devour as a tourist. As well as this, the actual ‘action’, that is the happenings, were excellent for me, although to be honest I think the fact that I leapt for them meant I was taking the wrong thing from this book. As I said this book was about the journey, and so in this way it was more supposed to be about the mundane, the everyday, the love story between Jack and Heather, which was beautiful in terms of romance, but at times I was waiting for something to upset the balance a little as opposed to just listening to very intellectual back and forths. I blame this on a short attention span and my love of rom coms and thrillers, where it’s all about what will happen next, as opposed to being in the moment and savouring every last look or action.

I really enjoyed this book even though it didn’t tick all the boxes for me, I had no feelings on either Jack or Heather, and it was telling for me that in just a few lines I felt and hearted the love between her best friend Constance and the lovely Raef, and in fact somehow felt I knew Constance and Amy more than Heather, although when the lead is telling the story that can be inevitable.

It’s a tough one to rate, trying to balance the lack of an impression made by the leads against everything else, which was all encompassing and excellent. The ending was a shocker that unfortunately didn’t affect me, which surprised me. Saying all of this I think people who DO connect will declare this book to be a standout. Definitely worth a read and I’m very glad I did. Thanks so much to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating:4/5

About the author

JP MONNINGER is an award-winning writer in New England and Professor of English at Plymouth State University.

Calling Major Tom by David M. Barnett @orionbooks

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Length: 304 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

AS FEATURED ON THE GUARDIAN – THE HEARTWARMING EBOOK BESTSELLER

Forty-something Thomas is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems. But beneath his grumpy exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he’s about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world… for good.

The Review: A blurb such as this, a cover such as THAT, and reviews that were spread across Twitter stating what a lovely, heartwarming read this was- well, there wasn’t any chance I was going to pass up a chance to review Calling Major Tom, was there? Given that Space Oddity would be one of my favourite ‘sit and ponder the world’ type songs (I don’t get a chance to do it often, mind you;)), I ran for this one.

The blurb doesn’t give much away, but this is the story of Thomas Major. Thomas is one of those grumpy, witty characters that make you nod along. You know, as far as journeys go, that he has to go on one, and yet, you have the feeling he doesn’t have to travel too far. Physically, however, Thomas Major goes on one heck of a journey- as, as a result of an unfortunate mix up (done brilliantly, I just had to laugh!), Thomas Major is chosen (on the day David Bowie dies), to go into space.

At the same time we meet a family, fronted by Emily, who’s too young to front a family, but who has to, due to issues with her nan, Gladys, who was just so gorgeous. We hear the voices of each of the different characters and wander along with them, wondering how this can all possibly get sorted in the end. Their story made my breath catch a few times, as I waited for the crossover between Thomas’ (dubbed Major Tom by the media) story and theirs (well, you knew it had to come, didn’t you?). One thing I would say is that the point of view and day could change without it being addressed and that put me off a little at times but this wasn’t too big a deal.

I won’t give away too much but I will say that the comedy made me snort out loud, and I was quite emotional at times too. To describe it I’d have to say if you like films such as Little Miss Sunshine you’d be quite on the mark for loving this book and I’ll probably pull it out again in the future for a re-read. Thanks so much to Orion books and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5