Perfect Anecdote to the Winter Blues in my Handbag

Lizzie Lamb Boot Camp Bride

Boot Camp Bride

Lizzie Lamb

 

 

 

 

 

Having downloaded all of Lizzie Lamb’s books, I opened Boot Camp Bride. Remembering Lizzie Lamb’s Scottish romance books, I expected to be travelling with a man in a kilt.  Instead, I was off to London with Charlee, a fledgling journalist.  Charlee is forced to attend a boot camp to get a scoop for the magazine she works for.  I adored the situation set up for this story – such fun! The author is very clever at painting her characters and adding poignant brushstrokes of humour and vulnerability.  Oh my, Charlee’s anecdotes will chase away the winter blues!

First assignment as trainee journalist

Charlee guided me through her adventure, and I could not stop laughing. How does Lizzie Lamb manage to combine humour, adventure and romance?  Charlee was feisty, fun, intelligent and clumsy – perfect.  Undeterred by the alpha male, she managed to fight him with wit and stubbornness.  Lizzie Lamb’s characters and style of writing sparkle in Boot Camp Bride.  This romantic comedy is classic gold: it is the equivalent of comfort food and a good night out with friends.

The soundtrack track to Spectre boomed, as I read the opening chapters of Boot Camp Bride, and Charlee was assigned her first undercover operation as a ‘faux’ bride.  And her ‘self- assurance and sassiness’ made this an absolute hoot.  Charlee’s ‘off the cuff remarks’ constantly entertain.  I adored this refreshingly bubbly style of writing.  The wit and tension fizzed and bubbled like a good Champagne.  At this point, Charlee would observe:

‘If she was beginning to think in clichés, it was time for her to put down the empty glass.’

Bookish setting

However, I didn’t have a glass of anything.  It was a joy to immerse myself in Charlee’s world.  She spoke before she put her brain into gear and is charming, funny and endearing.  Lizzie Lamb used her characteristic turn of phrase to describe that moment when one says the wrong thing:

‘As the seconds drew out, Charlee imagined she could hear the tick of the grandfather clock marking time: feel the chill wind of disapproval whistling round her ankles…’

‘He did a double-take when he saw the cow’s head slippers…’

This captured the moment perfectly! I think there is an element of Charlee in all of us.  She is a very real, honest and intelligent young woman.  Then there is the experienced Bear Grylls meets James Bond type hero, Rafa Fonseca Ffinch, but thankfully he doesn’t take himself too seriously.  I adored the sparks flying between Charlee and Rafa combined with the calamities.  Furthermore, the dialogue is superb, and the scenes were filmic in quality.  Lizzie Lamb is very skilled at challenging stereotypes for comic effect.

The ‘faux’ fiancé’s VW

The narrative hurtles at great speed while the humour awaits the reader around every corner.  Even the weather manages to mock Charlee as ‘hailstones hurled themselves at the window aided and abetted by a cutting wind off the marshes.’  Clever writing makes this novel feel like a trusty companion – I loved it!  It is the sort of book one can return to chase away the blues!

About Lizzie:

Lizzie Lamb, the author

After teaching my 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, I decided to pursue my first love: writing. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), followed a year later by Boot Camp Bride. Although much of my time is taken up publicising Tall, Dark and Kilted and Boot Camp Bride, I published a third novel Scotch on The Rocks in July 2015. It achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon. I am a founding member of an indie publishing group – New Romantics Press and have held an Author Event at Waterstones High Street, Kensington, London. The icing on the cake, as far we are concerned, and a fitting way to celebrate our achievements. March 2016 saw Scotch on the Rocks shortlisted for the prestigious Exeter Novel Prize and in November 2016 I held an author talk in London, at Aspinalls. In Spring 2017 I published – Girl In The Castle, which reached #3 in the charts. I am currently working on a novel set in Wisconsin – Take Me I’m Yours, and have more Scottish-themed romances planned.

 

Lizzie’s Links

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/author/lizzielamb
Amazon author page: viewAuthor.at/LizzieLamb
Facebook www.facebook.com/LizzieLambwriter
Facebook www.facebook.com/newromantics4
email lizzielambwriter@gmail.com
website: www.lizzielamb.co.uk
blog: www.newromanticspress.com
Linked in: uk.linkedin.com/pub/lizzie-lamb/18/194/202/
Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/cbla48d
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lizzielamb/
Twitter https://twitter.com/lizzie_lamb
Twitter https://twitter.com/newromantics4

 

Please see all my book reviews at Books In Handbag and my website and blog at JessieCahalin.com.

Dutch War Secret in my Handbag

Do you know the Dutch built a village for the Jewish community in World War Two?  Imogen Matthews tells the inspirational story in ‘The Hidden Village’.  She has written to her readers to explain more about the forgotten history and to introduce her dramatic extract.

Dear Readers

I’m so pleased to tell you about ‘The Hidden Village’, my novel set in WW2 Holland, deep in the Veluwe woods. It’s a story about survival, hope, despair, and ultimately, love, as a community pulls together to build a purpose-built village to shelter those persecuted by the Germans. The lives of young Sofie, Jan and Liesbeth become entwined with devastating consequences for their future.

About half-way through the book, Jan and his brother, Oscar, are arrested by the Gestapo for helping a fallen American pilot. This extract describes what happens after their terrifying journey in the back of the Nazis’ vehicle.

I chose this extract because it represents a dramatic turn in the story and shows how ruthless the Germans could be towards the Dutch people, even children.

I hope this extract will tempt you to read the book.  I am delighted to present more context about the novel.

Best wishes

Imogen Matthews

 

Extract

‘Is this a prison?’ he whispered to Oscar, who stood, white-faced, next to him.

‘It’s a police station but there are cells through that door,’ said Oscar.

‘They’re going to lock us up?’

‘Looks like it.’

Jan wished Oscar could be a bit more encouraging.

It was their turn next and they went up to the desk together.

‘Name,’ said the man behind the desk without looking up.

‘Oscar Mulder and Jan Mulder,’ said Oscar.

‘One at a time.’

‘We’re brothers. He’s only eleven,’ said Oscar.

Jan pushed close against him.

The man lifted his gaze for a brief moment, before going back to his form. After a short pause, he pulled out another from a pile and wrote Jan’s name in capitals across the top, followed by a line and a squiggle Jan couldn’t read.

Jan decided to let Oscar answer the questions. When he’d finished, they were both led by the smirking SS-er to the door leading to the cells. Again a feeling of panic rose from Jan’s abdomen at the prospect of being separated from his brother. They were marched along an echo-y corridor lined with closed doors. Jan had to break into a trot to keep up. At the end was a metal door that needed four keys to open it.

Jan and Oscar didn’t need telling. They walked through and the door swung back behind them with a decisive clang.’

 

More about the Novel

Deep in the Veluwe woods lies a secret that frustrates the Germans. Convinced that Jews are hiding somewhere close by, they can find no proof.

The secret is Berkenhout, a purpose-built village of huts, many underground, sheltering dozens of persecuted people.

Henk Hauer, head woodman, is in charge of building of underground huts and ensuring the Berkenhout inhabitants are kept safe, But could his friendship with certain German soldiers endanger the very existence of Berkenhout?

Sofie, a Jewish Dutch girl, is one of the first inhabitants of Berkenhout. At first she refuses to participate in village life and pines for her friends and family. But she realises there is no choice and comes to appreciate the support of the local community who make their survival possible.

Young tearaway, Jan, finds the woods an exciting place, but they pose danger from the patrolling German soldiers. His discovery of Donald, an American pilot, changes everything.

The Reviews

Ms E. Holmes-ievers: “From the first chapter you are engaged with the characters and I even found myself warning them when they were due to be raided – OUT LOUD! Sensitively written, with a page-turning plot, this is a wonderful new book from Imogen.”

Gilly Cox: “This skillful blend of fiction within the factual events happening to many at those times, holds you till the end. I couldn’t put it down, nor did I want to until the final page.”

Clarky: “Though the subject matter is tough, there are lighter moments and the book rattles along at a good pace. The varied cast of characters, especially the younger ones, keeps your interest. Highly recommended.”

The Characters

This was a story I felt I had to get down, so when I’d finished I was pleased I’d told a story that so many people won’t have known anything about. It left a big hole as I’d spent so long on the book and I realised just how attached I’d become to my characters.

I miss Sofie’s feistiness and determination not to let her life change by hiding away from the Germans. And I miss her best friend Liesbeth, who sticks by Sofie through thick and thin, even though she also has to make her own big sacrifices. I even miss the enigmatic Henk, the head woodman, who’s instrumental in getting the hidden village built, but struggles with his loyalties. I particularly miss Jan, who’s always getting into scrapes but is only trying to help others and do good. He goes through so much that I just want to give him a big hug and tell him that everything will turn out alright.

The Author

My Dutch heritage has shaped me and influenced the writing of this novel, which is set in the woods where my family and I have cycled for the past 27 years.

This is a story about events in WW2 that hardly anyone knows about. Once you start reading The Hidden Village you’ll be gripped and won’t want to let the book out of your sight!

The Hidden Village’ is a bestseller in the US with over three hundred reviews.  The novel explores wartime Holland and asks: Who can you trust?  You can read my review of this book at……

Imogen re-visited the setting of the novel and has mailed an article to Books in my Handbag Blog.

 

Please see all my extracts at Book Extracts and my blog at jessiecahalin.com.