Saturday, April 29, 2023

Weekend Cooking: What We Ate on Holidays - WA Edition

This year seems to be a year where we are crossing things off of our must do list. Earlier this year we were in France and Singapore and then we went to New Zealand for sailing. This week we are in Perth visiting family for the first time since 2019 but earlier this week we went to Broome which is a place I have always wanted to visit.

What a place! Broome basically has two seasons. The wet and the dry. We were there at the crossover of seasons but fortunately it was hot but not too humid and the nights are very balmy - perfect for sitting outside and watching the sun go down.

The colours of Broome are beautiful - red dirt, blue skies, blue water, white sandy beaches and the dull green of the bush

We arrived on Sunday afternoon and our first night we headed to famous Cable Beach for dinner and sunset views. We had the surf and turf special. I would have liked more surf but the turf was some of the best steak I gave eaten in years. It was so tender.

The next day was one of those days that we will never forget. We took a tiny plane up to a pearl farm landing on a dirt strip, and then flew out over Horizontal Falls over the amazing countryside and then back to Broome. 

At the pearl farm we were provided a lunch of locally caught barramundi rice and salad. We also did a tour of the farm where they explained that they use every part of the oyster for various things. One of the three parts of the oyster is the pearl meat which we got to taste. I'm not sure everyone on the tour tasted it but we did. It had quite a chewy texture and looked a little bit like scallops

We got to see two posters opened. The first didn't have a pearl in it although it did gave a pee bug in it which is a creature that has a symbiotic relationship with an oyster. The second shell had a keshi pearl in it.

When we got back to town we headed straight back to another beachside bar for another sunset dinner. This time we had a seafood platter

The next day we spent wandering around town, visiting the museum, having lunch (prawn croquettes) at Matsos Which is a famous bar and brewery in town. They make various flavours of beer including alcoholic ginger beer, mango beer, chilli flavoured beer and then various combinations of those flavours

Tuesday was Anzac Day so not much was open in the main part of town. Originally our plan was to end up in rows for dinner but instead we ended up back at the beach where I had a delicious prawn pasta.

The other thing that got eaten in Broome was me! I am covered in bites but I talked to a pharmacist yesterday who suggested that it could be a heat rash or reaction given that there are so many of them.

Our final morning in Broome we went on an organised tour around town and then headed to the airport to fly to Perth

Whenever I come to Perth there is one thing I have to have and that is Spearmint Milk. You can't get it anywhere else I the country so I overdose on it while I am here

I always like to go to Kings Park while I am here so we went for a stroll through the park on Wednesday, taking in the amazing views.

Another place I like to go whenever I come to visit is Fremantle. This is the port for Perth and it has a lot of history. We visited the maritime museum, had yet more seafood in the form of fish and chips and then went to the shipwreck museum. Visiting the remains of the Batavia in the Shipwreck Museum is something I like to do everytime we come to Perth as it reminds me of a primary school excursion we went on before we moved to Adelaide. This time was even more relevant as we had visited the full size replica of the Batavia when we were in the Netherlands 

The rest of or time here is about spending time with family. My aunties have been giving me recipes that come from my grandmother including this one in her handwriting 

I do have a weekend on Adelaide coming up in may but other than that I think that is the last of our holidays for a while although we will be crossing another item off of our must do list when we head to the US later in the year

I don't have the login details for Mr Linky for so please leave your links in the comments for this week.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Friday, April 28, 2023

Blog Tour: The Lost Daughters of Ukraine by Erin Litteken

There are a lot of WWII books out now, with many more being released each month and it is easy to find some of the books repetitious. There are a lot of similarities in these books,  but every now and again you get the opportunity to read one that is different, and you realise that this is why you continue to read books set in this period. The Lost Daughters of Ukraine is one of those books! I started learning new things even in the prologue!

Firstly, the book is set predominantly in an area of the Ukraine that I previously had little to no knowledge of. It is an area of the world with a very volatile history and, as we know from the very recent news headlines, this continues to today. This is an area that has been fought over for years, at times being invaded by the Russians, at other times by the Polish, and of course the Germans in WWII.

At first the residents of the town where this novel is set are relieved that the Russians are driven out of their country as the Germans approach, but it doesn't take long for them to realise that this change of regime does not mean that their life is going to get any easier. The Ukrainian people don't like the Polish people because of the crimes committed against them and vice versa. Both The Polish and the Ukrainians have set up resistance organisations trying to oust first the Russians and then the Germans, but there are times when they are too busy fighting each other. It's a messy world where it is difficult to know who you can and cannot trust.

This novel traces the lives of 3 women, each at different times of their lives. There is Liliya, who is a young woman who has lost her immediate family, who watched her mother die in her arms, and then her father was killed by Polish in the village they had moved to for a fresh start. 

Liliya returns back to her childhood home which is now occupied by her aunt, Vika, and her young family. Vika's challenge is to keep her family, which now includes Liliya, together and safe. However, with young people being forcibly conscripted to work for the Germans, it is only a matter of time before the family will be separated. The question is can they all survive the war and find each other again.

The third main character is twelve year old Halya. She is being raised by her father and her stepmother, Katya, knowing very little of her birth mother. Katya is doing her best to protect Halya, even employing tactics such as rubbing her down with garlic to make it looks like she has a rash, so that the Germans won't select her for transportation.

In the first part of the book I was wondering how the author would bring all three strands of the story together, but gradually she did. First, Halya meets Liliya and her cousin Slavko (Vika's eldest son)and the three young people determine to stay together in the hope that they will be able to look out for each other. But staying together in a world where you are not in control of your own destiny is hard. It just takes one small incident to separate them from each other.

Vika is reluctant to leave her home, but it soon becomes clear that she will need to, or her family will face reprisals from the Russians who are forcing the Germans back and retaking the lands they once held. At every turn there is danger and it isn't always clear what the right action to take is.

We also go to see about some of the truly devastating events such as the destruction of the city of Dresden by the allies resulting in massive fires which in turn caused horrific loss of civilian life. I first became aware of the events at Dresden in the mid 1990s when i visited Dachau. We were at the train station when an elderly man tried to convince us that Dachau was closed that day so we didn't need to visit. When we pulled out our guide books to say that it should be open (pre-internet and Google) he started yelling at us about the air raids on Dresden, about the level of destruction and how people were forgetting about it.  It has always stuck with me as, at that time, there were plenty of people who could have been part of those horrible events still alive. It makes you remember that we were really only one step away from that history. Reading about it in this book made me remember that exchange straight away.

The fact that at least some of the events described in this novel are based on the author's own family history, just helps to make the story even more poignant. 

I was vacillating between giving this book a grading of 4.5 or 5 out of 5. Whilst the beginning was a bit choppy with the changes of narrator, the author did a great job of bringing it all together. I was moved by the individual stories and I learnt a lot. It is an excellent read and I will definitely be reading more by this author. 

This book counts for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge which I host. You can find information in relation to the challenge here.

Check out other stops on the blog tour too!

Rating 5/5

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources, Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy. 

About the book

The Lost Daughters of Ukraine

A story of the strength of the human spirit, the personal cost of conflict and how love can be found even in the darkest times.

Summer 1941. War rages in Europe. The Germans march towards Ukraine. Halya, Liliya and Vika are no strangers to sorrow. They lost family during the Holodomor, loved ones in Stalin's purges, and war looms once more on the horizon.

Vika lives in fear for her children. She and her sister survived the terror famine by leaving their whole family behind. Now, years later, many believe the Germans will free them from the Soviets, but she’s not so sure. Should they stay in Volhynia or flee the approaching Eastern front?

Liliya has lost too much in her 17 years. As those around her join the resistance, Liliya wonders how she can fight for her friends, family, and country. When the choice is made for her, can she find the will to survive and protect those still with her?

Twelve-year-old Halya is struggling to discover who she is. But as the war escalates, can her mother Katya’s tactics keep her safe from the Nazi soldiers rounding up slave laborers? How can a child survive the horrors of war on her own?

These daughters of Ukraine will face devastation and loss as they fight to survive and protect the ones they love.

A gripping page-turner of love, loss and resilience for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Purchase Link -

Author Bio –

Erin Litteken is a debut novelist with a degree in history and a passion for research. At a young age, she was enthralled by stories of her family’s harrowing experiences in Ukraine before, during and after World War II. She lives in Illinois, USA with her husband and children.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Celebrity audiobook narrators



Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the them

e is Favorite Audiobook Narrators (or, if you don’t listen to audiobooks, name people—celebrities or otherwise—who might make you reconsider.) I have decided to go with celebrity audiobook narrators, but I am trying to not choose examples where they are reading their own autobiography. Not that there is anything wrong with that, and it might make a good topic another day, but not today.

Richard Armitage - It's no coincidence that I have started with RA. I mean...that voice equals aural bliss. I have listened to a number of books narrated by him. My absolute favourites are his narrations of Georgette Heyers books including Venetia and a couple of others. Might be time to listen to those again.

Emma Thompson - In my Audible library I have the Turn of the Screw. The introduction is narrated by Richard Armitage but the rest of the book is narrated by Emma Thompson.

Joanne Froggatt - Best known for her role in Downton Abbey, Joanna Froggatt narrated The Clockmakers Daughter

Stephen Fry - Fry narrates a lot of his own books, but for the purposes of this post I am interested in his narration of the Harry Potter books.

Dan Stevens - Stevens has narrated a number of books. It was only as I was writing this post that I realised that he has narrated a couple of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's book. I see one of those audiobooks in my future.

Wil Wheaton - Best known for his role on Star Trek, Wheaton narrated both Ready Player One and The Martian which I recently enjoyed.

Kathy Bates - I listened to her narrate an abridged version of A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley years ago. I didn't love it but it does count for the purposes of this post.

Bill Nighy - The last couple of years I have listened to Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. The main narration is by reading Sian Clifford, Death is voiced by Peter Serafinowicz and the footnotes by Bill Nighy.

Tony Robinson - The earlier version of Hogfather was narrated by Tony Robinson. I love watching his TV shows from Time Team to his shows about London, about trains, about anything really.

Phillipa Soo -If we talk about more modern stories, the I am going to mention The Stand In by Philippa Soo. I first heard of Philippa Soo when she starred in Hamilton.

Have you listened to any of these celebrities read audiobooks? Or other?

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Weekend Cooking: Chicken Cacciatore

 A month or so ago I reviewed The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan for Cook the Books. 

The recipe I cooked for my post was a chocolate cake, but originally as I was reading the book I was very tempted to make Chicken Cacciatore. Two other people ended up making it, so it was probably good that I didn't make it as well. However, for a couple of weeks after, I kept on thinking about Chicken Cacciatore and so it was that we decided to cook it recently. We really enjoyed it, so now I am posting it for two reasons. One is to share  it with you all but the other is so that when we want to make it again we can find the recipe again.

Chicken Cacciatore almost feels like a retro dish. Back in the 80s, my mum used to buy the jars of pre-cooked sauce but I don't think I have had that for years, although according to the website, the company still makes it.

What exactly is cacciatore? The word translates to hunter in Italian and the idea is that it is the kind of tomato and onion based stew which you would then cook whatever you caught. It just so happened that we caught boneless chicken thighs at the supermarket!

We don't like olives, so we omitted those. We also used a can of roma tomatoes rather than fresh tomatoes. We served our cacciatore with pasta, but if we make it another time I might serve it with couscous. Actually, we have some leftovers in the freezer so maybe we will have it for lunch with couscous because that is so quick to cook!

Chicken Cacciatore

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (or boneless if you like)
Salt and pepper, to season
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic, (or 6 cloves)
1 yellow capsicum diced
1 red capsicum diced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
300g sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup pitted black olives (bleugh!)
8 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons each freshly chopped parsley and basil 
1 teaspoon dried oregano
150 ml red wine
820g crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
200g Roma tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy cast iron pan. Sear seasoned chicken on both sides until golden, about 3-4 minutes each side. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add remaining oil to the pan. Sauté the onion until transparent, about 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables (except the roma tomatoes) and herbs. Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften.

Add the wine, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan, cooking until the wine is reduced, which should take about 2 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, roma tomatoes and chill flakes. Season with salt and pepper to your tastes. Return chicken pieces to the pan and then cover, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer (while stirring occasionally) for 50 minutes or until the meat is falling off the bone. Garnish with parsley and serve.

You can also cook this in the oven at 190C, cooking for 50 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Scrambled eggs on toast
Sunday -  Bacon, mushroom, zucchini pasta
Monday - Baked potatoes and chicken skewers
Tuesday - Butter chicken and rice
Wednesday - Takeaway
Thursday - Chicken fried rice
Friday -Chicken tenders, mash, beans and gravy

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Friday, April 21, 2023

Blog Tour: Under a Greek Sun by Mandy Baggot

Welcome to the next stop on my European book tour. I have read many, many books set in France. And I have read lots of books set in Italy! I have read a couple of books set in Portugal not too long ago. Next stop - Greece!

Eve Collins hasn't really moved on since her beloved father died 6 years earlier. In addition to her job as a school counsellor, she also works a couple of nights a week in the pub her father loved. She is still looking out for her younger brother, Ben who has had some issues over the years. Oh, and she still can barely spend any time with her mother Glenda.

Eve is using her school holidays to visit her friend Gabby who has moved to Corfu in Greece to run an animal shelter. Her plan is to relax and enjoy any idyllic Greek island holiday. However, Ben ends up accompanying her and her idyllic holiday is further disrupted because Gabby is working 4 or 5 jobs just to make ends meet.

Gianni has also lost his father, but it is much more recent. The man who has raised him shared a deathbed secret which has Gianni running to Corfu to see if he can find out the truth of his identity. Gianni is part of a successful family coffee business, one which he now needs to run with his mother and he needs to find a way to work with her for the good of the business.

When Gianni meets Eve, there is definitely a connection, but the question is will the ghosts from Eve's  past spook her, or maybe Gianni's grief and anger will be the obstruction.

One of the reasons I love reading these kinds of books where people go off to new locations is that when you have a skilled author describing the places, people and food, you can see the place, feel the atmosphere and get hungry at the thought of the food. I had heard of Mandy Baggot before and had intended to read her but just haven't done it before now. However, having seen how skilled she is at taking us with her characters to Corfu (with a short trip to Verona in Italy), I will definitely be reading more. I really wanted to be joining in a celebration at the village taverna, meet the locals and to eat Fanouropita cake! And maybe even visit the animal shelter, although I would be sure to stay away from Savage the bird.

Next time I feel the need for some Greek sunshine, I will be picking up one of Mandy Baggot's books!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources, the publisher and Netgallley for the review copy.

Rating 4/5

About the book

Under a Greek Sun

Eve Collins is looking forward to the holidays.

Her job as a counsellor has been as taxing as it has been rewarding, and she can’t wait for some downtime on the Greek island of Corfu with best-friend, Gabby. But between Eve’s brother, Ben, unexpectedly joining and Gabby’s job at the animal rescue centre keeping her busy, Eve might have to start mucking in…

When Gianni arrives in the village of Episkepsi, it’s like a model has stepped straight off the pages of Vogue Italia… with an uptight personality to match. He may be super-sexy but there are obvious chips on those broad shoulders.

As Eve and Gianni get to know each other and both start to lean into the Greek customs and avrio mentality, an initial attraction starts to turn into something more. But with so much family drama in both their lives, neither of them were looking for a holiday romance...

Purchase Link -

About the author

Mandy Baggot is a bestselling romance writer who loves giving readers that happy-ever-after. From sunshine romantic comedies set in Greece, to cosy curl-up winter reads she writes gorgeous heroes and strong heroines readers can relate to. Mandy splits her time between Salisbury, Wiltshire and Corfu, Greece and has a passion for books, food, racehorses and all things Greek!

Social Media Links –

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Thursday, April 20, 2023

Blog Tour: The Girl Who Escaped by Angela Petch

In 1938 a group of four friends take a photo of themselves together and promise to meet up again in 50 years time. In 1988, some of the friends turn up, having not seen each other for years. But it isn't necessarily a joyful reunion. After all, a lot happen during WWII, and it isn't easy to forget, or forgive, even after all this time.

The central character in the story is Devora, an Italian born Jew of German descent who has grown up in Italy. Her friends are Enrico, son of local nobility and the boy that she thinks she loves, Sabrina, who also loves Enrico and Luigi, all round good guy. 

Prior to the introduction of racial laws, Devora was a medical student, studying hard to become a doctor. Now, she helps out where she can, but her life is turned upside down when further racial laws are introduced and her parents are interred as foreign Jews. She is left to care for her two younger brothers, who are exempt from the laws, for now. Her life is challenging, but she still looks forward to her occasional meeting with the unworthy Enrico. Well, she doesn't see him as unworthy, but I certainly did.

When Enrico is sent off to fight, he meets a young woman and soon makes it his mission to protect her at all costs, no matter that he must keep her very existence a secret. The thing with Enrico is that he is a somewhat slippery character, and he is always looking out for Enrico first and foremost.

As the war progresses, Devora is forced to change her appearance and identity on multiple occasions in order to have any chance of survival. Whenever she needs assistance it is Luigi who is there for her, and yet, she cannot see why this is the case. 

This is not a light and fluffy WWII novel, and there is no dual timeline to help break up the rising intensity as the war progresses throughout the book. Devora has to make difficult choices, and suffer great losses along the way. And yet, she also develops friendships that are deep and meaningful and is able to use her skills to help others too, becoming involved with the resistenza.

The question is, will Devora survive,  and even if she does, will she ever be reunited with her family?

I read Angela Petch's previous book and it inspired me to visit Puglia on my recent trip to Italy. Whilst I enjoyed this book, it was a darker story.  Ultimately it was a satisfying read, and I still intend to read her earlier books! Oh, and look forward to the next one!

I am sharing this review with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the review copy.

Rating 3.5/5

About the Book

The Girl Who Escaped: Utterly heartbreaking and emotional WW2 historical fiction by Angela Petch

Italy, 1940. The girl sobs and rages as her father tells her the terrible news. “Italy is entering the war alongside Germany. Jews are to be arrested and sent to camps. We have to be ready.”

As fascists march across the cobbled piazzas and past the towered buildings of her beloved home city, twenty-year-old Devora’s worst fears come true. Along with her Jewish parents and twin little brothers they are torn away from everything they love and sent to an internment camp huddled in the mountains. Her father promises this war will not last long…

When they are offered a miraculous chance of escape by her childhood friend Luigi, who risks everything to smuggle vital information into the camp, the family clambers under barbed wire and races for the border. But Devora is forced to make a devastating choice between saving a stranger’s life and joining her parents. As shots fire in the moonless night, the family is separated.

Haunted by the question of whether they are dead or alive, all Devora can do for their future is throw herself into helping Luigi in the Italian resistenza in the fight for liberty. But posing as a maid for a German commander to gather secret intelligence, Devora is sure she sees her friend one night, in a Nazi uniform…

Is Devora in more danger than ever? And will her family ever be reunited – or will the war tear them apart?

An absolutely devastating but ultimately uplifting historical novel about how love and hope can get us through the darkest times. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Rhys Bowen and Soraya M. Lane.

Buy link:

About the author

I’m an award winning writer of fiction – and the occasional poem.

Every summer I move to Tuscany for six months where my husband and I own a renovated watermill which we let out. When not exploring our unspoilt corner of the Apennines, I disappear to my writing desk at the top of our converted stable.

In my Italian handbag or hiking rucksack I always make sure to store notebook and pen to jot down ideas.

The winter months are spent in Sussex where most of our family live. When I’m not helping out with grandchildren, I catch up with writer friends.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Foodie TV and movies



Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the them

e is Non-book Freebie so I decided to talk about foreign movies.

The whole point of this post at the beginning was to talk about a movie called Language Lessons which I watched a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed. Then I started putting my list together and realised that I could easily make a list of ten which are all about food! So here are ten foreign foodie TV series or movies I have enjoyed. 

Midnight Diner (Japan) - I have watched a season and a half of this. Every now and again I think I should watch more. (Review here)

Foodie Love (Spain) - I binged watched this during lockdown (Review here)

Tuesday Club (Sweden) - I watched this as part of the Scandinavian Film Festival and really enjoyed it! (review here)

Babette's Feast (Sweden) - Something of a foodie film classic. (Review here)

The Perfect Dinner (Italy) - I saw this one as part of the Italian Film Festival last year. (Review here)

The Recipe (Korea) - This was one of the earliest foreign movies I posted about on this blog. (review here)

The Tasting (France) - My most recent French Film Festival movie. I saw this a couple of weeks ago and just posted about it last weekend. (review here)

Delicious (France) - This is supposedly the story of the first restaurant although I am not sure how historically correct it is! (review here)

Kings of Pastry (France) - These days I watch Bake Off:  The Professionals to see amazing creations like the ones in this, but these were next level. (review here)

Romantics Anonymous (France) -  I have probably watched this movie 3 or 4 times over the years. It is a lovely film (review here)

Oh, and watch Language Lessons. It was good!

I will be sharing this post with Weekend Cooking which I host here each Saturday.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Monday, April 17, 2023

This week...

I'm reading

This week I finished reading The Girl Who Escaped by Angela Petch. My review for that book will be up this week.

For my current read, I am taking a break from France and Italy and instead visiting Corfu in Greece through the pages of Under a Greek Sun by Mandy Baggot.

I haven't really had any audiobook time recently, but I will get back to it shortly.

I'm watching

We are still working through the series that I have mentioned over the last couple of weeks. However, we have also started watching a series called Rogue Soldiers which tells the mostly true story of the creation of the SAS during WWII. It's a lot of fun so far.

If there is one show that we are getting through more quickly than others it is the UK version of Ghosts. I think that we are nearly finished season 2 and we will be going straight onto season 3.


I can't quite believe it but we have been in our new house for nearly six months. We have done various projects around the house, but now it is time to do the front garden so that it can change for dirt to something neat tidy and presentable. For my husband that has meant digging a lot of holes which has been hard physical work. It's not finished yet, but it's a good start.

Posts from the last week

Top Ten Tuesday: Cheep! Cheep!
Weekend Cooking: The Tasting

I've linked this post to It's Monday, what are you reading? as hosted by Book Date

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Blog Tour: The Forgotten Palace by Alexandra Walsh

When Alice Webster is disgraced by indulging in an unwise love affair, her family decides that the best way to help is to remove her from the situation completely. Her aunt suggests a trip where Alice is tutor to her younger cousins travelling through Europe. On the train, they meet a family who spend some of their time in Crete, and in due course, they find themselves there, working on the archeological dig for Arthur Evans, who is excavating at the Temple of Knossos.

Fast forward a hundred years, and we meet new widow Eloise De'Ath at her husband's funeral. Having seen through the formalities, she sheds her jacket revealing a tight red dress and runs out the door leaving a shocked and disapproving congregation behind. She heads to the house in Crete that she inherited from her late father in law. Here, she can heal, not so much from the loss of her husband, but from physical and mental wounds from her marriage. There she is reunited with the Greek family who live next door who makes sure that she is fed and looking after herself, as well as providing insights into the history of the house and the objects in it.

As she settles into her new home, Eloise begins to sort through the belongings and she finds various artefacts, which all link to the Knossos dig. Most intriguingly she finds the dream diary that Alice used to keep, which record dreams that are disturbingly similar to the dreams that she has had since childhood.

The third story which threads through the book is the story of the Minotaur, half bull and half man, famous in ancient mythology.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought the information about the dig was really interesting and I was definitely left wanting to find out more about it. Maybe I should think about a trip to Crete to visit the museum? Having said that, there were times when I felt like every bit of research that the author had done had been crammed into the book. I am sure that wasn't the case but it felt like it.


Normally in a dual time line, it is the historical story that is the most interesting to me. I liked it this time too, but because of the archeological aspects, not so much because of Alice. Of  course I felt sorry for her and understood her heartbreak but it was self inflicted in a lot of ways. There was at least one moment in this book when I gasped out loud as something unexpected is revealed in Alice's story.

Eloise's story was interesting, especially the way that the author slowly revealed the truth of her marriage firstly to the reader, but also showing Eloise some truths about her own situation. One of her husband's friends turns up to the house in the Crete to check in on her, and she also has to reevaluate what she knows about him too.

This was my first book by this author, and I liked it a lot. I can see myself reading more of her books. I have seen this book to compared to Susanna Kearsley, who is one of my all time favourites. However, my comparison would be more to the books by M J Rose of ten years ago (which is the last time I read one of her books), where you have the dual times, plus an almost a dark spiritual connection.

This book counts for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Thanks to the publisher, Netgalley and Rachel's Random Resources for the review copy of this book.

Rating 4/5

Check out other reviews of the book at the following stops:

About the book

The Forgotten Palace

In an underground labyrinth a lost soul wanders, waiting for revenge, waiting for love…

London 1900

Alice Webster has made the worst decision of her life. When her Aunt Agatha offers her the chance to go on a Grand Tour she jumps at the opportunity to get away from the glare of scandal. Heading off to see the world as the century turns, Alice begins to believe her broken heart can be healed, and a chance encounter on a train bound for Paris changes everything. When their journey takes them to a Cretan house thick with history, and the world-famous dig at Knossos, stories from the past begin to echo through Alice’s life.

London Present Day

Eloise De’Ath is meant to be a grieving widow. But if people knew the truth about her late husband, they’d understand why she can’t even pretend. Needing to escape, Eloise heads to Crete and the house her father-in-law Quinn left her, and slowly Quinn’s home begins to reveal its mysteries. In his office Eloise discovers his life’s work: the study of the Victorian excavation to find the Minotaur’s labyrinth. Fascinated by the diaries of a young woman from the dig, Eloise is drawn into Alice’s tale of lost love and her growing obsession with Ariadne, the princess of the labyrinth.

Three women divided by time but connected by the long-hidden secrets of the past. As their stories join in a golden thread, a terrible injustice might finally be undone…

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About the Author –

Alexandra Walsh is the bestselling author of dual timeline historical mysteries, previously published by Sapere. Her books range from the fifteenth century to the Victorian era and are inspired by the hidden voices of women that have been lost over the centuries. Formerly a journalist, writing for national newspapers, magazines and TV, her first book for Boldwood will be published in Spring 2023.

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