The keeping of secrets by Alice Graysharp

The Keeping of Secrets

The keeper of family secrets, Patricia Roberts grows up isolated and lonely. Trust no one and you won’t be disappointed is her motto. Three men fall in love with her and she learns to trust, only to find that their agendas are not her own. With secrets concealed from her by the ultimate love of her life, and with her own secret to keep, duplicity and deceit threaten their relationship. In a coming of age story set against the sweeping backdrop of the Second World War – evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, buzz bombs and secret war work – Patricia ultimately has to decide whether to reveal her deepest held secret for the sake of her future happiness.

Growing up I was always told stories by my grandparents on what it was like to grow up during the war.

My grandma left education at 15, worked in the local butchers and grocers making deliveries from early in the morning to then being an ARP warden in the evening.

I remember her recalling one memory of the time a bomb was dropped in the woods next to her house but instead of being upset at the bomb she was upset it had ruined her day of cleaning.

“I had just done all the dusting for when mum arrived home, then this bomb dropped and it looked like I hadn’t touched a thing!” It’s this keep calm and carry on attitude that I love the most but the story that made me intrigued to read this book was of my Nan, who was evacuated to wales as a little girl with her older brother, and she would tell me tales of where she stayed and it fascinated me.

To be uprooted from everything you know and to put complete trust in stranger to keep you safe is a crazy thought this day and age.

So when the keeping of secrets came up for review I leapt at the chance, I can’t begin to imagine what everyone went through, I only have the stories, I can’t relate to the fear, the hunger, the not knowing where the bombs would drop next or if my son, brother, uncle, husband would come back safe.

The keeping of secrets is written so wonderfully, from the point of view of evacuee Pat that you can almost smell, hear, feel the threat of war. You see her live through it all and see that even with everything going on, she is still just a young girl trying to figure herself out, which is something we can all relate too.

It’s a love story mixed with family life dealing with war. I throughly enjoyed reading this book written by Alice Graysharp, it wonderfully descriptive and lovingly heartbreaking.

It really makes you feel like you are there, you get to see the war through a characters eyes with no censorship.

I recommend anyone to have a read, it really helped put into perspective (for me anyway) just how greatful I am for what past generations have done for our country so that we can have our today.

What our families of generations past had to go through (and some are still going through today) it really does bring a tear to the eye. So when I’m sitting down listening to my grandpareants tell their stories, I will listen and I will not forget and I will be grateful.

I loved that it got me thinking about my family and it made me love them more (if that’s possible).

Alice Graysharp has written a wonderful book with such emotion and detail, I don’t know who couldn’t love it.

It’s about a girl with secrets trying to live her life to the best she can with literally a war breaking out around her.

If you would like to purchase the book for yourself you can find it here:


About the author: Born and raised in the Home Counties, Alice Graysharp has enjoyed a varied working life from hospitality to office work and retail. She currently lives in Surrey. This is her first novel, and the first title in a two book series, she is also already working on a seventeenth century trilogy. Published in the anniversary month of the outbreak of the Second World War and the Battle of Britain.


Times and places by Keith Anthony

-Ten years after his daughter Justine’s death, an anxious Fergus embarks on a cruise with his wife.  On board, he meets a myriad of characters and is entranced by some, irritated by others and disgusted by one.  These turbulent feelings, combined with a sequence of bizarre events, only lead to his increased anxiety.

In a series of flashbacks, Justine enjoys an ultimately short romance, a woman concludes she killed her and an investigating police officer is drawn into her idyllic world.  Fergus, haunted by poignant memories, withdraws in search of answers.

Back on the cruise, Fergus reaches breaking point, fearing he has done something terrible.  By the time the ship returns, his world has changed forever.

“Times and Places” spans Atlantic islands, the Chiltern countryside, Cornish coasts and rural Slovenia, all of which provide spectacular backdrops to a humorous and moving tale of quiet spirituality.-

In Times and places we join Fergus and his wife Sylvie as they embark on a cruise, throughout this cruise we see them go through a range of emotions from guilt, joy, sadness to finally acceptance.

We are following a couple who are still trying to come to terms with their daughters death 10years on.

We also go back and forth in time, reading not just about Fergus’s story but also his daughter Justine’s, as well as some new characters introduced along the way.

We read about Justine’s time leading up to the day she died. This for me this was tough reading as it really makes you think, you really don’t know what is around the corner. The writer really makes you think, Justine had her whole life ahead of her, she was happy knew where she was headed and as you are reading you already know how her story is going to end, it brings a sense of sadness but also perspective, life is short, don’t waste it!

This book is a journey of emotions mainly written through a father’s eyes but every now and then we go back and see it through others perspectives.

Everything is linked and everyone has a story to tell.

It’s a very spiritual journey, the writer has a great way of making you feel for all the characters in the book. It is a book that has definitely given me food for thought.

I particularly like Fergus’s internal battle when it comes to dancer Hannah who he meets on board the cruise ship. She reminds him so much of Justine that he doesn’t know what he is suppose to feel or how to act, he knows it’s not her but also he likes that it makes him feel closer to his daughter.

I also loved to read about the relationship between man and wife (Fergus and Sylvie) they have been through, their marriage is portrayed as a strong loving relationship, they know each other inside out, sometimes not even having to say anything to each other. Together they get through, together they heal.

This book is an easy read with a lovely story and message throughout.

I could write so much about the characters and the journey the writer takes you on but I really think it’s something you should read for yourself.

This book is very much about emotional battles and trying to find a way to put your life back together after it has been shattered into a million pieces.


To win a signed copy of Times and places, click the link below:

Or if you would like to purchase Times and places, you can get it here:

About the author

Keith was born and brought up in the Chilterns, to where he returned after studying French at university in Aberystwyth and a subsequent spell living in west London.  He has a love of nature, both in his native Buckinghamshire countryside, but also in Cornwall and wherever there is a wild sea.  

Keith has been lucky enough to spend time living in France, Spain, Belgium, Serbia and Croatia, as well as being a regular visitor to Germany, and languages were the only thing he was ever half good at in school.  Since graduating he has worked in government departments, but between 2005 and 2008 he was seconded to the European Commission in Brussels and, thanks to a friend from Ljubljana he met there, has travelled regularly to Slovenia, getting to know that country well.  

Keith’s other great love is music and he plays classical and finger picking blues guitar, though with persistently limited success.  He has always enjoyed writing, including attempts at children’s fiction, and in 2016 he began work on his first full book with “Times and Places” the end result: an accessible, observational story, mixing quiet spirituality with humour, pathos and gothic horror, and setting it against a rich backdrop of the natural world.

East of Coker by Andy Owen

East of Coker is not my usual reading material and that is exactly why I love reviewing books, you get introduced to so many different genres. Sometimes it’s doesn’t work out but sometimes it does. In this case it definitely did.

I really liked reading East of Coker, it felt so raw and real, I believed every word.

To be able to write from the perspective of a solider(s) view and for it to hit home what it actually is they went through (are still going through) takes some excellent writing skills. I know I will never truly know what they have experienced but this book definitely came close to showing me. I think it helps that the author himself has experience in the army, so could put some of himself and his experiences into the writing.

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