The Saturday Secret by Linda Huber

This world sometimes feels like a very harsh place to be, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how much anger and general nastiness there seems to be out there. It’s good, therefore, to escape to a place where happy endings are guaranteed. Sometimes, you just need to pick up a book and lose yourself in a story that makes you feel warm, happy, and optimistic again.

The Saturday Secret is such a book – packed with short stories that are pure feel-good entertainment.  It’s extremely easy to read, and although I planned to just read one or two stories at a time I actually read it in two halves. The first half was read some weeks ago and then, thanks to real life intruding, I had to sacrifice reading time for a while. I picked up the book again today – call it my Mother’s Day treat! It was lovely to slip back into that cosy world, and find that the second half was just as good as the first.

The stories are delightful, featuring children, babies, elderly people, kittens, dogs, loving couples, affectionate families and lots more besides.

My personal favourites were We’re Having a Baby! The Cat’s Whiskers,  After Rebecca, and the short – but incredibly poignant – Corrina’s Big Day.  The short story that gives the book its title also made me smile. I won’t give away what The Saturday Secret actually is, but let’s just say it gave me hope. 🙂

A really gorgeous collection of short stories by a writer who clearly has a gift for capturing those precious moments in a person’s life and weaving a wonderful tale around them.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it to those looking for an escape route into a happy place!   5/5

You can buy The Saturday Secret here, and, as an added bonus, profits from this lovely book are being donated to Doctors Without Borders.

The Dirigible King’s Daughter by Alys West

Anyone who knows me will tell you that Whitby is one of my favourite places, so any book set there is always going to attract my attention. I’ll hold my hands up and admit I’ve never read steampunk before, but when the Write Romantics published our charity anthology Winter Tales,  it included a short story called A Pistol for Propriety, written by Alys, and I’d long thought that the story deserved to be expanded upon. Luckily, Alys had the same thought, and the result is this wonderful novel.

I was quickly drawn into this snapshot of an alternative Whitby – imagining dirigibles sailing by Whitby Abbey, piloted by handsome men wearing flying jackets, helmets and goggles – men like Charlie, or Viscount Davenport, to give him his proper title.

Charlie is a real hero, but he’s more than matched by the independent “New Woman” Harriet Hardy. Harriet has had many troubles and heartaches to overcome, and has learned to defend herself in a man’s world. Unfortunately, her self-defence lands her in a lot of trouble, and her actions plunge both her and Charlie into an unexpected adventure.

As the net tightens around them both, an unorthodox solution is presented to Harriet, but the shadows of the past are all around her. She is the Dirigible King’s daughter, and that’s a heavy burden for her to carry. And Charlie may be a good man, but is it fair to drag him into the murky depths of her family’s shame?

With a chase across Whitby, journeys on steam powered omnibuses, and flights through the air in the wondrous dirigibles, this is a romance with a twist. Lots of fun, lots of adventure…And lots of tea. A really wonderful treat to read.

You can buy The Dirigible King’s Daughter here.