The post for this blog tour is slightly different in that it comes in two parts. The first part, (this part) contains my review of the book and the second part contains an exclusive extract from the book for you all to read.
Ella is trying to put the past behind her, but the past won’t always stay hidden.
The truth is, Ella is hiding from a scandal. A scandal that drove her family out of their beloved Lane End Cottage in the tiny Yorkshire village they had lived in all their lives. A scandal that her sister Alice was blamed for.
But Alice is no longer here. So it’s up to Ella to pick up the pieces and do the best she can for the family she loves so dearly.
Ella’s luck finally changes when she gains work in service at Grange House, a gentleman’s residence on the outskirts of York. But can Ella keep her position there? Or will she follow in her elder sister’s footsteps…
I’m always excited to discover a new author and so when I was asked if I would like to take part in the blog tour for this debut novel, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. ‘Ella’s Journey’ is billed as being perfect for fans of Dilly Court, whose work I adore, so I had high hopes for this book. I was not to be disappointed.
I must admit that I took to the character of Ella moreorless from the beginning. She is one tough cookie, who realises that she needs to do the best that she can for her adored family. Ella does not keep all her wages for herself, far from it, as she sends the vast majority home to provide for her family. It’s almost as if Ella feels guilty if she spends any of the money on herself. Ella is hardworking and strives to do the best that she can. Ella is kind and compassionate and she hates to see another human being suffer. Ella has been brought up in a small village and when she has to go into town or to the city, she feels overwhelmed to start with. Ella’s self care seems to be at the bottom of her list of priorities but she does not want to do anything that may reflect badly on her family and the reputation of her family. They have had enough shame brought on them following a scandal that was blamed on Ella’s sister, Alice, who is no longer around. As the book went on we learnt more and more about the family and by the end of the book, I felt as though I knew Ella inside out.
In my opinion, this is an extremely good debut novel. I must admit that for me, the book was a little slow to get going but then I think that is because it was setting the scene and laying down the background information. I started to read it whilst I was in the grip of quite severe back pain and so I needed the distraction that this book offered. Once I got past the introductions and scene setting, I was hooked on this book and I became addicted to reading a little bit more, a little bit more etc. In the end the pages were turning that fast that it was almost as if they were turning themselves and before I knew it I had finished the book, which I was both pleased and not pleased about. Pleased because I knew how this particular episode ended and not pleased because I just wanted the book to continue as I was enjoying the writing style of this particular author. The author uses such powerful and vivid descriptions that if I shut my eyes, I felt as though as I was part of the story and experiencing living and working conditions of that particular time. I also felt that I empathised with Ella to a large degree. When I finished reading ‘Ella’s Journey’, I really did feel as though I had been on an emotional rollercoaster with all the highs and the lows that the main characters experienced. Lynne Francis clearly cares about her characters and their origins and this shines through in the quality of her writing. Her characters seem real somehow.
In short, I really did enjoy reading ‘Ella’s Journey’ and I can’t wait to read more from this hugely talented author. Hopefully I won’t have too long to wait. ‘Ella’s Journey’ is the first book in a planned series of three books and I eagerly await the second book. I would recommend this book to anybody and particularly to those fans of the family saga genre. Lynne Francis is certainly an author to watch. I award this book 4* out of 5*.
Now please go to Part 2 of my blog post about ‘Ella’s Journey’ for an exclusive extract from the book.