Book reviews

Local Mums recommend the best new reads for adults and children 

“I highly recommend The Right Wedding to Local Mums. Bride or groom? Two very different families get ready for a big fat summer wedding in this funny, gripping story of love, intrigue, confetti and the wrong sort of fairy lights. It's a real page turner and such a feel good read- lots of great characters and so much going on, I loved it. It's partly set in a crumbling manor in Cornwall, partly in London and the Home Counties - the two worlds collide when Antonia and Roger begin to plan their "perfect" wedding. So will the mother-of-the-bride crack up before the big day? Will bridesmaid Imo agree to wear her uncool dress (and get together with the boy she's crazy about)? and will Sally and James be able to cling on to their mini stately home when they can't even afford to pay the car's garage bill? I really recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good family saga with lots of drama and happy endings (almost) all round…”
Becky Sheaves, Local Mum

The Right Wedding by Frances Chambers
Pretty, emotional Antonia is engaged to stuffy Roger. Planning the wedding will bring together their two families who have nothing in common. Everyone has their own problems, from lovelorn 17-year-old Imogen, to spoilt rich boy Ned, to lonely grandmother Clarissa. In a crumbling country house in Cornwall with acres of overgrown gardens the scene is set for trouble.

MPress Books Limited, a company registered in the United Kingdom, has published “The Right Wedding”. This stimulating, humorous and engrossing spring/summer read is also available as a paperback novel through this Amazon book page or your local bookstore. Look out for more books by Frances Chambers. 

MPress Books will also publish the much-anticipated science fiction novel “Evolution” – the first of five novels in the "First Colony" series by established British sci-fi author AJ Marshall. "Evolution" is set in the near future and soon after the expanding Moon-colony Andromeda claims its independence from Earth’s greedy, controlling and dangerous industrial conglomerates. The Kindle eBook and paperback novel will be available for Christmas 2019 and pre-order opportunities will be available through the dedicated Amazon book page and

The Right Wedding is available from book shops price £9 or on-line from from or from the publisher

It is also available in a Kindle edition from    

Local Mums Competition

We’ve got 50 copies of ‘The Right Wedding’ to give away to our members! Just email us at telling us what you’d like to see on Local Mums Online to enter the draw.

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"I highly recommend The Lies We Were Promised by Rachel Ivan to Local Mums. Written with a haunting skill, the author takes us on a journey with Karensa to discover her lost father, only to immerse in a culture and country that distracts from her goal and ultimately trips her into a widespread web that could spell her it has for many. The Lies We Were Promised is captivating, slipping from one point of view to the next, it shows how all too easy it is to lose our children, taken to be sold on a worldwide market. And Kerensa has stumbled into the thick of it.

"With tension that builds and keeps the pages turning, we follow her as well as many other characters as this horrible human market is revealed. There is heart here, suspense and a deep look into a country where children simply disappear, never to be found. Relevant and timely, this is a story that needs to be read and talked about.”
Allyn, Local Mum

"I recommend The Lies We Were Promised by Rachel Ivan to Local Mums. Rarely does a story grip me to such an extent I actually miss my train stop on my daily boring commute! Immersive, exciting, and heart-wrenching, Lies We Were Promised is the debut novel from Rachel Ivan. Set amidst the murky world of child trafficking, the author deals with a difficult subject matter with ease and finesse, tackling the almost unthinkable fear of every parent on the planet.

"The story is centered around Kerensa Oldfield, a 27 yr old accountant who lives a quiet life in London with her mother and younger brother embarking on a quest to find her estranged father, Kaian. A missing lineage that haunts her recurring dreams she is driven to find him. Long in the planning with meticulous research from a newspaper advert, she embarks on her mission.

"Kerensa arrives in Chennai en route to Nagercoil, her father’s native place. The sights and sounds of India enthrall her. Eager to absorb all that is around her we follow her journey with page-turning anticipation. We find Kerensa’s maiden voyage to Nagercoil filled with tribulations from the very first journey onwards. Upon arriving at Amma’s guest house she encounters Vivien the owner and her son Samuel both intriguing characters with intriguing back stories. From here onwards all is not what it seems.

"An enigmatic character called Aruna befriends her, and the plot deepens. We are witness to brave Kerensa befriending enthralling characters along her journey who subsequently lead her into the murky world of locally trafficked children. Chance encounters with locals who hold very closely dark secrets grip the reader with force. After a futile trip to Chennai Kernesa finds herself battling the trauma of a short spate in Pulyam Prison. Here we find our protagonist bonding with fellow women, also wrongly imprisoned. The evocative descriptions of the prison transport the reader to another unimaginable situation.

"Wrongly accused of a crime she had not committed, Kerensa desperately seeks a way out.The reader can empathize with the earnest quest of Kerensa to search for her father through the author’s eloquent depiction of her thoughts and fears. Rachel uses descriptions so vivid that we can easily feel Kerensa’s plight from the very get-go. Kerensa displays her intuition and emotional warmth to draw the reader in. The author’s characterization is so well-rounded and the prose is beautifully written. In addition, what touched me more was the full description of the sights and sounds of South India, an elixir for the soul at a time where none of us can travel evoking such beautiful memories for me so vividly. She weaves skillfully between scenes and characters seamlessly. Each chapter is from the viewpoint of different characters which hastens the pace of the plot. The interwoven stories are entrancing and carry the reader along a torrent culminating in an explosive crescendo. The story is so multi-layered and intricate, it is compelling reading.

"I have loved reading this enthralling story of intrigue and social injustice and can highly recommend reading this.Now I am avidly awaiting a sequel. Enjoy this unputdownable debut novel."

Nagini Cambampaty, The Asian Chronicle

New Thriller, just out...

The Lies We Were Promised by Rachel Ivan

Rachel spoke to us about what led her to write the lies we were promised… 

"I always wanted to write. When my daughters were small, I cobbled together a few pages of a story that went nowhere, so I filed it away, never to see the light of day again.

"The idea for The Lies we were Promised came to me over a year ago whilst watching a harrowing BBC news report about children who have been stolen from their families in India. Trafficking is a universal problem that sadly affects everyone, in every corner of the world. 

"I remember a story my husband Rubin had once told me about his cousin Chris, who was coerced into a car by two strange men on his way home from school one afternoon in Chennai, India. He was just eight years old at the time. A chance to escape only came when the men unexpectedly stopped for petrol at a gas station and he managed to quickly sneak out of the back seat and get help. The story has a happy ending - Chris is now a bank manager in the US and is married with three beautiful children.

"The Lies we were Promised highlights the story of Kerensa Oldfield who travels to India to search for her missing father Kaian, however is shocked to find herself captured by an underground trafficking gang. Thrown into a squalid Indian jail, she loses all hope…"

Read Rachel's book to find out what happens next...

Rachel Ivan
The Lies we were Promised - a novel, by Rachel Ivan on Facebook

"I highly recommend Fritha's Summerthe People's Book Prize finalist by Susan Morris. This is a gripping read for the young and not-so-young. I bought this for my friend's daughter but couldn't put it down after reading the first page. The story is a classic old-fashioned adventure with all the excitement and drama you would expect. However the book also deals with family break up and dysfunctional relationships. The author paints a beautiful palette of the Cornish countryside, so familiar to anyone who has holidayed there. But this is no sickly-sweet tale of sandcastles and ice-creams. A great book for 8 - 11 year-olds. Pure escapism for older readers!" 
Kathy McGuinness, Local Mum of four

Fritha's Summer by Susan Morris

Eleven-year-old Fritha tells this story of how she and her two brothers are taken away from their suburban home by their scatty mother Min. They end up living in an apparently deserted caravan in Cornwall, with no electricity or water. The children meet a boy from a far distant country who is involved in a dangerous intrigue.

For Fritha and her family this is a time of secrets and discoveries which will test their loyalty to each other; by the end of the summer their lives will not be the same again. 

Extract from the book:
The low branches of trees nearly met overhead; it was beginning to get dark. Min drove slowly because the lane twisted and turned and then the engine started making the same choking noises as before.

We stopped in the end just where the verge widened and there was room to push the car onto the grass. It was easier this time, without traffic rushing past.

“So,” Min said, when we’d finished shoving, “that’s it then!”

“We’re not staying here?” Ric said in horror, staring round at the low gnarled trees, and at the gorse and the brambles trailing over the hedge on the far side of the lane.

“Yes,” said Min, she sounded tired. “We are. For now we’re staying right here.”

A recent review:
I really enjoyed this book, and that the storyline was gripping. Every night in bed I would look forward to reading it. My favourite character was the smallest, Tol, because whenever I read a bit about him he made me laugh! My favourite scene was when they were trapped underground. It starts with excitement for the main characters, which is always good in books. The names were pretty unusual, but this is an important thing. When I am reading books I find I come across names I have heard before, and sometimes if I know people with that name the pictures in my head get a little twisted!

To sum it up, I loved Fritha's Summer! I hope that you find my review useful, and I also hope that Fritha's Summer  will soon be at the top of every bookshelf. Meg (10)

Buy Fritha's Summer now in paperback or Kindle edition

Contact the author to visit your school:
Susan Morris
Fritha's Summer 

"I highly recommend The Beta Mum: Adventures in Alpha Land by Isabella Davidson to all Local Mums. This is a great novel for new mums, especially those embarking on the new world of nursery drop offs and school gate politics. The trials and tribulations of poor Sophie (The Beta Mum) with the mean yummy mummies of Notting Hill (Alphas) will make you feel a lot better about any school-gate nerves or being snubbed by the playground cliques. This is a light-hearted, page-turning novel that cleverly manages to take a knowing, honest look at mum politics while still being charming, hugely entertaining and very funny. Well-crafted plot and good characterisation from Isabella Davidson who has definitely been there! A great read for the new term.”
Sarah, Local Mum


"I highly recommend The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collins. I love this story as it makes me feel really Christmassy but this book is a bit different as the characters are Teddy bears. Children have been reading this story for over a hundred ideas but I like the new pictures in this story. I love reading it every night as we get closer to Christmas, especially Christmas Eve!”
James, Age 7

Published by NurseryBox, The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collins is a modern animal-themed take on classic tale Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore. Children will love the story of a family of bears who are awaiting the arrival of Father Christmas and his troop of flying reindeer on Christmas Eve. It’s a fantasy tale that has delighted children of all ages across the centuries, remaining as popular a Christmas favourite today as it was back in the 19th Century, and one that parents will enjoy reading to their little ones just as it was read to them when they were young.

The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collins (NurseryBox) is available in hardcover, priced £4.99, and eBook versions priced £1.49. For more information visit


"I highly recommend Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle. This book was very good. I think both girls and boys would enjoy it as, although it's about spies, girls would love it like me. I also found the pictures very amusing as well. I found the characters brilliant and all very different. Nick and Tesla were quite serious but Silas and Demarco were so funny! I found Tesla was rather like me. The style of writing was very high-tech with all sorts of spy gadgets, which was really exciting. There is a great ending but I don't want to give it away. When I read this book I didn't realise it was the third in a series so now I want to read the other two!"
Sophie, age 9


Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle
Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle is an adventure story based around two siblings who like to solve mysteries. Aimed at 10+ it has a unique interactive element and is full of things for children to make to take part in the story and, comes with complete and easy to follow instructions. 

These adventurous siblings, with a knack for science and electronics, have found themselves in trouble yet again in a whole new mystery. The third instalment of this critically acclaimed series features a new captivating story and a whole range of inventions for aspiring spies to build. 

As we join Nick and Tesla on their latest adventure they have discovered a spy searching for secrets in the home of their beloved Uncle Newt, the brilliant inventor. To expose the mystery agent Nick and Tesla must engineer all kinds of outrageous contraptions from code wheels and fingerprint powder to spy cameras and burglar detectors. 

This uniquely interactive book is filled with step by step instructions and diagrams so that readers can easily join in and build the gadgets as they go through the story. For the crafty and those who just enjoy a good adventure there is something for everyone to enjoy in the Nick and Tesla series. 

For more information and to order this book:
ISBN: 9781594746765

Price: £9.99 PB 
Pub Date: 06/06/2014

"I recommend Eric, the boy who lost his gravity. I really like this book. I get angry at my little brother sometimes and I wish I could fly away like Eric. It's really cool what happens to him!"
James, age 5


An entertaining tale ready to float off the bookshelves! Kids won’t be able to put it down!

Eric builds up a head of steam as he becomes more and more annoyed by the antics of his little sister, Alice-she’s always messing with his stuff, and when he gets mad at her, his parents blame him! Things come to a head when in a particular fit of pique, a furious Eric floats up to the ceiling. Unable and unwilling to heed his parents’ orders and pleas to come back down, Eric makes his way out a window and into a nearby tree. At first he feels empowered by being free of his family, but when his lack of gravity starts to pull him toward the lonely ether, he asks for, and gets, help. Eric gains some appreciation for Alice along the way, and a view of how she always wants to be just like him (especially when she shows a bit of gravity-defying temper herself!).

Author: Jenni Desmond.
Publisher: Blue Apple (Random, dist.),
ISBN 978-1-60905-348-2

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