Book Review: Together Again by Milly Johnson

Milly Johnson books are always popular in Rosa’s Box of Romance. As soon as one is returned another customer nabs it to read so you can imagine Rosa’s and the witches’ excitement of being invited to her blog tour for her newest novel, Together Again.

Scroll down to see whether it reached their high expectations

Book Review: Together Again by Milly Johnson

Together Again By Milly Johnson

Title: Together Again

Author: Milly Johnson

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Release date: 3rd March 2023

Blurb

Together again after years apart, can they find a new beginning? The brilliant novel full of laughter, love, tears and hope from the Sunday Times bestselling author Milly Johnson.

‘This masterpiece honestly describes the strength and acceptance required to be a family. 5 STARS’ Adele Parks, Book of the Month, Platinum magazine

Sisters Jolene, Marsha and Annis have convened at their beautiful family home, Fox House, following the death of their mother, the tricky Eleanor Vamplew. Born seven years apart, the women are more strangers than sisters.

Jolene, the eldest, is a successful romantic novelist who writes about beautiful relationships even though her own marriage to the handsome and charming Warren is complicated.

Marsha, the neglected middle child, has put all of her energy into her work, hoping money will plug the gap in her life left by the man who broke her young heart.

Annis is the renegade, who left home aged sixteen and never returned, not even for the death of their beloved father Julian. Until now.

So when the sisters discover that their mother has left everything to Annis in her will, it undermines everything they thought they knew. Can saying their final goodbyes to Eleanor bring them together again?

Together, Again is the story of truths uncovered and lies exposed, of secrets told – and kept. It is a novel about sister helping sister to heal from childhood scars and finding in each other support, forgiveness, courage and love.

Thoughts From the Emporium

Wow! Everyone agreed this book took them on an emotional and unexpected rollercoaster. Many tissues were needed.

None in the Emporium have had easy childhoods but Eleanor Vamplew was something else with her narcissistic traits. As with all Milly Johnson’s characters, the sisters had depth, individuality and were relatable making their journeys more impactful. It was refreshing to see a dysfunctional family dealing with the death of a toxic parent rather than one that is loved and it gave a realistic depiction of the fallout and guilt the grief brings.

Told in the different sister’s point of view, it was easy to see how the sisters’ relationships broke and how they need each other to heal and reconcile. Each member of staff latched on to a different sister dependent on their own life experience, age and personality. Once married Rosa connected to Jolene for more reasons than her doing Rosa’s ideal job, workaholic Willow related to Marsha and Amber felt for the youngest sister. They all agreed they couldn’t put the book down. When Annis’ secret was finally revealed it sent them reeling and showed how siblings can have different childhoods despite the same parents and childhood home.

Milly’s warm humour, quirky observations and ability to offer hope to readers while taking them through some hard hitting storylines shone in this book making it one of their favourite reads.

This powerful, emotional but ultimately uplifting read will resonate with many providing them with feeling of being seen.

It has already triggered many conversations in store and provided a platform for the friends to share their of own childhood scars so they could get support to heal. While this novel has less romance and darker themed* than normal, it’ll still go into Rosa’s box and will be a hit in the small lending library.

*That said Milly Johnson’s never shy away from all types of life experiences women find themselves in so has touched on some hefty topics already in previous novels. Within her twenty books, there is at least one that hits the reader and says this one’s speaking to me.

Author Biography

Milly Johnson

Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. She is the author of 20 novels, 4 short story ebooks, a book of poetry and a Quick Reads Novella (‘The Little Dreams of Lara Cliffe’) and was an erstwhile leading copywriter for the greetings card industry. She is also a poem and joke-writer, a newspaper columnist and a seasoned after dinner speaker.

She won the RoNA for Best Romantic Comedy Novel of 2014 and 2016, the Yorkshire Society award for Arts and Culture 2015, the Romantic Novelist Association Outstanding Achievement award in 2020 and the Richard Whiteley Award for Inspiration to the County of Yorkshire in 2022.

She writes about love, life, friendships and the importance of community spirit. Her books champion women, their strength and resilience and celebrate her beloved Yorkshire.

Website http://www.millyjohnson.co.uk

Twitter @millyjohnson,

Instagram @themillyjohnson,

TikTok @millyjohnsonauthor

Facebook @MillyJohnsonAuthor

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Book Review: The Ghost in Ivy Barn by Mark Stay

The staff at the Enchanted Emporium were thrilled to discover an advanced copy of the third book in the Witches of Woodville series on the bookshelf, thanks to Random Things Tours. Arguments ensued about who would be the first to read The Ghost in the Ivy Barn but Willow won. There are advantages to being the boss.

Scroll down to see if this book matched the joy of the previous books, The Crow Folk and Babes in the Wood.

Book Review: The Ghost in Ivy Barn by Mark Stay

Book cover for The Ghost of Ivy Barn by Mark Stay. Predominately blue cover of a rural village landscape with a bright light coming from a barn.
The Ghost of Ivy Barn by Mark Stay

Title: The Ghost of Ivy Barn

Author: Mark Stay

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: YA, fantasy, witchlit

Release Date: 7th July 2022

Blurb

August, 1940.

 As the Battle of Britain rages overhead, a warlock leader from the Council of High Witches comes to Woodville with a ritual to repel the imminent Nazi invasion. The only catch is it involves full-frontal nudity on the White Cliffs of Dover. The Witches of Woodville are having none of it, but when more witches arrive they realise they might have a spy in their midst, and it’s up to Faye Bright to uncover the traitor.

But she’s got enough on her plate already with the ghost of a Polish Hurricane pilot who may hold the key to the truth.

Thoughts From The Emporium

The witches didn’t think this series could get better, but they were wrong. This is the best book yet – full of humour, magic, betrayal and murder, with a slight inkling of romance between Faye and Bertie.

Like the others in the series, there is a strong sense of place – not only in location but in time. The reader is immersed in the village life which continues despite the increased threat from the Nazis invasion and they feels the collective responsibility people had. Everyone was expected to do their bit for the war effort, witches included.

Amber was excited to read about Faye Bright’s evolving powers and the surprising effects it had on the others, while Willow was hoping the antics of the trio of Woodville witches wouldn’t give her own mentee ideas. Charlotte, Mrs Teach and Faye are witches and women to aspire to with their individual quirks, self-awareness and strong views. There is a witch for everyone.

The dialogue and bickering between the characters allowed their personalities to shine and the more you get to know the witches and the side characters, the more they are loved. The introduction of new witches, including the nudity loving Mrs Housego and formidable Vera Fivetrees added to this book’s charm.

The ghost in the barn and the surrounding mystery added to the tension. With highly visual and creepy scenes, Amber, Willow and Rosa kept reading to see how this thread fitted in with the rest of the story.

Though this novel could be read as a standalone, these events lead on from those in book 2, Babes in the Wood and readers would gain more enjoyment if they read the series from the beginning and watch the relationships and story develop.

This gripping book showcases superb word building and imaginative plot twists perfectly blended with humour and community of times past. Despite the dangers the characters face, this series provide an ideal escape from reality. The Enchanted Emporium bookshelf considers them to be some of the best examples of witchy literature and they appeal to a range of ages. Rosa can’t wait until her son, Alejo, is old enough to read them.

Mrs Marley (one of the Emporium’s resident ghosts) is currently listening to the audio version and is pleased it continues to be narrated by Candida Gubbins.

Just in case you need more tempting to try this series, watch this unique unboxing of the new books

The best unboxing video to tempt you to read 📚

Author Biography

Photo of author Mark Stay.
Mark Stay

Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben
Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at markstaywrites.com.

A huge thank you to Random Thing Tours for inviting us to this tour and providing an advanced copy for the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf.

Other blogs on this tour
7th July Ramblingmads @ramblingmads
The Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf @kakenzie101
8th July
Mai's Musings @maitaylor01
11th July
Hair Past A Freckle @karlou
No More Grumpy Bookseller @BeckyLeJeune
12th JUly prdg reads @prdg
13th July Jo's Book Blog @tiny_ickle_jo
14th July Bookshortie @Bookshortie1
Beyond The Books @ShazzieRimmel
15th July Over The Rainbow Book Blog @JoannaLouisePar Random Things Through My Letterbox @annecater
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