Blog Tour – The Reading Group by Della Parker

I am absolutely thrilled to be hosting today’s stop on The Reading Group blog tour. I love the concept of this – each ebook novella focuses on one of the five women who are part of a reading group and the classic novel they are reading that month reflects what is happening in their lives. Della has created a modern version of each classic within each story. So without further ado I will share my review of each of the first three novella’s in the story and introduce you to the characters…

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What’s The Reading Group About?

Meet the Reading Group: six women in the seaside village of Little Sanderton come together every month to share their love of reading.  No topic is off limits: books, family, love and loss…and don’t forget the glass of red!

The Reading Group Book 1 – December

The Reading Group December

Grace knows that the holiday season is going to be different this year.  No turkey, no tinsel, no gorgeously wrapped gifts under the tree…how on earth is going to break it to her little boys that Christmas is effectively cancelled? And can she bear to tell anyone her embarrassing secret? Enter the Reading Group: Grace’s life might have turned upside down but there’s no problem they can’t solve.

Number of pages – 17

My Thoughts

In this first instalment we meet Grace an the Reading Group’s book of the month is  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Grace is married with triplet son’s and she is currently going through a difficult time financially and personally as one of her sons has cancer. Like Ebenezer Scrooge, she has no choice but to cancel Christmas this year.

This is the shortest in the series and Della has effectively, in a few pages, created the setting and introduced the characters and the dynamics between them. I couldn’t wait to get reading the next novella in the series.

A story about not keeping your problems to yourself and the power of friendship, Grace learns to open up about her problems and discovers she is not alone and Christmas may end up being magical rather like at the end of A Christmas Carol.

Published on 1st December 2016 by Quercus.  Price: Free.

The Reading Group Book 2 – January

The Reading Group January

Anne-Marie has always considered herself a bit of a matchmaker – never mod that she’s only go one real success under her belt.  And this year she’s determined to up her game: Little Sanderton’s singles could certainly benefit from her expertise!

But while Anne Marie thinks she knows what’s best for everyone else, her own life couldn’t be less of a fairytale romance.  Between looking after her cranky father, and running her own business, she doesn’t have tome for a relationship.  Her friends in the Reading Group know better through: after all, love can be found in the most unexpected places…

This January the Reading Group is tackling Jane Austen’s Emma…but who’s got time for reading when romance is in the air?

Number of pages – 95

My Thoughts

In January the Reading Group are reading Jane Austen’s Emma and the story centres around Anne Marie.

Again Della has brilliantly crafted a modern version of a classic as we follow Anne Marie setting up her dating agency with disastrous results. This is a really feel-good novella that had me laughing out loud (and getting strange looks from my husband!).

Despite Anne Marie having quite a privileged life – her father is successful and ensures she doesn’t want for anything – she is very likeable and has a kind heart. Despite the brevity of the book Della really gets you to the heart of the character and the setting and it felt like spending time with a friend. I got totally wrapped up with Anne Marie and her story and this was a really delightful read.  I finished the book looking forward to reading the next instalment.

Published 1st December 2016 by Quercus.  Price: 99p.
The Reading Group Book 3 – February

The Reading Group February

Kate has tried to be a good wife to Anton.  Ever since he got demoted at work – answering to a woman no less – Anton simply hasn’t been the same.  Kate wants to help, but as the months pass and Anton pulls away from her both emotionally and physically, Kate can’t help but feel a bit abandoned.

Then Kate meets Bob: the handsome, blue-eyed carpenter that Anton has hired to refurbish their kitchen.  Kate instantly feels a powerful physical connection between them…but dare she risk her marriage for a man she barely knows?

This month the Reading Group is enjoying Lady Chatterley’s Lover…and trying no to giggle too much at the naughty parts!

Number of pages – 95

My Thoughts

In February the Reading Group are reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence and the story centres around Kate.

Kate’s intimate relationship with her husband has taken a downward turn since he was demoted at work. When Bob the builder (no not THAT Bob the builder!!!) turns up to re-model their kitchen Kate cannot help but be attracted to him. As her long held beliefs on love are challenged, Kate struggles to keep her marriage going and discovers that what she thought was love may not be in fact the case.

The similarities between Lady Chatterley’s Lover are all there – the difficulties in the intimate side of Kate’s marriage, the class differences and hope that true love can conquer all. This instalment of The Reading Group moved me as Kate struggles to understand her feelings and worries about her marriage. Despite the themes of infidelity and the breakdown of a relationship, Della has again managed to incorporate delicious bites of humour that all adds to fully immerse the reader into the story and makes it a really enjoyable read.

The characterisation is great and by this book I felt as much a part of the reading group as the people I had been reading about. I really loved finding out more about the different members of the group and getting to know them on a personal level.

This is a great series – fantastic if you want a light, humorous read and I love the concept of the stories mirroring those of classic novels. While I love a classic novel they are not for everyone and this series is a great way for people to access those timeless stories who may otherwise may not read the originals. I’m really looking forward to the next novella in the series.

So, grab a cuppa and some cake, turn off your phone, get cosy and spend an afternoon with The Reading Group.

Published on ebook 1 December 2016 by Quercus.  Price 99p.

I adored the first three books in this series.  Della has created wonderful characters that you can identify with and her writing totally immerses you into each individual story.  While they include serious issues for each character, Della adds humour throughout that makes each story more enjoyable.  A huge thank you to Della Parker and Alainna at Quesrcus for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and for the copies of the first three books.

Introducing The Characters

Grace (December)

Grace has five-year-old triplets, serious money problems and a husband who doesn’t do stress very well. In another life she would have been an artist.

‘Yes. Scrooge is a bit close to home. I thought…well I thought I could blag it through tonight. But I can’t.’

Anne Marie (January)

At just twenty-one, Anne Marie is the baby of the group. Blonde and bubbly, she has a penchant for organizing (she thinks). Less charitable people would call it meddling.

‘I’m going into the matchmaking arena. I shall run speed-dating events in the village. There are plenty of singletons in Little Sanderton. How hard can it be?’

Kate (February)

Beautiful Kate, who has no idea how attractive she is, builds websites for corporate clients and longs for a family.

‘Love is just how I thought it would be. I’m just not interested in other men any more.

Jojo (March)

Jojo is the matriarch of the group. She worries about her size and wishes she had more self-esteem. Sometimes she feels like she needs these women a lot more than they need her.

‘Step One of my Three Step Feeling Better Plan is to eat cake. I think we’ve done Step One, haven’t we, Angel?’

Serena (April)

Headmistress Serena is bossy, wears owlish glasses, loves literature, and freely admits that she calls everyone ‘dear’ to save remembering their names.

‘Is anyone listening to me? How about if I say sex. Yep, that’s right. Sex, sex and more sex. Sex glorious sex!’

Join the online Reading Group!!!!

You are invited to join the #ReadingGroup on 2 December 2016 at 4pm on Twitter.  Hosted by the fantastic Rebecca at @beccasbooksUK join me, @DellaGalton and @QuercusBooks to celebrate the launch of this great new series.  I’m really excited about this and hope to see you there!

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