Category Archives: Historical

Spotlight – Christmas At Woolworths by Elaine Everest

Today I am over the moon to be shining the spotlight on a new gorgeous Christmassy historical adult fiction book, Christmas At Woolworths by Elaine Everest.

Christmas At Woolworths was released on the 2nd November published by Pan Macmillan and is set to get you in the Christmas mood.

So today I am shining the spotlight on this fab book and fab author in a spotlight post….

About The Book

Even though there was a war on, the Woolworths girls brought Christmas cheer to their customers

Best friends Sarah, Maisie and Freda are brought together by their jobs at Woolworths. With their loved ones away on the front line, their bonds of friendship strengthen each day. Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love . . . Until a mysterious stranger turns up one day – could he reignite a spark in Betty?

As the year draws to a close, and Christmas approaches, the girls must rely on each other to navigate the dark days that lie ahead . . . 

With so much change, can their friendship survive the war?

You can buy a copy of this book here or from your local bookshop

Or why not add it to your Goodreads shelf here

About Elaine Everest

Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.

When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.

Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can been sitting in the naughty corner.

You can find out more about Elaine on her Facebook page – here

Or why not follow Elaine on twitter – @elaineeverest

Blog Tour

You can follow or catch up on the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read any of Christmas At Woolworths?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  What books do you like reading in the run up to Christmas?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Eloise Undercover Bibliography/Research by Sarah Baker

I am always captivated by stories set in the war especially WWII so when this little gem dropped on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago I was super excited!

Eloise Undercover by Sarah Baker was released on the 7th September by Catnip Books and I literally cannot wait to get started!

And today I have the lovely lady herself sharing some research and recommending some books in this fab guest post!

France, 1944. 12-year-old Eloise’s father has not come home in over a week, and she is getting worried that something might be badly wrong. When the Germans occupy Eloise’s town, and the Nazi Kommandant moves into Maison de la Noyer, things start falling apart. Through a chance meeting, Eloise volunteers to join the Resistance. Suspense, secrecy and danger follow her as, inspired by her favourite detective fiction books, she tries to find her father. A hidden passage behind a tapestry, a deportation list and a race against time… Will Eloise find her father? And what other secrets will she reveal?


When it came to Eloise Undercover, I wanted to get the setting right, or as right as possible. I did an awful lot of research on the internet, spent quality time at the Imperial War Museum, asked my Dad many, many questions (he’s an unofficial WW2 expert) and read a fair few books. Here are some of my recommendations, or a further reading list, if you prefer.

You’ll note some are reference books and others are YA, middle-grade or younger.  They’re not in any particular order. I recommend them all.

Sisterland by Linda Newbery

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose by Annette Dumbach & Jud Newborn

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Last Train From Kummersdorf by Leslie Wilson

Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden

The Lion and the Unicorn by Shirley Hughes

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis

The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett

The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett

The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall

Land Girl Manual, 1941 by W.E. Shewell Cooper

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

The Heroines of SOE (Britain’s Secret Women in France – F Section) by Squadron Leader Beryl E. Escott

The Snow Goose by John Gallico

What do you think? Have I missed an important read? What books set during WW2 would you recommend?

ELOISE UNDERCOVER by Sarah Baker, out now in paperback (£6.99, Catnip)

You can buy a copy here or from your local bookshop

About Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker is a children’s writer based in London. Her previous book, Through the Mirror Door, has been very well received by bloggers, bookshops and readers. Sarah has worked extensively in film, with roles at Aardman Features, the Bermuda Film Festival and as Story Editor at Celador Films. She writes guest features for a number of online magazines and blogs, including the popular #vintage baker finds pieces for Bristol Vintage. ELOISE UNDERCOVER is Sarah’s second novel.

You can find out more about Sarah Baker on her website –

Or why not follow her on twitter – @bysarahbaker

A huge thank you to Sarah for a fab guest post and to Laura at Catnip for asking me to host.

Have you read Eloise Undercover  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  Are there any WWII books that you would recommend?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – My 8 Favourite Historical Novels by Dawn Farnham

Today I am super happy to be part of the blog tour for a new historical fiction book published by Monsoon Books.

The Red Thread by Dawn Farnham is the first book in The Straits Quartet series and is a brilliant Asian Historical Fiction read.

Today I have the author herself sharing some of her favourite historical fiction books….

Set against the backdrop of 1830s Singapore where piracy, crime, triads, and tigers are commonplace, this historical romance follows the struggle of two lovers Zhen, a Chinese coolie and triad member, and Charlotte, an 18-year-old Scots woman and sister of Singapores Head of Police. Two cultures bound together by the invisible threads of fate yet separated by cultural diversity.

Favourite 8 Historical Fiction Books 

My novels are set in Asia so instead of going through all the usual and more recent suspects (a la Mantel), I would like to offer your readers and bloggers a few perhaps lesser known or older ones set in East and Southeast Asia.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck 

Perhaps she is somewhat forgotten now but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a great read. It won the Pulitzer in 1932. She won the Nobel in 1938.  All her books set in China are worth re-finding.

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

He’s a marvellous writer. Not strictly historical but he tells the story of foreign meddling in Vietnam and its consequences better than any history book.

Red Sorghum by Mo Yan

A splendid writer, also winner of the Nobel prize.

Shogun by James Clavell

Flawed and probably historical nonsense (so the Japanese say) but he tells a good tale.

Waiting and War Trash by Ha Jin










I love almost everything by him.

Roshomon by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Classic Japanese tale transformed into many movies.

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

Conrad set many stories in Southeast Asia where he spent a long time as a sailing man.  Beautiful writing and compelling stories.

You can buy a copy of The Red Thread here

The Red Thread is going to be FREE on Amazon from 17th – 25th September

Or why not add the book to your Goodreads here

About Dawn Farnham

Dawn Farnham is the author of The Straits Quartet (The Red Thread, The Shallow Seas, The Hills of Singapore and The English Concubine), as well as numerous short stories, plays and children’s books. A former long-term resident of Singapore, Dawn now calls Perth, Australia, home. Her new book, Finding Maria is published in October 2017. Learn more about Dawn at

You can also follow Dawn on twitter – @farnhamauthor

Or on Facebook here

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops

A huge big thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and to host this fab piece and to Dawn for writing it.

Have you read The Read Thread?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

Today, 7th September 2017, is the publication day of the wonderful Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls and I am over the moon to be kicking of the blog tour for this amazing book with the opening chapter of the book!

Things A Bright Girl Can Do tells the story of three girls, Evelyn, May and Nell, caught up in the Suffragette movement and has had rave reviews already!

So sit back, relax and read this extract from the opening chapter…

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?


You can buy a copy of Things A Bright Girl Can Do here or from your local bookshop!

You can find a previous Q&A with Sally on Tales here

About Sally Nicholls

I was born in Stockton-on-Tees, just after midnight, in a thunderstorm. My father died when I was two, and my brother Ian and I were brought up my mother. I always wanted to write – when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to say “I’m going to be a writer” – very definite.

I live in a small house in Oxford with my husband and little boy.

You can find out more about Sally on her website –

You can follow Sally on twitter – @Sally_Nicholls    

Blog Tour

You can follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge big thank you to Harriet at Andersen for asking me to be part of and kick off this fab blog tour and to Sally for such a fab book! 

Have you read Things A Bright Girl Can Do?  Did you enjoy?  What do you love about historical fiction?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Magical Mystery Tour by Mark Huckerby

Today I have a fab guest post from one half of an awesome dynamic writing duo of a brilliant MG Fantasy series, Mark Huckerby.

Defender Of The Realm: Dark Age was released on the 1st June and is the second book in this brilliant series and I am SO excited to read it!  I was a huge fan of the first book in the series and it left me craving more!

Praise for Defender of the Realm

Defender of the Realm was longlisted for the 2017 Branford Boase Award, and shortlisted for The Brilliant Book Award Nottingham (February 2017) and  Stockton Children’s Book of the Year (March 2017).

Entertaining, gripping and full of action and plot twists”  – Sunday Express 
“A thrilling mashup of history and fantasy”  – Kirkus Reviews  
“Defender of the Realm is unashamedly fun!”  – Derek Landy, author of Skulduggery Pleasant

You can find my review of Defender Of The Realm here

Praise for Defender of the Realm: Dark Age

“Brilliant sequel to Defender of the Realm a fabulous fantasy for children and adults alike” –

Ravenmaster HM Tower of London @ravenmaster1

So sit back and relax and let Mark share his love of ruins….and some cute baby Mark pictures too……

After the great battle at King Alfie’s coronation, the nation thinks it’s seen the last of the Black Dragon, and Alfie gets busy learning what it means to fill his father’s shoes. But when a band of undead Vikings appears, Alfie, Hayley and the rest of the Yeoman Warders fear that Professor Lock is back to finish what he’s started. 
For the epic battle that’s brewing, Alfie will need to enlist help from abroad, as well as from a mysterious new friend who seems to be watching over him…

Magical Mystery Tour

I love a good ruin.

One of my earliest memories is of clambering all over the walls of the 900 year old Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire while my Granddad looked on. A little later, I used to plead with my father to take me to Bodiam Castle in Sussex every weekend; I was convinced that in some forgotten tower I would somehow find a sword that a medieval knight would just have, I don’t know, left lying around. Corfe Castle in Dorset was another favourite and yep, I really thought I might stumble upon a suit of armour tucked away behind the gatehouse as I explored.








It’s become kind of a cliché to depict kids as groaning with boredom as they’re dragged off around castles, abbeys and stately homes by their parents but I honestly loved it. It simultaneously ignited a passion for history and fired up my imagination. Thinking about it, there’s a direct link from my childhood to the Defender of the Realm series that I’ve written alongside my writing partner, Nick Ostler. It’s allowed me to indulge in my twin loves of history and fantasy and combine them, just like I did when I was young.

When Nick and I write, we often talk about the formula of “something true + something new”. It spawned the central idea of the book:  “what if the kings and queens of Britain were secretly superheroes, sworn to protect Britain from monsters and super villains?” The ‘something true’ part of the formula is of course the real history of Britain and the ‘something new’, well, that’s where dragons and stinking zombie Vikings come in. So in the secret history of Defender of the Realm, the Great Fire of London in 1666 was of course started by a dragon and the Spanish Armada was sunk by a giant squid. Dur, as if you didn’t know.

We’ve also applied the formula to the locations in the book, giving iconic British landmarks an enchanted twist as they’re inducted into our fantasy universe. In the book, the Tower of London is of course the home to the Crown Jewels, well the fake ones for the tourists anyway. It’s below ground in “the Keep”, the Defender’s secret base, that the real magical goodies are kept and guarded by the loyal beefeaters. Buckingham Palace is still the home to the monarch, but we’ve added a magical supersonic state coach that runs through a secret tunnel all the way to the Tower of London and the underground base.  Edinburgh Castle is (really) built on the plug of an extinct volcano that of course isn’t so dormant in the fantasy world of the book.

In Defender of the Realm: Dark Age, the second in the series, we’ve had the pleasure of adding yet more locations as we build up our world. Undead Vikings are the slightly whiffy new villains and, are attracted back to the places their forebears raided a thousand years ago, looking for gold. Two cities with Viking history, York and Cambridge feature heavily. One of my favourite chapters takes place on Lindisfarne. Also known as Holy Island, it sits just off the coast of Northumberland and is the site of a lonely monastery and wind-swept castle. In the book, it’s home to a Roderick “Sultana” Raisin, a semi-retired beefeater, secretly charged with keeping a look out from Britain’s coast for supernatural threats. And let’s just say old Sultana is the first UK citizen for a thousand years to get up close and personal with a Viking…

And there’s a personal connection here, too. When I was little, I visited Lindisfarne abbey and castle with my grandparents. I clambered over the walls and probably hoped I’d stumble upon a knight’s rusty gauntlet or at the very least, a secret room leading to a magical world. And thirty years later, writing this book, I kind of got my wish.

Defender of the Realm: Dark Age by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler published by Scholastic is out now.

You can buy a copy here or from your local bookshop!

You can find my review of the first book in the series, Defender Of The Realm here

About Mark Huckerby & Nick Ostler

Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler are Emmy and BAFTA-nominated screenwriters best known for writing popular TV shows such as Danger Mouse and Thunderbirds Are Go! 

You can find out more about Mark & Nick on their website

Or why not follow them both on twitter using @huckywucky and @nickostler

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

A huge thank you to Lorraine at Scholastic for having me as part of this fab tour and to Mark for a brilliant guest post!

Have you read Defender Of The Realm: Dark Ages?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go grab a copy?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading and defending the country!

Kredi Kartı ile Elektrik Faturası Ödeme

Elektrik Faturası Ödeme

Elektrik Faturası Ödeme

İnsanların ihtiyaçları doğrultusunda kullanım alanına sunulan en önemli hizmet türü elektrik olmaktadır. Teknoloji ve internetin gelişmesi üzerine elektrikli sistemlerin gelişme alanı çoğalmaktadır. İnsanlar için önemli bir ihtiyaç kaynağı olan elektrik gün içerisinde birçok alanda yardımcı olabilmektedir. elektrik faturası ödeme içerisinde her bölgede olduğu gibi elektrik kullanımı, fatura ödemesi ve borç sorgulama işlemleri önemli olmaktadır. İnternet ve teknoloji ağı elektrik faturası ödeme konusunda yardımcı olabilmektedir.

Belirlenen siteler aracılığı ile kolaylı ve kısa süre içerisinde elektrik faturası yatırma işlemi yapılabilmektedir. İnternet ortamı olduğu kadar bölgeler içerisindeki elektrik faturası ödeme alanları mevcut bulunmaktadır. Belirli gün ve saatler içerisinde işlemini gerçekleştiren bölgeler elektrik borcu ödeme işlemini hizmet dâhilindeki kişilere sunmaktadır.

Elektrik Dağıtım Şirketi

Antalya iline bağlı olan ilçesi için belirli bir elektrik dağıtım şirketi mevcut bulunmaktadır. Değişik bölgeler alanında elektrik, su ve doğalgaz dağıtım şirketleri farklılaşabilmektedir. Akdeniz bölgesindeki Antalya iline bağlı bölgesi için Akdeniz Elektrik Dağıtım A.Ş. belirtilen bölgenin elektrik dağıtımını sağlamaktadır. CK Enerji Akdeniz Elektrik bünyesinde elektrik faturası belirtilen şekillerde internet üzerinden ödenebilmektedir. Aynı zamanda internet sitesi üzerinden de en yakın hizmet noktaları kullanıcıların bilgisine sunulmaktadır.

Spotlight – Michelle Toy In Conversation With Jennifer Niven & Lauren James


Tonight I am doing something very exciting indeed!

It’s no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Jennifer Niven and I am so honoured to have been asked by the lovely Clare Kelly at Penguin to chair an event as part of Jennifer’s UK tour!

I keep pinching myself to check I’m not dreaming.

Of course I agreed and then just to top the icing on the cake I find out it will also be with another of my favourite author, Lauren James, too!

How lucky am I?!

*squeals in excitement*

I’m even on the Waterstones website and everything!


I’ve been busy prepping questions for this fab event and I thought it would be fun to shine the spotlight on the authors and their books a little and find out a little more about them……

Event Information


Superstar authors Jennifer Niven and Lauren James join us for an exciting evening of conversation with Tales Of Yesterday Blogger – Michelle Toy!

They’ll be discussing the trials and tribulations of being a teenager of today, as well as first-loves, mental health and time travel!

Expect plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and some serious business, ask your burning questions and get your books signed.

Jennifer Niven is the author behind the tear-jerkers All the Bright Places and Holding Up The Universe.

Lauren James is the author of the time travelling-romance duology, The Next Together and The Last Beginning.

This event is £3.
(ticket price redeemable against a copy of one book)

To book your seat:
Call: 0121 633 4353
Tweet: @waterstonesbham
Book online or pop in store and speak to a bookseller.

Jennifer Niven


Jennifer Niven lives in Los Angeles. Even though she’s always wanted to be a Charlie’s Angel, her true passion is writing. In 2000, she started writing full-time, and has now written eight books. All the Bright Places is Jennifer’s first novel for young adult readers.  As a companion to the book, Jennifer has created Germ, a web magazine for and run by girls (and boys) — that celebrates beginnings, futures, and all the amazing and agonizing moments in between. @jenniferniven


From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone – and love someone – for who they truly are.

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world – theirs and yours.

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are – and seeing them right back.


Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?

An intense, gripping novel, perfect for fans of John Green, Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, Gayle Forman and Jenny Downham.

You can buy Jennifer’s books here or from your local bookshop

You can catch a Q&A I did with Jennifer Niven here

Or an All The Bright Places Spotlight featuring some fab bloggers here

Lauren James


Lauren James is 23, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Her first novel The Next Together, a YA reincarnation romance, is out now with Walker Books in the UK and has been translated into over six languages worldwide. The Last Beginning was published in October 2016.

She is an Arts Council grant recipient, and is longlisted for the 2016 Branford Boase Award. She lives in the West Midlands. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James or her website  


A powerful and epic debut novel about fate and the timelessness of first love. Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again. Each time their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. How many times can you lose the person you love? For Matthew and Katherine it is again and again, over and over, century after century. But why do they keep coming back? How many times must they die to save the world? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? Maybe the next together will be different.  


Winter, 1940: there is a murderer on the loose at Bletchley Park, the headquarters of Britain’s most daring codebreaking operation against the Nazis. Can two young codebreakers Kitty and Matthew catch the killer?

This standalone short story can be enjoyed by new readers and existing fans of Lauren James’s The Next Together series.

tumblr_o7i0m9jotl1qe8zmko1_250-195x300The epic conclusion to Lauren James’ debut The Next Together about true love and reincarnation. Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation? For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.    



You can buy Lauren’s books here or at your local bookshop


It would be awesome to see you there!

Do tweet @WaterstonesBham for your ticket!

Have you read any of these books or met any of these fab authors before? What questions would you ask if you were chairing the panel?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Wish me luck!


Tales Q&A with Ally Sherrick


Today I am over the moon to have the wonderful author Ally Sherrick chatting about her debut book, Black Powder.

Black Powder was released on the 4th August in paperback published by Chicken House and is a brilliant historical YA fiction!

So today Ally chats about Black Powder, writing and being a debut author in this fab Q&A…..


England, 1605. 12-year-old Tom must save his father from hanging. He falls in with a mysterious stranger – the Falcon – who promises to help him in exchange for his service. But on the long journey to London, Tom discovers the Falcon’s true mission – and a plot to blow up Parliament with barrels of black powder. Tom faces a terrible decision: secure his father’s release, or stop the assassination of the king … 

Hi Ally

 Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday.  I’m so happy to have you here!  The Gunpowder Plot is one of my favourite points in history!  I attended your historical panel at YA Shot and found it thoroughly fascinating.

Delighted to be here! Thanks so much for asking me. And so glad you enjoyed the YA Shot panel event. It was brilliant to be able to talk all things Tudor and Stuart with fellow history geeks, the lovely Jane Hardstaff (The Executioner’s Daughter) and Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil (Black Arts), and all in front of such a great audience too…

Can you tell us a little about Black Powder?

Of course! I’d love to! Black Powder is the story of 12-year-old Tom Garnett, whose father is arrested and thrown into prison for sheltering a Catholic priest. Tom sets out to try and save him and meets up with a mysterious stranger – the Falcon – who promises to help in exchange for his service. But on the long journey to London, Tom discovers the Falcon’s true mission – and a plot to blow up Parliament with barrels of black powder.

Tom is then faced with a terrible decision: secure his father’s release, or stop the assassination of the king …

What made you want to write a story centred on/around the Gunpowder Plot?

Well, first of all, the real-life plot itself is such a great story. It’s full of larger-than-life characters like Guy Fawkes and the leader of the plotters, the charismatic Robert Catesby; atmospheric settings such as the dark, dingy streets of London and the smelly, ink-black River Thames running through the city; and a twisty-turny plot which you really couldn’t make up if you tried.

But my story spark was the ruined Tudor mansion of Cowdray House deep in the Sussex countryside. On a visit to it, I discovered that a certain Mister Guy Fawkes had worked there as a young gentleman footman serving the rich and powerful Catholic Lord Montague. I was intrigued and pretty soon my head was buzzing with lots of what-ifs? What if a young boy on a desperate mission to save his father comes to Cowdray. And what if while there he meets a mysterious stranger bound for London who promises to help him…

Can you tell us a little about the main character Tom?

At the start of Black Powder, Tom Garnett is a young Catholic boy, living on the south coast of England with his mum and dad and baby brother, Edward. He’s looking forward to celebrating his 13th birthday in a few days’ time, but when his father rescues a Catholic priest and brings him home – which is against the law – Tom’s world is thrown into chaos and confusion. Though he loves his family very much and would do anything to protect them, he is also a little selfish and a bit impetuous too.  But by the end of the story, after the many adventures he has, I hope the reader will agree that it is his courage, resourcefulness and belief in the importance of doing the right thing that shine through.

Can you tell us a little about the mysterious Falcon?

Oooh, yes! But I’ll have to be careful not to give too much away. The Falcon’s true identity is one he keeps closely hidden. Tom thinks he’s a smuggler when he first meets him. And he doesn’t give Tom his real name, but instead encourages him to call him the Falcon, because of a bird-headed ring he wears on his little finger. But though he’s very much a man of mystery, he is also brave, strong and single-minded – though not always to the good as the reader and Tom will find out. Oh, and he has a sense of humour too…

Do any characters represent real historical figures from that time or have you used actual historical figures in the book?

My hero, Tom and my heroine, Cressida Montague, are characters I have made up – as are a number of others, like Tom’s family and neighbours. But there are plenty of characters I’ve based on real-life people, including Cressida’s great-grandmother, the Viscountess Montague. And although a number of the characters Tom meets later in the story have false names, they are based on real individuals living at the time of the plot too.  But I’ll say no more in case I give too much away!  For anyone who reads the book though, I spill the beans about who is who in a special section on the history behind the story at the end…

What was your favourite scene to write?

That’s a tricky one – there were so many! But I suppose if you pushed me, I’d have to say the scene where Tom first meets the Falcon in a secret tunnel under Cowdray House.

What was the hardest scene to write?

The hardest scene to write was probably the one when Tom is trying to escape from Cowdray after he’s been locked in his room by the old Viscountess. I wanted him to climb out of his window and shin down a nearby drainpipe – but as I’ve never done something like that myself (!!), I was having real difficulty trying to work out how he’d do it without falling: it’s quite a long way down. In the end I had to act it out in the room I was writing in to be sure he didn’t tie himself in knots

The good news was, no one saw me!

How much research was involved in writing this book?  Did you already know a lot about the subject or did you discover new things along the way?

I think all historical fiction requires a fair bit of research if you’re going to try and get the broad facts right and create as authentic a feel as possible for the period you’re writing. Like most writers of this type of fiction, I used a mix of sources including books on the topic of the Gunpowder Plot and life in Jacobean England and historical documents from the time – some of which are now available online. And I also visited places associated with my story. Cowdray of course, which was my original inspiration. But also other houses associated with the Gunpowder Plotters such as Baddesley Clinton in Warwickshire. I also trod the route that Tom and the Falcon took when they arrived in London – crossing London Bridge (no heads on spikes above it these days!) and walking along Fleet Street and down the Strand to the Palace of Westminster – the scene of the crime and near Guy Fawkes’ place of execution too.

I knew a fair bit about the plot already, having read a fascinating account of it by the novelist and historian, Antonia Fraser (The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605). But there are always things to find out along the way, which is what makes writing historical fiction such fun! And some things, like the ‘ruffler’ – a type of 17th century conman – even made it into the story. Though you have to be careful not to overload what you’re writing with too many facts or it can end up reading like a history text book instead.

What was your favourite or most intriguing historical fact you discovered whilst researching for Black Powder?

Gosh, that’s a tricky one! There was so much I learned on the way. But one thing in particular I found mind-boggling, which was that in the day, because of the way it was built, London Bridge had a set of rapids flowing beneath it. And young men of the daring/foolhardy kind liked nothing better than to ride them in small boats. A sort of early form of white-water rafting I guess. Though apparently quite a few of them drowned in the process and ended up at the bottom of the River Thames – something I have the Falcon tell Tom when they cross the bridge into London.

That is really fascinating!  I have an obsession with the Tower myself!

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Ally Sherrick?

  1. I wanted to be an Egyptologist and dig up mummies when I was at primary school. Hmmm. Come to think of it, maybe I should write a story about that…
  2. My first cat was called Cindy – she was black and white and a bit of a scratcher, but I still loved her (I think!!)
  3. Before I went to university, I was an au-pair for a few months. I lived with a family in the Ardennes mountains in southern Belgium where one of my duties was to feed the family hen, a large, mean-eyed bird called Duchesse, who also had a very sharp beak.
  4. My favourite type of sweet is liquorice – particularly liquorice ‘Catherine wheels’ and pipes.
  5. My favourite book of all time is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. My favourite children’s books are Skellig by David Almond and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.









What is your favourite part of history?

Well besides the Ancient Egyptians, I’m rather partial to the Anglo-Saxons…

Did you always want to write historical fiction?

I thought I might quite like to. But actually, my first full length story – not yet published (never say never!) – was a science fiction one all about a boy and his young brother who live above the last seed bank on earth…

Who is your favourite historical figure?

Hmmm. A tricky one! *Scratches head* I’ve always been rather drawn to Captain Scott of the Antarctic – though now I know more about that other great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, I might be tempted to say him instead. At any rate they were both extremely brave, though some may call them heroic failures…

Do you have any strange writing habits?

Nothing terribly strange, other than a lot of fiddling around with other things (the internet, filing, looking out of the window) before getting on with the actual business of writing. But from what I can make out, talking to other writers, that’s quite a common complaint…

What have you learnt from being a debut author?

That if you want to get published, it’s all about the three ‘p’s. Persistence, perseverance and perspiration. Oh, and a smidgeon of luck too… And then, if you are lucky enough to get a publishing deal, that the hard work continues, but that you can draw lots of comfort from the fact that your publisher is right there alongside you because, like you, they want your story to be the best it can be.

Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

I had several very encouraging and inspirational teachers who believed in me and told me I was a good writer too. And like most writers, I was a real bookworm and read all sorts. Joan Aiken was a particular favourite author of mine. I loved the blend of fantasy and history in stories like her The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. And there was also plenty of dark menace too. You can’t beat a bit of dark menace!


What historical fiction would you recommend?

There’s not been a huge amount of it about for quite a few years, which I think is a real shame. However, just recently a number of stories with a historical setting are starting to come through again, so perhaps things are starting to change? I hope so! History makes such brilliant stories. Of course a number of the great classic tales are still very much available. The likes of Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden and Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian for example. And for slightly older readers, Tanya Landman’s more recent and brilliant Buffalo Soldier about a young runaway slave girl in the American West who joins a regiment of African-American soldiers and goes off to fight in the so-called Indian wars.










Could you tell us a little about what you’re writing next?

Yes. My next story is another historical one, but this time it’s set during the Second World War and follows the fortunes of George Penny, a young evacuee who is sent to live in the Suffolk countryside with a mean relative. It’s a tale of buried treasure, Nazi spies and a plucky hero and heroine doing their best to save the country from disaster. Oh, and there’s an Anglo-Saxon ghost in it too… But if you want to know more, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until Chicken House publish it in spring 2018!

Thank you so much for being here today Ally and answering all of my questions!  Black Powder sounds amazing and your passion for historical fiction had made me smile lots!


Black Powder by Ally Sherrick is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)

Find out more at

You can buy a copy of Black Powder here or from your local book shop

About Ally Sherrick


Ally Sherrick loves exploring ruined castles and decaying mansions and imagining what it must have been like to live in them without electricity and hot and cold running water – although she’s quite glad she doesn’t have to herself!

She has a BA in medieval history and French from Newcastle University and an MA in Writing for Children at the University of Winchester.

She is married and lives with her husband and assorted garden wildlife in Farnham, Surrey. Black Powder is her first novel.

You can find out more about Ally on her website –

Or why not follow her on twitter – @ally_sherrick

A huge thank you to Ally for answering so many of my questions and to Laura at Chicken House for organising.

Have you read Black Powder?  What did you think?  Do you love the Gunpowder Plot?  What do you like about it? Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


Tales Post – Extract from Strange Star by Emma Carroll


I was super excited to be asked by Hannah at Faber & Faber to feature an exclusive extract from the new Emma Carroll book, Strange Star!

Strange Star was released on 7th July 2016 published by Faber & Faber and is set to be a fab MG read!

Strange Star is high up on my most anticipated list for 2016 after hearing about it at the Faber Blogger Day early this year ( you can find all about that day here )

So sit back and relax and be swept away by Emma’s beautiful writing!


They were coming tonight to tell ghost stories. ‘A tale to freeze the blood,’ was the only rule.

Switzerland, 1816. On a stormy summer night, Lord Byron and his guests are gathered round the fire. Felix, their serving boy, can’t wait to hear their creepy tales. Yet real life is about to take a chilling turn- more chilling than any tale. Frantic pounding at the front door reveals a stranger, a girl covered in the most unusual scars. She claims to be looking for her sister, supposedly snatched from England by a woman called Mary Shelley. Someone else has followed her here too, she says. And the girl is terrified.

This breathtaking new book from Emma Carroll, the critically-acclaimed author of Frost Hollow Hall, The Girl Who Walked On Air, In Darkling Wood and The Snow Sister, is a deliciously creepy story inspired by the creation of Frankenstein, and is brought to life by a leading talent in children’s literature.





















You can buy a copy of Strange Star here or from your local bookshop

Or read a guest review of Strange Star by Perdita Cargill here

About Emma Carroll


When I’m not writing books, I’m reading them.  For many years I was an English teacher in a secondary school in Devon. Nowadays, I write full time. It’s my absolute dream-come-true job!

As a child, I wrote stories about ponies and pop stars, though not together. Nowadays it’s called fan-fiction; back then it was just weird.

After school, I worked as a reporter on a local newspaper. From there I went to university to study English Literature. After backpacking around the Middle East, South America, Australia, I did a PGCE in English and became a teacher.

Many years later, I bought myself a lovely big notebook and some new pens. I enrolled on the MA Writing For Young People at Bath Spa University, and got writing again. ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ was started on the MA course. It is my first novel, and took two years and many cups of tea to write.
I live in the Somerset hills with my husband and two Jack Russell terriers.

You can find out more about Emma Carroll on her website  –

Or why not follow her on twitter using @emmac2603




You can see previous posts by Emma on Tales below –

National Transplant Week


Do You Believe In Fairies?

Guest Review of Strange Star by Perdita Cargill

Also a huge shout out to the cover designer of these books Julian De Narvaez!  Beautiful stunning covers indeed!

Check out Andrews blog later this week for a fab Q&A with Emma!

Have you read Strange Star?  What did you think?  Have you read any of Emma Carroll’s other books?  Do you have a favourite?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!


Review – The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson


Caraboo Blog Tour Poster v5

The 2nd July 2015 marks the release day of the historical YA story The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson published by Corgi Childrens.  I am very excited to have been sent a proof copy of this book and been asked to be part of the brilliant blog tour by the lovely Ming ( @raremediumwelldone ).

I am over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book and for my stop on the tour I will be reviewing The Curious Tales Of The Lady Caraboo!

Thank you to both Ming and Catherine for having me on this wonderful tour.


Out of the blue arrives an exotic young woman from a foreign land. Fearless and strong ‘Princess’ Caraboo rises above the suspicions of the wealthy family who take her in. But who is the real Caraboo? In a world where it seems everyone is playing a role, couls she be an ordinary girl with a tragic past? Is she a confidence trickster? Or is she the princess everyone wants her to be? Whoever she is, she will steal your heart…

Publisher – Corgi Children’s

Date Published – 2nd July 2015

Pages – 288 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – UK YA, Historical

Source –

I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful Ming for this blog tour.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you Ming for sending this to me to read!

** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**

I have really really wanted to read some historical fiction this year and as of yet I had not got around to it so when I was offered the chance to read this book I jumped and waved and shouted me me me and got very excited indeed!  I have heard so many good things about Catherine Johnson’s books that I was intrigued and this story seemed really interesting and curious….and since reading it I have to say I loved it!

The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo had me hooked right from the beginning.  It is set in the year 1819 and tells the tale of a wealthy family, the Worralls, who find a lady from a foreign land, Mary Willcox, in distress and decide to take her into their home, help her and want to find out more about her.  She tells them her name is Caraboo and they come to the conclusion that she is a Princess!  Caraboo has good intentions to only stay a couple of days, but as the Worralls become more curious about this mystery lady who speaks a different language and wears different clothes Caraboo becomes more drawn into their world and their family.

From the offset this book had me captivated!  The pages basically turned themselves as I was transported back into the past, loved the story and loved all of the characters.  The writing just flowed on each page and I feel that is a credit to Catherine’s writing style completely.  It never let me go until I finished the book!

I enjoyed all of the characters in the book.  The wealthy family of the Worralls were all so unique in their own ways and it really felt like Caraboo touched the heart of each and everyone of them.  Cassandra, who made me roll my eyes a few times I have to admit, was both adorable and frustrating, but it completely fit her character as the daughter of the rich family.  Nothing really phased her and she seemed to go with the flow, but could be very selfish when it comes to love and dresses!  I still liked her though and her acceptance and caring of Caraboo was so lovely to read.  Okay maybe I have to admit I was lusting over her love interest Will, the innkeepers son, throughout most of the book as he was rather…..lets say distracting *swoons*  You would be good enough for me any day Will!  Then you have Fred, Cassandra’s brother who whilst I couldn’t stand him at the start of the book with his views about women and how he treated them (the 1800’s were obviously a time when rules were deemed very different for men and women on how to behave), but grew on me completely throughout the book …stick with him though he’s definately worth it!

I think one of my favourite characters was Mrs Worrall.  She is completely intrigued by Caraboo which in a way is so lovely to read and see as she wants to understand this lady who is from a different way of life and wants to know all about her and where she has come from although, some of her methods were a little scary to be honest, but in the 1800 these were obviously standard practise including using electric thearpy and the shapes of peoples heads etc.  I felt she was quite proud of Caraboo and even comissioned her portrait to be painted by an artist, but upon reflection maybe saw her as a little experment maybe, but she did have a caring side towards Caraboo.

No book would be complete without a bad guy and poor Caraboo suffers at the hands of a villian quite partial to a drink or two.

Caraboo was just so lovely.  I loved her so much.  She seized the opportunity of being Caraboo rather than Mary Willcox and became very much a free spirit.  I loved the way she spent time on the roof of the house that became her spot and I laughed out loud at one point when she jumps through a window to make an entrance when she’s looking for Cassandra.  Her intentions are good and she seemed to have a good heart and care about the Worrall family.  I could really get the sense of Caraboo’s feelings and how her path in life had not been an easy one.  She melted my heart a little I have to admit.

I loved the relationship that develops between Caraboo and Fred it was so lovely to read.  Fred is initially worried that Caraboo will tarnish the family name and has a feeling she is fooling the family and Caraboo initially, like me, dislikes Fred and often wants to push Fred off the roof and into horse manure which made me chuckle a lot.  One of my favourite parts of the book was when Caraboo and Fred go hunting and experiencing the raw outdoors together.  Whilst Caraboo seems natural with this, Fred most defiantely was not and I just loved the scene as some of the scenarios like Fred falling over into the ash had me chuckling.

Catherine writes a brilliant author note in the back of the book explaining some of the research she did whilst writing this book.  You get a huge sense of the passion and intrigue Catherine had with this story and this curious tale and whilst she stuck to as many facts as possible throughout her story she provides the reader with some historical facts about Princess Caraboo giving reference to some books that are in fact mentioned here when I looked up the Princess Caraboo on google as like Catherine her story and history have intrigued me to do my own mini research.

I read this book super quick as I was that engrossed in the story.  I loved every single page of it!  I will be rushing out to but more of Catherine’s books as if this is anything to go by what am I missing out on?! 🙂

I highly recomend this book to everyone even if you have no interest in historical fiction.  It is a tale of love and kindness and about a lady who is as curious as the books title suggests.

I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books!


You can buy this book, The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo, here

Or why not add it to your to read list on Goodreads here

About Catherine Johnson


Catherine has written lots of books including the award winning Sawbones, and Arctic Hero chosen by Booktrust for Booked up in 2010. She has two grown up children and is a Londoner who lives by the sea. She also writes for film and TV.

Check out Catherine’s website here

Or why not follow her on twitter using @CatWrote

Also check out Catherine’s other books here

The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo Blog Tour

Don’t forget you can catch up of the rest of the Blog Tour for this brilliant book by checking out the stops below!

Caraboo Blog Tour Poster v5

Have you read The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo or any of Catherine Johnsons other books?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go grab a copy?  Have you ever pretended to be someone else maybe?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading….and falling in love with this book!




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