Cover Image: War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm

War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm

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Member Reviews

I never tire of reading wartime sagas and though each are along similar themes, they each tell a different story. I have enjoyed many of Rosie Clarke's sagas in the past and I knew this one would be no different. And despite being in the middle of the Harpers' series and Mulberry Lane still having plenty more tales to tell, she still has time to pen yet another exciting new series from another perspective.

Beginning in Cambridgeshire in March 1939, Lizzie Jackson and Tom Gilbert had been stepping out together for some time that everyone thought they would eventually marry. But growing impatient with Tom's seemingly unhurried approach to ask for her hand, Lizzie makes a grave mistake which sends her running off to London but not before rumours start to spread about her. Tom is devastated as well as furious though his pride will not see him run after her until he has time to think things through. But it wouldn't matter if he did for Lizzie left in such a hurry she left no forwarding address. And when she did finally write to her mother, she gave only a box number to reply to leaving no clue as to where she may be living.

Meanwhile Lizzie arrives in London on her savings in search of lodgings that she can afford and a job in hairdressing. Luck is on her side when she responds to the advertisement for a lodger with the Salmons and soon befriend the family - mother Vera, daughters Annie and Jeanie and their father Bob. She spoils them with her baking and soon it feels like the family she never had, for her own mother is a cold fish who seemingly hasn't cared much for her daughter since the death of Lizzie's father as a result of the Great War twenty years ago. But with the Salmons, life is good.

Life gets even better when she finally lands her dream job in an enterprising hair salon which would allow her room to compete in hair styling competitions and her boss Sarah sees a promise in Lizzie she sees fit to nurture her into a senior stylist. Life couldn't get any better. Except that she misses Tom dreadfully.

Then one day, she receives a letter from him with just a few words asking them to meet. She is so excited she pens her reply naming a day, time and place...and eagerly awaits the following Sunday when she will see him again and they can finally talk about what happened. And maybe even plan for the future. Dare she hope that he forgives her?

But those plans a scuppered on her way to the cafe. A face from the past. A reminder of her mistake. A kiss in the street. The lips that say one thing while the eyes speak something else entirely. A slap to the face and tearing herself away, Lizzie hopes she isn't too late to meet Tom. She waits for over and hour but he doesn't show. She returns home devastated. Maybe he hasn't forgiven her after all.

Meanwhile back at Blackberry Farm, Tom has returned furious at himself for being taken in by Lizzie once again. He puts himself back to work in the fields, taking out his anger on the strenuous job at hand before returning for supper and bed. But his mother Pam is wise to her eldest son's ways and knows something is amiss. She wheedles it out of him and offers him her words of wisdom which Tom agrees makes more sense than his own way of thinking.

But time waits for no man as the threat of war looms ever closer and men are signing up before the government conscripts them to where they see fit. And as the menfolk head off to war, the women are left to keep the homefires burning and the country running. In London, one of Lizzie's new friends Jeanie decides to become a Land Girl and ends up being sent to Blackberry Farm. Lizzie reassures Vera that Jeanie will be well looked after with the Talbots as they are good people and soon the families become close friends.

But through it all, Lizzie wonders will she ever see Tom again? War does not discriminate and he could be gone in the blink of an eye. Is she too late to tell Tom she's sorry and for them to have a future like they planned? Or will she fall victim to the evil planning of Ralph Harris who sees it as his mission to seek his revenge on Lizzie and Tom?

There is so much more to this story that I have not even touched on but I will leave that you, the reader, to discover for yourself. An easy read, WAR CLOUDS OVER BLACKBERRY FARM will delight you and warm your soul as you curl up and imagine yourself in Vera's or Pam's kitchens by their ranges enjoying hearty meals and good conversation.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in this promising new series and cannot wait to see what happens next. WAR CLOUDS OVER BLACKBERRY FARM is a delightful tale filled with heartwarming characters, as well as a couple of not so likeable, and the combination of two families in the face of war. There is plenty of scope for backstories to come alive in future additions to this series and the bridging of the gap between the city and the country in the face of war. There were a few things that had yet to be tied up by the end of this story, which I hope we will see come to fruition in the next installment.

Like I said at the beginning, I never tire of wartime saga stories such as these and I eagerly await the next installment just as Lizzie does for any word on Tom.

Perfect for fans of historical fiction, particularly wartime sagas, and those of Pam Howes, Nancy Revell and Lizzie Lane.

I would like to thank #RosieClarke, #Netgalley, #BoldwoodBooks and #RachelsRandomResources for an ARC of #WarCloudsOverBlackberryFarm in exchange for an honest review.
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War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm by Rosie Clarke is a charming historical novel opening in Britain in 1939 as war is approaching.
The action alternates between Norfolk and London. Both have a community spirit that is warm and welcoming. The countryside residents work together to ensure the farms still run. Land girls from London arrive too.
Dreams keep us pressing forward. As we follow a character, we witness her strength and tenacity to pursue her dream and to press forwards.
The characters are well drawn, likable and realistic. Their love and care reach beyond the pages to envelop the reader.
There is also an air of menace – not just from the war but on the home front. The reader reads with intrepidation and a rising heart rate.
War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm will delight the reader as we escape for a few hours to the Norfolk countryside.
I received a free copy via Net Galley from Rachel’s Random Resources. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.
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War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm is a new series from the author and it is another fabulous historical fiction set in 1939.

Blackberry Farm is a delightful sounding farm where the Talbot's, a hard-working and well-respected family in Cambridgeshire. Tom and Lizzie have been together for a while, but one night something happens that leaves her embarrassed and she decides to leave the village and try to find a job in a London hair salon. She falls on her feet when she finds not only a job but also a wonderful family to stay with.

The Salmon's are another close-knit family who is welcoming and Lizzie soon finds herself feeling welcomed. She finally decides that she needs to confront what happened in the past come what may. She needs to know if Tom will accept her explanation as to what happened and if there is a chance for a future between them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in this new series. It didn't take me long to work out the characters and their roles in the families. Working between the city and the countryside brings different views and of course ways of living.

As the war is becoming more definite, people are thinking towards the weeks, months ad possible years to come. Some men sign up, others decide to wait to be called and some will apply for exemptions to work in their job. As the inevitable begins, wounded men are starting to return, women are thinking of training to be nurses as well as becoming land girls.

Bringing two new families means that I get to know a whole new set of characters. There are some glimpses of backstories and of course, not all the characters are nice to meet. The way the families live and work is laid out well and the mentions of foods and especially cakes sound amazing. I did like how the author used the soon to begin war as a way for her characters to make use of what they have while they have it.

I liked the contrast between the city and the country and how well the author bridged the gap between the two and also how the families become connected. I was gutted when I realised I had gotten to the end of the book. I did that whole thing of swiping back a page, and forward again, then back again before it sunk in that I had actually got to the end.

This is a book for those readers who like historical fiction and romance, for sagas and women's fiction set in the early days of WW II. A brilliant opener to the series and one I would definitely recommend.
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A nice easy read with good strong characters living a chilled relaxed life in the country. Until, Lizzie makes a mistake and that starts a chain of events that set her on a path to self exploration. Then the war that is in the background comes to claim some mention for soldiers, so we follow them too. 
I found it good but I wasn't really gripped by the story and found the ending a bit rushed. 
Many thanks to Netgalley for the free ARC book for an honest review.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. 

“Another fabulous start to a series”

I have loved reading the previous books by Rosie Clarke and was really looking to this new saga. I wasn’t disappointed. 

It starts in 1939 in the London and Cambridgeshire area, England. 

The story is about everything Rosie’s books are, family, friendship, love, loss, hope. How the war affects those that help fight it and those that are left behind,

The characters Lizzie and Tom are separated by personal, and outside  circumstances. But even still, there’s a passion that is still between them. 

But, will these two characters and their loved ones come together and be there to look after each other, find the strength to carry on. 

Or is the war going to rip everything apart……..  

Highly Recommend This Book.
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I'm so pleased to begin another series of books by Rosie Clarke . This one is set just at the beginning of the war. Tom works on his family farm and is going out with Lizzie . He has never told her he wants to marry her so she doesn't know what to think of his true feelings. Being a naive girl she is coerced into the car of a local man,she thinks it's only for a kiss but it turns out to be more.
Her actions cause her to move to London and find a job at hairdressing leaving Tom behind. We learn of her life in London and Tom's life back on the farm. 
A great start to what I hope is a series. I love the family living on the farm but with war started the men have to leave to fight and who knows who will return and who won't.
Rosie Clarke writes really good books and this is another one of them. Loved it.
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I’ve only read one of Rosie Clarke’s books before and I loved it. This one was just as enjoyable and I throughly enjoyed. Being the first in a new series I am looking forward to reading the others in this series as the ending finished quickly and I really want to know what happens next. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
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Thank you to Net Galley and Boldwood Books for the chance to read and review this book. The opinions expressed are my own.
This is the first installment in a new series by Rosie Clarke. I really like her Harper Girls series so I wanted to read this story. This story involves two families that are living during the start of the war. Lizzie and Tom have been together for a long time, but Lizzie makes a big mistake. She moves away, and Tom stays on Blackberry Farm. Even though they are split up, they still love each other. This is the story of how they get back together. I did not find this story to be as good as the Harper Girls, but I enjoyed it. I would recommend this story to all Historical Fiction fans!
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A new delectable series by Rosie Clarke...yes, please!  This book is set during the Nazi reign of terror in 1940s England.  The war is the backbone of the story and we read details of men going off to war, leaving futures in question.  Clarke writes about secrets, families, romances, choices and tragedies.

Main characters Lizzie and Tom are in love but are separated when Lizzie goes to London to work.  A few reasons contribute to the chasm in their relationship but they keep thinking of one another though they are living separate lives.  My favourite character is Pam.  I look forward to getting to know her and others better in subsequent books.    The historical details and twists are written in beautifully.

Readers of Historical Fiction will want to jump into this series.

My sincere thank you to Boldwood Books and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this delightful book.  I wonder what the next will hold?
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This is the second novel by Rosie Clarke that I’ve read and I enjoyed it as much or more than the first I read, in the Mulberry Lane series.  The author is a master/mistress of world-building, creating the 1939 world of Cambridgeshire and the farming Talbot family, as well as of London, where Lizzie Jackson, our main character, moves.  The hard-working farming world of the time is described in detail, as is the working world of London.  The fens and drier land, and the difficulties of farming each.  are well- explained.  Lizzie and Tom Gilbert, step-son to farmer Arthur Talbot, have been seeing each other for some time and love each other, but the malign actions of shady businessman Ralph who assaults Lizzie interrupt their relationship.  Lizzie moves to London and finds a room in the loving home of Vera and Bob Salmons, working as a hairdresser. Her daily commute, the gas explosions in the area, and the world of the hair salon world in London, are well-described.  I could visualize it all.

There is so much more to this engaging story, but most enjoyable for me is the way Ms. Clarke builds the warm and loving worlds of the Talbots in the country and the Salmons in London.  There is an underlying love of family and friends portrayed that is very uplifting, despite the challenges in each life. As well, the changes in Britain, city and country, at the beginning of the war, are informative and interesting.  For instance, that the hogs could no longer be used by the Talbots to feed their family directly as government logging and accounting of livestock was instituted was interesting, as were petrol rationing and sandbagging to avoid damage in London.

I loved this book and am so thankful to #Netgalley and #Boldwood Books for providing me with an ARC.  I can hardly wait for the next book in this series. It’s off to a wonderful start.
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Tom and Lizzie

Love, and Life on the home front, a story of wartime romance. This is the story of Tom and Lizzie, two young people in love dealing with life and the uncertainties of a war. It is the story of mistakes and forgiveness, of the ups and downs in the lives of young people growing up during this time in history.

Lizzie and Tom were always together and everyone thought they would eventually marry. When a horrible mistake sends Lizzie running off to London it appears that will not happen. Only the power of love and forgiveness can bring the two back together again, but will one spiteful person spoil it for them?

Two families the Salmons family and the Talbot family are dealing with the approaching war and its consequences on their families. When Lizzie boards with the Salmons family and works in London she befriends their daughter Jeanne. When war breaks out Jeanne joins the land girls and goes to work on the Talbot farm. Both the Salmons and the Talbots have a son serving in the war. The two families become close friends.

The story is about these two families and how they are there for their children and help them to find their way in life, even in times of trouble and war.

I love Rosie Clarke's books, they always are filled with a loving family and leave a warm and cozy feeling when reading them. Good clean reading and a wonderful story. I would recommend this book.

Thanks to Rosie Clarke, Boldwood Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy for my honest review.
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A brand new series by an author whose books I am familiar with having devoured her Mulberry Lane series.This is another wonderful historical saga which takes place in the city of London and in the county town of Cambridge shire.
   WW2 is at its very beginning and its affects are being felt in the English countryside and in its cities.  I do not want to give away any of the story, but expect emphasis on family, female friendships, overcoming adversities,  love. having hope and gaining strength from each of these.I really liked the female characters of Lizzie. Pam and Vera.
   I would like to thank NetGalley, Boldwood Books and the author Rosie Clarke for the opportunity to read and review this book which publishes on November 4, 2021
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This book was sent to me electronically by Netgalley for review…it is a quick read about family dynamics in the midst of wartime England…the characters are mostly sweet and loving…caring…a few are abhorrent though…I enjoyed this story and hope there is a sequel because it ended abruptly…I thought that maybe  some pages were not sent to me…there was no conclusion…other than that, I had a pleasant experience reading about the characters…
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Oh wow what a brilliant book I loved it from page 1.
It's set around places I know really well as I live near march and Ely. I can just see lizzies hair salon and the farm in my mind and they are just how I would want them to be.
Please let there be a sequel I need to know if Tom and John get home safe and start the families they want.
I read this in a couple of days it was that good thank you Rosie keep writing these brilliant books and I will keep reading them.
10 stars all the way xx
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This book made me laugh, cry, shout out no, then read and read. Just loved it.
I do hope there is another as I had so many questions about all the characters still unanswered at the end.

All the characters were so real, I could just picture them. And it was easy to follow who belonged to which family and their connections. 
Look forward to the next one.
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With grateful thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest opinion. 
Having  read most of this authors  books as they are such a delight  and this new series is absolutely  brilliant.
Fresh new place new characters  and a new tale to follow what's not to love, this new series is definitely  going  to be a very big winner I can highly recommend  this wonderful  read.
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This isn’t the kind of book I normally read, but I was interested to read about Cambridgeshire during war time since my own family farmed in this area. I must say it was a fascinating read! The descriptions are vivid and you really get a sense of rural life during wartime. The characters are sympathetic and I was quickly engrossed in the story. A great read!
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War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm by Rosie Clarke is a wonderful WWII-era historical fiction saga that is the first, in what I expect will be, an excellent new series. 

I am so excited for this new series! I absolutely love Ms. Clarke, and have truly fallen in love with her Mulberry Lane and Harper’s Emporium series, so I knew I had to start this series from the very beginning. 

This starts 1939 in the Cambridgeshire area/ London, England. It is a story of family, friendship, love, loss, hope, and how the war is only just beginning to affect the every day citizen whether in the town center or in the country village. 

Lizzie and Tom are separated by personal and external circumstances. Despite these mountains, there is a passion and love that burns  bright. Will these two people and their respective families find one another, and draw from each other for comfort and strength, or will this war tear everything down?

I won’t give any more of the plot away as not to spoil it for future readers. 

This is a must read for anyone that loves historical fiction. Such a gem!!!!!

5/5 stars 

Thank you NG and Boldwood books for this beyond wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. 

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately ( as of 9/19/21 no BB listing has been created, links will be added when it is updated) and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.
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War Clouds Over BlackBerry Farm by Rosie Clarke

A great read in the first of a series by Rosie Clarke. Tom a reliable farmers son working on the family farm in rural Cambridgeshire and Lizzie a hairdresser from the village . They are in love and whilst keen to marry, are in no immediate rush to do so.
One night something terrible happens to Lizzie , and things change.
Can't wait to find out more about this wonderful tale
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Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of one of my favourite authors.
What a brilliant start to a new series if you love family saga and war books you will love this. The joining of two families during the war highs and lows.
Can't wait to read more
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