Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Vineyard by Karen Aldous

What They Say:

It’s been five years, and Lizzie Lambert has decided it’s time to try to make things right with her estranged mother. She’s made a success of things in Cannes, she’s bringing up a lovely little boy on her own, and she’s ready to put the past behind her.

But it seems Lizzie’s mother has moved on as well. She’s moved her toyboy – a muscle-bound vintner named Cal – into the family home, and given him the run of the land that was meant to be Lizzie’s inheritance!

Cal’s wine business frequently takes him to France, and suddenly wherever Lizzie goes, he’s already there – meddling, giving unsolicited advice, saving her little boy’s life and stealing her heart. But none of this changes the fact that he’s her mother’s lover…

What I Say:


I would like to thank Carina and Karen Aldous for sending me a copy of this in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Another cover I absolutely adore fits perfect with the book.


We first meet Lizzie when she returns to England to see her mum after disappearing 5 years earlier, this doesn’t turn out well and they end up arguing.  She meets Cal who she presumes is her mum’s partner and despite their obvious attraction is determined that nothing will happen.


Back in France, Lizzie seeks refuge with her friend Sophie for a couple of days, on returning to Cannes, she is confronted with her ex Anton who is determined to see their son Thierry, especially when he sees Lizzie speaking to Cal, he assumes they are an item.  Anton is intent on causing trouble for Lizzie.  Add this to Lizzie finding out her mum has cancer and the book is a roller coaster of emtions for both Lizzie and us as a reader.


Lizzie I liked, if at times I wanted to shake her and get her to see what a really lovely, gorgeous man Cal was.  Karen wrote a load of great characters in this book, Caroline and Michael, Sophie and Charles, all these characters could easily have a book of their own.


To find out all the ups and downs of Lizzie’s life you must read this wonderful debut from Karen, absolutely great.  It also tackles cancer with Caroline and how both she and Lizzie come to terms with it.


Great debut.


5 out of 5 stars

Interview with Karen Aldous

Hi Karen and welcome, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by Cometbabesbooks.

Can you tell us about your book?
Hi Jo, thank you for inviting me. Yes of course. The Vineyard is a contemporary romance set in Kent and Cannes in the south of France. My main character Lizzie has made a new life for herself in Cannes after running away from an unhappy life in England but when she makes a return visit to build bridges, she is surprised by the turn of events and, a certain, gorgeous man who starts to influence her. Lizzie has a lot to deal with and her story is a journey of despair and drama but one from which you will watch her grow.

What are your future book plans?

I’m on a digital first, two-book contract with CarinaUK – who are a year old this week – Congratulations CarinaUK!! So, I am writing my next novel with them which has another stunning setting on the Swiss Riviera but is a bit more sinister, or paranormal but, I love writing about strong independently minded women who have pretty difficult challenges to face and, so, I want to keep writing them – forever!

Can you tell us your inspiration to become a writer?

That’s a good question! You know when you read something and think, I could write better than that – and then you try, and you discover, actually you can’t! That was the moment I think, as a teenager. I’ve always loved reading so, from then, I began reading with questions in mind about how I would write my own and it developed from there. Many authors have inspired me like Jilly Cooper, Barbara Taylor-Bradford, Jill Mansell, Freya North, Fiona Walker, Leah Flemming, Victoria Hislop - the list could go on.

What books do you like to read?

Mainly contemporary romance from such talented authors mentioned above. I loved Pride and Prejudice too, it’s just got everything. So a pacey read with a good sense of place or relationship with the past to present like The Ghost House, Helen Phifer, The Silver Locket, Margaret James, The Glass Painter’s Daughter, Rachel Hore. I’ve just read Call Nurse Millie, and Jean Fullerton has captured the East End post-war era beautifully. There are probably hundreds of books/authors I would like to read still though.

What does your daily routine involve?

When I’m not looking after my grandchildren or my website business, I get down to the business of writing, I’m learning social media is distracting and trying to limit the time. So my writing time is usually a few hours in the ‘quieter days’ and in the evenings and weekends.

Are any of your characters based on people you know?

No. I might extrapolate characteristics, traits or mannerisms but no, the characters take on a life of their own. Once they’re in my head, I imagine how they react to something or what they might choose or how they say something. I suppose each character has a role to play and if it was based on someone you knew, you’d be tempted to take their reaction rather than your characters.

Do you like it quiet when you're writing or do you need background noise? (Music or TV)

I don’t need background noise but I often like to listen to music when I’m working. I find it can help with the mood of a scene and provides inspiration.

If one of your books was made into a film/TV series, who would you like as the leading lady/man?

Jessica-Brown Findlay or Emily Blunt for Lizzie and Jude Law for Cal.

Do you have a process for planning your books? Ie do you talk over an idea with a friend or a partner.

As a process, I make an outline or synopsis and then break it down several times until it’s in a sort of time-line of scenes. Yes, I find it useful as I’m forming ideas to bounce certain bits off say to my husband, daughter or friend or if something isn’t working, I ask for their perspective and it can be quite helpful to get a fresh eye on a situation.

Thank you for coming on cometbabesbooks today!

Jo xx

About The Author

I like to read about an individual’s journey or path they have ventured. I’m often inspired though humbled, by people’s stories and achievements. That’s why I’ve written my own writing journey. It’s interesting how others have followed their hearts and overcome obstacles, just like the characters I enjoy reading and writing about. My story whilst unique, is not particularly significant but, some may be inspired which, for me is reason enough to give it.
There was never much reading material around when I was younger, apart from school reading books and a few Enid Blyton, which were soon devoured, so in my junior school I would wander off to a library near my school and find a different world. Just the smell of paper and books was inviting but the covers, the colours, the options; story books, picture books, poetry books, dictionaries and, in later years, biographies. However, I then joined the book club initiated by schools and bought my very own books; Stig of the Dump, Silly Verse for Kids – they’re fond memories of my new-found autonomy.
My first attempt at writing was for ‘girls’ magazines such as Jackie andJudy; letters mainly. Then I sent off a story to Loving and, a few years later toPeoples Friend. I remember the rejection coming through from Peoples Friend but not the exact reason. All I know was I was a much more sensitive little soul then and hadn’t quite grasped the concept of rejection nor, keep trying!
The writing bug was not going to go away though and, in my early twenties, inspired by reading Jilly Cooper and BC (before children), I began a novel. God knows what happened to that! AC (after children), whilst in hospital after an operation, my mum bought me Cosmopolitan Magazine and the writing articles re-ignited further attempts with writing but busy with the three children and working, there was little energy left. To help my writing, I graduated with the OU achieving BSc (Hons), majoring in Psychology but included literature.
Both disciplines gave me an insight and confidence to help my writing but children were becoming adults and in supporting them to build their futures it gave me more strength and belief that I could build my own. I began writing my novel but, it wasn’t until 2011, when my mother had been going through treatment for Breast Cancer that it made me realise that you never know what’s around the corner. Yes, a cliché I know but, it drove me to get my arse into gear!
In January 2012, I went on-line and joined the Romantic Novelist Associations New Writers Scheme, which I’d thoroughly recommend and, a day later, joined a lovely local writing class called ‘The Write Place.’ Both these groups provided me not only with encouragement and support, and, of course their expertise, but the social network writers need. The New Writer’s Scheme offers a critique service for its members, which is invaluable because an expert is reading your work and guiding you through ways to improve your novel. What more could a novel writer want?
Later that year, I attended the Festival of Romance in Bedford where I had a meeting with an editor who had previously read my first chapters. She asked me to send in more which I did and in 2013, CarinaUk offered me a two-book contract.
As for the friends and support I’ve gained along the way, we meet weekly and have guest authors, agents and attend RNA events in London and around the country meeting lots of published authors, publishers and agents as well as those waiting to be published. We also stay in touch daily through social networking online. So I hope those who like to write have gained some insight into my real world and those who love to read will engage in my fiction world knowing more about me. Now what about you. I’d love to hear your stories whether writing or reading. 

Tell me about you on my blog or visit my facebook page





  1. This sounds like a really great book, I definitely want to read it!

  2. Thank you so much, I hope you enjoy it! x

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