I was lucky enough to meet Helen at my first ever signing, she was at the table next to me and took me under her wing. First signings are scary places and having someone there to calm you nerves tell you that you are doing okay and give you tips and pointers makes the experience so much better. I met people there who I will be friends with for the rest of my life.
Helen was originally known for her paranormal romance series, The Night Movers Vampire Series.
I did do a review of this book which you can find here, but if you would rather look it up on Amazon you can find it here. I have to admit I loved this series, it is paranormal romance with a twist of dark humour, my all time favourite scene involved a Russian vampire and some sheep, and no I won’t tell you, read the book and I challenge you not to giggle.
It is hard sometimes to review friends books as it is assumed you will be biased but that really is not the case, very few of my author friends have even read my published works so far (unless it has been in anthologies), simply because I have not yet published in genres they prefer to read. I have read books by some friends I have not reviewed because I really wasn’t that into a book, but I would rather pass criticism privately knowing how hard it is to get sales in the first place. I just want to make this clear at the start of this series so you know that if I recommend books I really mean it, I don’t recommend books just because I am friends with the author.
The paranormal romance series sold well and it would have been easy for Helen to simply continue with this genre but there was another story in her head which would become both controversial and addictive.
This is an unusual love story, two people from totally different backgrounds come together to overcome trauma’s, heartbreak, and an age gap in a beautifully crafted love story.
I did mention that this book is controversial and I think it is only fair to address that, the main reason that people find this uncomfortable to read is the background that Tess comes from and the subplot dealing with child grooming rings. This is actually something that was a big issue over here, if you want more background on that you can look at articles like this or the drama on Netflix Three Girls but be warned to have tissues ready. There are some who have attacked Helen claiming that it is racist to include this part of the storyline however, the Rotherham scandal which inspired her to tackle this issue is not an isolated one and there has been one in my own home town that has seen thirty-three men and two women also prosecuted and jailed. No one is saying that sexual assaults, or grooming are only perpetrated by one culture, offenders come in all colours, ages, sexes and backgrounds, but the fact this was a big new story at the time the first book was written is the reason that Helen selected this angle and the fact that she knows people who were directly involved in the aftermath of the suffering of some of these victims gave her greater insight.
It is a testament to Helen’s writing that the majority of people can not only acknowledge the uncomfortable truths of the first part of this story but that they also become so invested in what is a complicated love story between the two main characters. The age gap is vast, and you will see that the situation between growing feelings and actions is dealt with sensitively.
I did of course review this book and you can read it here, or grab yourself a copy on Amazon here, I should note that some books say they are only available in paperback currently but this is because Helen has recently hooked up with a new editor and they are just going through them before you see more releases from her. The highly anticipated part four to the Runaway Trilogy, technically part 3B is due out his summer and I am one of those nagging for it’s completion.
If you want to find out more about Helen you can find her Facebook page here and I highly recommend joining her readers group too. She can also be found all over social media and will be attending the Books On The Beach signing in Blackpool this summer alongside myself and some of the other authors you may meet here in weeks to come.