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Alice Raine: A FREE chapter just for you!

Alice Raine (2)

As book 2 of my new Revealed series has just come out I thought it might be fun to write a little prologue to go with the series to help you get to know a little about our heroine, Allie. This wasn’t included in Unmasked (book 1), so it’s an officially a FREE chapter just for you! Enjoy 

Alice x

Kissing Couple all covers new rel

Snowed In


Something was ringing. And ringing. And ringing. Groaning I rolled over in my cosy duvet den and rammed the heel of my hand down on the alarm clock beside my bed, but it was still ringing. What the heck? Usually a swift whack with my hand did the job, but apparently not today. Blinking my bleary eyes I pushed myself upright and fumbled around in the dark until I found the switch to my lamp. Illuminating my bedroom in the soft glow I picked up the alarm clock and stared at it in puzzlement. It was the school holidays today so it wasn’t even set to go off, but it was still ringing … after a few long, slow blinks my brain became marginally more alert and I finally realised that the alarm in my hand wasn’t the source of the noise. The cheerful trumpeting sound that was driving me crazy was actually my mobile phone.

Glancing at the alarm in my hand I frowned, it was 5:34am, who the heck would be calling me at this time? Slamming the alarm down I slithered from the bed, cursed as my feet hit the cold wooden floor, and then looked around for my phone. Conveniently I saw that it was on the dresser by the door right next to where I dumped my slippers the night before. Crossing the room I simultaneously shoved my feet into my warm furry slippers whilst grabbing my phone, clicking ‘answer’ and then lifting it to my ear.

‘…ello?’ My voice was dry and gruff from sleep and barely audible, so I cleared my throat and tried again. ‘Hello?’

There was a symphony of wet, spluttered coughs down the line which caused me to grimace and hold the phone away from my ear before I finally heard someone speaking. ‘Allie?’ Crikey, I recognised the voice as Sarah my best friend, but she sounded even rougher than I had a minute ago.

Shivering I pulled my dressing gown down from the back of the door. ‘Sarah?’ I asked with a frown as I shrugged my arms into the sleeves of the cosy fleece.

‘Yeah, hi Allie.’ She croaked.

‘Blimey you sound rougher than a badgers arse.’ I commented as I made my way through the chilly house towards the kitchen. Brushing my hand along the frigid radiator I grimaced – it was so early the heating hadn’t even come on. Sarah better have a seriously good reason for calling this early.

‘I need a huge favour, Allie.’ My best friend whispered in a low gravelly tone which sounded more suited to a porn star than my best friend.

Propping the phone between my shoulder and my ear I clicked the kettle on and lifted down a mug from the cupboard. ‘I kinda guessed that much, you know, seeing as it’s still practically the middle of the night and you’re calling me. Come on then, what’s up?’

‘I’m really sick.’ More coughing resonated down the line, ‘I was wondering if there was any chance you could cover a shift for me today?’ I was a primary school teacher, Sarah a house cleaner; they aren’t exactly interchangeable careers are they? As if sensing my hesitation Sarah spoke again, ‘Please Allie, I can’t lose this job. I just can’t.’ she begged with a sneeze. Besides the owner of the house is hotness personified.’

Cough, cough, snifffff.

‘He’s sex on legs. You’ll love it. You’ll love him.’

Closing my eyes I stood for a second, literally able to see my plan of a day spent Christmas shopping disappearing before my very eyes. ‘Please?’ she added beseechingly as I felt my resolve crumbling.

‘I don’t know, Sarah, I’m not exactly a professional, am I?’ I argued weakly, knowing full well that I was going to end up doing this bloody job for her in the end regardless of what I said now.

‘It doesn’t matter, it’s just a quick clean round and knock up a casserole. The owners away anyway.’

My eyebrows shot up and an ironic smile quirked my lip, ‘A second ago you were trying to tempt me with the hot owner, but now you’re saying he won’t even be there!’

There was silence at the end of the line, then a wet sniffle which made me roll my eyes. Sighing heavily I shook my head, ‘Go on then, give me the bloody address.’ I acquiesced reluctantly.

‘Oh my god! Allie! Thank you so much!’ Sniff, sniff, cough. ‘If you … come over I’ll give … you the key.’ Her words were broken up by such loud wheezes and coughs I could almost feel the germs permeating through the phone line and held it away from my ear in disgust.

‘Fine. I’ll be over in an hour.’ I replied with a huff. ‘Hot man or not, you owe me big time for this Sarah.’


To find out if Allie does meet the ‘hot house owner’, read the full story in ‘Unmasked’, book 1 of my new Revealed series which can be  found on Amazon now for just 99p!just99

Place Value by Laura Wilkinson

No 2 - dark, seriousThose of you with school age children might be wondering if I’m about to start talking maths – I’m not; it was never a strong point. Place, location or setting in fiction, is. Some readers make buying choices based on place, and stories set in Cornwall and Ireland, for example, have an enduring appeal. Setting is important to me as a writer. One of my novels – Skin Deep, out in early 2017 – came from a desire to write about an enormous sink estate where I lived as a student, so extraordinary was it. Hulme, the area of Manchester where the bulk of the action takes place, was demolished years before the story arrived in my head; years before I began writing fiction seriously. But so powerful was the sense of the place, its character, that it stayed with me.

My latest novel, Redemption Song, is set in a remote, faintly shabby resort on the north Wales coast, close to where I grew up and where my family still live. Although Coed Mawr is a fictional town, it is inspired by Llandudno, as any reader who knows the town will spot immediately. Coed Mawr is almost another character in the book: a horseshoe-shaped bay, lined with candy-coloured buildings, the town nestles between two cliffs jutting out to sea, shielded from the mountain range by the high trees which give the place its name (Coed Mawr translates as HighRedemption Song Final Trees). The town is symbolic of the lead characters’ desires for freedom and escape, and their need to hide away from the rest of the world. Saffron and Joe have secrets; they are ashamed and guilt-ridden; and their secrets threaten to destroy them. They isolate themselves from the community, which they profess to dislike, but close knit places like Coed Mawr have a habit of getting under your skin, and as Joe and Saffron succumb to the charms of the town, and each other, they are forced to confront their pasts, to be truthful, forgiving and open to life and love again. For me, the story wouldn’t have worked in the same way had it been set in a city, London say, or the Bahamas, gorgeous though it is (or so I’m told – I’ve never been). As well as helping to create atmosphere, setting influences action and character. Would the second Mrs de Winter have been so unsettled had Manderley stood on the seafront at Blackpool? I think not.

The landscape of north Wales is stunning in its drama; by turns (and the weather) dark and brooding, picturesque and charming, it is as volatile and passionate as Saffron and Joe.  I hope you enjoy their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Laura has written three novels. Her third, Redemption Song, is published on 28th January 2015 by Accent Press. A fourth is due in early 2017.

If you lost everything in one night, what would you do?

Saffron is studying for a promising career in medicine until a horrific accident changes her life for ever. Needing to escape London, she moves to the Welsh coast to live with her mother. Saffron hates the small town existence and feels trapped until she meets Joe, another outsider. Despite initial misgivings, they grow closer to each other as they realise they have a lot in common. Like Saffron, Joe has a complicated past…one that’s creeping up on his present. Can Joe escape his demons for long enough to live a normal life – and can Saffron reveal the truth about what really happened on that fateful night? Love is the one thing they need most, but will they – can they – risk it?

Redemption Song is a captivating, insightful look at what happens when everything goes wrong – and the process of putting the pieces back together again.

Click here to buy the e-bookRedemption Song Final

And here for the paperback

If you’d like more information about Laura and her work visit:


Twitter @ScorpioScribble

Facebook: Laura Wilkinson Author





Alice Raine: Series comparison, Untwisted vs. Revealed

I love my readers, each and every one of you. Quite simply, you are the reason that I get to do what I love for a living, so a huge thanks for reading, and supporting me on my writing journey. This blog post is for you.

Alice x

Untwisted vs Revealed

As the build-up began to the release of my new Revealed series I started getting lots of questions on my Facebook page about the new series: “Is it similar to the Untwisted series?”, “Are the characters the same?”, “I loved your last series, is the new one them same genre?” I won’t be able to answer them all, but hopefully in this blog I’m going to address five of the main ones that I have received. I’ll also give you a teaser to whet your appetite for the 21st November release date.

Whilst I really hope that my new series will be as well received as the last one, I have made the deliberate effort to change the style just a little bit. Don’t panic, it’s still saucy, but the overall effect is perhaps just a little more light-hearted. It would be a bit boring if it was exactly the same as the last one, wouldn’t it?

Reader question: Is the new series a similar genre to the last one?

 Yes. Although I enjoy writing a variety of genres; youth paranormal, comedy, and romance to name just a few, for the new series I have stuck to erotic romance. It’s a perhaps a little lighter in tone, but don’t worry, there are still plenty of brooding, possessive alpha males around.

Reader Question: What is the theme of the new series?

I like to try and balance my books with a mixture of light and darker themes, and this new series is no different. Without wanting to give too much away, the general themes are love, romance, and the development of hope and trust. The darker, edgier themes are still present, but it would give the story away if I told you exactly what they are, so I’ll just say that there will be plenty of tension, and back stories containing angst, insecurities, and traumatic life events to give the plot some spice.

 Reader Question: I loved the fact that the Untwisted series had a British theme. Are the new books still set in London?

London is one of my true loves, I was born there, and have recently moved back to the area after many years living up North. I really enjoyed using it as the backdrop to the Untwisted series but I’ve decided to branch out a bit this time, so in the new Revealed series we start in the UK, but then venture across the pond to America. More specifically, Los Angeles. I’ve kept some of my British theme by having several strong English characters though.

Reader question: Does the new series feature the Jackson brothers?

The short answer is no, this series is completely fresh, with new settings, plots, and characters. Don’t panic if you were hoping for more from the Jackson boys though, because after this series I’m planning on a series linked to Untwisted, which will be set in Club Twist.

I don’t want to give too much away about the new characters, as there are a few surprises in book one that I don’t want to spoil, but here’s what I can tell you about the Revealed series characters …

Like the Untwisted series, I have decided to feature four main characters, two male, and two female. I enjoy the challenge of writing several intertwining relationships within one story, but more than that, I feel that this strategy allows readers to really immerse themselves into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. For me, it’s all about connection, I want the reader to feel connected and invested in the characters. It would be rather intimate to be a fly on the wall during a personal chat between best friends, wouldn’t it? So I use this approach within these new books, developing two female leads with a strong friendship bond, Allie and Caitlin, who frequently discuss their issues in confidence, thus letting the reader slip inside their personal world as if they too are part of the book.

Reader Question: Have you visited all the places in your books?

As a rule I try to set my books in places that I know, or have visited, so that I can attempt to covey the sights, sounds, smells and feelings accurately to the reader, but obviously this is not always possible.

Using Los Angeles as setting this time had its difficulties, an airfare was out of the question, so I had to rely on my memories of the place from when I was there in 2001. Obviously a sprawling metropolis like LA will have changed significantly in the time since I was there, so I topped up my personal knowledge with several days of internet research. I had a fantastic time putting together a file of road maps, hostel locations, pictures, restaurant menus, cocktail bars and so much more, and hope that this knowledge will make the read far more ‘real’ for the reader.

I hope that has whetted your appetite for the news series!

Alice xx

Small teaser from Unmasked, book 1 of my new Revealed series

This scene occurs just after the female lead, Allie, has become stuck in the countryside in heavy snow.


‘I’m not having your frozen corpse on my conscience. This is my spare room – dry off, warm up,Unmasked and when it’s safe to leave, you can. Not before. No more ridiculous stubbornness, and no more unnecessary risks. Understand?’ This stranger was actually rather imposing, I realised, as I took in his huge frame and steely eyes again. God, he was really tall. His tone and wide-legged stance didn’t really leave any room for refusal, not unless I wanted to get into a slanging match with him which I would no doubt lose. Besides, this warm, dry bedroom was an infinitely better option than my freezing cold car, so, being sensible for once in my life, I licked my lips and nodded cautiously.

‘I’ll turn your car off and lock it. The water supply here is fine because my pipes have frost protection so shower if you like, there are clean towels in the en-suite. I’ve left a hot drink for you,’ he informed me briskly, indicating to the bedside table where I now noticed a mug was sitting. Unable to look away from him for long, I left the drink untouched and turned my gaze back, predictably finding his eyes still on me.

He assessed me for several long moments, as that strange tension seemed to fill the space between us again just like it had when we first met. It felt like static electricity was bouncing between us as the hairs on my arms went into overdrive and stood to attention. Considering how he’d insulted and practically manhandled me earlier, I was still undeniably attracted to this man, and as a result I was now finding it quite hard to breathe as he just stood there, all tall and foreboding and staring at me in silence.

Surely it wasn’t normal for two people to just stare at each other like this? The stupid thing was, I was staring back too, but I simply couldn’t seem to drag my eyes away from him. It certainly seemed to break most of the rules of how to act in polite company, but then again, he wasn’t looking away either, so at least it wasn’t just me who seemed affected by the situation. And I really was affected. My heart was fluttering, I felt shaky, warm, and even a bit sick from the tumbling of my stomach. It was like I’d lost all control over my own body.

He was magnificent. A prime example of masculinity if ever I had seen one. But then he broke me from my wandering thoughts by making a sudden strange, dismissive grunt, spinning on his heel, and leaving. My eyebrows practically rose into my hairline. Charming. He didn’t say another word, just left me sat on the bed blinking at the now-closed door.


About Alice…

Where to start? I’m really a lot more boring and normal than my books might suggest. It 11174737_1583028105309777_2903921655150587639_omay disappoint some to know that I’ve never had an illicit affair with a domineering pianist, nor have I ever met or dated a man who frequented certain seedy clubs in London. I have however always had an overactive imagination, which may in part explain where my stories come from!

I was born and raised in London, and as such it holds a special place in my heart and is often used as a setting within my books. Some of my best times have been spent with friends wandering the markets of Camden or sipping beers in Covent Garden.

When I was eighteen I moved to Manchester to study, where I ended up living for over ten years. Originally I qualified as an archaeologist, but I soon realised that jobs in that sector were minimal and decided to put my enthusiasm to use by becoming a teacher. I taught for over seven years, but now I mostly spend my days engaging my wildly over active imagination by writing. I’ve lived in Manchester, Muscat (Oman) and briefly in France, but currently I’m in the process of moving back to London, a very exciting prospect for me. Where ever I find myself I live with my ever suffering, but hugely supportive husband, and our rescued street dog Ralph.

Connect with Alice:


Twitter: @AliceRaine1

Website: www.aliceraineauthor.com

Book 1 of my new Revealed series – Unmasked – is out on the 21st of November. You can find pre-order links here: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com

Confessions of a Romance Writer: R J Gould

The following heartfelt confessions are an Accent Press scoop © J

Confession Number One: I’m a male. Although not unique, this is highly unusual, because when it comes to the Romance genre, women dominate. Most Romance writers are female, most readers are female, and plots predominantly centre on the female point of view.

Confession Number Two: I’m a coward. When I discovered that what I write is Romance, (more about this later), a couple of agents suggested I use a female pseudonym to increase the chances of getting published. ‘No way!’ I declared with bold pride, ‘readers are going to have to accept me for who I am.’ So that evening I weighed up Rebecca versus Rosemary versus Rachel versus Rita. I liked Rita best, but in the end opted for the cowardly neither-here-nor-there compromise of using R J instead of Richard.

9781783756537_FCConfession Number Three: I did feel a trifle sensitive when Accent Press put A Street Café Named Desire into a Chic Lit Lovers bundle. However, I am comfortable sitting in the Contemporary Women’s Fiction catalogue because I know that the majority of my readers are female. I’m told that the male insight provides them with a thought-provoking new perspective on relationships.

Confession Number Four: Despite female domination of this genre for more than two and a half centuries, the book considered as marking the birth of the modern Romance novel was written by a man. In Pamela (1740), Samuel Richardson, a middle-aged, middle-class man, successfully writes from his beautiful fifteen-year-old heroine’s point of view as she is pursued by her wealthy landowner master. Apparently the author got plenty of advice from his wife and her friend. Maybe I’m the twenty-first century Richardson because my writing is frequently from the female’s point of view and I admit to getting advice from my wife and her friend.

Confession Number Five: I’m not convinced I write Romance. I did get accepted onto the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and I do turn up at the nice RNA Cambridge Chapter lunches, but I think the Romance tag is largely for marketing purposes. If there was a genre called Relationships that’s where my work would sit, but I can’t see that classification ever being adopted because it sounds too much like a collection of self-help and counselling manuals.

Confession Number Six: I never wanted to be a Romance writer. I just write what I want to write and it’s ended up being defined as Romance. Of course, the genre is broad. My characters are either in search of a relationship, struggling to sustain one, or desperate to revive an old one. They’re ordinary people trying to make the most of their lives while carrying juggernaut loads of baggage. There aren’t too many alpha males or females (they’re round about B- or even C+, ‘requiring improvement’ using Ofsted jargon) and there isn’t much lovey-dovey stuff.

9781783756858_FCConfession Number Seven: The reader is meant to laugh when they read my novels. The humour is often dark, covering compulsive betrayals in The Engagement Party (released May 2015); despicable behaviour in the workplace in Jack and Jill Went Downhill (2016 release); attempted suicide in Nothing Man (2016 release); and even a murder in A Street Café Named Desire (released December 2014). My favourite review states: “Gould’s characters are recognisable in an East Enders meets F. Scott Fitzgerald sort of way.”



Caroline Dunford: A Death for a Cause


A Death for a Causesuff

I always vote. Whether it’s a local, general or European election, I’ll be there making my X on the paper. When friends have commented on this commitment to voting – a surprising amount of people don’t bother  – I used to jokingly reply that if I didn’t vote I was sure the ghost of Emmeline Pankhurst would haunt me. However, it was only  when I was researching for the latest Euphemia mystery, A Death for a Cause, that I came to appreciate how very much suffragettes did to liberate British women.

“I used to jokingly reply that if I didn’t vote I was sure the ghost of Emmeline Pankhurst would haunt me.”

On the 6th February 1918 women over the age of 30 got the right to vote. Let’s think about that. It’s less than one hundred years since women have been able to exercise the democratic right to vote. Or put another way, my grandmother wasn’t allowed to vote. As a woman she was not deemed fit. One glance at the news will tell you that there are still plenty of places left the world over where women do not have equal rights to men. In Britain we’re lucky and it is down to the efforts of the bands of women from all classes, who spoke up, marched and protested, that we have the rights we do. They endured imprisonment, permanent health damage from force feeding and even attacks (from both men and women) who did not agree with their cause.

Euphemia is inspired by my Great Grandmother, who left a life of privilege and wealth, after arguing with her father, to go into service. She never returned to her home, but instead married a tobacconist and had thirteen children, all of whom survived infancy. Like her, Euphemia is a strong woman struggling to make a place for herself in a world where the only future for women of her class was either to marry or cast herself on the mercy of relatives.

But in A Death for a Cause, Euphemia, who considers herself liberally minded and an armchair suffragette, is brought up against the reality of the brutality inflicted upon women asking for no more than the some of the rights men automatically gain at birth. She is introduced to a world where women are prepared to smash windows, sabotage telephone exchanges and even set fire bombs in the name of female emancipation. To be fair although the suffragettes did adopt the motto of ‘deeds not words’ there was some division within the ranks of how far it was right to go for the cause.

But for a long time their efforts were in vain. Prime Minister Asquith appeared to simply not take them seriously no matter what they did. He was known as a lover of women (in the literal sense), but the thought they might have equal intelligence to men was preposterous to him.

Women were constantly under-rated. Even when women began to be admitted to the universities, obviously to all female colleges, there were violent reactions from male students. To begin with women might study the same subjects, sit and pass examinations, but they not awarded degrees. Just as women who studied medicine where not, at first, allowed to practise.

It’s difficult for British women today to imagine this, but it’s true. It took an army of strong women to make a difference. We need to take the time to remember them – and always vote!

A Death for a cause




If you’ve been excited about the film Suffragette then you’ll love this new release A Death for a Cause which shares similar themes! Pre-order today or buy tomorrow! Not long to wait! 



My Writing Journey (plus giveaway!)

Jane Jackson (aka Rachel Ennis)

582550_481083335286771_1409959728_nI believe writers are born not made. We have an extra something in our DNA.  I loved listening to stories when I was very small. But I had a younger sister and my parents had busy lives so to get my story ‘fix’ I learned to read when I was four.  The books were board with brightly coloured pictures and three words to a page. But they fired my imagination. All writing begins with reading and I was on my way.

I made a weekly visit to the children’s section of Falmouth library, read my way through the ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven, ‘Mallory Towers’ ‘Black Beauty’ ‘Children of the New Forest’ then moved on to H Rider Haggard, Dennis Wheatley, The Raj Quartet, and Barbara Erskine, and persuaded my mother to take out extra books for me from the Boots lending library above the shop. (Remember those?)

When I wasn’t reading I was writing my own stories. I loved English Lit lessons and acted in the school plays and our village Am Dram company. This helped me understand character and motive.

In my late-twenties, a single parent with two small children and an ulcer, I read even more.  My marriage had failed but I still believed strongly in love. I read Mills & Boon novels by the hundred, discovered favourite authors and analysed what I liked about their stories, their characters. I didn’t know it then but this was a vital part of my apprenticeship.

Then I thought I’d have a go at writing one – as you do. I knew competition would be fierce, so rather than aim for the contemporary market I decided to write a Dr/Nurse (as they were called then) I had worked in the Medical Records Dept of City hospital so was familiar with the terminology. I also bought a medical dictionary and begged back issues of medical mags from a doctor friend.

I realised I had to make mine different, so I chose to make both my main characters doctors. Back in the early ‘80s a woman doing the same job as a man had to be twice as good to be considered equal – instant conflict, complicated by the powerful attraction between them.  To avoid hospital procedure – there were ex-nurse authors who had far more experience of this world than I could ever achieve – I decided to set my stories in off-the-beaten-track locations without access to high-tech drugs and equipment.  Mine would be make-do-and-mend medicine.

It paid off. ‘Desert Flower’ was set in an oasis clinic in Egypt. It was accepted and I was invited to Richmond to meet Editorial Director, Heather Jeeves.  I wrote three more medicals, set in the Andes in Ecuador, the highlands of Papua New Guinea – in which I invented a vaccine for malaria; and the clinic boats of Hong Kong harbour that treated patients on the outlying islands where leprosy still occurred.

Then Heather told me my stories deserved a wider audience and I was moved onto the Contemporary list as it was then.  I wrote ten more. These were published in 23 countries and 19 languages.  (All have been/are being re-issued as ebooks by Accent Amour)  I had enjoyed every moment and learned a lot but it was time to move on.

I had always loved historical novels, from classics like ‘A Take of Two Cities’ through Emile Zola, the Angelique stories, The Whiteoaks of Jalna series, everything by Mary Stewart and Jean Plaidy, Anya Seton, and now Elizabeth Chadwick – you get the picture.

We are advised to ‘write what you know.’ Cornwall is my home and where I grew up. It has a rich history and has produced some remarkable people: artists, inventors, musicians, writers.  After reading all Winston Graham’s Poldark novels I wanted to make mine different. That meant no tin-mining.

I chose sea-trade and the Falmouth-based packet service which carried mail all over the world, dispatches to and from theatres of war, and ransom money to free the wives and daughters of merchants captured by pirates in the Mediterranean.

‘Eye of the Wind’ was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and ‘Heart of Stone’ was shortlisted for the RNA Historical Prize.

I love writing historical romantic fiction as I’m fascinated by the detail of daily life and social structure in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Then last year I contributed to Accent’s Christmas anthology, ‘Wishing on a Star.’  I hadn’t written a short story in over thirty years, and at 11,000 words it was one of the longest! (I’m a novelist. Short is difficult for me.)

Little did I know then that ‘Family Matters’ would turn out to be the start of a whole new venture: Polvellan Cornish Mysteries.  These combine Cornish village life with history as my central character, Jess Trevanion, is a genealogist.

Number three, ‘The Loner’ will be published on 1st October.

I’m currently completing ‘The Master’s Wife’, second in ‘The Captain’s Honour’ series, which picks
up the story of Caseley and Jago Barata seven years after they meet in ‘The Consul’s Daughter.’   I have three more Polvellan Mysteries outlined and am researching background for a new historical trilogy.

My writing journey – like my life – has had its ups and downs. But all my experiences have contributed to making me the writer and person that I am.

The Consul's DaughterMy ambition now is the same as when I started, to make each book better than the last, featuring characters who capture readers on the first page, hold them through the dramatic, tragic, joyful events of the story, then linger in the memory long after the book ends.



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