My Porridge & Cream read: Helen J Christmas

Today I’m delighted to welcome thriller novelist Helen J Christmas. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is Camellia by Leslie Pearse.

“I started this book in 1998 during a very wet Glastonbury Festival; I remember curling up in my sleeping bag, feeling utterly miserable as the rain splashed around the campsite. Yet from the very first page I was quickly absorbed in the story.

Set in my home county of Sussex, the saga begins with a young girl who is orphaned at 15, when her mother is discovered drowned. Camellia is an unhappy, neglected child, yet her security is ripped away when she stumbles across a secret hoard of letters among her mother’s belongings. After realising her entire childhood has been based on lies, she takes off to London to start a new life.

Beautifully written with powerful story lines, Camellia is as much a ‘coming of age’ story as a romantic drama. At the start of the book, she is an overweight teenager but blossoms into a glamorous young woman. Caught up in the sizzling 60s of London, her life turns into a roller coaster. She is abandoned by a controlling drug dealer boyfriend, but discovers a loyal friend who becomes her soul mate. It is filled with little anecdotes that remind you of growing up, for example, the excitement when the two girls get a flat together, the wild parties, the sex… It has some tragic twists too and as her life hurtles from one crisis to the next, Camellia eventually embarks on a journey of self-discovery, desperate to trace her true father.

By the time I had finished, I really cared about the main character. I have read lots of novels by Leslie Pearse but this is my all time favourite. I have read it twice and will probably do so again in my life. The places are so authentic, some of which are familiar to me. I hadn’t read the prequel of this book, Ellie, but was so pleased I didn’t, as it was a joy to discover Camellia’s secrets for myself!”

Helen J Christmas’s Bio

Helen J Christmas lives on the south coast of Sussex with her husband. With a love of writing since childhood, she started her decade spanning thriller series ‘Same Face Different Place’ in 2011. Her first book ‘Beginnings,’ set in 1970s London, combines romantic suspense with a hard-hitting conspiracy thriller. Helen confesses that her second book, ‘Visions,’ was the one she always wanted to write. Set in the 1980s, it is a psychological thriller based around the restoration of an English country house in Kent.

Writing is something she juggles around family and social life. Helen is self employed and enjoys running the web design company she and her husband set up from home. They have no children but enjoy the company of a faithful border collie and a fluffy white cat. Helen confesses to have got most of her ideas for writing, whilst walking Barney along the beach. She is coming to the end of her series with two more books in the pipeline.

Helen J Christmas’s books

Helen Christmas

Helen’s latest novel Pleasures is the third book in her British thriller romance series, ‘Same Face Different Place.’ Eleanor knows who is responsible for the crimes committed in the 70s and is now desperate to unravel the clues. Swept up in the mystery the younger generation is growing up fast, including Eleanor’s 14 year old son, Elijah. They are as keen defeat their enemies as she is. So when an illegal rave in a forest results in a shocking attack, Eleanor knows that time is running out. Will she unearth the evidence she needs to bring justice to those who deserve it? Or will the evil characters triumph yet again?

Click here to read my review of Beginnings, book one in the ‘Same Face Different Place’ series.

‘Pleasures’ by Helen J Christmas, #3 Same Face Different Place [UK: Chichester Publishing]

Helen J Christmas’s links
Pinterest Book 1: Beginnings
Pinterest Book 2: Visions
Pinterest Book 3: Pleasures

Porridge & Cream

What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message via the contact form here.

Discover the ‘Porridge & Cream’ books of these authors:-
Rachel Dove
Shelley Weiner
JG Harlond

Helen J Christmas


‘Camellia’ by Lesley Pearse [UK: Arrow]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does @SFDPBeginnings love CAMELLIA by @LesleyPearse via @SandraDanby #reading

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