The Mask of Aribella Blog Tour: the Superpower of Friendship

Hello everybody! Today, I’m so excited to be part of the blog tour for Anna Hoghton’s wonderful debut, the Mask of Aribella. Onto the post, which is is written by Anna and is about one of the most wonderful parts of this book!


<!–more–>

As you’ll see from the acknowledgments section of ‘The Mask of Aribella’, friends are extremely important to me. I couldn’t have made it through a lot of the hurdles in my life without them. Just as with my main character, Aribella, my friends have given me the strength to believe in myself and keep on fighting, even when the world seemed dark.

It took me a while to find friends who I could trust with my whole heart. When I was growing up, I remember spending a lot of time trying to fit in with certain people and feeling upset when I didn’t quite make the mould. I met a fair few bullies along the way and, as vulnerability is seen as weakness when you are a teenager, I often felt isolated. It took me a good few years to re-find confidence after those early experiences, and I revisited those old feelings whilst writing this book. I think that, even if you weren’t bullied growing up, everyone knows how it is to feel left out and like you don’t quite fit in anywhere.

At the start of the book, although brave and kind, Aribella lacks in confidence and is desperate to just disappear into the background. However, she sticks out because she’s different – just how different, she’s about to find out. But she soon learns that being different isn’t a weakness but strength, and that the secret of being a misfit is that ‘you’re never the only one’. Indeed, personally I credit all the times I felt like an outsider when I was younger as the spark that lit me up for everything I’ve managed to do and be as an adult. My logic became very much: if you won’t let me sit at your table, then I will build my own. And, when you start thinking and living like that, you meet other table builders, who invariably turn out to be the most interesting, wonderful and fantastic friends than you ever could have hoped for. Children’s books helped teach me that the best friendships are often the unlikely ones, the ones that spring up from nowhere, between people who, perhaps at first, appear entirely unsuitable for one another, like Charlotte and Wilbur, Frodo and Sam, Lyra and Will, and even Harry, Ron and Hermione, who start off at odds. Sometimes these friends seem to come from entirely different worlds at first. My best friend is my husband, Chris, he’s from California and has always been the Will to my Lyra. But these friendships between people who celebrate their differences rather than try to be the same are the sorts that grab hold and don’t let go; that can be counted on and trusted in completely.

These are indeed the sorts of friendships that Aribella finds. Among her friends there is Seffie, a wild-hearted, impulsive and mischievous girl, who is loosely based on my oldest friend, Katie – who was always a little wild and fierce in the best possible way. Fin is earnest and book-loving, as the best people I’ve met often are. And then there is Theo, whose loyalty knows no bounds and who will courageously look out for Aribella and others, even if it means putting himself in danger. I’ve been lucky enough to have now met many Seffies, Fins and Theos in my life and to get to call a great deal of them my friends. Making true friends came from leaving my comfort zone, giving up on trying to be like the people around me and, instead, showing the world my true self. It also, importantly, came from being a good friend in return and Aribella, though she makes mistakes, ultimately proves herself to be loyal and there for her friends until the end.

‘The Mask of Aribella’ is full of superpowers but the most important one of all isn’t talking to animals, walking through walls, or making flames come out of your fingertips; it is the power of friendship and this is the magic that helps Aribella find the courage to believe in herself and fight the darkness that is unmasked in the final chapters. Just like all our true friendships help us find our own strength, no matter what we face.

The Mask of Aribella by Anna Hoghton is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)


Are you planning to read this book? Who are your favourite friendships in fiction? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Amy x

The Bad Luck Lighthouse Blog Tour Guest Post: To Plot or Not to Plot

Hello everybody! Today, I’m so excited to be part of the blog tour for the Bad Luck Lighthouse, with a brilliant guest post from its author about plotting. Onto the post!


Continue reading “The Bad Luck Lighthouse Blog Tour Guest Post: To Plot or Not to Plot”

The Cantankerous Molly Darling Blog Tour: Review and Guest Post from Alvy Carragher

Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for Alvy Carragher’s debut novel the Cantankerous Molly Darling, with both a review and a post from the author about the house that inspired Molly’s. Onto the post!


Continue reading “The Cantankerous Molly Darling Blog Tour: Review and Guest Post from Alvy Carragher”

The Great Animal Escapade Blog Tour: Belle Vue’s Other Animals by Jane Kerr

Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for the Great Animal Escapade, which I read at the end of last month and really enjoyed. The author Jane Kerr has written a wonderful guest post about the other animals in Belle Vue, so over to that now!


Continue reading “The Great Animal Escapade Blog Tour: Belle Vue’s Other Animals by Jane Kerr”

Guest Post: Being Inspired by Magical Horses by Lari Don

Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excitdd to have a guest post from Lari Don to share, which she asked me to host to celebrate the paperback release of her book Horse of Fire. Onto the post!


Continue reading “Guest Post: Being Inspired by Magical Horses by Lari Don”

SLAY: On Tour Blog Tour- Kim Curran’s Writing Playlist

Hello everybody! Today, I’m thrilled to be sharing a guest post from Kim Curran, author of the fantastic Slay books, about her playlist for the book as today’s stop on the blog tour for her new release Slay: On Tour! Onto the post!

Continue reading “SLAY: On Tour Blog Tour- Kim Curran’s Writing Playlist”

Little Bird Flies Blog Tour: “How I Found My Little Bird” by Karen McCombie

Hello everybody! Today, I have a fabulous guest post from Karen McCombie to share, as part of the blog tour for her latest wonderful book Little Bird Flies. Onto the post!


Once upon a time, there was a young girl who lived high up in a tower…

Okay, so the young girl was me (you guessed that right away, didn’t you?), and as for the tower, I lived on the 15th floor of a high-rise block, slap-bang in the centre of Aberdeen, Scotland. I loved to perch on my windowsill (inside!), wondering at the outside world – especially focussing on the historic buildings I could see dotted around the patchwork centre of the city. I’d wonder about the all the people who’d lived there in decades and centuries gone by and what their version of the city might have looked like… And if I wasn’t daydreaming out of the window, I’d be lost in the world of my books, almost always borrowed from the huge, Victorian central library just across the road from my block of flats.

But once in a while, my parents would take me to a bookshop where I was allowed the rare treat of actually buying a book (they were both passionate library users). I still have those beloved books now, and it wasn’t until I tidied them up on the shelves of my office recently that I realised they ALL have an historic theme…

So maybe it’s no surprise that – after years or writing mostly contemporary books – I’ve written a historic novel, set in Scotland. It might not be my part of Scotland (a bustling city) but it’s certainly the Scotland of childhood holidays, where my family would drive around visiting the lochs and mountains and castles practically on our doorstep, or further afield in the Highlands.

And so the story of Bridie – known as Little Bird to her best friend – has been brewing for the longest time. It’s set on a small island off the west coast, with mainland Scotland to the right and the endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to the left. Bridie is feisty and full of dreams she thinks will never come true, because she’s poor, because she’s a girl. But as new people arrive on the island, things start to change; some for the better, with unexpected friendships blossoming, and some for the worse, as danger and cruelty begin to take their toll.

The backdrop to the adventure of ‘Little Bird Flies’ is the Highland Clearances, a part of Scotland’s history that’s little known outside of the country. Having the rumbling threat of this real episode certainly ramped up the drama of Bridie’s predicament, and made it so absorbing to write. And now ‘Little Bird Flies’ is out in the world, I hope it finds a few readers who’ll enjoy reading Bridie’s story as much as I loved writing it!


Little Bird Flies’ by Karen McCombie is out now (Nosy Crow) and if you’d like to read about all the reasons why I adored, you can find them here.


Is Little Bird Flies on your TBR? Have you already read it? What are your favourite historical books? I‘d love to hear in the comments!

Amy x