Book Review

Extract – The Velvet Ribbon by Nadine Dorries

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Velvet Ribbon by Nadine Dorries. This is such an enchanting saga that I am sure any historical fiction fan would love it! I am so exited to share an extract for you today.

The Velvet Ribbon by Nadine Dorries is out now, published by Head of Zeus in hardback. Thank you so much Megan and ED PR for gifting me this gorgeous copy to review.


Mary Kate Malone has come to Liverpool from Ireland to seek her fortune, but from the very beginning things have gone wrong. 

Now she is living secretly with her great love, Dr Nicholas Marcus, while his wife Lavinia, mother of his two sons, plots her revenge on the girl who she believes has destroyed her marriage. 

When disaster strikes, Mary Kate’s first instinct is to flee to her family in Ireland. But back in Tarabeg, a charismatic American stranger has set among the pigeons and it isn’t the place Mary Kate remembers any more. 

To add to her problems, Dr Gaskell and Matron from St Angelus Hospital have come to Tarabeg to recruit nurses – and Mary Kate’s Liverpool life is about to come back to haunt her with a vengeance.


Take me to Tarabeg, to meet your family, please?’ he said as he lifted his smouldering cigarette from the ashtray on the bedside table. The smoke caught his eyes, made them sting. Blinded, he blinked furiously before stubbing it out. Slivers of silver ash exploded into the air before floating down onto the unmade bed.

Mary Kate lifted her head, frowned at the overflowing ashtray, its contents now scattered over the polished mahogany, and made a mental note to empty it as soon as he’d left. She threw back the sheet and flung her legs out of bed, collected her robe from the brass post and slipped the dove-grey satin edged in white Nottingham lace up her arms. His wife, Lavinia, had left it hanging on the back of the bedroom door when she’d departed in something of a hurry and had never asked for it back. Lavinia was a good six inches taller than her and as Mary Kate flopped down at the dressing table the robe trailed over the dark woodblock floor, covering the pink rose-patterned oval rug that kept the wheels of the three-legged stool stationary. She swivelled on the round needlepoint seat to face the mirror and do battle with her morning hair.

Her reluctance to answer had not deterred him. ‘They all sound like such characters. I can see each one of them reflected in you every time a letter arrives and you chatter on about one or the other. They say the apple never falls far from the tree. Go on, darling, please, take me there. I so want to see the shop, and the farm on Tarabeg Hill. I’ve never even met your little brother, Finn, and I know this sounds odd, because I’ve never been there, but I swear that sometimes it’s like I even dream about the village, you describe it so well.’

Mary Kate sighed, more to herself, not so that he could hear her. He’d asked her the same question only the week before and she’d guessed he was warming to a theme and would ask again soon. She stopped with the hairbrush halfway down a stroke of her long red hair and looked past the triple oval mirror, through the grey, rain-splattered window and down over the tops of the cherry trees that lined the avenue. They stood bare and dormant, their cold branches stretching up to the sky like the splayed fingers of the dead, grasping for the life-giving sunlight that was still months away. An image of her home and the view from her bedroom window in Tarabeg flashed into her mind. Her nostrils retrieved the memory of the green fields, her mind recalled the fast-flowing Taramore river, and her heart tightened in response.

About the Author:

Nadine Dorries was born and raised on a council estate in Liverpool in the 1950s and 60s; the dawn of the Mersey beat. Her family were part of a close-knit Irish Catholic community, most of whom came to work on the docks of Merseyside from rural Ireland.

Nadine trained as a nurse, working in hospitals in Warrington and Liverpool. After qualifying she moved to Zambia for a year and ran a school for local children. On her return to the UK, she founded, ran, and sold her own business, Company Kids Ltd, which provided childcare services for working parents.

Determined to give something back, Nadine entered politics. In the 2005 general elections she was elected as the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, a position she continues to hold. One of the most well-known politicians in Britain, she is renowned for her determination to push her chosen causes to the top of the political agenda. In 2012 she was a star of ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’. A successful businesswoman and passionate Member of Parliament, in 2013 Nadine achieved another lifelong ambition and wrote her debut novel, The Four Streets. She has since become a No. 1 bestselling author with sales in excess of a million copies.

Nadine was made Under-Secretary of State for Health in 2019.

Blog Tour:

Make sure you check out what others are staying about The Velvet Ribbon too!