Book review: Reservoir 13

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor is a thoughtful, intelligent telling of what happens to a village when a person goes missing. Told after the event, it brings a new angle of understanding to the post-event trauma of those on the outer circles of tragedy. A girl goes missing in a village surrounded by moors, caves and reservoirs. ‘The girl’s name was Rebecca, or Becky, or Bex.’ At no point do we hear the viewpoint of the girl, her parents, or the investigating police. Slowly the story unfolds as we are told the life of the village through the years after
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My Porridge & Cream read: Renita D’Silva

Today I’m delighted to welcome Indian novelist Renita D’Silva. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is the classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  “The book I keep returning to time and again is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I love every character – Boo Radley, Jem, Atticus, and, especially, Scout: her innocence, her wonderful narrative voice through which she reveals more to the reader than she herself understands. I first read the condensed version as a teen. Being a voracious reader, I could never find enough to read in the village in India where I grew up.
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Follow me at Pinterest… Twiggy, the Sixties, fashions & music

Above my desk I have a large whiteboard, stuck to it with Blu-Tak is an assortment of photos, postcards and magazine clippings. Some are faces of people I have adopted as one of my characters, others are of a place or a specific time – music, fashions such as Twiggy, cars, shopping – some are faces of adoptees. Now I also collect all these visual references on Pinterest. You can see my Pinterest board for Ignoring Gravity here.  The board for Connectedness will go online later this year. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy the paperback and
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Family history: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, set up under Royal Charter in 1917 as the Imperial War Graves Commission. It commemorates 1.7 million people who died in two world wars, administers cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations in 154 countries. If you are tracing a relative who died in the First or Second World War, or seeking further information about medals, awards or casualty details, this is an excellent website to explore. As part of the 2017 centenary, the website is to be improved with even more information. It is never too late to
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Book review: Innocent Blood

If you are a PD James fan, I should say up front that Innocent Blood is very different from the Adam Dalgliesh detective series. It is a psychological thriller, a slow-building mystery which starts with little steps then, as the odd details start to make sense, the tension builds. It is the story of a young woman who knows she is adopted, who exercises her right to know the names of her birth parents, and finds something she never in a million years expected. Philippa Palfrey is 18, about to go up to Cambridge, until she decides to find out
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Flash Fiction: Paris

In the thing where I keep the small metal circles I give the man in the shop where I buy bread, I find two papers I do not know. Why don’t I know them? This is my thing, it is mine because inside is a yellow paper with my name. Mary. Inside is my purse, this is where I keep the small metal circles and sometimes large paper things with people’s faces on. The lady at the bank, Annette, gives me the paper things every Friday. She says “Hello Mary, have you come for your money?” and she gives me
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Book review: The Outsiders

I came to this Michelle Paver series late, years after reading the award-winning ‘Chronicles of Ancient Darkness’ series which starts with the wonderful Wolf Brother. Doubtful that any character could be as admirable as Torak, it was a joy to read about Hylas who, like Torak, is an outsider. The Outsiders starts at a run from the first page and doesn’t slow up. Hylas has been attacked, his dog is dead, his sister missing and a fellow goatherd killed. And the killers are after him. Adrift at sea, disorientated, Hylas fears he must die. And then there follows a glorious
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Book review: The Long Drop

Glasgow, 1950s. Three men meet in bar. One leaves. The remaining two men talk and drink until the early hours. They are unlikely drinking companions. A businessman, and a criminal. What are they talking about? Which one is telling the truth, or are they both lying? The Long Drop by Denise Mina is her fictional version of the night of Monday December 2, 1957 and the subsequent murder trial. It is a chilling story. Peter Manuel was a real murderer in Glasgow and the Burnside Affair happened, which makes this such an unsettling read. A woman, her sister and daughter
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FlashPIC #19: The Meaning of Purple

It is said that every person, at least once in their life, experiences a life-changing moment. An epiphany. Here is a writing tip to inspire you today.As part of the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series, here is a FlashPIC photo to kickstart a character study. You choose the person’s gender, age, name, background, personality, the place, the time of day. Until today, your character has only been able to see in black and white. And then, he/she sees a flower, a glorious purple flower. A rhododendron. And he/she knows it is purple. Write a paragraph about each of the following, either first person
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Book review: Another You

Novels rooted in a particular area where the place and scenery come alive off the page are favourites of mine. Studland Bay in Dorset, England is a beautiful part of the country, a dramatic coastline which is an ideal for a dramatic story. In Another You, Jane Cable uses the place to great effect. Key action scenes take place at the looming chalk cliffs, the Old Harry rocks, the sand dunes and heath. The time in which the story is set is cleverly chosen too, the sixtieth anniversary of preparations for the D-Day landings, preparations which took place along the
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