Monthly Archives July 2020

How Sadie Jones writes @ThatSadieJones #amwriting #writetip

Sadie Jones “I know I’m writing badly if I’m making it up on the page…. It’s going well if it’s a thing I am reporting. So I’ll imagine [the scene] and let it play; try to hear it and see it, and then I’ll be describing that. If I’m thinking, ‘Oh, that’s quite a nice sentence’, then I know it won’t do.” [in an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine on January 11, 2019]  Until The Snakes, Sadie Jones wrote historical novels. The Snakes is a contemporary novel, a kind of anti-thriller in that it is a thriller without all the answers. She says she wanted to write a book about there being no answers and used the ‘fuel’ of the thriller to do that. An experienced screenwriter, this affects how she visualises her scenes. Two things in her quote above struck a chord with me. One, she doesn’t make it up on the page. She plans first. Second, it is fatal to stop and admire your own prose. Jones’ first novel, The Outcast, won the Costa First Novel Award, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club and adapted for the BBC. Three more novels
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Categories: On Writing.

#BookReview ‘The Love Child’ by Rachel Hore #historicalromance

The Love Child by Rachel Hore is not just an adoption story of birth mother and daughter, it is a story of women’s lives between the wars when shame and public expectation, not love, governed family decisions. In 1917 Alice Copeman, a 19-year old nurse, falls in love with a soldier home on leave. They expect to marry but he is killed. No one else knows of their relationship, it is wartime and everything happened so quickly. But Alice is pregnant. Mourning for Jack, Alice is forced by her father and stepmother to give the child up for adoption. In the Essex seaside town of Farthingsea, Edith and Philip Burns long for their own child. When they adopt a baby girl Irene, they expect their family to be happily complete. But Irene feels different from her parents and grows frustrated at the lies told about her birth; in particular she struggles to connect with her mother Edith and often feels rejected. At school she is bullied. At home she feels second rate to her younger brother, conceived by Edith and Philip after they adopted Irene. Things improve for Irene when she makes friends with a boy from the disreputable artistic part of town;
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘The Forgotten Sister’ by @NicolaCornick #historical

The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick is a retelling of the Tudor love triangle of Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley and Dudley’s wife Amy Robsart. The death of Amy has intrigued historians for centuries: did she fall downstairs, or was she pushed? Did her husband arrange her murder so he could marry the queen? Tudor history is mashed together with time travel and all kinds of mystical goings-on. Cornick has fun with her explanation of events, telling the story in dual timelines and mirroring Tudor characters with a contemporary circle of celebrities. At first, I found this irritating and was diverted from the story by trying to match up modern personalities with their Tudor equivalent. But when I stopped doing that, I sank into this easy-to-read story which I read over a weekend. Lizzie Kingdom is a television personality with a clean-cut image. Her best friend is Dudley Lester, wild boy and former boy band member of Call Back Summer. When Dudley’s wife Amelia falls down the stairs to her death at their country house, Oakhanger Hall, Lizzie is suspected of having an affair with Dudley. Her ‘good girl’ image is in tatters and the press is hunting her. Lizzie’s
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Categories: Book Love.

My Porridge & Cream read… @SueJohnson9 #books #duMaurier

Today I’m delighted to welcome novelist, poet and short story writer Sue Johnson. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier. “My Porridge & Cream read is Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (first published in 1936). I can remember finding it in the school library one wet Friday afternoon when I was thirteen. (We’d made ginger cake in our cookery class that morning and I still associate the book with the smell and taste of ginger and spices.) Our English teacher liked us to read at least two books a month of our choice that were nothing to do with our school work. We also had to write book reviews saying what we liked – or didn’t like – about the books we’d read. From the first page of Jamaica Inn I was hooked. My friends had to prise it out of my hands when the bell went for the end of school. I then went on to devour everything else that Daphne du Maurier had written. My other favourites are Rebecca and Frenchman’s Creek.  We used to spend family holidays in Cornwall and I still love the county. I never tire of Jamaica Inn
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Categories: Book Love, On Writing and Porridge & Cream.

#BookReview ‘The 20s Girl, The Ghost, and All That Jazz’ by @june_kearns #romance

The 20s Girl, The Ghost, and All That Jazz by June Kearns is a fizzing giggly historical romance that makes you feel as if you’re drinking a bottle of Prosecco on holiday. In Gerardine Chiledexter it has a delicate-looking heroine who has inherited the kick-ass nature, and the debts, of her late Aunt Leonie. There’s a loyal friend, a crumbling bookshop, a psychic cat, shiverings and whisperings in the dark, an effete beau and a distinct lack of marriageable men in 1924 England after the Great War. Oh, and there’s a tall brooding cowboy with an enormous ranch in Texas. Kearns has a wonderful flowing style, telling her story with wit and charm and without a glimpse of the author’s feet paddling below the water keeping the story and the characters tip-top. All the romantic conventions are here. A heroine, down on her luck but with an endless wardrobe of floaty Twenties couture dresses. A suitor, willing but uninspiring. An English village, green, damp, without eligible men. A crumbling mansion with an elderly crumbling workforce. Into this walks Coop, a cowboy with a drawl, a hatred of the wet, and a real impatient manner. Aunt Leonie, it appears, has left
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Categories: Book Love.

July Beach Reads – A Special Offer for you #bargain #ebooks

Whether you plan on reading books on the beach, in the garden, or on a comfy sofa this summer, the feeling is the same. Don’t you just love that feeling when you start reading a new book and can’t put it down? So just in time for the summer sun I’ve partnered with a team of authors to offer more than 70 BARGAIN EBOOKS to you. The selection of women’s fiction includes lost love, young love, second chances, mature love, family dramas and wartime romances. Simply click this link and scroll through the novels on offer to find one you like. Offer ends on July 31, but don’t leave it until the last minute! Here are three I’m tempted by. In War Girl Ursula by Marion Kummerow is set in Berlin, 1943. Newly-wed Ursula Hermann is a simple woman who wants nothing more than an end to the war and the return of her husband from the Russian front. But the authorities send her to guard a prison for undesirables and political prisoners where the unthinkable happens. A prisoner, Royal Air Force pilot Tom Westlake, escapes and Ursula looks the other way. If her single act of mercy is discovered, her life
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Categories: Book Love.

First Edition ‘Robinson Crusoe’ by Daniel Defoe #oldbooks #bookcovers

I first read Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe when I was at university and I admit to not having picked up the book since, except to move it from house to house over the years. Perhaps I should re-read it though; Robinson Crusoe is said to be second only to the Bible in the number of translations. Published on April 25, 1719, it has inspired many spin-off novels, television programmes and films. A copy of the first edition is held by the British Library in London. Before the end of the first year of publication, the first volume had been published in four editions and by the end of the 19th century, no other book in Western literature had more editions, spin-offs and translations. Defoe wrote a sequel, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. The current edition by Penguin Classics. BUY THE BOOK The story Why is this story so popular? It is often described as the ‘first English novel’ and is a combination of adventure story, in which the shipwrecked Crusoe encounters pirates and cannibals. It is also an examination of the human condition when completely isolated. This is the first-hand story of a castaway who spends 28 years
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Categories: Book Love.

#Bookreview ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ by Tomi Adeyemi #YoungAdult #Fantasy

I picked up Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, the first of a new ‘young adult’ series, when I was emotionally and intellectually exhausted. It is an assault on the senses, rather like a sniff of smelling salts. A West African tale of magic, Children of Blood and Bone tackles racially-charged violence, state-led racism and injustice, all wrapped-up in a magical quest. The Author’s Note at the end explains Adeyemi’s inspiration. “I kept turning on the news and seeing stories of unarmed black men, women and children being shot by the police. I felt afraid and angry and helpless, but this book was the one thing that made me feel like I could do something about it.” Children of Blood and Bone is set in the nation of Orïsha where magic was banished in The Raid years earlier when the king ordered the death of all maji. The story is told by four teenage characters, two brother and sister pairings. Zélie’s maji mother was killed in The Raid and she is herself a diviner; her white hair marks her out as magical, but her magic is buried deep and unused. A chance meeting with runaway princess Amari sets the two
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘The Orphan’s Gift’ by @RenitaDSilva #historical #India

The Orphan’s Gift by Renita D’Silva tells the stories of two women, Alice and Janaki, and moves across four decades between India and England. It is a deceptive tale of love and loss and the mystery of how these two young women are connected at a time when certain love was forbidden. It is an unforgiving world where broken rules may be punished by death, isolation and poverty and where the sanctions may come from those closest to you. We first meet Alice, aged four, living a privileged life in the house of her parents, surrounded by beauty, warmth, and servants. But there are shadows too. Alice’s parents are distant and she finds love and companionship with her Ayah and Ayah’s son, Raju. Alice’s mother is delicate and spends all her time in a shadowed bedroom, her father is Deputy Commissioner of the British Government in India. Alice’s story starts in 1909 when the first agitations of Indian independence begin. Janaki’s story begins in 1944 when she is raised by nuns in an Indian orphanage, she was left there as a tiny baby, wrapped in a hand-made green cardigan. Desperate for love, Janaki learns a difficult lesson; that even when
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘The Fountains of Silence’ by @RutaSepetys #historical #YA

Ruta Sepetys is a new author for me and I was drawn to The Fountains of Silence because it is set in the Spanish Civil War. Only after finishing the book did I realise Sepetys is a Young Adult author though this does not mean she backed away from tackling difficult subjects or that the book lacks emotional depth. Basically, this is a tale of young love in politically sensitive times. The story starts in 1957 when teenager Daniel Matheson arrives in Madrid, Spain, with his parents. Daniel, a talented photographer, wants to go to J-School to study as a photojournalist; his father wants him to work at the family oil company. Playing diplomat between them is Daniel’s mother, who was born in Spain. The family stays at the Castellana Hilton where they are assigned an assistant, Ana. While Daniel takes photos, his father tries to close an oil deal. Only when Daniel meets Ben Stahl from the Madrid bureau of the New York Herald Tribune, does he understand his father’s deal involves meetings with General Franco. As Ana and Daniel grow closer, hiding their relationship and sneaking precious moments together, Sepetys shows the dark side of life under Spain’s
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Categories: Book Love.