Archives for Florida

Book review: At First Light

Having loved Summertime, the debut novel of Florida-born Vanessa Lafaye, I was looking forward to reading At First Light. I was not disappointed. As with her first book, Florida in the period after the Great War is the setting. But the story starts with a bang in 1993 when an elderly Ku Klux Klan official is shot dead at a rally in Key West. The murderer is a 96-year old Cuban woman. At First Light is the story of Alicia Cortez. This is an intense story in many ways. Love, politics, racial hatred, prostitution and Prohibition. In 1919 Alicia arrives on a boat from Cuba, running from shame though for a while we don’t know the exact details. On the same day, John Morales disembarks from the troop ship which brought him from Europe where he fought with distinction in the Great War. Watching from the dock is fourteen-year-old Dwayne Campbell, who falls a little in love with Alicia, is in awe of John, and who becomes entangled in what is about to unfold. When John, a white man, a local man, is seen with a ‘brown’ stranger, Alicia, the newly established Klan of the Keys takes notice. Although we
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Categories: Book Love.

Great Opening Paragraph 84… ‘Lucky You’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“On the afternoon of November 25, a woman named JoLayne Lucks drove to the Grab N’Go minimart in Grange, Florida, and purchased spearmint Certs, unwaxed dental floss and one ticket for the state Lotto. JoLayne Lucks played the same numbers she’d played every Saturday for five years: 17-19-22-14-27-30.” ‘Lucky You’ by Carl Hiaasen Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘These Foolish Things’ by Deborah Moggach ‘Super-Cannes’ by JG Ballard ‘Herzog’ by Saul Bellow And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: LUCKY YOU by @Carl_Hiaasen #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Uw via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Summertime

From the first chapter, this novel is steeped in its setting. Florida, 1935. Racial divides, love [extra-marital and long lost], the US mistreatment of its Great War veterans, and the threat of the elements dominate this tale of Heron Key. Vanessa Lafaye is a debut novelist but she handles her explosive material with assurance, taking time to build the story as the town prepares for the annual beach barbeque on Independence Day. With the weather reports showing a hurricane approaching, tensions build between the townsfolk and the war veterans camped nearby in cockroach-infested mouldy conditions. Lafaye took her inspiration from two real events, the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935, and the appalling way the US Government treated its war veterans. Heron Key is fictional as are the characters, but some of the things which happen during the hurricane are based on real-life reports. This is a wonderful meld of fiction and fact, handled by skilled storyteller. Lafaye handles the suspense as if she has been telling stories like this all her life. Click here for Vanessa Lafaye’s blog. If you like this, try:- ‘The Knife with the Ivory Handle’ by Cynthia Bruchman ‘The Last Runaway’ by Tracy Chevalier ‘The Other
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Categories: Book Love.

I agree with… Vanessa Lafaye

How author Vanessa Lafaye drew inspiration from the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane “On the one hand you have a set of real events that need to be depicted accurately, and on the other hand you have a bunch of fictional characters that you are making up from scratch, and you have to weave the two together.” From an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine [October 3, 2014] Debut author Vanessa Lafaye is talking here about hew novel Summertime, to be published in the UK in January 2015 by Orion. She was inspired by the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane which hit the Florida coastline with tremendous force. Some of those killed by the strength of the storm, and the government’s lack of action, were veterans just returned from the Great War. Their story gave Lafaye, born in Florida but now living in England, the passion and motivation to tell the story. Fictionalised. “…that was part of the passion that I think every author – and especially first-time authors – need to keep them going through all the obstacles you have to overcome to get a book published.” Reading her words made me recognize a similar passion motivated me to start writing Ignoring Gravity,
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Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.