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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Sail Upon The Land by Josa Young

Sail Upon The Land

Sail Upon The Land gives us a story that starts in India, travels back to England, then revisits India before ending once more in a quintessentially English setting. The narrative also travels back in time from the beginning and then forward again.

Although the structure is complex, it doesn’t detract from the story. In fact, the handling of the timescale means that we are able to read back into the past and really got to know the significant characters at all the important moments in their lives.

I loved Josa Young’s first novel, One Apple Tasted, (you can read my review here), but if anything I loved Sail Upon The Land even more. I think the main reason was that intense familiarity with the characters, that feeling that you know everything about them – that holds the reader’s interest so tightly. How can you not love a character when you’ve seen them being born, or gone to school with them, or watched them fall in love for the first time?

There’s a richness to the writing that runs through all the strands of the story. Pitch perfect descriptive writing, authentic dialogue and sensitive characterisation.

Although the cast of characters is large, and the author has written the book in such a way that the reader identifies with all of them, Damson Hayes is the star of the show.

It is with Damson that the book starts – as she suffers a hideous ordeal – and it is with her that we finish, and it is Damson’s journey more than that of any other character that holds the novel together. I really don’t want to give too much away, but her story is full of drama, pain, suffering, steadfastness and ultimately redemption.

Though the story is full of romance, it isn’t just a romance, and though it tells the story of a family it is also much more than a family story.

It deals unflinchingly with the themes of motherhood and birth, love, death, duty and finally hope.

I really urge you to read it. You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks very much to the author for a copy of this book.

You can find out more here and buy a copy here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Waiting Game by Sheila Bugler

The Waiting Game

This is what the publishers have to say about ‘The Waiting Game’.

DI Ellen Kelly's career seems to be stalling – again. And her feelings for Jim O’Dwyer feel like they’re spiralling out of control. Meanwhile, someone is out there, stalking the weak, bringing misery and fear, and it’s Ellen’s job to stop them. Could it be that this time, for the first time, Ellen is the one trapped in the web?

I really enjoyed ‘Hunting Shadows’, Sheila Bugler’s first book about DI Ellen Kelly, so I was really pleased to be sent a review copy of this one.

The plot of ‘The Waiting Game’ is quite complex and it takes a while to get to grips with all the different strands and work out what is going on. There’s a stalker out there, but who are they and who are they really after? Chloe knows that someone has been getting into her house at night, and she’s been attacked. When will the police take her seriously? Monica approaches the police with a similar story. But Chloe and Monica claim not to know each other, and Ellen and her colleagues can’t find a link.

Full of chilling twists and turns, I found the story gripping as it explored some very dark events. This story is not for the squeamish.

In the first book we found out quite a lot about Ellen’s back story. In this book she’s moved on a bit form the death of her husband, but her new relationship, with Jim O’Dwyer is about to become yet another problem. I enjoyed the little vignette’s of Ellen’s private life – her children, her parents and her brother and his partner. Again, the author cleverly works those relationships into the plot when her work life begins to encroach dangerously on her family life.

The depiction of Ellen’s colleagues, especially DC Raj Patel, is also nicely done and adds to the authenticity of the story.

Overall an enjoyable read with plenty to hold the interest.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.

You can read my review of 'Hunting Shadows' here.