Strays and Relations follows the story of Dizzy, whose search for her birth parents is sad, humorous, and in parts bizarre. Dizzy learns that she began life as a surviving twin, then was fostered until a permanent home was found.
Dizzy begins her search for her original identity. Why was she given up for adoption in the 1960s? Following a tenuous lead, she travels to Ireland with her best friend Sugar, but the trail takes a misleading turn. It ends in what they mistakenly believe is Dizzy’s mother’s grave.
Dizzy falls in love with Will, a blacksmith. But something is missing. Dizzy’s life changes when her birth father Tommy makes contact using a private detective. He reveals that her birth mother is alive and married to a man called Vernon. Now the bigger, trickier task lies ahead: working out how to fit the disparate bits of her life together. This is a book which will both amuse and touch readers’ hearts.
Strays and Relations manages sensitive subject matter with engaging wit and sharply-observed dialogue, and includes vivid descriptions of some rather unusual animals and people. It will appeal to readers who have encountered a recycled animal or family.
This book makes for a truly enjoyable reading. The author has an engaging, lively style that it’s hard to drag yourself away from. It’s no surprise, then, to find her story is equally as absorbing and eventful.
It’s about a woman searching for her biological mother – not because her adopted family is less than perfect, far from it, but to satisfy natural curiosity and deal with a few lurking issues. Non-adoptees possibly find this need to search, this need for some sort of answer, puzzling. They have a loving family and surely that’s enough? It’s not quite so straightforward. I think the most moving scene of the book is where Dizzy has her baby in her arms and realises that at last she has a blood relative.
Feeling a bit like a stray herself, Dizzy has a lot of love and understanding to lavish on an assortment of abandoned animals that come her way.
Dizzy is pragmatic in her search, at times helped and hindered by her friend Sugar. They have fun along the way, as well as making some sad discoveries. Yet there’s no mawkishness about the story, just positivity and determination. It’s full of energy and indomitable spirit. Plenty of humour too, particularly in Mum’s Great Craft Movement, which I guiltily realise is something I’ve inflicted on my own family…
You’ll enjoy the spirit and entertainment of this novel, which deals with a difficult subject with sensitivity but at the same time gusto and grit. A fabulous read.
I have lived in the West Country all of my life, but never in such a remote place as I do now – in the middle of the woods with rooks and bats. It may be remote but it’s never quiet in Dizzyland! When I’m not looking after the dogs, chickens and a six-toed cat, I help run a blacksmith’s forge with my partner.
My ideas come from humorous incidents in my own life, which I fictionalise. Strays and Relations is my first novel.
Before I began writing I had various jobs, including working in a wildlife park and as a youth worker.
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