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Homeward Bound by Richard Smith: bitter-sweet and beautifully written

Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound features 79-year-old grandfather George, who didn’t quite make it as a rock star in the ‘60s. He’s expected to be in retirement but in truth he’s not ready to close the lid on his dreams and will do anything for a last chance. When he finds himself on a tour of retirement homes instead of a cream tea at the seaside his family has promised, it seems his story might prematurely be over.

He finds the answer by inviting Tara, his 18-year-old granddaughter, to share his house, along with his memories and vast collection of records. She is an aspiring musician as well, although her idea of music is not George’s. What unfolds are clashes and unlikely parallels between the generations – neither knows nor cares how to use a dishwasher – as they both chase their ambitions.

 

My review

This is an absolute gem of a book, it really is! It also has added bitter-sweetness during the current Covid crisis, when criminally inept political bungling has led to the deaths of more than twenty thousand people like our hero George: elderly but loaded with experience, accomplishments, stories to tell and so much still to contribute.

At first, the home in ‘homeward’ appears to relate to finding a convenient old people’s home for his family to park George in, now that he’s becoming a little ‘forgetful’ now and then. By the end of the book, that ‘home’ has taken on many, much deeper meanings and significance as I’ll let you discover for yourselves.

George is a wonderful character. He’s hugely talented, witty and, like many older folk (and I can say this as I’m heading far-too-rapidly towards 60), given to occasional grumpiness. That’s what makes him so wonderfully convincing. Tara is truly his granddaughter, with the shared musical talent and the strength of personality.

Graced with a classy and clever cover, the book is equally clever, beautifully written and utterly enthralling. A huge thank-you and congratulations to author Richard.

Purchase Links

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/homeward-bound-richard-smith/1136313433?ean=2940163088645

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Homeward-Bound-Richard-Smith/dp/1838591591/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

https://www.waterstones.com/book/homeward-bound/richard-smith/9781838591595

https://www.ink84bookshop.co.uk/product-page/homeward-bound-by-richard-smith


Author Bio

Richard Smith is a writer and storyteller for sponsored films and commercials, with subjects as varied as caring for the elderly, teenage pregnancies, communities in the Niger delta, anti-drug campaigns and fighting organised crime. Their aim has been to make a positive difference, but, worryingly, two commercials he worked on featured in a British Library exhibition, ‘Propaganda’.

@RichardWrites2  

richardsmithwrites.com

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A Question of Country by Sue Parfitt

Synopsis

On Christmas Eve 1969, a letter from Australia House, London, brings welcome news for newly-weds Anna and Joseph Fletcher.

Young and idealistic, Anna falls passionately in love with their adopted land. Seven months later, an unexpected event causes their life to take a stressful turn.

Years pass, and Anna retreats to a fictional world she has created. But when a different challenge presents itself, does she have the courage to take the risk… or will she take refuge in fantasy?

 

My review

This is a very enjoyable novel that gives a fascinating insight into the time of mass migration to Australia in the 1970s. Anna and Joseph are delighted to be allowed to take this huge step.

And it is huge, since it involves a long sea voyage to get there. No hopping on a plane back then! They have various stop-offs that open their eyes to the fact that things are done differently in foreign countries. This is the first indicator that life will be rather different in Australia from what it was back home.

We meet our heroine and hero as they are about to embark on their journey, and as it develops so do they. We learn more about them both and their backgrounds, and about how well or otherwise they adapt to their new lives.

As is so often the case, at first everything in their new home seems wonderful and liberating, but gradually they find that there are constraints, and cracks in the façade. The novel goes on to deal with how they cope with these and build their lives around them.

Whilst told in the third person, Anna with her love of literature is the focus of the novel with her friendships, struggles and family experiences. She’s strong, likeable and determined, but not perfect and thus remains reassuringly human.

To me the novel is not only about the country you’re in, but the country you’ve come from. How, even though you may turn you back on it and embrace a new lifestyle, your upbringing, which reflects your national culture, irredeemably shapes you and ingrains itself in you. Anna becomes Australian but she remains British in many ways, and the latter has a strong and lasting impact on her new life.

The ending is perfect, that’s all I’ll say!

 

Purchase Links

http://mybook.to/aqoc

 

Author Bio

Originally from England, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on creative writing. Since then she has written short stories, articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and seven novels:

Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2014. Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2016. The Sky Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.

Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017

Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Feed Thy Enemy, based on Sue’s father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

A Question of Country explores the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity. Next Chapter (formerly Creativia Publishing), 2020.

Sue’s current project, working title: Twenty-eight Days, first in The Doorkeeper series, is set in Southern Australia in 2100. It deals with overpopulation and extended life expectancy in an increasingly climate-challenged world and the inhumane solutions adopted by a government determined to rid Australia of unproductive citizens.

Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism. Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.

Social Media Links – website: www.sueparritt.com. www. http://facebook.com/SueParrittAuthor

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The School of Starting Over by Lisa Swift: rich with comedy and optimism

Nell’s going back to school… but now she’s learning lessons of the heart

Reception class teacher Nell Shackleton has a plan. At least, she had until she arrived at her new home of Humblebee Farm, a dilapidated farmhouse on the Yorkshire moors. But so what if the roof’s full of holes, the back door’s hanging off and there’s a sheep in the front room? Because sometimes a new beginning means starting at the bottom… right?

Xander Scott is one of the youngest headteachers Leyholme Primary School has ever had. But managing over-zealous parents and their semi-feral kids proves a tricky task for shy Xander – as does keeping his mind on the job when his feelings for the new Reception teacher become more than strictly professional…

At 43, Nell’s new friend Stevie Madeleine has given up on love. After losing her wife, Stevie’s decided that her four-year-old daughter Milly and cocker spaniel Red are the only girls she needs in her life. That is, until larger-than-life dog-walker Deb arrives on the scene. But will the secrets of Stevie’s past stop her new romance dead in its tracks?

Meeting Xander and Stevie brings joy back into Nell’s life – but when old secrets start to surface, there may be some hard lessons to learn for them all…

A gorgeously uplifting and hilarious romantic comedy that will delight fans of Milly Johnson, Holly Martin and Heidi Swain.

 

My review

This book is a lot of fun, rich with comedy, community spirit and optimism. It’s not without a sprinkling of darker issues, such as bullying, office – or rather school board – politics and relationship failures. These are well handled and add to the overall enjoyment of the book in that it keeps its feet in reality.

We meet a host of interesting characters, human, canine and ovine alike, and they’re all fascinating in their own way and have a part to play.

The author has a warm, absorbing style that makes the book gallop along. She can make you laugh and sigh, feel gooey one moment and annoyed the next as you follow the main characters’ ups and down and meet their challenges along with them.

It’s an uplifting read, a reminder that there is a lot that’s right with the world alongside the many things that are wrong, and makes for a wonderful, energising escape from the latter.

 

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/39nNxOJ
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2uwXzhC

Author Bio

 

Lisa Swift is a romance author from West Yorkshire in the UK. She is represented by Laura Longrigg at MBA Literary Agents.

As Mary Jayne Baker, Lisa also writes romantic comedies for Aria Fiction.

Lisa is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/LisaSwiftAuthor

http://www.lisaswiftauthor.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/LisaSwiftWrites

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We Are Animals by Tim Ewins: clever, quirky, poignant

A cow looks out to sea, dreaming of a life that involves grass.

Jan is also looking out to sea. He’s in Goa, dreaming of the passport-thief who stole his heart (and, indeed, his passport) forty-six years ago. Back then, fate kept bringing them together, but lately it seems to have given up.

Jan has not. In his long search he has accidentally held a whole town at imaginary gunpoint in Soviet Russia, stalked the proprietors of an international illegal lamp-trafficking scam and done his very best to avoid any kind of work involving the packing of fish. Now he thinks if he just waits, if he just does nothing at all, maybe fate will find it easier to reunite them.

His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…

Will…

Not…

Leave.

But maybe an annoying teenager is exactly what Jan needs to help him find the missing thief?

Featuring a menagerie of creatures, each with its own story to tell, We Are Animals is a quirky, heart-warming tale of lost love, unlikely friendships and the certainty of fate (or lack thereof).

For the first time in her life the cow noticed the sun setting, and it was glorious.

 

My review

If you love quirky then you’ll adore this very different, witty, poignant, clever book.

Two unlikely companions are thrown together: one older, somewhat set in his ways these days although he’s been anything but conventional in his younger years, and one a younger, rather callow youth. But their being together allows us to hear Jan’s stories and encounter some wonderful animal characters.

The novel is about ships passing in the night, how lives are touched by even the briefest and apparently most innocuous of encounters. We too often blunder along, thinking only of ourselves and things we want, and this can have all sorts of knock-on effects on those around us. There are lots of marvellous coincidences in the story that add both fun and richness.

It’s such a readable and thought-provoking book that you’ll find it hard to put down. It’s a fresh, sweetly touching novel that will twang your heartstrings whilst making you smile.

 

Purchase links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/We-Are-Animals-Tim-Ewins-ebook/dp/B084HK3C8Q

For a limited time, We Are Animals will be available for only 99p.

https://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Animals-Tim-Ewins-ebook/dp/B084HK3C8Q

 

Author bio

Tim Ewins has enjoyed an eight-year stand-up career alongside his accidental career in finance.

He has previously written for DNA Mumbai, had two short stories highly commended and published in Michael Terence Short Story Anthologies, and enjoyed a very brief acting stint (he’s in the film Bronson, somewhere in the background).

He lives with his wife, son and dog in Bristol. We Are Animals is his first novel.

Social Media Links Twitter @EyeAndLightning @EwinsTim

Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/timtewins/ and @quickbooksummaries

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In the Heart of Windy Pines by Holly Tierney-Bedord

Synopsis

From the author of Kindle Unlimited All-Star winner Sweet Hollow Women comes a new novella featuring characters from Murder at Mistletoe Manor, Carnage at the Christmas Party, and The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club!

Klarinda Snow is the innkeeper of Mistletoe Manor in beautiful, remote, Windy Pines, Idaho, where she brings her unique brand of hospitality to the tiny mountain town.

When she finds her inn unexpectedly fully booked on a snowy Tuesday night in November, it brings back memories of a tragedy years before. Before she knows what hit her, she and her trusty team of employees (Myrtle, Pierre, and her new night manager, Josephine), have found themselves back at the task of solving another mystery at Mistletoe Manor!

While this book can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novella, if you plan to read the books in the Windy Pines Mystery series or The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club, it’s highly recommended you read those first, as this book contains spoilers that could affect your ability to enjoy them.

My review
This is a quick and delightful read. The guests at Klarinda’s full-to-bursting hotel Mistletoe Manor get snowed in, and things take a turn for the mysterious. A familiar trope but one that it most certainly not stale when in the hands of this author.
We have a wonderful assembly of personalities that interact in good and bad ways. All very believable, and with emotional depth.
The plot is clever with enough tension to keep you riveted to the action. There’s complexity and cleverness in it and it makes for plenty of enjoyment.
There’s not just a mystery and a seasonal, wintry atmosphere, but also romance, which is a nice little extra!
The book is part of a series, but it works as a standalone although there’s more to gain from reading the whole series in order.

 

 

Purchase Links

About the author
Holly Tierney-Bedord lives in Madison, Wisconsin. She’s the author of over twenty books including The Woman America Loves a Latte, The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club, and Kindle Unlimited All-Star winner Sweet Hollow Women.
For more information or to subscribe to Holly’s newsletter, visit www.hollytierneybedord.com.

www.amazon.com/Holly-Tierney-Bedord/e/B00M3C9W3E
www.instagram.com/authorhollytierneybedord/
www.goodreads.com/author/show/6433388.Holly_Tierney_Bedord
www.bookbub.com/authors/holly-tierney-bedord
www.facebook.com/HollyRecommends/

Giveaway to Win a $5 Starbucks card (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494322/

Giveaway to Win a complete collection of Holly Tierney-Bedord audiobooks (Open UK / US Only)
Only open to those who have a UK or US Amazon Audible Account.
Prize includes these audiobooks – https://www.audible.co.uk/search?keywords=holly+tierney-bedord&ref=
*Terms and Conditions –UK and US entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494323/

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A Forgiven Friend by Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape: fun amidst the chaos

A Forgiven Friend: Lies, Loss, and Love, But Always Friendship

Friendship will always come first.

There’s only one way out from rock bottom and that’s up, and Teri Meyer is finally crawling out from the worst time of her life – no thanks to her best friend Lee. But no matter, she’s finally found love – real love with a real man, a successful man, a man who accepts all her flaws. Teri’s never felt like this before, and yet it’s changing her in ways she doesn’t understand.

And there’s only one person who can help, one person who truly understands Teri.

It seems that no matter how hard Lee Harper tries, there’s a battle awaiting her at every turn these days, and she’s tired. And as if she needs the extra stress, Teri continues to create constant and unnecessary drama. But Lee’s the only one who really knows what’s going on under Teri’s hard, convoluted exterior, and that’s why she’s always been there for her.

But the question is: will Teri be there when Lee needs her most?

The brilliant and entertaining final book in the unique FRIENDS trilogy dishes out another dose of rib-tickling mayhem for our favourite thirty-something professional women.

 

My review

A Forgiven Friend is the third in a trilogy of novellas, but that said it works fine as a standalone. I suspect there may be added richness from knowing what’s come before, but I’m sure that after reading this book you’ll want to rush off and read the preceding two as quickly as possible. (These are A Falling Friend and A Forsaken Friend.)

The book is written by two lady authors who make a fantastic team. And we have two women as our heroines in the story, Lee and Teri. I hope that Sue and Susan get on better than their creations! Lee and Teri have a volatile relationship, at times almost childish in their vacillations from hate to love, blame and apologies, betrayal and loyalty. But as the title suggests, they truly love each other and will always forgive. There is also a deep maturity and sincerity to their friendship.

Lee and Teri are chalk and cheese. Teri is impulsive, frequently thoughtless and not the sort to think before she speaks. Lee is more considered, thoughtful and restrained. They are attracted and annoyed by the opposing qualities they see in their friend.

As mid-thirties heroines they have a bit of baggage and are embroiled in family dramas. Those of us of a similar vintage, or beyond, and situation will recognise so much of it! This aspect makes the characters very rounded and convincing.

There’s plenty of fun amidst the chaos in this novella, and so much to enjoy.

 

Purchase Links


Biographies: Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape

Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers and magazines, and in public relations.

More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity University.

The pair, who have been friends for almost 30 years, wrote two successful journalism text books together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage), before deciding to turn their hands to fiction.

The first novel in their Friends series, A Falling Friend, was released in 2016. A Forsaken Friend followed two years later, and the final book in the trilogy, A Forgiven Friend, published on November 19.

Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, and the most ‘gorgeous granddaughter in the whole world’, loves reading, writing and Nordic walking in the beautiful countryside near her Yorkshire home.

Susan is married and lives in a village near Leeds, and, when not writing, loves walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. She is also a member of a local ukulele orchestra.

They blog about books at https://bookloversbooklist.com/

Follow them on Twitter: @SueF_Writer and @wordfocus

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The Last Landlady by Laura Thompson: a serving of social commentary, history and memoir to be lingered over

Summary

Award-winning biographer Laura Thompson pays homage to the English pub through the remarkable story of her grandmother, the first woman in England to be given a publican’s licence in her own name

Laura Thompson’s grandmother Violet was one of the great landladies. Born in a London pub, she became the first woman to be given a publican’s licence in her own name and, just as pubs defined her life, she seemed in many ways to embody their essence. Laura spent part of her childhood in Violet’s Home Counties establishment, mesmerised by her gift for cultivating the mix of cosiness and glamour that defined the pub’s atmosphere, making it a unique reflection of the national character. Her memories of this time are just as intoxicating: beer and ash on the carpets in the morning, the deepening rhythms of mirth at night, the magical brightness of glass behind the bar… Through them Laura traces the story of the English pub, asking why it has occupied such a treasured position in our culture. But even Violet, as she grew older, recognised that places like hers were a dying breed, and Laura also considers the precarious future they face. Part memoir, part social history, part elegy, The Last Landlady pays tribute to an extraordinary woman and the world she epitomised.

 

My review

This book is a beguiling mix of social commentary, history and memoir. The figure of the author’s landlady grandmother provides the central figure around whom the gentle decline of the English pub in the last quarter of the twentieth century.

The book begins with the landlady, Violet, and pubs in their heyday. Pubs were busy, welcoming, friendly places. As a child during that era I went to pubs with my parents and had lemonade and a pack of pork scratchings and happily soaked up the noise and smoke of my surroundings. As a teen I was in clubs and organisations that met in pubs, and the same as a student. Back home on Christmas Eves back home we’d all pack into a pub for a drink to mark the occasion.

During this time our landlady in the book struggled to get a grip with decimal money and dreadfully undercharged her customers, which is both touching and generous. She is somehow an emblem of timelessness, of continuity and dependence in a changing world.

Because it was changing. The large pub chains barged in and started doing food. When I was in my twenties on Friday lunchtime the whole office I worked in, and everyone else’s, went to the pub. Pubs now did ploughman’s lunches and other basic food. Some, anyway. Our landlady resisted the change for as long as she could, as did many others. Pubs were there for drinks, not food. Things slowly morphed into pubs becoming pretty much restaurants with a bar attached. I remember feeling quite sad at how our local pubs at home changed with this development. The atmosphere was different. From not going too far wrong with serving a drink, suddenly the proprietors had more to worry about. Would people complain about the food, the service, the length of time it took to cook it, the décor? An air of subservience emerged that these days has run riot with endless feedback and over-entitlement on the part of consumers.

We see our landlady slowly diminishing, yet never losing her dignity, along with the pub but she fights it all the way. She’s a fascinating figure, who eventually accepts that times are changing and so moves grudgingly but gracefully with them.

I enjoyed this book not just because of the superb writing and interesting subject, but also because I’ve witnessed this sanitising, character-destroying evolution of the pub. This book brings back lovely memories of a more honest, down-to-earth times, of genuineness, which the landlady personifies. It’s a wonderful read.     

The author

Laura Thompson won the Somerset Maugham award with her first book, The Dogs , and wrote two books about horse racing while living in Newmarket. Her biographical study of Nancy Mitford, Life in a Cold Climate, appeared in 2003 (re-issued 2015) and was followed by a major biography of Agatha Christie. A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan was published in 2014, and 2015’s Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters was recently sold to television. She lives in Richmond.

 

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Re-Navigation by Sue Parritt: a must-read

Synopsis

A gloomy seascape is of little consequence to Julia, as a ferry transports her to an isolated Welsh island to undertake a Spiritual Development course.

Soon, Julia finds herself surrounded by new friends and questions. As relationships deepen, so does Julia’s feeling that something crucial is missing from her life.

As passion ignites and deep-buried secrets surface, Julia faces choices that will forever change the direction of her life. But at what cost?

 

My review

The synopsis above neatly encapsulates the intriguing story so I’ll focus here on the impressive presentation of this book.

Sue Parritt is such an interesting writer. She chooses unusual, challenging themes and her style is elegant and literary. She creates beautiful images and complex, engrossing characters.

Her books aren’t ones you can skim through or half-read while half-watching the telly. You don’t dare! This author demands your full attention and has you really thinking about things. If she can get you to drop any preconceived notions or go-to platitudes you many harbour then she will. Here faith and spirituality in particular are brought into the spotlight in a none-too-gentle way, and other rigid ‘beliefs’ are dissected too.

As with another novel by this author that I recently reviewed, ‘Feed Thy Enemy’, the title works on different levels. The ‘Re-Navigation’ could refer to our central character Julia now physically navigating new waters in leaving Australia to come to Wales, or to her finding a new direction for her soul, or generally getting her life back on track. Or all or none of these.

Decide for yourself. This is a must-read.

 

Purchase Links:

AU – https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07NN9LGG4

US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NN9LGG4

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NN9LGG4

Book Depositorywww.bookdepository.com/Re-Navigation-Sue-Parritt/9781097158850

 

Author bio 

Originally from England, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on creative writing. Since then she has written short stories, articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and six novels:

Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2014.

Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2016.

The Sky Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.

Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017

Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Feed Thy Enemy, based on her father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Sue’s current project, A Question of Country, is a novel exploring the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity.

Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism.  Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.

 

Social Media Links –

Website: www.sueparritt.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/SueParrittAuthor

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Feed Thy Enemy by Sue Parritt: a privilege to read

Synopsis
In this heart-warming narrative based on a true story, a British airman embarks on a plan that risks it all to feed a starving, war-stricken family.
Thirty years after serving in World War II, middle-aged Rob’s holiday plans see an unforeseen change that leads him on a coach tour of Italy. Struggling with post-war PTSD and depression, he reluctantly agrees to the journey – and sparks a dream that plunges him into long-stifled memories.
Set in Europe, Sue Parritt’s Feed Thy Enemy is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma. When Rob’s flashback delves into his attempts to save a famished family with a series of increasingly daring raids on his army’s supply stores, will he trigger suppressed remembrances of past war, love, and sacrifice – and find the strength to confront them in the present?

My review
Dual timeline novels really do seem to on the up and up. They’re all I seem to be reading at the moment! Well, here’s one that is more narrative fiction than anything, and which is a real privilege to read. The main character, Rob, is the author’s father. This brave man fought for his country but suffered disastrous after-effects.
Which enemy is the title referring to? The wartime enemy who scarred his life so badly? The PTSD he suffered? Maybe even his wife who tries to get him to face his past and finally conquer the bad memories it brings? I love when there are layers like this to a story that make you have to think and consider.
There are good memories too. In the wartime thread of the story we also get to see Rob’s lighter escapades. We get a real sense of who he is as a person. Wife Ivy too is lovingly portrayed in great detail. There are even portraits which add an extra element.
This is a moving, challenging, beautiful story. The author very sensitively handles mental health issues and makes them meaningful and immediate. It’s a book that will stay with you for a long time.

Purchase links
AUS – www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07R6SXZ84
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07R6SXZ84
US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R6SXZ84

Author bio

Originally from England, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on creative writing. Since then she has written short stories, articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and six novels:
Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2014.
Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2016.
The Sky Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.
Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017
Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.
Feed Thy Enemy, based on her father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.
Sue’s current project, A Question of Country, is a novel exploring the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity.

Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism. Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.
Social Media Links – www.facebook.com/SueParrittAuthor/ Website: www.sueparritt.com

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The Summer House in Santorini by Samantha Parks: uplifting and summery

The Summer House in Santorini

One summer in Greece will change everything…

Anna’s running away. From a failed relationship, a dead-end career and a complicated family life.

On the island of Santorini, with its picturesque villas, blue-tiled roofs, and the turquoise waters of the Aegean lapping at the white sand beaches, Anna inherits a less-than-picturesque summer house from her estranged father. As she rebuilds the house, she rebuilds her life, uncovering family secrets along the way that change everything. She starts to fall for her little slice of paradise, as well as for gorgeous, charming Nikos.

Will Anna lose her heart in more ways than one?

 

My review

This is a summer breeze of a novel about difficult decisions and new beginnings, about discovery and rethinking. Our heroine Anna has a few unpleasant issues to face in the story and realisations to make. Whilst at the start she’s definitely in a bit of a rut the tone is always positive and the story becomes more uplifting as it progresses.

Anna is self-contained and strong, maybe a little entitled even, but not above needing the love and support of others. She manages alone, but she really shines in company and life is more rewarding. She comes to realise the world doesn’t owe her a living. She can and has to influence things herself. Niko and Elena provide the friendship and encouragement she needs to take a good look at where she is and where she wants to be. They give her the courage she requires to start anew.

The setting is glorious. A Greek island in summer must be many people’s dream, and you can see why in the pages of this book. The colours and scents are described, as well as the atmosphere of this place, so very different from the greyness of home, which seeps into the story.

A delightful read for the summer.

 

Purchase links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-House-Santorini-Samantha-Parks-ebook/dp/B07JHLMQFV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Summer-House-Santorini-Samantha-Parks-ebook/dp/B07JHLMQFV

 

Author bio

Samantha Parks is the pen name of Sam Gale. Her pen name comes from her late grandmother Velma Hobbs nee Parks, who was one of Sam’s greatest role models. Sam was born in North Carolina but now resides in Bournemouth, UK with her husband Alex. She owns a successful marketing company and is enjoying her slow descent into “crazy plant lady” status.

 

Social media links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/samanthajgale

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/searchingforsamantha/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samanthaparksauthor

Website/blog: https://www.samanthaparks.com/