I received this book as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team #RBRT in return for an honest review.
I gave Hiding 4*out of 5*
Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.
This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?
(Jenny Morton Potts takes to the psychological thriller stage on an international canvass, and with a unique, bold voice.)
I enjoyed this book; Jenny Morton Potts has created a good psychological thriller; great plot, believable characters, good dialogue.
Hiding follows two main characters from different countries, both well-rounded and many layered: Rebecca, the protagonist, brought up in the Scottish Highlands with her siblings by her grandparents. It’s a bleak seemingly loveless household according to the narrative from Rebecca’s point of view. But there are many unanswered questions, especially about the death of here parents; killed in a car accident. And Keller Baye, the antagonist; an American youth, and son of a murderer. His narrative is revealed slowly and is, initially, more difficult to grasp. But what is obvious is the lack of love in his upbringing, and explains his total absence of empathy for anyone in his world. (I use the word ‘world’ on purpose, rather than his ‘life’; right from the start his character is portrayed as distanced from any other character in the story – he seemed to me to be more of a spectator). The most unsettling is his graphic, almost internal narration of his presence at his father’s execution.
Told alternately from each of the two main characters’ point of view, the plot lines are related both in the present and in flashbacks, (a device I like as a reader; to me this always adds so many more layers).
But it wasn’t only these two characters that came alive for me; most of the minor characters are many layered as well; some I liked, some I didn’t – which, is, undoubtedly, as the author intended
And both the internal and spoken dialogue expands on all the characters and there is never any doubt who is speaking.
The descriptions of the settings give a great sense of place; it’s easy to envisage each scene. From the descriptions of the isolated chilly mansion in Highlands of Scotland to the cramped unloving house that was Keller Baye’s home with his aunt in the USA, to the external scenes when each character is telling their own narrative and on to the scenes where they are eventually together.
As I said earlier it’s a great plot; seemingly separate tales with no connection, both well told, until a sudden realisation that there is an inevitable link.
Initially there is an even pace to the two separate narratives but then the suspense builds up as threads of the parallel stories intertwine and connect.A gripping read.
And right up to the last chapter I would have given Hiding five stars. So many small twists and turns, so many suspenseful moments joining up all the past narrative. But then, for me, it ended too abruptly. I won’t say how, and no doubt other readers will have their own opinions. But the gradual deepening of the plot and the lead up towards the end worked so well – and then…it was over; a sudden and unsatisfying denouement.
A last point; I love the cover; the silhouette of the woman looking outwards as though searching, the grim image of the man’s face as though watching; the contrast of light and dark. Wonderful!
Despite my reservations of the ending (and I leave that point for other readers to decide), I would certainly recommend Hiding. Jenny Morton Potts has a great style of writing.
Links to buy:
Jenny writes contemporary novels and plays. Her new psychological thriller ‘Hiding’ was published in February.
Her sceenplay for ‘Piano from a 4th Storey Window’ was filmed recently in Sussex. The editor’s first draft is available to watch on Jenny’s website (above). She lives with her partner and son in Thaxted.
I received this book from the author in return for an honest review
IS YOUR GIRLFRIEND PREGNANT?
How ready are you for that?
How would you deal with becoming a parent before
you’ve left school?
One thing’s for sure, you can’t unmake babies. A fact that’s borne in on Peter Knight and Samantha Smithson, sixth formers at the South East Comprehensive in Deptford, living at a time when many parents are still of the old
school and pregnancy outside marriage carries a stigma.
Having to face their parents, their school friends, teachers and gossip is only
the beginning. Pete’s plans for university are scotched as he must seek
work and accommodation suitable for a young family. And all
the time he still wants to have fun, with ‘friends’ quite
happy to tempt him to do it.
As for Samantha, abortion is no easy option. Yet as her health and
her faith in Peter goes up and down, she may have
to think the unthinkable
If Only I’d Listened is a family saga and has a good sense of the era; the sixties. It’s obvious the author has researched well from the details of the background to the lives of the characters; the attitudes, the class, the morals. And there is also a great sense of place so I could imagine the characters moving around the area.
Compared with the nostalgia for the ‘Swinging Sixties’ the book reflects the confinements of family life, the expectations of parents, the tentative pushing against the boundaries of the teenage characters in the story.
It’s an age-old plot: boy gets girl pregnant, parents from different classes disapprove, boy, realising his planned future is in jeopardy, panics and distances himself from girl. Girl left holding the baby… or is she?
A good story-line but I won’t give away spoilers.
The characters are all fairly rounded and evolve as the book progresses in their own way.
The dialogue differentiates the characters well.
As I said it’s an age-old plot that never goes stale. And it’s an easy read, I quite liked the author’s style of writing.
The pace of the story was a problem for me. There is a lot of time spent in parts of the story, to the point where it felt rather laboured and where I wanted it to move on so I could read what happened next. And then the conclusion felt rushed.
But there is a lot of potential in this debut novel. Perhaps it needs just one more edit to tighten up the text
About the Author:
I was born in Devon during the second world war. Aged six I moved with my parents to Buckinghamshire where I lived until I left home aged nineteen to train as a nurse.
For the last ten years I have been writing articles for the national magazines on different subjects including hand spinning. In 2011 I was commissioned to write my first book – Hand Spinning and Natural Dyeing.
If Only I’d Listened is my debut novel, it took three years to write. The novel is based in London during the 60’s. Pete a seventeen year old school boy gets Samantha aged sixteen, pregnant.
Samantha spends the nine months in and out of hospital while Pete is encouraged by his friends to go out and about and have have fun which he does, in between having upsets with his parents.
In her talk Judith Barrow covers the struggles that women had to endure to achieve full equality regarding suffrage; the right to vote. And she explains how the 1918 Representation of the People Act seemed a major victory for the suffragist movement, but why there were women who still saw the act as a betrayal.
Includes readings from her novel “A Tiny Hundred Threads”
Yn ei haraith bydd Judith Barrow yn trafod y brwydrau bu’n rhaid i ferched eu goddef er mwyn ennill yr hawl i bleidleisio. Bydd hi’n egluro sut y gwelwyd Deddf Cynrychiolaeth y Bobl yn 1918 yn fuddugoliaeth enfawr i etholfreintiaeth ond paham roedd menywod yn ystyried y ddeddf yn frad.
The move for women to have the…
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I received this book as a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) in return for an honest review.
I gave Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day 5* out of 5*
Fred Sadler has just died of old age. It’s 1986, seventy years after he marched off to WWI, and the ghost of Fred Sadler hovers near the ceiling of the nursing home. To Fred’s dismay, the arrangement of his funeral falls to his prudish sister-in-law, Viola. As she dominates the remembrance of Fred, he agonizes over his inability to set the record straight.
Was old Uncle Fred really suffering from shell shock? Why was he locked up most of his life in the Whitby Hospital for the Insane? Could his family not have done more for him?
Fred’s memories of his life as a child, his family’s hotel, the War, and the mental hospital, clash with Viola’s version of events as the family gathers on a rainy October night to pay their respects.
I think the book description, with all the open questions, reveals all that is needed to say about the story to draw any reader in.
I loved this novella. Although inspired by letters written by the author’s Great Uncle Fred, and written from a third person point of view, it’s Sandy Day’s light touch in her writing style that brings out the poignancy of what is essentially a ghost story.
I actually found it strangely frustrating that Fred Sadler is unable to make his relatives understand that it was his experiences in the First World War that permanently damaged him and led to his erratic lifestyle afterwards .
And it reminded me that ultimately we are all seen by others from their own perspectives. Bearing in mind that this is essentially a true story, (and not knowing if Viola’s viewpoint of him has, in truth, been gleaned from those letters of his) this disturbed and upset me for Fred.
Which, I suppose, shows how strong is the portrayal of the protagonist – ghost or not.
The juxtaposition of memories and present day actions, recollections and interpretations of Fred’s life through the contents of his battered old suitcase ,as the family study and comment over them, saddened me.
This is a reflective and insightful story that will stay with me for quite a while.
And, my goodness, the cover! The young soldier, veiled by the handwriting, standing upright and proud in his uniform, as yet unaware of what faced him. Powerful image.
And what I would give to be able to read those letters.
I realise this is quite a short review for me but I hope it’s enough to show how strongly I recommend Fred’s Funeral to any readers. A novella not to be missed.
About the Author
Sandy Day is the author of Fred’s Funeral and Chatterbox, Poems. She graduated from Glendon College, York University, with a degree in English Literature sometime in the last century. Sandy spends her summers in Jackson’s Point, Ontario on the shore of Lake Simcoe. She winters nearby in Sutton by the Black River. Sandy is a trained facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective’s creative writing workshops. She is a developmental editor and book coach.
Find Sandy on Twitter: @sandeetweets
It can only be estimated that the number of women who went to prison was more than 1,000 because many were imprisoned under public order offences and so are not easy to identify.
Neither is it certain how many went on hunger strike or were forcibly fed.
But it is certain that the Suffragettes refused to bow to violence against them.
They were quite happy to go to prison. And, from 1909, women demanding the status of political prisoners began to refuse food. The government was extremely concerned that they might die in prison thus giving the movement martyrs. So prison governors were ordered to force-feed Suffragettes even though this caused a public outcry as forced feeding was traditionally used to feed those who were then called lunatics…as opposed to what were mostly educated women.
Force-feeding was a serious problem. The force-feeding of hunger-striking suffragettes was invasive, demeaning, and dangerous, and in some instances it damaged the long-term health of the victims, because it should also be remembered that women were given disproportionately long sentences for minor offences such as protesting, resisting arrest, or smashing a window.
There have been many studies of the letters, diaries and autobiographies written by prisoners indicating the horrors of force-feeding and the particularly harsh treatment of poor or working-class women. One describes the experiences of Lady Constance Lytton, who disguised herself as a poor woman named Jane Warton in order to gather evidence of differential treatment.
Jane Warton was “held down by wardresses as the doctor inserted a four-foot-long tube down her throat. A few seconds after the tube was down, she vomited all over her hair, her clothes and the wall, yet the task continued until all the liquid had been emptied into her stomach. As the doctor left ‘he gave me a slap on the cheek’, Constance recollected, ‘not violently, but, as it were, to express his contemptuous disapproval’.”
She was forcibly fed seven more times before her true identity was revealed and she was released. Constance never fully recovered from her ordeal – she suffered a stroke in 1912 and died in 1923.
Forcible feeding was humiliating, especially so for poor women fed through the rectum and vagina. The knowledge that new tubes were not always available and that used tubes may have been previously inflicted on diseased people undoubtedly added to the feelings of abuse, dirtiness and indecency that the women felt.
The government of Asquith responded with The Cat and Mouse Act When a Suffragette was sent to prison, it was assumed that she would go on hunger strike as this caused the authorities maximum discomfort. The Cat and Mouse Act allowed the Suffragettes to go on a hunger strike so they became weaker and weaker. Force-feeding was not used. When the Suffragettes were very weak they were released from prison. If they died out of prison, this was of no embarrassment to the Government. However, they did not die but those who were released were so ill that they could take no part in violent Suffragette struggles. When the women who had been arrested and released had regained their strength, they were re-arrested for the most trivial of reason and the whole process started again.
This, from the government’s point of view, was a very simple but effective weapon against the Suffragettes.
The move for women to have the vote had really started in 1897 when Millicent Fawcett founded the National Union of Women’s Suffrage.
Millicent Fawcett believed in peaceful protest. She felt that any violence or trouble would persuade men that women could not be trusted to have the right to vote. Her game plan was patience and logical arguments. Fawcett argued that women could hold responsible posts in society such as sitting on school boards yet were not trusted to vote; she argued that if parliament made laws and if women had to obey those laws, then women should be part of the process of making those laws; she argued that as women had to pay taxes as men, they should have the same rights as men
And one of her most powerful arguments was that wealthy mistresses of large manors and estates employed gardeners, workmen and labourers who could vote……..but the women could not regardless of their wealth…..
Dame Millicett’s legacy continues today through the women’s rights charity, the Fawcett Society.
Welcoming the announcement, chief executive Sam Smethers called it a, “fitting tribute. Her contribution was great but she has been overlooked and unrecognised until now. By honouring her we also honour the wider suffrage movement.”
At the age of 19, she organised signatures for the first petition for women’s suffrage, though she was too young to sign it herself. She became President of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (the NUWSS) from 1907-19. With 50,000 members it was the largest organisation agitating for female suffrage at the time. Her powerful and peaceful mass campaign was instrumental in securing the first extension of voting rights for women in 1918.
Millicent worked alongside the Suffragettes, who employed different, and more militant tactics in their campaign. From the beginning, Millicent took an interest in women’s empowerment in its broadest sense; the suffragette colours were green, white and violet which stood for Give Women Votes. The suffragist colours, by contrast, reflected their broader movement: green, white and red or Give Women Rights.
In 1913 she was awarded a brooch engraved with “For Steadfastness and Courage”, which The Fawcett Society till has today. Millicent Fawcett died in 1929, a year after women were finally given equal voting rights. Her work has continued ever since, with The London Society for Women’s Suffrage renamed as The Fawcett Society in her honour in 1953.
2018 marks 100 years since women first secured the right to vote, and Millicent Fawcett will be making history again. She’ll become the first woman commemorated with a statue in Parliament Square– a landmark moment for the wider suffrage movement, and for women everywhere.
She went on to lead the constitutional suffrage campaign and made this cause her lifetime’s work, securing equal voting rights 62 years later. Today The Fawcett Society continues her legacy of fighting sexism and gender inequality, the belief being that no one should be prevented from reaching their full potential because of their gender.
The Fawcett Society campaigns to:
Close the gender pay gap. Secure equal power. Challenge attitudes and change minds. Defend women’s rights post-Brexit. There must be no turning the clock back.
THEIR VISION: A society in which the choices you can make and the control you have over your life are no longer determined by your gender.
THEIR MISSION: We publish compelling research to educate, inform and lead the debate. We bring together politicians, academics, grassroots activists and wider civil society to develop innovative, practical solutions
They campaign with women and men to make change happen.