My Review of Not Thomas by Sara Gethin #contemporary fiction

Not Thomas by [Gethin, Sara]

I gave Not Thomas 5* out of 5*

My Review:

Every now and then I read a book that sets all my senses tingling with the brilliance of it.

And this is why I wanted to write my review in a different way than normal.

 I don’t just mean that the characters are so multi-layered and rounded that I can empathise with them. Or that the descriptions give a wonderful sense of place that make the settings easy to envisage.  Or that the plot makes a story that is innovative and original.

I mean a book that holds all these… and more. And this novel does just that

 Not Thomas is narrated through the point of view of the protagonist, Tomas. He’s five years old. And, because of this, the narration and his dialogue are simplistic and poignant; the words jump off the page as those of a five year old child. And it works so well.  

We see his world; his home, his school, the people around him, through his eyes. We learn of his perception of himself, the capabilities of his body; often described in almost a third person, personification kind of way; “my ear is listening “, ” my teeth are hurting my tongue”

 Sara Gethin has an usual talent for seeing through the eyes of a child and I love her style of writing.

 Without giving any spoilers to this superb novel I will say that, despite the simplicity of a lot of the narrative, this is a dark, compelling story with a gripping plot. I could see this as a television drama.

 I thoroughly recommend Not Thomas. I’m not ashamed to say there were moments when I cried reading this story, sometimes in  a sad way but sometimes, as Tomas would say, when “my mouth was laughing”.

Book Description:

“The lady’s here. The lady with the big bag. She’s knocking on the front door. She’s knocking and knocking. I’m not opening the door. I’m not letting her in. I’m behind the black chair. I’m waiting for her to go away.

Tomos lives with his mother. He longs to return to another place, the place he thinks of as home, and the people who lived there, but he’s not allowed to see them again. He is five years old and at school, which he loves. Miss teaches him about all sorts of things, and she listens to him. Sometimes he’s hungry and Miss gives him her extra sandwiches. She gives him a warm coat from Lost Property, too. There are things Tomos cannot talk about – except to Cwtchy – and then, just before Easter, the things come to a head. There are bad men outside who want to come in, and Mammy has said not to answer the door. From behind the big chair, Tomos waits, trying to make himself small and quiet. He doesn’t think it’s Santa Claus this time.

When the men break in, Tomos’s world is turned on its head and nothing will ever be the same again”

Other Reviews: 

“Heart-wrenching, captivating and beautiful… a poignant portrayal of a hostile world depicted through the eyes of a child. Gethin writes with profound depth and compassion in this exceptionally moving and powerful novel.” Caroline Busher, Irish Times best-selling author

“The ability to use sentiment without descending into sentimentality is a rare commodity. But it is something Sara Gethin does effortlessly in Not Thomas. The book is, by turns, compelling, disturbing, enthralling and both physically and emotionally draining. It is, ultimately,an up-lifting tale that is rewarding and an affirmation of the human spirit. Do not expect an easy read, even though she writes fluently with a skill that drives the reader on. Expect to cry, to run the whole gamut of emotions. This is a book that will reward any perceptive reader. It is thoroughly recommended.” Phil Carradice, writer and broadcaster

“This novel should be printed on plastic paper so that the reader’s ample tears don’t blot the paper. Sara Gethin has given us an undeniably memorable character in Tomos, a lovable boy living in the most brutal poverty and abject neglect. It also casts light into the dark shadowlands of child poverty and should act as a reprimand to those who let it continue. Yet Gethin doesn’t forget that the writer’s first job is to hook the reader with a strong story and this one really gets under the skin. A deeply convincing novel that surges with emotion and compassion in equal measure.” Jon Gower, author, producer and former BBC Wales arts & media correspondent 

“Sara Gethin’s use of simple language, clipped sentences, and repetition assist in creating a very believable and natural-sounding child’s voice… The narrative pace is quick, at times breathless, as one would expect from a lively and care-deprived child, and it contributes to a thoroughly engaging page-turner. Sara Gethin, with her impressive range of writing skills, takes us to a tragic place, a bleak corner of messed-up lives and hopelessness, but she also shows us the warm spirit of human light that can break through such darkness.” –Peter Thabit Jones, Poet and dramatist

Wendy White

Sara’s Bio:

Sara Gethin is the pen-name of Wendy White. She grew up in Llanelli and studied Religion and Ethics in Western Thought at St. David’s University, Lampeter. She has worked as a childminder, an assistant in a children’s library and a primary school teacher. She writes for children as Wendy White, and her first book Welsh Cakes and Custard won the Tir nan-Og Award in 2014. She has two grown-up children and, while home is still west Wales, she and her husband spend much of their free time across the water in Dublin. Not Thomas is published by Honno

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BROOK COTTAGE BOOKS – The Other Side of Morning by Joanna Lambert

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The Other Side of Morning

by Joanna Lambert

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 8 March 2014

Publisher:  ThornBerry Publishing

Fashion designer Thérèse D’Alesandro has recently moved into Higher Padbury Manor with daughter Felica and stepson Marco. Joining forces with Ella Benedict’s exclusive functions venue Lawns at Little Court, she is about to open a bridal boutique.

Working in London where he manages his father’s European restaurant chain, Marco has both the looks and charm to guarantee him any woman; any woman, that is, except the one he wants: Ella’s niece Charlotte. Marco knows he should walk away as she’s already involved with rock star Christian Rosetti and is the most rude and argumentative female he has ever encountered, but Charlotte has sparked strong feelings within him; feelings which despite her attitude, he senses she is also experiencing.

Recently returned from abroad and now working for her father’s record company, Lucy Benedict has discovered Christian’s guilty secrets – ones he has been keeping safely hidden from her cousin Charlotte. Determined to cause mischief and at the same time settle her own score with the arrogant star, she sets in motion a chain of events which sees Charlotte eventually beginning a relationship with Marco.

Rossana Caravello, the D’Alesandros’s newly-arrived house guest, is due to inherit the one of Italy’s premier vineyards on her eighteenth birthday. Aware they would make an excellent addition to her husband Gianlucca’s international business portfolio and eager to bring them into his possession, Thérèse sets about engineering a match between Rossana and Marco, determined nothing will stand in her way… including Charlotte.

From rural West Somerset to the glorious rolling landscape of Tuscany and the Italian Lakes THE OTHER SIDE OF MORNING is a story of love, betrayal, deception and ultimate sacrifice.

VIDEO TRAILER

https://youtu.be/37hGyB4WVPc

 

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

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ABOUT JOANNA LAMBERT

Born and raised in rural Wiltshire, Jo grew up with a love of books and a vivid imagination. As a child she enjoyed creating her own stories and reading them to her friends. College, work and eventually marriage meant writing was kept very much as a hobby. Her career as a board level PA eventually moved into management and it wasn’t until 2009 that she finally realised her long term goal of publishing her first novel – When Tomorrow Comes.

Juggling work and writing, three other connected books – Love Lies and Promises, The Ghost of You and Me and Between Today and Yesterday – followed. They became collectively known as the Little Court Series.
In 2013 she decided to give up full time work to concentrate on her writing. Two books have been written since – The Other Side of Morning, which finally wrapped up the Little Court Series and Summer Moved On, book one of a two-part love story set in South Devon. Although you can find her characters in glamorous locations like Italy, Grand Cayman, Bali and Australia, the core of her writing remains with village life, an environment she knows and loves. When she isn’t writing, she reviews for Hodder and Stoughton, Brook Cottage Books and NetGalley. Jo lives in a village on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT.  She loves travel, red wine and rock music.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolambert185?fref=ts

Twitter: Twitter: @jolambertwriter

Goodreads: /thewriterwhoreads

Instagram:  taurusgirl185

Google+ Googleplus: google.com/+JoLambert

Website: http://jolambertbooks.com

Blog:  http://jolambertwriter.wordpress.com

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