Tenby Book Fair – Authors and Short Story Competitions

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far (there are more to come!!) I’ve cross-examined interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood:http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams: http://bit.ly/29racfO ,Alys Einion:  http://bit.ly/29l5izl  and Julie McGowan: http://bit.ly/29CHNa9  And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/   and  http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

 And then we have the competitions: Besides the prizes, the winners of all three will be posted on both the Tenby Book Fair website:  http://tenbybookfair.blogspot.co.uk/   and on the Showboat website: http://www.showboat-tv.com/

competitions

The 2016 Tenby Book Fair will be offering three competitions this year.

Children’s Competition.

For entrants aged 7 – 12, an essay (one page) entitled: My Favourite Character.

Write about a character in a book that you like. Is he or she clever? Brave? Funny? Or just get to do all the things you’d like to do.

Include your name and age on the sheet and a way of contacting you – it can be your address, or your school, or a phone number – so we can tell you if you’ve won.

Hand your entry in to any library in Pembrokeshire, or post it to:

Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX

Send it by August 13th, 2016

Collections of books are very generously being donated as prizes by Firefly Press.
A winner and a runner-up will be chosen from each of two age groups: 7-9 and 10-12

Prizes will be presented at the Book Fair in St Mary’s Church House
on Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Young Adult Flash Fiction Competition

For entrants aged 12 – 18, a 100 word Creepy Tale.

You could write “A Creepy Tale,” about ghosts, vampires, zombies, the supernatural or anything that might give you the shivers. But can you write it in 100 words or less? That’s the challenge in this competition. A full story, in 100 words or less.

Include your name, age and contact details (address, phone number or email address) with the entry, and post it to:

Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX

OR paste it into the body of an email to:

Put “Flash Fiction” in the subject line

The closing date is August 13th 2016

First Prize £15 book token. 2 runners-up: £5 book token.

Short Story Competition

For entrants 18 and over: a short story, “The Bag Lady.”

Entry Fee £3 Send cheque, made payable to “Tenby Book Fair” with your entry, or pay on-line, via PayPal,
Write a short story of 2000 words or less, entitled “The Bag Lady.” How you interpret the title is up to you.

Include name and preferred contact details (address, phone number or email address) and post to:

Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX

or send as a Word or Rich Text Format document, attached to an email to:

Include “Short Story” in the subject line.

Today With Julie McGowan

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far I’ve interrogated interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood: http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams: http://bit.ly/29racfO   and Alys Einion:  http://bit.ly/29l5izl And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/   and  http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

 

Today I’m really pleased to introduce Julie McGowan; a truly prolific author.

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Hi Julie, Good to see you here today to chat about your writing

 Hi Judith, pleased to be here… and happy to share.

Right, tell me, please, why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

My two novels set in Wales are both historical fiction set in the first half of the twentieth century. It’s a period of time that has always fascinated me, particularly how people lived through two world wars and still manage to do all the normal things like fall in love and get married etc.

The Mountains Between

Just One More Summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also write contemporary fiction, not set in Wales, and switch between the two as the mood takes me.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I read from an early age – not much on the telly then! Also, I was involved in amateur dramatics through our chapel from childhood and that inspired me to weave stories.

How long have you been writing?

Over 20 years

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Novels, commercial short stories for women’s magazines, features for national publications, pantomimes, sketches for adults and children, songs.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

I think it widens people’s horizons and enables them to experience situations and places that they may never come across in their lives. I think this is particularly important for children, and get quite cross when publishers etc think children’s books should only reflect the lives children lead. Very pleased J. K. Rowling ignored that!

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

‘Don’t Pass Me By’ includes some scathing reflections on the narrowness there used to be in some Welsh village chapels. I’m a practising Christian, but firmly believe that everyone should be allowed to follow their own spiritual path and not be weighed down by church dogma from any faith.

Don't Pass Me By

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

I wanted to remind people that the movement of evacuee children during WW2 didn’t always have the  happy ending we like to glorify when these times are looked back on with rather rose-coloured glasses. I also wanted to show the difference between how children were treated then, and how our helicopter-parenting style today can be overprotective. I think I’ve achieved both objectives.

Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

My research was rather solitary, but after the book was published I was contacted by a lady in her 80s who wanted to share her harrowing experience of being an evacuee. Her story was more amazing than anything I’d written! But the message she wanted to give me was that she wasn’t destroyed by her experience and that life can turn around – she was just brilliant.

What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?

I read books about first hand accounts of evacuees from South Wales, and used the internet, particularly the BBC history website.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Portraying elements of child sexual abuse that makes the reader understand the emotional turmoil the child is going through whilst not making the actual abuse too graphic.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Feeling I’d succeeded with the hardest parts as outlined above!

What inspires you?

Listening to ‘ordinary’ people talking about their lives

How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

By not being scared to take chances and change direction – which could be construed as blind optimism!

Who are some of your favourite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

The much under-rated, in my view, Monica Dickens, and Elizabeth Jane Howard, both of whom succeeded in building wonderful stories around everyday people and multi-stranded novels. They helped me to look at the subtleties of human behaviour and made me want to express those subtleties in short, often oblique descriptions or sentences.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

Most useful was writing a weekly column for a local paper which had to have a strict word count, so I learned how to edit my work and make it ‘less is more’. Least useful were some of the rejections from agents rather than publishers, who seemed to enjoy a critical put-down rather than a polite ‘no thanks’.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

Part time, which occasionally makes it difficult to get back under the skin of a character.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

Nurse, health visitor, school matron, town clerk, actress, theatre-in-education director to name but a few. Health visiting in particular I think increased my empathy and understanding of family dilemmas and I think has helped me to describe characters’ emotions.

How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I think there is a place for eBooks but they will never replace the feel of a print book in one’s hands and the anticipation of turning to that first page… Alternative publishing, when done well, can challenge conventional publishing, as long as it’s well edited.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

I had already had two books produced by the same publisher, so this book was already agreed. For my first book I went through the usual tortuous process of trying to find an agent or publisher and in the end worked my way through the list of publishers who would accept unsolicited manuscripts.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

It’s a page-turning story, with a number of characters that resonate with the readers, and has a strong emotional content, set in a turbulent time, but in a beautiful place.

How do you find or make time to write?

I try to carefully portion out my week to include writing time amongst my other commitments, but it often goes wrong!

Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two?  Summarise your writing process.

I have a story and main characters in my head, and know how I want it to begin and end. Then I write, and often change the flow of the story as other characters work their way in, but the main plot ends the way I envisaged.

What are some ways in which you promote your work?  Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

I do numerous book signings, talks, writing classes, book fairs and festivals. They do take up some time but are invaluable for meeting people and getting my name known – and often give me ideas for new characters!

What do you like to read in your free time?

Predominantly novels but of no particular genre – whatever intrigues me.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’ve just finished my latest novel so am doing a final edit.

What do your plans for future projects include?

One of my books has been published in Germany, so my publisher is trying to get rights sold in other European countries. I may start another novel after the summer, once this year’s panto has been written, which has to be ready by September.

And my favourite for dealing with popular authors who’ve already done a lot of interviews: What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.

Question: Who is your favourite character in ‘Don’t Pass Me By’

Answer: It has to be Arfur, the young lad from the East End who finds it so hard to settle in a small Welsh village, and is so determinedly loyal to his good-time Mum, even in the face of all the evidence that she has deserted him. Once I’d got his character established I wanted to take  him home with me!

 

Find Julie here:http://amzn.to/29s1o9u

 

Today With Juliet Greenwood

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far I’ve interrogated interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G and Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  and Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl  and Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq  And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/   and  http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

Today I’m chatting with the lovely author Juliet Greenwood, fellow Honno author and friend who writes the most wonderful books,

 Juliet and hat small

 

Welcome, Juliet. Great to see you here today. and love the hat by the way

 Why, thank you Judith, and it’s good to be here.

So, let’s get going, tell me … why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I am published by Honno Press, and write historical novels, mainly set in the Victorian/Edwardian eras, which move between Cornwall, Wales and London. There is always a big house and a mystery to be solved, and plenty of drama along the way, so they are along the lines of Kate Morton and Rachel Hore.

I’ve chosen to write in this genre as I’m fascinated by the lives of women in those periods, especially the way things were changing, and the battles for the independence we take for granted today. So much of women’s lives have been forgotten, particularly how active they were, and how many campaigns they fought and won, despite having no legal existence for most of this period.

My first book ‘Eden’s Garden’ was a time-shift, with a mystery set between contemporary and Victorian times. I really enjoyed the challenge of writing a time-shift, so I’m hoping to be working on another timeshift mystery soon. I enjoy the challenge of moving between two times.

eden's_garden_cover:Layout 1

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I was a bookworm as a child, who loved stories. My mum loved reading, so she always inspired me to try new things. She encouraged me to absorb the classics, which gave me a great background. It started a lifelong love affair with reading and writing!

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? .

I started researching ‘The White Camellia’, to be published by Honno this September, thinking that the background would be that of the suffragettes, but I soon came across the far less well-known suffrage movement, which was a revelation.

 

white camellia

The suffrage movement included both men and women who fought alongside each other for over fifty years for every citizen over the age of 21 to have the vote. Although a small number of men had the vote at the start of the campaign, this wasn’t achieved for either men or women until 1928. The women and men of the suffrage movement used democratic tactics, civil disobedience and persuasion. It also fought for equal employment rights for men and women, and won endless battles to give women legal rights, including to keep their earnings and property, and to keep their children in the case of divorce.

Although they didn’t resort to violence, they were brave and resourceful, especially when you consider that at the beginning of their campaign women had no legal existence at all. I think what I found most fascinating about the suffrage movement was that it showed women taking on those in power on their own terms and out-manoeuvring and outwitting them at every turn, using rational arguments (and a bit of clever publicity) to achieve many of the freedoms we take for granted today.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?

I think the biggest misconception about the genre is that it’s always rich women floating around in nice houses, solving a bit of a mystery and probably finding a few pearls and Mr Darcy along the way. The greatest misconception about the struggle for the vote is that it was always violent – and that it was only about the women. In fact, most men in Victorian times also did not have the vote, and it was only the last few years when the violence erupted – and that was only after parliament, thanks to the work of the suffrage movement, had twice voted for women to have the vote.

I find that setting a story in the past can also be a way of exploring dilemmas that are universal and we still experience today. I feel the past can give more distance, so can give more freedom to explore experiences. As well as the role of women in politics, one of the main threads of the story in ‘The White Camellia’ is a character who takes the perfect revenge, with the most terrible and unexpected consequences – and that’s a story that could take place at any time.

What inspires you?

Primarily the untold stories of women. The more I learn, the clearer it becomes that so much of women’s achievements and experiences have not been told. Before I researched ‘We That are Left, I had no idea women worked on the front line in the First World War, often under fire, and were even given medals, as well as working as spies behind enemy lines. Although it’s now changing, too often women are still seen as passive victims, trailing behind their men, rather than being incredibly resourceful and resilient and worthy of taking centre stage. A love story is important – but there is so much more to women’s lives as well, including huge moral dilemmas, a need to live a fulfilled life, and the deep human need for self-determination.

 

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How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

Working hard, always reading, writing and learning – and never giving up! I’ve also tried to find jobs that allow me time and head space to write, which means I’ve never followed a conventional career path. It’s felt a bit scary at times, but I love what I do, and so it definitely feels it’s been worth it.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time writer at the moment. I earn most of my living as an academic proofreader. I work freelance to try and organise my life to do as much writing as possible. I enjoy the work, and it’s taught me to be precise in the use of language, and it’s definitely extended my vocabulary. The downside is never having enough time to write the next book while editing and doing publicity. It can be very frustrating at times, but I also feel it’s given me the freedom to develop as a writer.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

There are some excellent books on the subject of the suffrage movement, these are some of the best introductions:

Margaret Forster                                               Significant sisters

Lucinda Hawksley                                           March Women, March

Melanie Phillips                                                The Ascent of Woman

How do you find or make time to write?

I get up about six each morning (weekends included!) to get my ‘day’ job done, which frees up as much of the day as possible. I try to have a set time for writing, but being freelance with strict deadlines that doesn’t always work. I walk my dog for a couple of hours each day, which I use as thinking time (just as valuable as writing time). I try to be strict about not spending too much time on social media (I have a room in the house that is a wifi free zone). I also try not to get sucked into series on TV (the Great British Bake Off and Sewing Bee don’t count!) and watch as little as possible, (except when I’m very tired and just want to switch off after a long day proofreading and writing, when I don’t want to see another word in front of me, and hanging out the brain to dry on the secret life of kittens just hits the spot). My friends know that I’ve sacrificed housework, except on a strictly necessary basis (like when expecting a plumber), and love me all the same.

MEDIA LINKS

 ‘We That Are Left’, Honno Press, 2014

The Welsh Books Council’s Book of the Month, March 2014

The National Museum of Wales Book of the Month, March 2014

Waterstones Wales Book of the Month March, 2014

Amazon Kindle #4 May 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Are-Left-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/190678499X

 

‘Eden’s Garden’, Honno Press, 2012

Finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, May 2014

Amazon Kindle #5 June 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edens-Garden-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/1906784353

 

Website:          http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/

Blog:                 http://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/juliet.greenwood

Twitter:            https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

 

 

 

 

RACING HEART by JUNE MOONBRIDGE

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                                       RACING HEART

                                       JUNE MOONBRIDGE                                                

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Desiree Hart in desperate search for her kidnapped son, does everything in her power possible to find him. Due to a letter she receives after official search was closed, she changes everything; her appearance, her hometown and even her name.

When she meets Lorcan Shore, the Five Times F1 World Campion, their encounter is everything but ordinary. Out of pure fear for her life, she loses her temper and spits over everything he is absolutely certain he can do the best; how to drive.

Leaving him alone on Grand Corniche she is certain she would never see him again. But the next morning proves her being totally wrong. He was no quitter and no matter how she tries to run and hide, her heart desires at the end come back to the surface…

Will the man of her dreams be able to fulfil them all? Including the most important will he help her find her missing son?

AMAZON UK:

http://amzn.to/1HDT2sZ

AMAZON US:

http://amzn.to/1ChreJ4

                                           ABOUT JUNE MOONBRIDGE                                       June Moonbridge

The person behind the name of June Moonbridge, has many names and many faces too. Although living in the same area, she was born and raised in one country  and now living in another.

She studied economics, and quickly realised she hated it. Afterwards, she found herself working in mainly male businesses; at first in automotive and later – steel products productions. She can choose for you the best steel you need, but don’t, please don’t, ask her which lipstick to use.

She started to write in her high school and was negatively criticised by her teacher. Stubborn as she is that didn’t stop her. Under different pen names for her stories she tried to get some independent opinions, which came back as good reviews in magazines and later she published three books.

Giving birth to two children, and learning that her second child has Autism, she married the father of them and continued to work. All that together took all of her free time. But the desire to write didn’t die. When life somehow sorted itself out, she decided to write her novel in English and her first submission to Safkhet was rejected…

For what happened later… read third paragraph, second sentence.

https://www.facebook.com/JMoonbridge

www.junemoonbridge.com

https://twitter.com/JMoonbridge

https://si.linkedin.com/in/jmoonbridge

 

                                                                    Giveaway

 An amazon gift card to the value of the book

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4be0301786/?

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ROSIE’S BOOK REVIEW TEAM #RBRT

Rosie's Book Review team 1

My review of Last Child by Terry Tyler

 My rating 5 out of 5 stars 

 

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I love being part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team #RBRT. I wish I had more time to read the books. I wish I wasn’t such a slow reader. I wish I’d discovered Terry Tyler’s books sooner. I wonder why she hasn’t got an agent (she doesn’t need one, probably doesn’t want one – still, I wonder why hasn’t she been snapped up?) I want to shout out, to ask why my local library hasn’t shelves displaying her brilliant covers. Am I being too effusive? Yes, but that doesn’t stop me; I am a huge fan of her work.

Last Child is both a brilliant stand-alone novel, and a sequel. I would advise anyone to read the first of (what I hope) is a trilogy. No pressure on the author there then! I would suggest reading Kings and Queens initially because, if you don’t you will not only miss out on a brilliant read but you won’t discover the wonderful beginnings of this cast of characters.

Told you I can go over the top when I’m enthusiastic.

Now I’ve got that off my chest – the serious stuff:

The plot follows the lives of the Lanchester family in much the same way that history records the (almost) parallel lives of Henry VIII and his wives and family (no chopping off of heads here though – but still plenty of intrigue). This contemporary take is hugely enjoyable and a balanced page- turner from the beginning.

The characters continue to evolve in a style that is unique to this author. They are rounded, they change, they grow, they are revealed – sometimes slowly, sometimes more subtly. But in the end I felt I knew each and every one of them as they share their own viewpoints to the narrative. And both the internal voices and the dialogue (so well written, I think), is individualistic to each of them.

I’ll mention just a few of the characters: Will: An understated character but one threaded throughout both novels, giving his own insight to the others and the lives they lead. Erin: (a contemporary Elizabeth I), energetic, determined to do the right thing, a little flawed but loyal. Isabella: (portrayed as a modern day Mary), vulnerable, yet embittered to such a degree her decisions are underlined with an unstable revenge. Jaz, Harry’s son, complex as any teenager, with an ability to evolve into an equally complex adult but…  Hannah, the nanny and short- time lover of Harry Lanchester, the founder of this dynasty; shown as the sustaining carer of this younger generation, competent, motherly, non- judgemental. Then there’s Jim Dudley, ruthless yet ultimately helpless; Raine Grey with her own devastating story; the dependable Robert Dudley, and his shallow wife, Amy.

I could go on and on – but I won’t. I think it only fair for readers to discover the characters and the story for themselves. Suffice it to say, all of them run the gamut of trials and tribulations that is life – with so much more than most of us, thankfully, avoid.

The settings, the fashion, the attitudes, the domestic lives and the world of business provide a solid backdrop to this book and truly reflect the epochs the novel is set in.

All in all a brilliant family saga, brilliantly written. I can’t recommend Terry Tyler’s work highly enough. Looking forward to the next book.

Find a copy here:

http://amzn.to/1JaPwTa

http://amzn.to/1yyYJV0

 

ROSIE’S BOOK REVIEW TEAM #RBRT

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My review of  Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler

 My rating 5 out of 5 stars 

My mother used to have the habit, when she finished a book of closing it up and saying, ‘By heck, I enjoyed that’. When I finished Terry Tyler’s Kings and Queens I had a ‘by heck’ moment.

I only discovered Terry Tyler’s novels last year, they are true page-turners and I’ve enjoyed each one. This book, Kings and Queens, is both a family saga and a clever contemporary take on history; Harry Lanchester lives a hedonistic life that, in many ways, parallels that of Henry VIII. He might not order the death of his wives and lovers but they are just as easily discarded, he is portrayed as a patriarch and is at the centre of his world. And that world is filled with everything that makes up ‘real life’ today; stable families, dysfunctional families, erratic individuals, stable characters, revenge and bitterness, love and caring, sex, lust, romance, death and grief, even murder – the list is endless and multi layered.

Normally I say I don’t include spoilers in my reviews but the background, the general plot in Kings and Queens is obviously a given. Yet the narrative is so original and innovative, it is easy for the reader to sit back and enjoy the modern-day twists and turns that the author conjures up as though the story is completely unknown.

As usual, Terry Tyler presents characters that are rounded, well drawn and given so many different facets to their personalities that it is easy to cheer with them, be irritated by them and to suffer with them. Through the various individualistic voices of the characters (and the dialogue is brilliantly written) the author takes us, chapter by chapter through the story. This is a particularly favourite writing style for me as a reader. Told in the first person point of view, there is always the slight suspicion (or knowledge?) that the narrator is sometimes unreliable; this certainly made me slow down and think about some passages, even though I so much wanted to know what happened next.

Kings and Queens covers the decades of the nineteen-seventies to the present time. The author’s research on each era is impeccable; every setting is drawn with subtle touches through the business economy,  the fashions, the communities, the music, the social scene.

This is a stand-alone novel but I knew there was a sequel, Last Child, so I read both in quick succession.  The review for , Last Child will follow soon. As for Kings and Queens, all I can say is that I was hooked from the first page and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Can’t say it too often -by heck I enjoyed it!