My Review of Emmet and Me by Sara Gethin #Honno #NetGalley #Review

Book Description :

Summer 1966: When her father comes home with lipstick on his collar, ten-year-old Claire’s life is turned upside down. Her furious mother leaves the family and heads to London, and Claire and her brothers are packed off to Ireland, to their reclusive grandmother at her tiny cottage on the beautifully bleak coast of Connemara. A misfit among her new classmates, Claire finds it hard to make friends until she happens across a boy her own age from the school next door. He lives at the local orphanage, a notoriously harsh place. Amidst half-truths, lies and haunting family secrets, Claire forms a forbidden friendship with Emmet – a bond that will change both their lives forever.

My Review:

Sara Gethin has a unique talent for being able to enter a child’s mind, to give their thoughts, speak their dialogue. I know this is commonplace in children’s stories but what I mean is that she has the ability to speak from a child’s perspective in an adult world. A world that is dysfunctional, that the child sees and comments on, but is swept along, helpless in the chaos those adults create.

Yet threaded throughout Emmet and Me is the wonderful developing friendship between the Welsh, displaced protagonist, Claire and the, equally displaced Irish boy, Emmet.

I also admired the short sections where Claire speaks as an adult looking back on her childhood and on that time in her life, which affected so much and says why she is now the woman she is.

I first came across this author when I read Not Thomas, also published by Honno, (my review here: https://bit.ly/3tUBjHw and greatly recommended.). Emmet and Me is as poignant, as heartrending as that book. And as with Not Thomas, I both cried and rejoiced with the characters at certain parts of the story.

This is a novel set in Ireland at a time when many children had absolutely no control over what happened to them. To say any more would be to add spoilers: suffice it to say it is obvious Sara Gethin has researched thoroughly and has brought that era to life within this book.

This is superb writing: the plot is enthralling (and, although I had an inkling which way the story was travelling, in no way did this spoil the read for me), all the characters are well rounded, grow as the story progresses and come to life on the page, and the settings have a real sense of place.

Emmet and Me is a novel I have absolutely no hesitation in recommended to any reader.

About the author:

Sara Gethin

Sara Gethin grew up in Llanelli and worked as a primary school teacher. ‘Not Thomas’, her debut novel for adults, was shortlisted for The Guardian’s Not the Booker prize in 2017 and the Waverton Good Read Award in 2018. Her writing has been shortlisted for the Colm Toibin International Short Story Award and she was selected for the Hay Festival Writers at Work programme in 2018.
She has written four children’s books under the name Wendy White, and the first of these won the Tir na-nOg Award in 2014.
While west Wales remains her home, Sara is a frequent visitor to Ireland where she loves spending time browsing the many bookstores of Dublin. She is an avid reader and theatre-goer.

Website & Blog: saragethin.com

Facebook: @SaraGethinWriter

Twitter: @SGethinWriter

Instagram: @saragethinwriter

Oh, What a Show!! Showboat’s Literary Online! #authors #writers #poets

On Saturday 16th January 2021 we had our first Showboat Literary Online. We had a great line up of writers, lots of fun – and lots of interviewing glitches ( for the editing team at Showboat to sort out in order to showcase the event in the next months. But, most importantly, it was interesting to listen to all those who appeared to give us the lowdown on their writing and latest books.

Thorne Moore and I shared the interviewing chair. This is what Thorne had to say about the day, “:I expect everyone is saying it, but it was so good, after a year under siege, to be able to meet up with other authors again and talk about books, writing and the joys or otherwise of publishing, just to remind ourselves that the world will be back on its axis one day.”

And, just to remind everyone, these are two of Thorne’s books, published by Honno.

Thorne’s Amazon Author page https://amzn.to/3mpu86i

The authors:

Jan Baynham:

I was very pleased to take part in Showboat TV’s first Virtual LitFest. As always, I worried about being in the limelight but interviewer Judith put us at ease straight away. It gave me an opportunity to promote my two novels published during lockdown and reading an extract from my debut was a highlight. Afterwards we went into breakout rooms with other authors to chat about our books and our writing. I enjoyed ‘meeting in person’, albeit virtually, writers I follow on social media as well as catching up with others I haven’t seen for some time. A successful day, I think. Thank you, everybody. 

Her Mother's Secret: The Summer of '69 by [Jan Baynham]

Her Mother’s Secret

http://bit.ly/3qPfEze

http://bit.ly/3iMMJc3

Her Sister's Secret: The Summer of '66 by [Jan Baynham]

Her Sister’s Secret

http://bit.ly/39bXWQe

http://bit.ly/2Y7YGQ8

LINKS

Twitter – @JanBaynham https://twitter.com/JanBaynham

Facebook – Jan Baynham Writer https://www.facebook.com/JanBayLit

Blog – Jan’s Journey into Writing https://janbaynham.blogspot.com/

Jill Barry

I was thrilled to be invited to join in the Showboat TV event on 16th January, especially as Judith Barrow, who I’ve known for some years, was my interviewer. One of the joys of Zoom events is that sometimes you suddenly come face to face with people you haven’t seen for ages, even if it is via cyberspace and not in a café. I also liked how we were reassured our presence in the waiting room was noted. Also, there was a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of laughs so hopefully viewers will enjoy visiting these interviews.

Love Thirty Kindle Edition
Homefront: A moving story of love and romance during World War II Kindle Edition

Links:

www.jillbarry.com

Amazon Author Page:             https://preview.tinyurl.com/yy4gsoz9

Facebook Page:                       https://www.facebook.com/JillBarryBooks

Twitter:                                   https://twitter.com/barry_jill

Alex Craigie:

I just wanted to thank Judith Barrow for helping us to showcase our work at yesterday’s LitFest and to send my gratitude to Showboat TV for their time and effort in organizing it and making it happen. I had a really enjoyable time. Judith was the perfect host – friendly, reassuring and generous with her questions. Any apprehensions were quickly dispelled and the meeting up with people afterwards was a genuine pleasure. Showboat TV managed my tech ignorance without making me feel like an idiot and I’d definitely sign up to another one!

49021264. sy475
34102156. sy475

Alex’s Amazon Author page: https://amzn.to/3pmJElK

Links:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2KkKTkT

Author page: https://amzn.to/3phn4ur

Angela Fish:

The event was great idea. The time slot for each interview was spot on – long enough to introduce the work and answer a few questions. The chat room was great for catching up with old friends and making new ones. I found I was torn between watching the interviews and meeting up with fellow authors! All credit to everyone, it was an enjoyable event and can hopefully be repeated

The Fractured Globe by [Angela Fish]

Amazon Author page: https://tinyurl.com/y6zeyrk2

web: www.angela-fish.com

www.facebook.com/AngelaFishAuthor

Twitter: @angelaEfish

Insta: AngelaFishAuthor

Sara Gethin

I was very excited to take part in Showboat TV’s Online Lit Fest. It was the first opportunity I’d had to talk publicly about my new novel, Emmet and Me, and it felt absolutely wonderful to discuss books and writing again – a rare delight for me during the pandemic!

https://www.honno.co.uk/authors/g/sara-gethin/

Instagram – @saragethinwriter

Links:

Social Media:

Blog – saragethin.com

Twitter – @SGethinWriter

facebook.com/SaraGethinWriter

Instagram – @saragethinwriter

Writing as Wendy White: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00JVWMDGW

https://amzn.to/369rRH7

Angela Johnson.

On the whole a rewarding  day. I enjoyed my interview and the opportunity to talk about my book, and meeting other writers, so rare in these strange times. As an expat living in Kent, it was good to connect with Welsh writers, and heartening to see that the grand tradition of Welsh volubility is alive and flourishing. I’m most impressed by  so much creativity and dedication . Once I realised that the tech gremlins weren’t conspiring against me I relaxed and enjoyed it. Diolch yn fawr.

Arianwen by [Angela Johnson]

Links:

www.amzn.to/3kHnJmg

www.thunderpoint.scot/store

Twitter:  @jyfelin

Facebook Angela Johnson Author.

Alex Martin

Fabulous opportunity to have a literary festival online and thanks to www.showboat.tv for making it happen.  Sincere thanks also to Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore for their sensitive interviews, making everyone feel at ease.  I hope there will be another one,  when perhaps the public could join in an open forum too, helping us to reach out to readers old and new. I really enjoyed getting together with other local authors again and learning more about their work.

Daffodils (The katherine Wheel series Book 1) by [Alex Martin]

Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheKatherineWheel Twitter: https://twitter.com/alex_martin8586 Author page on Amazon: https://amzn.to/39JghTM

Kate Murray:

Showboat’s Lit Fest was the first online one I had done. From the very beginning I was made to feel comfortable. I popped into room 2 before my interview and networked with a few authors, then I went on to be interviewed by Thorne Moore. It went well and I did a reading, then I was back in Room 2. I found myself discussing everything from being BAME to illustrating. It was a wonderful day and I enjoyed myself. Goodness it flew past fast. I loved every minute. I would jump at the chance again.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is here-be-dragons-cover.jpg

Links:The Gone: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0124IYEIE/

Here Be Dragons (children): https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01K275UU0/

How the Moon Lost the Stars (picture book): https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B06VW6Q6Z2/

Adult Tudor Colouring Book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1974254984/

Colin R Parsons

The event was great to be honest. The short slots for each interview was just right. Having the chat room was a good idea to catch up with old friends. The only thing I would say is if there was more notice for the audience, then maybe there may be more chance of questions. Other than that… an enjoyable LitFest.

The Gamer by [Colin R. Parsons, Nicola Peake]

Links:

https://amzn.to/38PtLhM
http://www.colinrparsons.com
Voyce.me/CRPauthor@colin.r.parsons (Instagram)facebook.com/colin.r.parsons@colinrparsons (twitter)https://www.fantasticfiction.com/p/colin-r-parsons/ (fantastic fiction)
https://bit.ly/2LDQy7e (youtube)

Cheryl Rees Price

I thought the online Litfest was a great success and I was so grateful to be included. I was a little nervous at first but you and Thorne did a great job creating a relaxing atmosphere during the interviews. It was lovely to catch up and see all the authors. Writing can be a lonely business and we’ve all missed out on the social gatherings at the book fairs. 

Blue Hollow: A thrilling mystery with a wicked twist by [Cheryl Rees-Price]

 website is: https://www.cherylrees-price.co.uk/

Gail Williams

I thought it was really well done overall. the interviews and break out sections worked fine.  The only thing I found was that when I was looking for it, I went on the showboat.tv site, but I couldn’t find a link to the event, so I had to go hunt a direct link, and that was okay because I had them to hand, but for other viewers, it might have been a bit more difficult.
Generally though, a great day.  Well done and thanks for the opportunity
.

Twitter:        @GBWilliams

Facebook:  @GBWilliamsCrimeWriter

Instagram:  @gbwilliamsauthor

Blog:           thewriteroute.wordpress.com Website:     www.gailbwilliams.co.uk

Helen May Williams
I really enjoyed the event; especially chatting with Thorne about my writing. There’s so much to talk about, since I write in different genres. Besides a lifetime’s worth of academic writing, I’ve published post-romantic poetry in The Princess of Vix and linked haiku in Catstrawe. In Before SilenceI translated haiku by Michel Onfray, a popular but controversial French philosopher and now I’ve published a biographical novel, June. All my writing starts with an idea but then involves a lot of research before creating the finished text. I could have talked for hours!


helenmaywilliams.wordpress.com


Helen May Williams | Facebook


https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07S18M7XR

And that was our line up for Showboat’s Literary Online 2021.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the writers’ thoughts on how the day went. Please feel free to follow them on social media and check out all their brilliant books.

Judith Barrow Author MA BA (Hons) Dip Drama

https://judithbarrowblog.com/
https://twitter.com/judithbarrow77
https://www.facebook.com/judith.barrow.3
https://www.honno.co.uk/authors/b/judith-barrow/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

:

judith barrow

Brook Cottage Books Presents Not Thomas by Sara Gethin.

Not Thomas Tour Banner

 

sara brook cottage

ABOUT SARA GETHIN

Sara Gethin is the pen name of Wendy White. She grew up in Llanelli and studied theology and philosophy at Lampeter, the most bijoux of universities. Her working life has revolved around children – she’s been a childminder, an assistant in a children’s library and a primary school teacher. She also writes children’s books as Wendy White, and her first, ‘Welsh Cakes and Custard’, won the Tir nan-Og Award in 2014. Her own children are grown up now, and while home is still west Wales, she and her husband spend much of their free time across the water in Ireland. ‘Not Thomas’ is her first novel for adults.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgethinwriter

Blog: www.saragethin.com

Website: www.saragethin.com

Not tomas brook Cottage

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Honno Press

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 be the same again.

EXCERPT

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

I’ve been waiting a long time.

‘Thomas, Thomas.’ She’s saying it through the letter box.

‘Thomas, Thomas.’

I’m not listening to her. I’m not listening at all. She’s been knocking on the door for a long long time. I’m peeping round the black chair. I’m peeping with one of my eyes. She’s

not by the front door now. She’s by the long window. I can see her shoes. They’re very dirty. If Dat saw those shoes he’d say, ‘There’s a job for my polishing brush’.

She’s stopped knocking. She’s stopped saying ‘Thomas’. She’s very quiet. The lady can’t see me. I’m behind the big black chair. And I’ve pulled my feet in tight.

‘Thomas?’ she says. ‘Thomas?’ I’m not answering. ‘I know you’re in there. Just come to the window, sweetheart. So I can see you properly.’

I’m staying still. I’m not going to the window. I’m waiting for her to go back to her car. It’s a green car. With a big dent in it. If I hide for a long time she’ll go. She’ll get back in her car and drive away. She’s knocking. And knocking again.

She’s saying ‘Thomas.’ And knocking and knocking again.

‘Thomas.’ 

That is not my name.

 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”.

BUY LINKS

http://www.honno.co.uk/dangos.php?ISBN=9781909983625

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Not-Thomas-Sara-Gethin/dp/1909983624/

https://wordery.com/not-thomas-sara-gethin-9781909983625

 GIVEAWAY

3 e-copies (International) & 3 paperbacks (UK only)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4be03017240/

 

new honno_logoNot Thomas Tour Banner

 

My Series of Interviews With the Authors #authors and Poets Who Will be at the Narberth Book Fair #bookfairs. Today with Sara Gethin.

Over the last few weeks and through the next month or so, I’ll be posting interviews with the authors and poets who will be taking part in our Book Fair:  http://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/.

There are forty of us so, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults and fun workshops for children, activities for the children and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire.   

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

And, as usual, there will also be the writing competition: this year is a poetry competition: Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –

BOOKS AND READING.

Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2  and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ . 

Today I’m really pleased to be chatting with Sara Gethin 

Wendy White

 

Please tell us, Sara,What do you love most about writing?

 I love the creativity of writing and the way it connects you with others. It’s wonderful to be able to make up a story in your own little corner of the world and then know that someone miles away will read it and feel something. That’s what I love most about writing – and the fact that you can do it sitting down.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

If you’d asked me that question seven years ago, I’d have said ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, which was the first book I truly fell in love with. Or ‘Wuthering Heights’, which we read for our O’Levels, and which taught impressionable girls like me that falling in love with a complete rogue was a wonderfully romantic idea.

But now I would have to say, without a doubt, that the book which has most influenced my life is ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue. She published it in 2010, and it was the first novel for adults I’d read that was written from a five-year-old’s viewpoint. It was hugely important to me, as I’d been writing my own book with a five-year-old’s viewpoint since 2001, and I never believed it could be published. ‘Room’ gave me hope that one day I might find a publisher for it. And this year my novel ‘Not Thomas’ was published by Honno.

Not Thomas

Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

I used to teach in quite disadvantaged areas and Tomos, the little boy who’s the central character in ‘Not Thomas’, is based on a number of children I taught over the years. None of them had a story quite as awful as his, although some came close, but plenty suffered badly from neglect. I think it’s hard to imagine the lives of these children if you’ve never come into contact with them.  

What do you think makes a good story?

I think a good story draws you in and makes you think like the person you’re reading about. Sometimes I find myself so taken with a book that I begin to talk in my head (do I mean think? I’m not sure!) just like the protagonist. When that happens, I know I truly love that book.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I’ve written three children’s books as Wendy White, all with a Welsh dimension, and a novel for adults. My favourite is ‘Not Thomas’, which is my adult novel, although my first children’s book, ‘Welsh Cakes and Custard’ comes a close second, because it won me the Tir na-n’Og Award in 2014.

Welsh cakesthree cheersSt David's Day

What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in any other genre?

‘Not Thomas’ is one of those books that fails to neatly fall into a genre, so it comes under the banner of ‘Contemporary Fiction’. I’ve tried writing short stories for women’s magazines in the past, and even started writing about a detective many years ago. I love reading detective novels – Ian Rankin is my all-time favourite – but I don’t think writing crime is my strong-point.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it’s a must read?

I think I might let others decide whether it’s a must read or not, but Not Thomas is about a five-year-old boy called Tomos who’s been taken away from his beloved foster father and sent to live with his mum who’s hiding a drug addiction. She badly neglects Tomos, and we follow him from Christmas to Easter, seeing life through his eyes as he tells his own story.  

What is your favourite part of the book?

The section called ‘Not Remembering’ where he’s having conversations with his supply teacher in her car. It’s a part of the story where all the threads begin pulling together and hopefully start making sense for the reader. And there’s one line in that section that, even though I must have read it a thousand times by now, still makes me cry.

How long did it take you to write Not Thomas?

Fourteen years. I’m not exaggerating. I began it as part of my coursework for a creative writing class and just kept writing more and more stories about Tomos in a random order. I had the whole novel outlined in my head – the very last line was almost the first thing I wrote – and the last scene I wrote immediately after writing the first one. But I didn’t pull the whole thing together and put the plot in until after I’d read Emma Donoghue’s ‘Room’. That was when I began working on it seriously.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Without a doubt it would be Tomos and I’d take him wherever he wanted to go – he’d probably ask to go to the zoo, and he’d want Dat to come too.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

I used to be a very good sprinter. I may still be a good sprinter – who knows?! (I’m not about to investigate.) I used to win all the races in school and then, when I grew up, on Sports Day I would win the teachers’ races and mothers’ races too. It’s a talent that might come in handy if I’m ever faced with a charging elephant.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

The fact that I don’t actually like writing. I guess I’d better qualify that – I don’t like the particular point where I’ve got the story all straight in my head, and it’s perfect and wonderful and the best story I’ve ever imagined, and then I have to physically start putting it down on paper.

It’s at that point I discover whether the story I’ve been imagining for a year or more has a real chance of existing outside my head, or whether my ‘perfect’ novel idea is just a load of drivel. Scary.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read, read, read. And I browse book shops – I could do that all day. I love going to the theatre, especially when I’m in Dublin – there’s so much culture in Ireland, you’re thoroughly spoilt for choice. I love walking too.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?

 I was roped in at the very last moment to play the piano in a school concert when I worked in Bracknell.

I had to learn all the East End favourites – ‘Roll Out the Barrow’ and ‘My Old Man Said Follow the Van’, you know the sort of thing. I was like Les Dawson (no apologies if you’re too young to remember who he was!) and played one wrong note for every five correct ones. The teachers and parents were weak by the end of it.

And to cap it all, they’d arranged for a child to present me with a huge bunch of flowers to thank me for stepping in at the last minute. I had to walk out to the centre of the stage to collect them. Mind you, we were all laughing so much by that point, I didn’t care. 

Give a random fact about yourself.

When I was seven, I was chased by Kevin Allen (the lesser known actor / director brother of actor Keith Allen) into a large clump of stinging nettles. I’ve never forgiven him.

links as Wendy White
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon Page


 

 

 

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