My Review of Living With My Sin: The Story of a Dog’s Life by Val Poore #memoir #TuesdayBookBlog

Living With My Sin: The Story of a Dog's Life by [Valerie Poore]

Book Description:

When Val Poore first agreed to take on an abused rescue puppy, nothing prepared her and her partner, Koos, for the challenges they were going to meet in the coming years. This short memoir is a story of the love and loyalty they developed for Sindy (Sin) against considerable odds and frequent pessimism. It is Sindy’s story, but at the same time it is that of many other damaged dogs.

The ebook book is illustrated with a few photos to mark the different stages of her life, but there is also a link to a file with further photos at the end.

Val would also like to thank the hugely respected dog psychologist, Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, for reading the first draft of this book and giving it her support. Lisa, whose knowledge of dog behaviour is simply incredible, is the founder and principal of the International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour whose website can be found at http://www.theiscp.com

My Review:
Living With My Sin is a story that one moment made me laugh and the next brought tears. And it will be a story that stays with me for quite a while in its simplicity for showing the love, compassion and patience that only anyone who has had a damaged, yet lovable, animal in their lives could truly understand. Sindy’s start in life was fraught with emotional and physical abuse so when Val and her partner Koos took her on, they knew life would be difficult with Sindy – but they had no idea how hard. Or how soon they would fall in love with her.

And it was wonderful to read how easily Val and Koos friends also adored her; enough to help this oh so troubled puppy ( soon to grow into a large lovable dog), cope with her surroundings.

The descriptions of the various places the author lived with Sindy and Koos give a wonderful sense of place: the barges, flat, the dilapidated cottage. However, Val comes into her own when describing the walks and parks where she and Sindy go – they are easy to envisage. But it is the emotions in these settings and circumstances, threaded throughout these sections of the book, especially as Sindy grows older, where the reader can empathise with her. I have to admit I reached the end of the book in tears

A brilliantly written book that I wholeheartedly recommend to any reader ( especially dog lovers like myself!). Living With My Sin tells not only the life of Sindy but also gives a glimpse into the life and emotions of the author and her partner.

About the Author:

Valerie Poore

Val Poore was born in London, England, and grew up in both north London and the west of Dorset. After completing her degree in English, History and French at Bournemouth, she took a further course in the conservation and restoration of museum artefacts at Lincoln College of Art which qualified her for nothing at all really. She then spent two years doing furniture restoration before going to South Africa in 1981 with her husband and small children.

Valerie left South Africa permanently in 2001 and has settled in the Netherlands, where she shares her time between a liveaboard barge in Rotterdam and a cottage in Zeeland. She teaches academic and business English on a freelance basis and still writes in her spare time, although she admits there’s not enough of that at the moment. In fact, she has been writing since childhood and wrote stories, articles and radio plays for years before embarking on her first book in 2005. Val loves travelling especially when it involves roughing it a bit. She feels that she has better adventures and more interesting experiences that way.

My Review of Bittersweet Flight by Anne L Harvey #RBRT

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I gave Bittersweet Flight 4* out of 5*

Reviewed  as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team #RBRT

The Blurb:

 It’s 1956 and Sally Simcox is a girl in trouble, at a time when having an illegitimate child is considered shameful. The father, Nick Roberts, had offered to marry her but, knowing he was in love with someone else, she’d told him she’d had a miscarriage.

Sally has fled to the anonymity of Blackpool, not knowing what she’s going to do there or how she will cope with her situation. On the day of her arrival in Blackpool, she meets a young RAF serviceman. He seems familiar and it isn’t long before Sally realises that he’s the last person she needs to meet for he is Nick’s younger brother, Phil. And he has no idea who she is. Yet it seems that their paths are destined to cross.

And for Joyce Roberts, trouble is brewing in the form of Sally’s brother, Jud.

My Review:

Before I begin my review I would like to say I wonder if the Blurb gives away too much of the story?

I enjoyed reading Anne Harvey’s Bittersweet Flight;  the  sequel to her début novel A Suitable Young Man. The story follows Sally Simcox as she leaves her home town of Horwich in Lancashire to move to Blackpool.

Although it can be read as a stand-alone book I would recommend reading A Suitable Young Man first.

Set in a decade I have studied and loved Bittersweet Flight begins in 1956. It is obvious from the descriptions of both the Northern industrial town and the seaside resort that the author has researched both the places and the era. There is a great sense of place throughout the story. 

Told from an omniscient narrator’s point of view we meet all the characters from the first novel and are introduced to some new ones. All add to the plot which moves smoothly and steadily throughout most of the novel. although there is an unexpected revelation towards the end which adds another layer to the book.

The reader gains more insight to Sally in Bittersweet Flight; I think she is actually portrayed as a more rounded  character in this novel as she struggles to regain control of her life. The introduction of  Phil Roberts adds a complication but I liked the way the author introduced the character and linked him to the protagonist’s back-story.

On the whole the dialogue is good and easy to follow and can be identified with each character. Although occasionally stilted it’s not enough to detract from the enjoyment of the book.

There is the minor plot-line threaded throughout the main plot, of Joyce Roberts and her secret boyfriend, Dave. Through this minor storyline we learn more of the life the protagonist has left behind and the correlation with her present situation.

Anne Harvey has a writing style that is very readable. I have no hesitation to recommending  Bittersweet Flight to any reader who enjoys a family saga

Links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/26NNohJ

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1SItZJ4