The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue (Curmudgeon Avenue #5) Has Been Released Into The Wild! (Available on an E-reader Near You).

Hello Everyone!

Me again! Today I want to talk about my latest book, published today (30th of September)

The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue

What is it about?

THE ONE WHERE THE B*TCH RETURNS

Reformed rent burglar Georgina Foote moves back to Whitefield and into number 13 Curmudgeon Avenue. She is desperately seeking Kevin but all she finds is nonsense. Collecting enemies at work and at home, Georgina Foote does not belong here.

Meanwhile, a mass exodus occurs when Wantha Rose, Ricky Ricketts and newbie Krystina moved to Greenmount. They think that the world does not revolve around Curmudgeon Avenue, will they find out that it does?

A denouement of sorts resolves the ghost’s stories when Harold takes up residence in the House of Commons, and Edith reunites with her first husband.

Zandra Bennett’s career takes on a new direction when she unwittingly starts channelling the ghost of Edith in the under-the-stairs space.

We finally get to find out Mrs Ali’s first name, her story and her source of all knowledge.

Wantha and Ricky nearly get married, and we learn why the Rose sisters have such daft names. Their mother, Patchouli is still living the life of luxury, and occasional abseiling with Gil Von Black

Not intended as a cosy read, the characters in this social satire provide an utterly British escape.

Will the nincompoops of Curmudgeon Avenue survive without the street?
The ending is a shocker!

What is the series about?

Curmudgeon Avenue is a social satire comedy drama about a house that doesn’t like its inhabitants.

From Edna, Edith and Harold to Zandra and Gordon Bennett there are plenty of dramas, romances and quarrels.

The characters often come over as preposterous and unlikeable. Yet, they are all entertaining, in their own ways. Plenty of Manchester humour and language in the dialogue.

Readers are saying that the series is like a British sit-com, and one even said it is like a soap opera on speed.

How did I write book five?

Georgina Foote is a supporting character from book one. She had recently split from her husband Kevin, and so had moved home with her mother. But Pauline Foote had grown tired of her daughter, Georgina living with her and arranged for Georgina to rent a room at No.1 Curmudgeon Avenue. One day, she stole the rent and moved out, and we haven’t heard from her since.

IN BOOK FIVE Georgina is back, desperately trying to rekindle her relationship with Kevin. She thinks she is irresistible to men and cannot understand why Kevin is hiding from her… Or who is sending her hate mail.

While Georgina is collecting enemies all across Whitefield, Wantha and Ricky are trying to get married. But in an almost Far From The Madding Crowd style, Wantha turns up at the wrong venue.

SETTING

Curmudgeon Avenue is a fictional street in the actual town of Whitefield, North Manchester. I named the series Curmudgeon Avenue after an incident with a disabled parking space. And I chose Whitefield, because that is the place I always got stuck in traffic on my way home from my old job.

In book 5, Georgina is a psychiatric nurse who works in a community mental health team. Initially, I thought twice about this. But I decided to go with it. As writers, why shouldn’t our characters work in mental health care? It is the same as if Georgina had been a hairdresser. Because of the genre, we don’t get to meet any of the ‘service users’ just the staff, which leads me onto my next point.

I was a psychiatric nurse for twenty years. When I started my training, aged 18, I was told that I would be ‘eaten alive’. This was the early 90s and, even that recently (and unfortunately) attitudes towards mental health patients were terrible.

Obviously, I have created the character Georgina Foote using my own imagination.

You can buy The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue HERE

There’s more!

This morning, The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue got a 5* rating from Readers’ Favorite (Thank you)


Review
Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers’ Favorite

The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue replaces the stars of its previous novels with the Rose sisters (Toonan and Wantha), Georgina Foote, Zandra, and many other side characters (some fresh faces and some familiar ones). Wantha Rose stumbled upon Georgina Foote at Manchester Town Hall, where Wantha was scheduled to marry Ricky Ricketts. When Ricky Ricketts did not show up, the red-faced Wantha made Georgina swear that she would not talk about this day to another soul. However, Georgina Foote broke that promise over Facebook, thus insulting Wantha in her own territory, aka the internet. Georgina Foote, the rent-thief, continued her distasteful deeds, paving her way out of everybody’s hearts — not that she ever was in anybody’s heart — and onto their blacklists. On the paranormal side of the plot, with Edith’s ghostly help, Toonan created her tarot-card reading business. Since Edith was busy reconnecting with the ghost of her first husband behind Harold’s back, her inconsistent availability proved to be the biggest problem for Toonan’s business. The juicy gossips were just the right backdrop for the rib-tickling events.

Curmudgeon Avenue is a series that puts a never-fading smile on the lips of its readers as the nosey, loud, insensitive, and inappropriate nincompoops go about their ridiculous lives. The result is a hilarious novel that leaves its fans waiting for the next gossip of Curmudgeon Avenue. Although the star cast of the previous novels — Edna, Edith, and Harold — were mostly missing in this novel, “longer than reasonably necessary” and illogical conversations match the expectations of Curmudgeon Avenue series’ readers. Samantha Henthorn excels in introducing side characters in one novel and then putting these characters into the spotlight in the next book of the series. Her strategic act of passing the proverbial baton works flawlessly in just a matter of a couple of chapters. Wantha’s almost-wedding day, dishonorable actions by Georgina Foote, Zandra’s embarrassment about their unmentionable housewarming party were the building blocks of a novel that brimmed with excitement.

Samantha Henthorn has proved to be one of those authors who have a firm grasp of the expectations of their readers. Each novel of the Curmudgeon Avenue series is a testament to her awareness, and The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue is no exception to this fact. Humor fans will laugh at the illogical train of thoughts of the characters and gladly join in the gossip of Curmudgeon Avenue. I recommend not only this book but each novel of the Curmudgeon Avenue series to readers who enjoy light comedy.

IN OTHER NEWS!

Today is 30 days since book two of the Curmudgeon Avenue series ‘The Harold and Edith Adventures’ was submitted to ACX, so hopefully, it will be published soon for your listening pleasure.

Narrated by Lindsay McKinnon of Theatre of The Mind Productions

Lindsay has done a grand job again with awesome comic timing.

Lindsay is here on the left pictured at our book launch of book one’s audio at Radcliffe Library (pre-covid).

Buy book one’s audio HERE

Thank you for reading, happy Wednesday, Samantha and Petal cat.

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Herding Behaviour (why are we obsessed with reviews?)

Why are we so obsessed with book reviews?

Reviews, reviews, reviews. 

That is all you’ll ever hear an indie author talk about.

Have we got enough reviews for our book?

How many reviews are enough reviews?

Do people actually read reviews when choosing a new book?

THE MIND BOGGLES

This post is not about answering how we get reviews – if I knew that, I wouldn’t be writing this would I?*

*(You could try engaging with Goodreads advice groups or maybe employ a blog tour organiser).

person holding white and brown newspaper
Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

A Good Friend of mine is a top marketing executive. She doesn’t have time to read because of her (very cute) toddler son. We have been friends for years and years, even before I started writing. She lives in the south of England now so when we actually see one another we have loads to talk about. Not usually work.

ANYWAY last year, before all this lockdown business, when we met up, I asked her for some tips on marketing my books.

She didn’t even blink, ‘GET REVIEWS.’ My friend said.

Although she added the caveat that she doesn’t work in book publishing I do value her opinion. I think she is right.

I have been thinking about nothing but reviews since I became an independent author in 2016. Slight exaggeration, I do think about other things but you get the picture.

However…

Reading is a very individual thing.

What I like to read is not the same as what someone else would like to read. We have all read books and raved about them to our friends and been shot down with an ‘Oh I didn’t like it.’

Do not get me started on book clubs…

So why are reviews so important?

Human behaviour has a lot to do with this. Herding behaviour… (now you are all imagining livestock being rounded up aren’t you?)

two cows
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

“Moooo… I heard Samantha Henthorn has a new book coming out later this year. Moo.”

“I heard she’s pants, her last release has only got five ratings. Moooooo.”

HERDING BEHAVIOUR IS A THING – GOOGLE IT

If my friends, the cows start moving in one direction then, as a rule of thumb all the other animals will follow. They will follow without direction. This is the same thing that happens to humans. This is why fashions and fads take hold. Rightly or wrongly, if a few people are doing something then us humans will follow.

Without direction, humans will all read the same book. Because everyone else has read it. And how do they know that? Because the book has got lots of reviews. Good or bad, if lots of people have left a review, then the book must be worth reading. Right?

A few years ago, I decided I didn’t want to be a cow anymore. I felt I was being tricked. I had been tricked, at one time, I only read what everyone else was reading. So I started reading a lot of books by independent authors. But before this…

One of the first books I read when my daughter reached the age I was allowed to properly start reading again was The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audre Niffenegger. A really famous book, I read it in 2004 before the film and everything. I was still working at the time and lent it to one of my work colleagues. This person never returned books that others had lent her, so imagine my surprise (and tetchiness) when she presented me with MY copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife and told me that I HAD to read it. (Even though I was the one who recommended it to her in the first place!)

Front cover of book showing young girl from the waist down in knee socks and Mary Janes and empty brown Oxfords next to her on a picnic blanket.

THAT IS WHAT I MEAN BY HERDING BEHAVIOUR

When I think back, two incidents involving shops convinced me of herding behaviour. When I was a teenager I had a Saturday job in Manchester Arndale. The shop I worked in sold costume jewellery and hair scrunchies (it was the 90s). One day, a big box arrived with ‘sale items’. It was a massive box of hairbands. These hairbands were dropped into another big box complete with price sticker and positioned right at the front of the shop. A couple of hours later, none of the hairbands had sold. The shop manager had a great idea. (!)

She instructed me to put my coat on (cleverly hiding my uniform) and pretend to be a customer, rooting through the box of hairbands. ‘Try a few on’ she had said. I was very embarrassed but it worked! I didn’t even have to try any of the things on my head, customers started coming over to see what I was looking at. Soon a crowd gathered and for half an afternoon in early nineties Manchester, a trend was set on the wearing of headbands.

two pink rose flower accent headbands on white surface
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

The second shop related herding incident was another embarrassing incident for me. Even before I was diagnosed with MS, I had trouble with blurred vision – triggered by bright neon lights in my case. Not long after I had been diagnosed (and suffered a few relapses of optic neuritis) I went to Sri Lanka for a friend’s wedding. (A different friend to the one mentioned earlier). This was in 2008. One day during the holiday, my friend (who had visited Sri Lanka many times) suggested we all visit a department store. I really wish I could remember the name of this massive store that sold everything, but I can’t. We were tourists and had money to spend.

At some point, I was separated from my friends but some embroidered cushion covers had caught my eye. I thought oh I had better pay for these before I go to the next floor to look for my friends. WELL, a combination of jet-lag tiredness, panic and neon light-induced eyesight problems landed me in front of what I thought was a service point. The shop assistant will probably come back when she sees me standing here at the till. I thought…

It was probably only a few moments but by the time I realised that I was not waiting in a queue to pay… an actual queue had formed around me.

I am so embarrassed and I didn’t even know how to say sorry. I had accidentally lured a crowd of people to look at a pile of pillowcases.

Shame I can’t do that with books…

Even when I thought I was being tricked and decided not to read the ‘BOOKS THAT EVERYONE IS READING’ I still don’t know what influenced me to read the books I have over the past few years. Do any of us really choose anything for ourselves? Do we follow each other? I just know that there are more books out there than the popular ones. Although… it is good to have read a book and be able to have a conversation about it with someone else…

‘Famous’ books I have read recently are The Testaments by Margaret Atwood The Testaments: WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019 (The Handmaid’s Tale)

And My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

My Sister, the Serial Killer: The Sunday Times Bestseller

These books have nearly TEN THOUSAND  reviews between them on Amazon (at the time I wrote this post). If you would like to see books I have read recently, check out my Goodreads widget at the bottom of my blog page or click HERE

 

Thank you for joining me on my post about why I think book reviews work. If you have enjoyed reading a book recently, don’t forget to review it.

Happy reading, and stay safe,

Samantha xx

I wrote these books !

978-1717745552Curmudgeon Avenue Book TWoEdna and Genevieve (1)Add a heading (2)51fgIVSsMiLAdd a heading

Scan_20170731What we did during lockdown (1)

What We Did During Lockdown (An Anthology): WRITTEN IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 #PublicationDay

Hello everyone!

Well, hark at me having a secret publication during the global pandemic!

What We Did During Lockdown is a micro anthology written by me and four of my friends. Today is the official publication day and it is available in paperback HERE

Here is the blurb:

Five friends… four stories… and one poem.Twin daughters provide inspiration for one spontaneous poet… Tuesday morning and Martin has a meltdown watching Piers Morgan… what has Martin been up to during lockdown? And will his wife find out? …. Inspired by Van Gogh an outsider’s artwork gets gritty. Van Gogh would be proud… Karen’s brain is fried by a faint hum that turns into something else. But, she’ll be OK (won’t you, Karen?) … Mimi’s search for toilet roll takes her to the other side of town she thinks she knows everything but is finally left speechless. Written at a time of panic, pandemic and lockdown. Good things can come out of disaster. All royalties from this book will be donated to Bury Hospice

Yes, we are raising money for Bury Hospice. 

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Left to right top row: Claire Kingsley, Alex Cavanagh, Samantha Henthorn. Bottom row: Shaylah, Leah Leanne Wood.

This little project started when my friend Alex (pictured above) started a group on Facebook for ‘us lot’ so that we could all keep in touch. We have a weekly Zoom quiz that no one wants to win and we message at least once a day.,

Early on during the lockdown, I put a post up ‘Does anyone want to write a short story collection with me?’

My friend Leah jumped on it straight away. She is a super talented singer and usually sings at local events. I have been in tears more than once (in a good way) at her singing.  Leah’s story is brilliant and so relatable about family life. Leah was the first person to submit, and although I had fallen into the depths of poor motivation the following week, I wrote my story.

Then Alex donated one of his poems written about his beautiful twin daughters and amazingly gorgeous wife.

Then Shaylah donated a brilliant story she had already written. It is about an outsider who takes a gritty approach to art. I know Shaylah because I am friends with her mum. Thanks to her mum Sarah for encouraging her to be a part of this. I can totally see Shaylah’s talent she is going to write some great things and I’m going to be her biggest fan!

After weeks of telling me she didn’t have the inclination to write at the moment, Claire wrote a story in defence of middle-aged women everywhere (and it took her a couple of hours to write it!)

The whole thing was fun, we are so looking forward to reviews and I know that Claire, Alex and Leah are appearing on a blog post for Against The Flow Press.

One last thing, the book is dedicated to Sam Hunt. Sam was a great friend to us all she had the best smile and everyone used to gravitate to her. She was also Leah’s mum (and mum to Carla, Janaki and Kamala also).

This book is dedicated to Sam Hunt, a cherished mother, nana, sister and friend. May her spirit live among the trees. 

(Sam was also an auntie)

Happy reading everyone,

Stay safe

Samantha xx

 

The Final What’s in a (Character) Name #Guestpost with Christopher Wilson @mojo_books + #BookReview #IARTG

Hi Everyone!

Did I mention that multi-award-winning author Christopher Wilson is my second cousin? You can read all about how I found out about my dad’s side of the family in last week’s blog HERE

Finding out that I have a cousin who is an established author has been a valuable inspiration to me. It is a bonus that I think his books are awesome!

This will be the final in my ‘What’s in a (Character) Name guest posts and I am absolutely honoured to welcome Christopher Wilson

Christopher P. Wilson

I’ve been involved in naming two children, a few cats and dogs, a wife who needed a stage-name for Equity, and a rude horde of fictional characters. It’s always tortuous, with frequent revisions, and a terminal sense of failure. But there’s reassurance too in the problems other writers meet – even some greats.

Some splash the fluorescent paint in primary colours. Some are just plain explicit. With ‘Little Miss Naughty’ or ‘Mister Tickle’you know you’ll get what you pay for.  Holly did Golightly. And Miss de vil was indeed Cruella. And in Ian Fleming’s mind, Pussy was Galore. Dostoyevsky could be pretty upfront too, with characters that translate from the Russian as Bone-crusher or Mister Marmalade. And (surprise, surprise) in ‘Catch 22’, Major MajorMajor getspromoted to become Major MajorMajorMajor

            Dickens was shameless too, offering usSerjeantBuzfuz, Charity Pecksniff, Mr m’Choakumchild, Uncle Pumblechook, Uriah Heep,DecimusTite Barnacle, Master Bates and Dick Swiveller (who ‘ejaculated with difficulty’ in chapter 7).

Sometimes, innocuous names can gain an added twist as Time plays unkind tricks. I’m thinking ofJane Austen’s Fanny Price (that wasn’t intended, surely?), or  Panty in E. Nesbitt, and Titty in Swallows and Amazons.

            For Graham Greene character names became painfully problematic. As soon as he published a new novel people with the same surnames would form an orderly queue to sue him. So he started calling his characters Smith, Jones and Brown.

There’s a dryer game authors play with readers – of being suggestive with characters’ names without being blindingly obvious. I remember feeling wryly suckered when I’d failed to spot at the outset that Louis Cyphre in ‘Angel Heart’ would turn out to be Lucifer.

            When I started writing, I then tried it for myself.  Gallimauf was a French speaking philosopher. Count Baa Mindeberg was a bleating  Scandinavianaristocrat and  total stranger to his psyche. Duckworth was an undervalued Amazonian foundling. Saint Odo of Here and There had two bodies that went their own ways. Gob was the first human-beingever to speak. FrankEnstein Ph.D. created a monster. Yuri Zipit couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Joey Blueglass saw the world through a perpetual erotic filter. Liselotte Berg probably lied a lot.Leifur Nils Kristjansson Saint Marie du Cotton was the biggest challenge because, through the course of the novel, s/he had to die and be reborn, change skin colour,  gender, and  sexual orientation, before growing wings to turn into an angel. So maybe I missed a trick with her/him/them.

            I’ve got a new novel on the go. The central character is half human and half something else. I haven’t quite got the name yet. It’s something like Hugh Mobo.

 

Wow! Thank you, Christopher, that post is awesome. he ‘wrote it in a rush’! Genius!

I have read seven of Christopher’s books so far and it is difficult to choose a favourite. I know that his latest WIP is titled ‘Hurdy Gurdy’. His most recent publication is The Zoo  . The setting is Stalin’s last days and is a brilliantly cutting satire told through the voice of one incredible boy. 

The Zoo by [Christopher Wilson]

It won prizes: An Observer and Spectator Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the Historical Writing Association Gold Crown Award

The Blurb:

Meet Yuri Zipit.

A boy who’s had a bang on the head in a collision with a Moscow milk truck.

He has a kind face, makes friends easily, and likes to help. People want to tell him their secrets.

Including the Great Leader himself, who takes a shine to Yuri when he employs him for his natural talents.

In his new job, Yuri will witness it all – betrayals, body doubles, buffoonery. Who knew that a man could be in five places at once? That someone could break your nose as a sign of friendship? That people could be disinvented . . .?

The Zoo is a brilliantly cutting satire told through the voice of one incredible boy.

What I thought:

*****

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 August 2017

A great read, I was really drawn in by the believable characters. I have read a tiny bit of Russian history during my degree, and I enjoyed this satirical take.
Well, I didn’t say much when I read it in 2017, I must have been in a rush, three years on, I do remember this book. There is nothing like a memorable book. I enjoyed how it was told by the boy, whose father sort of gets kidnapped. Yuri does get to meet (and chat to Stalin) but he never quite knows who is who because of the Stalin body doubles. Christopher’s dry sense of humour comes through in his writing a cutting social satire.
The Ballad of Lee Cotton Kindle Edition
The Ballad of Lee Cotton  is one of my favourites, a Bildungsroman first-person narrative from Lee’s birth, his formative years and his (several) transformations.
The blurb:
Review –

Written with all the imaginative gusto of a heavy-weight novelist (FT MAGAZINE)

Exuberant (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Wildly entertaining (DAILY MAIL)

An exuberant, joyful ride. Outrageously funny, it combines high farce with biting satire (INDEPENDENT)

Book Description –

A brilliant, funny novel about survival and identity in the tradition of Jeff Eugenides’ MIDDLESEX.

“[Wilson’s ] sense of humor and snappy pacing make this an appealing tale of a bygone America where truly anything can happen.” —People
* A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
“If you re looking for a breathless ride of a novel, one that s filled with more plot twists than most authors could even dream of, let alone include in one 320-page book, don t miss Cotton . . . Irresistible.” –Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust
Meet the unforgettable Leifur Kristjansson Saint Marie du Cotton (you can call him Lee). Lee is a black boy born white-skinned in segregated Eureka, Mississippi, in 1950. As if that weren t trouble enough, he s also inherited the ability to hear les voix spirits from his Mambo grandmother. By the age of twenty he has fallen in love with a Klansman s daughter, been kicked senseless and left for dead on a northbound freight train, and gotten drafted into a psy-ops corps in Nevada. Before he returns to Mississippi, he will experience up close and personal the women s liberation movement and the dawn of the Lesbian Nation.
Lee Cotton s voice equal parts Delta Blues and Motown takes us on an exhilarating freedom ride through the upheavals of three decades, and whispers its secret: The freaks and oddities of this world may well be divine.”Huck Finn meets Myra Breckinridge? Candide meets Yossarian? . . . [Cotton] is, paradoxically, a complete original.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Brilliant, scathing and hilarious . . . Cotton is an odd, inventive, entertaining and whip-smart novel–a rare combination in fiction. Enjoy it.”–The Denver Post

 

Shortlisted for the Whitbread prize.

What I thought:

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 August 2018

Verified Purchase

 

The most recent book I read by Christopher Wilson is Nookie which is about the 1960s Profumo affair.

Nookie: A novel of the Christine Keeler Affair by [Christopher Wilson]

Those Christine Keeler photographs are famous, but it wasn’t until I read this book that I was aware of just how young she was when the scandal happened. Written with Christopher Wilson’s wit, this is not non-fiction, although it is based on a true story.

The Blurb:

It’s the early 1960’s. London’s set to swing. Sex has just been invented. They’re a strange set of bedfellows – Christine, a hungry, chaotic teen, with the looks of Aphrodite, fleeing the tedium of suburban Staines; Percy, who runs a Soho Burlesque Club by the rules of a girl’s boarding school; Bill, Lord Astor, whose wives don’t understand him (though his dominatrix does); the slum landlord, and concentration camp survivor, Peter Rachman; Mandy, the feisty, giggler from Birmingham who’s skilled at pleasing rich, old men; Stephen, friend of stars and royalty, a charming osteopath, and modern Pygmalion, who picks up waifs and strays at the kerbside and nurtures them into models, actresses, celebrities and trophy-wives; the Kray twins, East End mobsters; Yvgeny, charmer and diplomat-cum-spy at the Soviet Embassy; John Lewis the defrocked Labour MP who plays games with prostitutes and guns; Mariella, sexual athlete and amateur social-worker, who organises West End orgies for the great and the good; President Jack Fitzgerald Kennedy and his brother Bobby who can’t always remember who they’ve met in bed; J Edgar Hoover, curator of sordid secrets; the passionate Johnny, jewel-thief, pimp, shebeen owner, with anger-management issues and a penchant for firearms; ‘Lucky’ the jazz musician who gets in the way of his razor; Bob, the peer of the realm, with a taste for rent-boys; Francis the Fleet Street crime reporter who can sniff a sexual act half a mile away; Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister, whose wayward wife, Dorothy, causes him concerns; Jack Profumo, rising star of the Conservative Party, husband of film actress Valerie Hobson, and Minister for War; Stanley the freelance assassin without a pension-plan; Sam the flexible policeman, who becomes unaccountably rich in the course of his investigations; Keith, the well-meaning, vegetarian, civil servant, who does his best for MI5; Colin the dentist from Cockfosters, who’s indulging his wife Charmian, while simply looking on: Alfred, Lord Denning, whose report on the shenanigans shamelessly exonerates anyone official, prominent, powerful or aristocratic. And from the mix of this cast you get enacted that Great Sex Kerfuffle of 1963, the Profumo Scandal – perhaps better styled the Stephen Ward Affair.

This novel of the scandal gives voice to all the major characters, and affords them the time and space to explain themselves. The account sets out to do justice to Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, spirited teenagers, who became the targets of a raucous, national hypocrisy and took the blame for the misbehaviors of the rich and powerful men who bedded them. The novel also sets out to redeem the admirable Stephen Ward – sensualist, artist, free-spirit, and convivial character – who, in the course of the scandal, lost everything that mattered to him – his friends, his reputation, and finally his life.

Christopher Wilson is the author of eight previous novels and has been shortlisted twice for the Whitbread Fiction Prize.

What I thought:

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 March 2020

Verified Purchase

 

Well, I have spotlighted three of Christopher Wilson’s books, I don’t want to go on too long. Apparently, long posts put people off…

Oh! But I forgot to mention Blueglass which was long-listed for the Booker Prize, in the 1990s.

Blueglass by [Chris Wilson]
There’s no doubt about it. Joey Blueglass is a talented man. How many people can sing any song after hearing it once, read a newspaper then repeat its contents word for word backwards, or recall their life in the womb? Joey can and makes it pay by performing as a Memory Man in the smoky music halls of Victorian London, until it turns out there are some key events that Joey has forgotten…

What I thought:

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 November 2016

Verified Purchase

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the final ‘What’s in a (Character) Name’ guest post. I have. Please have a look at the rest of Christopher Wilson’s books HERE on his website mojo-books.com (click on the word HERE for the direct link). And/or buy read and review them Books available from Christopher Wilson’s Amazon page. And just to make sure, here is the link for Christopher Wilson’s Goodreads page

 

Who knows where my ‘writerly rambling’ posts will take me next. I do need a bit of time now to write book number five of my series. For the time being, I will continue to report on the goings on in Curmudgeon Avenue.

Happy reading, and stay safe everyone! Samantha xx

#Audiobook is HERE! Curmudgeon Avenue #1 is Now an Audiobook and I am Over The Moon! #IARTG

Hello Everyone!

I am sure by now that you all know the story about my husband encouraging me to put my book Curmudgeon Avenue #1: The Terraced House Diaries forward on ACX to see if anyone would transform it into an audiobook.

WELL I am glad he did and I am even more astonished/over the moon/pleased that the multi-talented voice-over actor Lindsay McKinnon contacted me about producing it.

Here is our book launch at a local library (pre lockdown)

You can read the blog I wrote about our live audiobook launch at Radcliffe Library HERE

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Curmudgeon Avenue is the book about a proud, yet grouchy Victorian terraced house in a (fictional) town in Whitefield. They do say that walls have ears, and some even say that walls can talk. So when mismatched sisters Edith and Edna Payne move in, the house has plenty to say.

One of the first ever reviews that Curmudgeon Avenue received described it as ‘Coronation Street on Speed’. I think that this explains it better than any blurb. Two years after first publication, I am currently writing book number 5 of the series.

The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue

(Yes it does, I can’t stop writing it!)

The book really lends itself to spoken word and Lindsay has done the finest job possible colouring the characters with accents.

Enough from me – here are the links: AUDIBLE     AMAZON

MORE ABOUT MULTI-TALENTED VOICE-OVER ACTOR LINDSAY McKINNON Theatre of The Mind Productions http://www.theatreofthemindproductions.co.uk/

Happy listening everyone! Please let us know what you think by leaving a review on Audible or Amazon,

Samantha and Lindsay xx

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What’s in a (Character) Name? #Guestpost Nico J. Genes @NicoJGenes #IARTG

Hello and thank you for joining me on my rolling character naming writerly rambling posts. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of my internet writing friends Nico J. Genes. We ‘met’ on Goodreads. I have found Goodreads to be a really useful place for support from other indie authors. I have read two of Nico’s books – you will find my 5* reviews for both of them on Amazon . Definitely worth a read.

Thank you, Nico

Nico J.Genes

 

Hi! My name is Nico and I’m a writer. Throughout my life, I’ve been called also Nicole, Niki, Nicu, but somehow Nico has a warmer touch to it. So, Nico, it is. It is all about feelings, you know.

Let’s see how I came up with some of the names from my novels.

Magnetic Reverie & Reverie Girl:

Magnetic Reverie (The Reverie Book 1) Kindle EditionReverie Girl (The Reverie Book 2) Kindle Edition

The idea for my first novel struck me one day. It didn’t have many characters but I had to decide on the names as otherwise, it would have made it difficult, right? I couldn’t just go »she« and »he« as at one point not only the readers would be confused, but I would be the more confused one, the author. I didn’t think much of the names when I started. I did pick up Ana as the name of my main character. My mom’s name is Ana and I find it a really beautiful name, full of purity. It felt so smooth writing Ana whenever the main character came into the scene. I don’t recall now what were the other characters’ names but I’m sure I’ve changed them all.

You know, when I first started writing I didn’t even think it will be something that it will turn into a novel. I just penned down the beginning of something that later on will become my debut novel. When the story was evolving and the characters were being defined, as I didn’t want any of the people I had in my life to think there are any correlations between my work of fiction and my private life, I had to deal with the name thing. Ana, as much as I love this name, had to be replaced. I can’t write a bisexual/lesbian novel with some steamy scenes having one character named the same as my mom. Do you agree? Still, I had to replace it with something as smooth and soft so after some thinking it became Lana. Problem solved. The other characters were a tad easier, still not quite smooth. I didn’t just snap my fingers or took a three minutes break and came up with them. No. Having in mind that the story takes place between Slovenia, Croatia, and the USA, and all the twists and wonders that are not clear for the reader right at the beginning, I had to deal longer with the name for my second character. She was a woman from Slovenia, so her name had to sound Slovenian and American at the same time. And here comes Claire. Well, Claire is the American version while Klara is the Slovenian one. There is a perfectly fine explanation for that in the story and to me, she’s mainly Claire. The other characters got random names, still, I usually prefer short ones and I’m trying to avoid having very similar names so that the reader does not get confused. As I’ve said earlier, I’m trying to have all the names of my fiction works as different as possible from the people I know. Still, it can’t always be done easily as we do get to meet quite a lot of people in our lives. So here comes the claim: »This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.«

 

ADHD: Life is Beautiful

ADHD: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL: A True Story Kindle Edition
I cherish and hold dear to my heart all of my books, as they are my children, my creations. This one, being a true story, hits a higher place. The names though, except for mine, could not be used. As I mentioned in the claims: »Some places, names, and identifying details have been changed in order to maintain the anonymity of others.«, I couldn’t expose my friends’ names so I had to come up with substitutions. While I wrote the book, I have used the real names of my friends and only replace them when before publishing. I played in my mind for a few days with several names and not only that, they had to sit right with me, I wanted them to fit. My friends, a mother and her son, became Peter and Eliza. The real Peter didn’t like his name when he heard it and he asked me to mention in the book that the main character has this name against his will, hence without his approval. He made me laugh and his remark was totally in line with the content of the book. He wasn’t laughing, though.

In conclusion, there are many stories behind a character’s name and, we authors, don’t have often the chance to talk about it, so thank you, Sam, for the opportunity.

 

Useful links:

MAGNETIC REVERIE: Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/p2kdzt

REVERIE GIRL: Amazon(ebook): http://hyperurl.co/c23m4m

ADHD: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL: http://hyperurl.co/adhdlifeisbeautiful

Amazon profile: https://www.amazon.com/Nico-J.-Genes/e/B0767MFVZQ/

www.nicojgenes.com

Nico J. Genes has traveled and worked with many interesting and unique people of different nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations, all of whom helped her to understand diversity and to accept everyone just as they are.

With her first two novels, “Magnetic Reverie” and “Reverie Girl”, she broke the ice into writing successfully. From her readers’ feedback and reviews, Nico can proudly say she has a solid confirmation of her skills as an established writer. An important element of her writing is that she always has a message that she wants to transmit. This can be summed up by her motto: We are all different, and that’s okay!

Besides novel-writing, Nico also runs a blog in which she talks about life’s issues, and gives the kind of friendly advice that everyone needs at certain points of their life. The positive feedback of her readers became her inspiration for her third book, “Lessons in Life”. Continuing her mission of welcoming all diversity and pleading for tolerance and acceptance, she wrote the novel “ADHD: Life Is Beautiful”, based on a true story.

ADHD Life is Beautiful by Nico J. Genes EBOOK (1)

Follow your dreams

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Thank you so much Nico! Join me next time for more character naming, Sam xx

What’s in a (Character) Name? Sharon Booth @Sharon_Booth1 #Guestpost #Uplifting Women’s Fiction #IARTG

Sharon Booth tells Samantha Henthorn how she chooses her character names.

Way back when I started reaching out and networking as an independent author, I saw a post on a reputable social media group asking if any authors wanted to appear on a blog called ‘Five Photos’. Before responding, I thought wow, this author writes uplifting women’s fiction. That sounds right up my street!

This author was none other than super talented SHARON BOOTH I have read every single one of her books – the first one being Kearton Bay my husband came home from work and saw me reading in the garden. ‘Why are you crying?’ he said. ‘Because this book is so touching… and SO cute!’ 

Thank you so much Sharon for joining me!

Sharon Booth

What’s in a Character Name?

Names are very important to me. I can’t just pick a character’s name out of thin air; I have to search for just the right one. First of all, it has to suit the character, obviously, but it also has to mean something to me or to the story.

With the first series of books I wrote it was easy. I’d spent a few years researching my family tree and I wanted to pay tribute to those people I’d been learning about, and who’d come to mean so much to me. The surnames of most of the characters in Kearton Bay are the surnames of my ancestors: Hollingsworth, Bone, Boden and Kean (hyphenated as one name for the story), MacLean, Crook, Hope … even Kearton Bay itself was named after my paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Kearton. Rhiannon, who has Wiccan beliefs, is named after a Celtic goddess. In mythology, her son was Pryderi, so I named her son in the book Derry. Rose’s name was a given. She’s crazy about the colour pink, so she and her daughters all had to have pink names. Her daughters are called Fuchsia and Cerise. Gabriel Bailey, on the other hand, got his first name because I needed an angel’s name for the story to work. His surname was inspired by my favourite film, It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey is a real hero to me, and I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather name my own hero after.

With the Skimmerdale books, it was the place names that took some working out. I wanted to be as authentic as possible, and spent ages looking at old Norse words, as so many places in the Yorkshire Dales have old Norse names. Skimmerdale itself is explained in This Other Eden. “Skimmer” was an old Norse word meaning “to shine brightly, to sparkle”. I had the image in my mind of sunlight glinting on the river as a Viking chief looked down upon it, inspiring him to give the area that name. The farm’s name, Fleetsthorpe, is derived from Fleets, meaning “stream or beck”, and Thorpe, meaning “the outlying farmstead”.

Bramblewick was a tribute to the novels of Leo Walmsley, who called his fictional version of Robin Hood’s Bay by that name. I borrowed it for a brief mention in A Kiss from a Rose, little realising that I would be revisiting the village and naming an entire series of books after it!

Fresh Starts at Folly Farm (Bramblewick Book 3) Kindle Edition

With my Moorland Heroes series, Saving Mr Scrooge made every use of the Charles Dickens’ classic on which it was loosely based. Jacob Marley became Marley Jacobs, and instead of Ebenezer Scrooge (which wouldn’t have sat well with modern readers) I named the hero Christopher Carroll, as Chris Carroll was the closest I could get to the original title. He was nicknamed Kit to be a bit more up-to-date – and because I was going through a Game of Thrones period at the time!

With Resisting Mr Rochester, the surname of the hero was fixed in stone, but I had fun playing around with the other important names. His first name became Ethan, which means strong and safe. Cara Truelove was inspired by two things: Cara means dear one, beloved (aw!) and seemed appropriate. Most people assume Truelove was just to emphasise how romantic she was, but in fact, it’s taken from an old legend connected with the surname Eyre. It tells how a companion of William the Conqueror, named Truelove, saved the life of the king, and was renamed Eyre in gratitude for giving William the air that he breathed. There’s no real historical evidence for this but it’s a lovely legend, and as I was looking for a connection to Jane Eyre I thought it was perfect. You can read more about it here. Although the book is obviously a tribute to the Charlotte Bronte novel, it was also inspired by Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Cara does share some characteristics with Catherine Morland in that novel, so I named Ethan Rochester’s home Moreland Hall in tribute.

For my current series, The Witches of Castle Clair, I did a lot of research into names with magical or mythical connections. The river was an important part of the town and its mythology, and the word Hrafn is old Norse for raven, so very appropriate for my stories. I found lots of names connected with the sky in some way for my St Clair family: Sirius, Star, Celeste, Sky, Iliana (ray of light), Raiden (god of thunder and lightning), Zephyr (west wind) and Aurora all have celestial meanings.

 

It does take time to research names, but I always feel more comfortable when I know I’ve chosen appropriate ones that fit the characters. I like to have them all in place before I start writing the book. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through and realising I don’t like the name, or it doesn’t fit, and having to change it. It’s worth making the effort right at the beginning. After all, these people are going to be my best friends for several months. The least I can do is get their names right!

Sharon Booth

 

 

Author Bio

Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and an Authorpreneur member of The Alliance of Independent Authors. She writes uplifting women’s fiction – “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!

Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, and now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their gentle, and thoroughly gorgeous, German Shepherd dog.

Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time is a proper job and she hasn’t taken early retirement.

She has a love/hate relationship with sugar (she loves it, it hates her), adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

Find out more about Sharon at linktr.ee/sharonboothwriter

 

Sharon’s latest novel, To Catch a Witch, is the third in the romcom series The Witches of Castle Clair. It will be published on April 28th and is available for pre-order here.

TO CATCH A WITCH_FRONT_RGB_150dpi

 

To Catch a Witch

Return to Castle Clair for the final chapter of the St Clair story.
It’s three hundred and fifty years since the famous witch’s leap happened in the North Yorkshire town. Riverside Walk is swarming with eager tourists, wanting to pay tribute to the legendary Blaise St Clair. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the family has gathered to celebrate an eventful year, and to look forward to even better times ahead.
But a shock event changes everything, bringing a whole lot of trouble to the door of Castle Lodge.
For something big is happening in Castle Clair. Strangers are arriving, a prophecy is unfolding, a mystery is deepening, a reckoning is coming … and someone’s getting rather too fond of Mrs Greenwood’s baking.
The past is colliding with the present, and the future is in jeopardy. No wonder the High Council of Witches is a bit miffed.
Will the St Clairs have enough strength, courage ~ and chocolate fudge cake ~ to see them through?

Or is this the end of the world as they know it?

Thank you so much Sharon! I cannot wait for To Catch A Witch to be published!

Join me next time, happy reading, Samantha xx

 

A Touch of History #BookReview Rosalind Minett @MinettRosalind @BookFunnel #IARTG Intrusion – A Relative Invasion

Hi everyone! I am still part of this fab BookFunnel promotion of 28 books written with a historical flair. As promised, I have been reading some of these books, so that I could pop a review on.

This is the BookFunnel Link – have a browse and see if you fancy any of these lovely books while they are on offer until the 19th of March.

I read Rosalind Minett’s INTRUSION A Relative Invasion from this promotion and it was beautiful.

Intrusion by Rosalind Minett

WAR THREATENS AT THE VERY SHORES OF HOME . . .  WITH RUTHLESS HITLER IN EUROPE AND DEVIOUS COUSIN KENNETH AT THE DOORSTEP. A fateful rivalry is born . . .

Lonely Billy’s excitement at having a playmate turns to dismay. Frail, artistic Kenneth is hideously devious, Uncle Frank is an outright bully and Billy’s parents fail to see further than Kenneth’s porcelain looks to his darker soul. Those very emotions that enable Hitler’s rise – envy over strength, desire for new territory – now ferment in the Wilson home.

Only his secret sighting of a precious Cossack sabre can comfort Billy by imagining he has its power.

As war becomes a reality, this becomes an icon that sustains Billy through evacuation and hardship, but is it destined to damage as well as protect?

Image result for evacuees ww2

(Photo from Google search WWII evacuees labelled for reuse)

Rosalind Minett

Rosalind Minett writes novels and short stories, with several short and long-listed in competitions. Several stories have been performed at Story Friday, Bath, and others, including flash fiction, included in anthologies.

Rosalind trained as a dancer, but grew to love acting more. She gained a place at RADA, but took parental advice and let academic life take over. She gained a B.A. Cert. Ed and Ph.D then became a psychologist working with both children and adults. If she hadn’t, she would have spent her life interpreting characters that dramatists and scriptwriters had created instead of working with real people. Now, later, she very happily creates them herself especially their quirks. In her career, she met and worked with a wealth of characters whose characteristics she can draw upon. However, she does not write biographically, much preferring to work from imagination.

Not surprisingly, it is the inner life of her characters that determines their fate in her stories, whether humorous, historical or criminal. Whatever the genre, Rosalind’s stories always have a keen touch of humour and a dark edge. This is evident in her first short story collection “Me-time Tales: tea breaks for mature women and curious men”, quirky and satirical.

Her ironic avatar – Girl Before Word Processor – (with thanks to Picasso) suits her background and personality. Its two faces suggest her two selves, the serious and the irreverent. They also refer to the watcher and the seen, the inner and the outer person.

Rosalind lives in the South West of England and spends non-family time enjoying the scenery, sculpture, theatre and fine art of the region.

She blogs at http://characterfulwriter.com

 

My little review (also on Amazon and Goodreads) *****

I enjoyed that the word ‘umpteen’ appeared in the first chapter, reminding me of how older relatives used to talk when I was a child in the 70s and 80s. I knew then that the prose was going to be lovely and fitting. Billy, aged five is excited about his cousin Kenneth staying. He turns out to be a real bully – his parents believe anything he says. I noticed his character so why didn’t they, even when Kenneth’s eyelashes were compared to a camel Billy’s dad commented ‘Displays calm, the camel, but they can turn nasty’ (quote from the book). This was a great piece of foreshadowing. Billy’s only saviour is his neighbour who has a fancy Russian knife (for display purposes, but looking at it made Billy feel brave). Not only is Billy’s life intruded by his cousin, but World War II is about to start. The reader learns from Billy’s observations of his parents how scary this is going to be. Billy is evacuated early on, his journey to the country is so enthralling, children wondering where their next meal is coming from – and some sharing out food. The heartbreaking bit when Billy is the last to be chosen. Gas masks, uncles returning from Dunkirk, it’s all in there. The most heartwarming bit for me was Billy’s stay with Mrs Youlden, her two younger children and another evacuee Alan. Billy has never experienced poverty before or been cold and dirty but here, he is loved and makes a true friend with Alan. Reading this book was like going back in time to childhood.

I really enjoyed this book – don’t forget to click the link

Happy reading everyone!

Samantha xx

PS, my book ‘1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire)’ Is also part of this promotion.

Add a heading

 

What’s in a (Character) Name? Raintown by Andy Donaldson @AndyRainTown #GuestPost #IARTG

Thank you for joining me today on my fortnightly writerly rambling post. Last year, I was lucky enough to take part in the #DecTheShelves challenge on Twitter (organised by advanced league blogger and writer Deborah J Miles at Against The Flow Press https://againsttheflowpress.blogspot.com/ Raintown by Andy Donaldson was one of the featured books, written for age 9-14 I gifted three copies to some of my friends’ children.

Image result for Ramsbottom

Set in a rainy town just like Ramsbottom up the road from me in Brandlesholme (near Bury) Andy Donaldson came up with a name for a fictional rainy town – Shigbeth 

Image result for shigbeth

Thanks, Andy for your guest post:

What’s in a (character) name?

As ‘Rain Town’ is a book for children aimed at Middle Grade to Young adults, the names of the characters need to ‘work.’ By that I mean, they needed to be simple, relatable and fit the genre which in this story is comic, ordinary and in some ways slightly nostalgic. The story is set in an average, North of England type, rainy, brick terrace small town and so the names of the characters needed to match. Sidney and Stanley, Billy and Bobby Bathurst, Charlie and Chloe et al were chosen because they just seemed to naturally fit this premise. There wasn’t much thought that went into it. The names matched the personalities and the imagined environment. Good guys like Stanley Rain and Charlie Green have warm, short names perhaps with nods to the occupants of childhood comics from the Eighties like ‘Roy of the Rovers’ and ‘Whizzer & Chips.’ Nigel Greenstock became the villain because to me the name seems to match the sort of character who is a bit slimy and ‘up to no good.’ It works well for a certain Mr Farage so why not here in the town of Shigbeth?

At the heart of the book is Sidney Rain, part time Dad, delivery driver and superhero crime fighter inthe form of his alter-ego ‘The Raven.’ ‘Sid’ just seemed to work with the character perfectly. Slightly dim, down to earth, a touch industrial and rugged with a hint of the hapless and comic. Underneath this ordinary exterior is a heart of gold; a man who just wants to do his best by his son and his few friends. However, there is also a bit of a subconscious reason for giving him the name Sidney. My Grandad was Sidney Charles Cousins and although I didn’t have him expressly in mind when I started out on the book, there are elements of him that have emerged in the character Sidney Rain. The real life Sid was also at first glance a pretty normal and unremarkable man. He was someone who was very definitely grounded with very few ‘airs and graces.’ He fixed planes during the war and eventually at airports once the post war period developed. Highly skilled but manual labour,a bit old-fashioned, uneducated at least academically and not exactly politically correct. I still remember him standing at the top of the stairs outside the bathroom first thing in the morning in his string vest and pyjama bottoms, mug of tea in hand, smelling of ‘brylcream’, shaving foam and ‘Old Spice’ aftershave. Underneath all that was a man who had spent his life just wanting to do his best by his friends, family and his grandchildren. Like the Sidney in the story, a man who didn’t need a cape, a mask and boots to be a hero.

No longer with us, I would like to think that somewhere Grandad Sidney is in his favourite chair, reading about the adventures of Sidney Rain, chuckling along, with a massive mug of tea on the go.

Andy DonaldsonAnd Donaldson Author

Teacher by day, Writer by night.

Author of ‘Rain Town’. The next one in the series has just been finished too…

You can find me on Twitter @AndyRainTown.

Andy Donaldson’s Amazon page

Buy a paperback copy of Raintown here
‘Is there anyone there?’ he tentatively enquired at the shadows. There was no response. Must have been a cat he thought. His pulse calmed and he wiped the sweat from his brow. The young thief turned away from the alley and the road and once more urged his feet to move on. ‘What are you doing little boy?’ commanded a booming voice from the alleyway.

Sidney Rain is an ordinary man with an ordinary job in an ordinary town. Except for the fact that sometimes at night he dresses up as a superhero and heads out living his fantasy. But he’s putting on weight, about to lose his job and he’s generally not feeling particularly super at all.

Stanley Rain is Sidney’s 12 year old son. He’s an ordinary boy with ordinary friends at an ordinary school. But that school is being taken over by a local entrepreneur and is changing for the worst. And Stanley is not going to let that happen without a fight.

When a mysterious theft takes place, Stanley and his friends will need to turn detective to help save their school. And after being fired at work by his new boss, Sidney will need his friends to help save his soul.

 

Thank you so much Andy for writing a fab book I was able to gift to my fab friend’s boys from Ramsbottom.

Join me next time when Sharon Booth tells us about her character names – it’s gonna be awesome!

Happy reading, Samantha xx

 

#BookReview The Witches of Helcombe by Harry Bradford #IARTG

Hello! I am still part of this fantastic BookFunnel Promotion so if you are a fan of literature written with a historical flair then please click the link in pink above to see if you fancy any of the titles. All the books are on special offer, I have read three of them now, recently finishing this one: The Witches of Helcombe by Harry Bradford

The Witches of Helcombe.: Book 1 of The Devon Witches Series (The Devon Witches Series.) by [Bradford, Harry]

The Blurb: It’s November 1609 in Devon, south-west England where in a remote village, an elderly witch cures a sick child and having no daughter of her own, passes her powers to the infant.
Years later, Cromwell’s parliamentary forces pursue a pregnant Queen of England across Devon, determined to stop her escape to safety in France and to hold her for ransom. Worse still, the unborn child’s life is in danger in the womb.
Can the Queen save her child? And, in danger of cleansing by fire, will the witch agree to help?
And how will the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emissary react to the presence of witchcraft in the village when he comes to take over as Reverend at the church?

Come with me to the 17th century where witchcraft is rife in the villages and the Devil lurks around familiars and in ancient graveyards.

Harry BradfordHarry Bradford:

Harry Bradford was born in Maidstone, Kent.

He spent just over 20 years as a policeman in that County, retiring and moving to Manotick, a small town near Ottawa, Canada, some twenty-six years later.
He and his wife, Linda, two dogs and an irascible cat, finally settled yet another twenty years later, on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada, where they now live in a rambling bungalow, half way up Mount Maxwell.

A voracious but undisciplined reader, he was motivated to write this first novel, Nexus, as he simply couldn’t believe there were any more ways for people to kill or maim each other, (he hates murder/mysteries and gratuitous violence), or for the earth to suffer armageddon!

A failed retiree, he’s now working on the sequel to Nexus, (amongst a dozen other, unrelated, activities), which he hopes to have ready for publication soon.

 

My Review:

A powerful start to this novel, Isabel is saved by a witch who shares her powers and provides her with a mirror so that she can ask for help. The novel is written in a similar style to original fairy tales – soon I was mesmerised into the story. We then follow Isabel’s life, she marries – will her husband accept her powers? She has a child of her own – will this daughter (Mary) inherit witchcraft? Charles I is the current monarch, and his wife Henrietta needs help with her pregnancy. Isabel acts as a midwife here – but is judged as a witch – interesting because the Queen’s male physicians had been cast out. Due to that period in history – Henrietta must flee from Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads. Extra characters are introduced here, that normalise the use of witchcraft. An enjoyable take on the English Civil War – the witches were not the enemy here.

 

opened book
Photo by Joy Marino on Pexels.com

Join me next week when I review Intrusion by Rosalind Minett, also available on the BookFunnel Promotion (make sure you click the link because you won’t be able to find all 28 books together on special offer after the 19th of March 2020)

Intrusion (A Relative Invasion Book 1) by [Minett, Rosalind]