It is still just as thrilling (and still somewhat unbelievable) to receive all these copies of a book that I actually wrote. Here it is …another exciting delivery of Love in La La Land to take to readings, author talks and to the wonderful RNA Conference this weekend.
Another Heat Wave Book.
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanne Cannon
Another hot summer evoked is by this book, that of 1976, a summer I remember well.
The story is mainly told through the naïve wondering eyes of ten year old Grace, though it also harks back to significant eventsin 1967.
At times I admit, I sometimes lost track of all the characters so had to refer to the diagram of the cul de sac at the front. But I loved the wonderful snapshot of the time and the small evocative details. The story has many memorable little references, plus quasi-religious themes as Grace and her best friend, Tilly, try to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Mrs Creasy, and find God at the same time. This they do in a drain pipe. They also unwittingly solve the unexplained events of 1967.
This is a delightful story, very evocative of the time with quirky characters and humour.
A Signature Shelf
It started with P.D James, who signed two of her books after a talk in Worcester, then U A Fanthorpe signed a book of her poems. But when I began writing I met other novelists and my first very special signing was Katie Fforde, then others followed. So, as you can see, I have now amassed a whole shelf of books signed by their authors. Little did I imagine that this ‘signature shelf’ would become a wonderful record of great reads and, also some great writer friends.
Could a prolonged hot spell of over two years producing the drought of the century drive a man to kill his wife, one child and himself? That is the central question posed by Australian writer, Jane Harper’s The Dry.
The characters, setting and story are gripping and very impressive for a debut novel. The intricacies and twist and turns as to ‘who dunnit’ keep you engaged till the very last page. (Don’t worry, no spoilers in this review.)
You can feel the heat and dust of the drought, and the crackling tension of people driven to desperation by all the financial and other consequences of the unremitting temperatures. The police have a tentative hold on law and order in this Australian outback region and things threaten to boil over at any moment. The characters are convincingly portrayed as is the small town atmosphere where everyone knows everyone’s business.
As a reader, I puzzled over the anomalies about the murders and, seeing events through the main character’s, Aaron Falk’s, eyes meant I shared his prejudices about who the ‘baddies’ were. We want to believe Aaron is innocent, but there are always seeds of doubt cunningly planted because we know ‘he lied’.
The past crime is cleverly intermingled with the modern murders via skilfully placed flashbacks so we gradually learn more about the main characters and their motivations.
The Dry is a great read with a fast-paced riveting story and a thrilling denouement.
A great evening of author talks last night at Evesham Festival. The wine and readings flowed freely and we were made very welcome by Sue Ablett and all the Almonry staff.
Enjoy a lovely evening in the fabulous setting of the Almonry in Evesham. Over a glass of wine listen to readings from writers contributing to the 2018 Festival, chat to the writers, buy some books.
Copies of books of participating authors will be on sale in the Almonry Festival Bookshop for a month until 15th July.
I will be joining other authors on the night including Kevin Brooke, Tracey Bryant, Sue Johnson, David Simson, Bob Woodroofe, and Debbie Young.
Over half term we managed to dodge the many thunderstorms to visit two local historic houses.
Coughton Court gardens were as wonderful as ever.
But it was the romantic story of thwarted love at Baddesly Clinton that most fascinated me.
Apparently the wealthy young Edward Dering came to ask the 53 year old Lady Chatterton for the hand in marriage of her niece, Rebecca. But Lady Chatterton, being somewhat deaf, thought he was asking her and accepted his proposal with delight. The gallant Edward was too much of a gentleman to disabuse her of her mistake and so did indeed marry her.
A little later, in 1867, Rebecca married a man called Marmion (don’t you love that name?) Eventually all four of them, niece aunt and their husbands, lived and worked together as artists for many years and became known as The Quartet.
They restored Baddesly Clinton to its former glory.
The lovely romantic end came years later when, after the deaths of their spouses, Edward and Rebecca did eventually marry. So a belated but, we hope, a nicely happy ending.