At last!!!!!! Song of Songs by Beverley Hughesdon

 

GREAT NEWS!!!!  Newly released as a Kindle read by Canelo books,  AND at last Eve will be published, too, can’t wait!

Song of Songs  is my most favorite book of all time and I read it every now  and then.  I was given it in a proof edition with a bland cover, the one here I think spoils it. The story is far more noble than this trashy piccie!

Born into rich Edwardian family,  Helena is always the ungainly, awkward one, who loves her twin brothers, Robbie and Eddie.  In several traumas, she is recued by the footman Jem, which explains a lot of her later actions, although the text doesn’t make any hooks into it, so maybe its my interpretation.  Oh, how I wish I was born then, with no housework, allowed to sit about and read and write, waited on hand and foot, but most of all, horses to ride, at will, for pleasure,and no mucking out! The life in a way prefaces that of Downton Abbey. I’m telling a lot of the plot here,  but only because I need to explain how it relates to my enjoyment!

Helena grows to a teenager and after a misalliance with her cousin gets shifted off to Germany to learn music, as a punishment, which turns out into a blessing as she has a real ability to sing.  First world war arrives, and Helena trains as a Nurse – and the descriptions of this culture shock are wonderful, as are the accounts of her duty in the Hospitals on the warfields in France.  One twin dies, another survives but is damaged in his lungs.

Helena has this romantic fantasy about Gerald, her Officer love, who she does eventually get engaged to, but he is killed.  During the war, Helena meets  Ben, who is working class engine driver in peace time.  They meet after the war, and it is to him Helena flees when she helps in he suicide of her dying brother.  Ben takes advantage of Helena, coercing her into marrying him.  They begin life in his home town, another culture shock for Helena, but it is only when Helena finds out her Gerald was gay, she has a nervous breakdown, also born of her war work.  Recovering, she returns home, and through her healing, finally realises that she loves Ben and the book ends with the birth of  their son

This is a real beauty and beast tale, something which is in Beverley’s other books.   Helena is so human, but courageous.  Her breakdown is a way to healing.  Maybe I like this because I identify with her, in having earlier in life stupid love affairs, and then finding my own beast !!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Cupboard Love by Laura Lockington

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Another autobiography, unusual for me, but this I loved. A girl of my era, I just so enjoyed the short anecdotes and tales from Laura’s childhood. Of the same era, I identified with her, and her pain – I took my rebellion in a slightly different way though(!) She is my favourite author at the moment and this  makes her books so much more enjoyable and as a writer/analyst, I see how she informs her work – often unconsciously. Her books have such charm and originality.

Therefore its such a shame that at present I’m struggling through Before and After. Totally original, great plot, but I just can’t get on with Flora, I reckon the problem is that she just doesn’t have the Lockington charm – see how I feel when I finish!!!

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My Animals and Other family by Clare Balding

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I just loved this book, Clare doesn’t need this book review, so I am writing of the effect this book had on me! Clare had my dream childhood in SOOO many ways, loads of horses to ride, dogs , an countryside home, a brother who was a mate and one parent who was ok!  All those stables and horses, my dream.  She had problems like me, such as getting clothes so she could fit in at school and even fitting in at school and making innocent blunders that were seen as terrible by the parents.

What struck me was her bitterness towards her father which is quite understandable. It was made clear to her from the start that as a female she didn’t rate and her father consistently didn’t remember any of her achievements. But she recounts most of her escapades with humour and clear sight, it so explains her personality. I didn’t have a father, which is maybe easier than having such a prat of a one but maybe he was of his time and generation. Maybe mine would have been the same, but I could compose him exactly as I wanted him and he was ‘One of the Few.

What I got the most from this was inspiration that it is possible to write about events with humour, passion and objectivity. I’ve been thinking of writing about my own childhood for a while, but had felt its negative aspects would make it difficult to write, but not with Clare’s model.  Thank you, and do so I envy you all those horses!!!!!!

Guess who’s coming to Christmas dinner? by Laura Lockington

Guess Who's Coming to Christmas Dinner

I was SO looking forward to this book. Laura Lockington has been one of favourite author finds of this year, with her quirky, original, magical books. But this, oh dear!  Yet ANOTHER single mother, with a best friend struggling with Christmas, yawn, yawn, yawn. Maybe this sort of story sells to single Mums who form a large readership, I don’t know. Only occasonally do we see a hint of the best of Laura with the motif of the fox passing through and the Vampire at the door.

Has Laura been the victim of a publisher, heading her to main stream, squashing her gift. I’m not a great fan of Endeavour press either. Fight it Laura, get back to your original genius, don’t listen to anyone but yourself!

I see I missed the publication of her new book, Before and After…..Guess what I’ll be reading this Christmas!

https://booksandanna.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/stargazy-pie-b…ura-lockington/

https://booksandanna.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/stargazy-pie-b…ura-lockington/

My True Love gave to me/On the First day of Christmas by Christine Lynxwiler

I would willingly undergo many more lessons from God about myself if my husband would do something like this…………..

A chair between the Rails by G.T Anders

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This Blog with a review and a Q&A session from George to celebrate the publication of the book.

I’ve already reviewed George’s first book , the Tower of Babel  (see below), and I did wonder at the wisdom of writing a prequel,  but it  works in Starwars!!!!!  At least the Tower, complete in it’s entireity  doesn’t have any boring repeating references as to what went onbefore as I’ve moaned about in other blogs!

This story is the childhood of Austin in the Tower.  George deals with so many issues: of mental illness, personal journeys, reconciliation and redemption in the frame of the out of world journey  in a giant rusting intergalactic train to find  God. It’s like a ghost from our subconscious.  I don’t want to spoil it, but George’s gift with language, his incredible imagination that created this book once again blows me away.

I can see the Biblical parallels in the books of life  giving the desires of our hearts and the journey to find God. Wanting him here again on earth.  How we really do create God as we would want him in the perspectives of our times and ideologies. So what’s it all  about George?

This isn’t a simple read and I think my second reading  helped a lot, but then again my first read was of the first proof and there was so much work done in between.  What struck me most this time was the ruthlessness of people on a mission to a goal. The book is out of worldly in form and content, it’s even  literary Sci Fi and again I say, needs to be picked up by a publisher.

Tell us a little about yourself, your life, hobbies, work, beliefs, your background

 I grew up in a home where exploration and creativity were encouraged. I felt free to dive into whatever world I had just discovered, whether it was a real-world body of knowledge or an imagined universe. World-creation was my main pastime throughout childhood and adolescence. My exercises in world-creation grew with me, from juvenile flights of fancy, to Tolkienian invention in early adolescence, to linguistic creation in my teens. The act of Making has always been my bread and butter, and the only thing other than Love that still makes me feel alive.

My primary interests are God, the Universe, and the Human Heart. I don’t have time for hobbies, but I do find cooking and hiking (whether alone or with a loved one) immensely therapeutic.

Have you always written?

I have been writing since I learned my letters. I used to take stacks of paper, fold them, and staple them down the middle into books. I would try to fill these books completely with stories, but I couldn’t. I remember realizing at a very early age how difficult it was to sustain a narrative.

I finished my first novel at age 9. It was called A Journey Of 40,000 Miles In Eight Months, and it detailed the 18th-century sailing mishaps of a certain Captain Wetthamson. I consulted our cardboard globe for geography (and for the mile calculation in the title). I finished the book at 109 pages and believed I was a novelist.

I have written about 700,000 words since then in ten or so novels. Most of that work falls under practice–the 10 years or 10,000 hours it takes to achieve mastery. (Not that I consider myself a master. I haven’t arrived.) These are not works that I feel a need to share with anyone, although I’d be happy to back up my claim with complete scans of every paper manuscript I’ve ever written. I still have all of them.

What made you write the books in this order?

Books I and II of the Vaulan Cycle were published out of order because I stopped believing in the work. I tried and failed three separate times to write what is now A Chair Between The Rails. I gave up on it eventually and decided that my newer book, The Tower of Babel, would have to be first in the cycle. Then I realized that the problem with the prequel was not the vision, but the author’s mindset and execution. So I rewrote the prequel. The narrator, James, became more narcissistic and psychologically twisted, probably as a sort of personal catharsis for the psychological anguish that two deranged individuals had been causing me for quite some time.

This means that when I first received the germ for A Chair Between The Rails in 2007, I had not yet experienced enough pain or psychological illness to write it.

Do you have an overall aim in your writing, for example to make people think about God?

 My aim is to serve the work, to get out of the way of the vision. I can smell ego in art a mile away, and while I can’t claim to have eradicated the issue in my work (or even to have addressed it), I am learning more and more how to approach the vision of Beauty. I believe that God is the source of all beauty. I think my writing incidentally supports this claim, but I also think someone who doesn’t believe in God (or doesn’t know what to believe) may find something resonant in my work. I do struggle, however, with categorizing my work. I discussed that struggle in this article. [link: http://www.curatormagazine.com/george-anderson/like-a-cork-out-of-bottle/]

What are your future plans besides writing the third book in the cycle?

I have no future aims at the moment. If I can sort out 50 pages of conflicting notes, there will be a third book in the Vaulan Cycle. If not, I may give up literature. I’ve thought of writing a non-fiction book about being an artist in the Internet age, but I think I may have chosen that project to make myself look cool. Having spent a lot of time trying to look cool, let me tell you, it’s exhausting and has nothing to do with creating beauty. It’s also not very rewarding, because you’re never happy with the amount of public attention you have. That’s an addiction as dangerous as any drug.

So, for now, my future aims are to be sane, get my anxiety under control, and focus on loving my wife, whom I married in June 2013.

The Diaries of an Expectant and Hapless Father by Pete Sortwell

The Diary Of An Expectant Father                              The Diary Of A Hapless Father: months 0-3

These diaries are just a smashing read for anyone who has parented. I so empathise with pregnant Alison, and then all the traumas of the first three months, the colic and just not knowing what to do with the little treasure.  He deals so well with how we deal with the stresses and the border that we musn’t cross when at our wits end.  Any parent has been there, and I guess Pete too,

There is a strong narrative here as well as a maybe inadvertent picture of life for many of us, as we try to cope with work, life and parenthood in the UK.  It’s a picture of life in the Naughties, it’s a social documentary.  It’s refeshing to find this subject written about with no feminine viewpoint either!!!!!! These books work on many levels, enjoy them!

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