Book Reviews

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BOOK REVIEWS

Grandpa’s Dear Old Girl by Felicity Fair Thompson; Beautiful Lies, an anthology of new writers from Bourne to Write; and Secrets & Saviours by Beverley Elphick

Three books showcasing the talent of local independent authors. Grandpa’s Dear Old Girl by Felicity Fair Thompson is a beautiful children’s story for all ages; Beautiful Lies is a collection of short stories and poetry as varied as ideas could possibly be; Beverley Elphick’s Secrets & Saviours draws her Esther Coad trilogy to an exciting conclusion. 

Grandpa’s Dear Old Girl

by Felicity Fair Thompson

Millie was anxious. How would her grandpa cope without his dear old girl.

Millie’s grandpa was the custodian of the 100-year-old SeeSaw Lighthouse – his Dear Old Girl. When modern technology and automation came to the lighthouse, Millie’s grandpa’s expertise as a lighthouse keeper and his intimate knowledge of the coast and its weather were suddenly and unceremoniously made redundant.

As Millie’s grandpa sadly contemplated his enforced retirement, a sudden change in the weather brought a big storm, threatening the island’s fishing fleet and testing the new automated system at the lighthouse. Would it stand up to this test? What would happen to Grandpa and his Dear Old Girl? And what part will Millie play in this unfolding drama?

Grandpa’s Dear Old Girl is a charming and exciting children’s story. Written with a rhythm that is at times poetic, it yet has a hint of the edginess that author Felicity Fair Thompson brings to her novels. And like all the best stories for children it conveys a valuable message, one that is relevant for both kids and adults alike. Grandpa’s Dear Old Girl is a little gem – reading it to your children or grandchildren will be a delight.

Published by Beachy Books, Grandpa’s Dear Old Girl is out now, available to order from your local bookshop and direct from www.beachybooks.com. For more information about the author and her work go to www.wightdiamondpress.com


Beautiful Lies

an anthology of new writers
from Bourne to Write

The best short stories should haunt you for days and weeks. They should startle you and make you want to read more by the same author. In this anthology of 35 new writers there are refreshing creative voices that will constantly surprise and delight. Most of the writers are published in this volume for the first time in print.

I should by now be used to the high quality of writing to come out of Roddy Phillips’ Bourne to Write ‘stable’ of new writers. This latest anthology, Beautiful Lies, is stuffed with short stories and poems that will run you through the gamut of emotions. As they were written for the Bourne to Write Workshop many of the pieces share themes, lines and subject matter, yet each one is a unique and beautiful lie.

Some of these are dark, challenging and disturbing. Some are introspective. Some twang on the heartstrings of nostalgia – real or imagined – and some are gently humorous.

It takes a particular skill to be able to condense a complete narrative, with all its plot twists and characterisations, to a short story format. The evocations of time and place, not dependent upon lengthy descriptions, have to be precise, pin-point accurate. The best short stories leave you feeling as if you have read a novel, but still thirsting to know more about the characters and their story.

A surprising number of feature films have been based on short stories: Total Recall on a short story called ‘We can remember it for you wholesale’ by Philip K Dick; South Pacific on ‘Tales of the South Pacific’ by James A Michener; and the classic The Third Man on a short story of the same name by Graham Greene. So who knows where some of these Beautiful Lies may end up…

Perfect to dip into over a coffee break, Beautiful Lies is available on Amazon. Find out more at bournetowrite.co.uk


Secrets & Saviours

by Beverley Elphick

It is 1801. After a succession of tumultuous and life-threatening experiences Esther Coad, herbalist and midwife of Lewes, has settled down with her new husband, local physician and coroner Dr Bartholomew Grieve, and her young ward, Beth, to a comfortable life surrounded by dear friends.

Esther’s reputation as a caring midwife has spread as her midwifery practice, tending to those women unable to afford the services of a physician, has gone from strength to strength, and she has become a respected part of Lewes society.

The peace and harmony of her home would soon be interrupted, however, by the unwelcome arrival of Bartholomew’s haughty, spiteful elder sister – her carping criticisms casting a pall of anxiety and discord over the familiar, friendly household and her poisonous gossip threatening to undo all Esther’s hard work.

To add to her worries, Esther has a sudden terrifying encounter with an enemy from the past and old fears are re-ignited. More complications arise when a fragile young woman turns up on their doorstep seeking asylum, and a little girl, the daughter of an old acquaintance is left in her charge in tragic circumstances, after a terrific shipwrecking storm off the nearby coast which left many drowned.

At this point you might be forgiven for thinking that Esther has enough on her plate. And yet…

A handsome young gentleman calls upon her. He has a proposition that offers the chance to rid the area of the gang of smugglers that had previously dogged Esther and been the cause of so much tragedy and grief, and thus to restore peace to herself and her young family. What should she do? It is an audacious plan. To get involved may jeopardise her own life and those of her loved ones. But to not act…

This third book in the Esther Coad trilogy is full of exquisite details of the period, from the niceties of society, manners and clothing to actual historical events, and is peppered throughout with references to the beneficial herbs which were Esther’s stock-in-trade. It picks up all the threads from the first two books and weaves them cleverly into an engaging narrative, bringing the story to an exciting conclusion. I loved it!

Secrets and Saviours is available from all online suppliers, on order from all good bookshops, or direct from www.beverleyelphick.com where you can find our more about the author.

 

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