Great books for Christmas!



Felicity Fair Thompson – ‘Grandpa’s Dear Old Girl’

Way back, when I was making the film about the Isle of Wight called A Closer Look, my cameraman and I were lucky enough to go ‘on board’ the Needles Lighthouse on the last day before it was automated. I was even given the very last lightbulb before things changed and I still have it today.

The curved staircase, the round rooms, the magical light, the fog horn, the amazing view – all this stayed in my memory, so when I was writing my new children’s story Grandpa’s Dear Old Girl, it was all there ready!

I think it’s wonderful how brave children can be, and interesting too, how things they see and hear along the way, they can suddenly use. Young Millie listens and learns from her grandpa, and when the wild storm he says is coming arrives, she can help Grandpa save the fishermen, but will she be able to help save him?

See ingénu/e’s review of Grandpa’s Dear Old Girl here and for more information go to

‘Beautiful Lies’

an anthology of 35 new writers published by Bourne to Write

The online creative writing workshop ‘Bourne to Write’, led by writer and critic Roddy Phillips, has published an anthology of 35 new writers. Most of the workshop writers are published for the first time in print. “The work that is regularly produced for the workshop is of an extremely high standard and it’s a pleasure to publish so many exceptional writers in one stunning volume, it’s very exciting,” said writing tutor Roddy Phillips. “In this anthology of 35 highly talented new writers you’ll find refreshing, creative voices that will constantly surprise and delight.”

Although originally based in East Sussex, the ‘Bourne to Write’ writers now come together every week from across the country thanks to Zoom. The writers range in age from 18 to 93.

“Zoom has transformed the workshops,” said Roddy, “it’s given them greater depth because I can now share our writers’ work onscreen, whether it’s written or recorded. And of course we now have writers from across the UK who would never have had the chance to join one of our weekly workshops. During lockdown the Zoom workshops were a lifeline, but now they’ve become a way of life and a new way of learning to write.”

The cover of Beautiful Lies features the painting ‘Belle’ by the leading figurative artist Catriona Millar, who also has work in the book. See ingénu/e’s review of Beautiful Lies here.

Beautiful Lies – an Anthology of New Writers is available on Amazon £8.99. For more information on Bourne To Write contact Roddy on 07758 367479 or email him at


Beverley Elphick – The Esther Coad trilogy

The crafting of a book, any book, is a labour of love and when I started my first (and I thought only) book, I knew I would become attached to the personalities I was creating – good and bad. I had to decide if I wanted to commit time and effort to people I had never met and present them fully developed to a reading public who might not rate them as highly as I did.  I had reached the ripe old age of sixty-two and prior to that I had felt no inclination to write a novel, I didn’t even know if I had the energy to complete it.

If I hadn’t accompanied a group of people who were walking along the River Ouse, from Lewes to Old Hamsey Church, I would never have begun. I recall sitting on a warm gravestone, looking about me, seeing buzzards high in a clear blue sky, smelling the earthy grass before drifting off into a daydream in which Esther, my heroine, came forth, fully formed, her temperament and personality immediately recognized by me. I warmed to her. The only other character pushing into my mind at that point was the river. Tidal in its reach, dangerous in its currents, mysterious in its reeds, tributaries and swamps. A wild, untamed river, very different from how we see the Ouse today.

The second book, Retribution, came about because my readers, who seemed to like Esther as much as I did, wanted to know what happened next, and I did too. It was very satisfying to continue Esther’s tale, it was so full of drama and heartbreak.

In the third and final part of the trilogy Esther had grown into a role in which she was happy and content, but she could not escape the attentions of those she had crossed. Her hopes and dreams, and her very survival, had no certain conclusion.

See ingénu/e’s review of Three Round Towers in issue 25, page 66; its sequel Retribution here and the third book, Secrets & Saviours, here and for more information go to


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