Monthly Archives: July 2015
Invisible Threads by Lucy Beresford
Review Date: 23 July 2015
Author: Lucy Beresford
Release Date: 1 June 2015
Publishers: Quartet Books
ISBN –10: 0704373858
ISBN – 13: 978-0704373853
Available in Hardback and Kindle.
Authors Website: http://lucyberesford.co.uk/
The Last Word Review
Well written Psychological thriller open’s up India’s ‘darker’ World
Sometimes a book will arrive that will leave an indelible mark on you and when I was asked if I would like to review Invisible Threads by Lucy Beresford I had no real idea that this would be THAT book.
This is a deeply moving account of a woman grieving after loss of her husband, who she understood was killed Afghanistan. I found that I was hooked on the story very quickly. We get to know Sara very well and soon she realised that the actual truth about how her husband Mike actually died and more importantly where he died suddenly the book takes on a whole new dimension.
The truth sometimes is stranger than fiction and we find our heroine heading to India and is confronted with the two India’s the colour, the vibrancy and people, then very quickly is confronted with the other. The treatment of women in India in particular the trafficking of women for the sex trade.
I found that Beresford’s style of writing and and the passion for the story line and in particular how she slowly built up the lead character Sara, who I found charming and witty but also someone who could think for herself and would not let go in her pursuit of the truth. The truth when it came for Sara was painful. Mike lied to her about his job and then to find out that when he was killed he was with another woman would destroy a lot of women but not our heroine. Sara after arriving in India became close the one young women Pritti who she then desperately tries to save from the other side of Delhi that the rest of the World may never have known about the sex trade, the human trafficking and who is involved and to what level this goes.
A complex story that is told with tact and also compassion, but at the same time Beresford never shies away from the ‘real’ truths behind the story and her time in India and with The Rescue Foundation helping with trafficked women from Brothels clearly had an impact.
Anyone who enjoys a thriller should have a read of Invisible Threads as it gives the reader much more than this. You will not be disappointed this will leave a mark on you as it has with me. Some may debate as to whether Sara is the lead character or whether India is itself the lead character as Beresford peels back the two sides of India and lets the reader see what Sara see for herself. This is a book that should be on everyone’s to be read list.
Meet the Author
Lucy Beresford grew up by the sea in Sussex and studied English at Durham University. After ten years in Investment Banking, her training to be a psychotherapist also re-ignited her love of narrative and story-telling.
Something I’m not, her controversial first novel, asks whether all women want to be mothers. Lucy’s second best-seller, Happy Relationships: at home, work and play, detoxifies tricky relationships. She has had several short stories published and recorded for Audio. She is also published in Brazil and China.
She writes in a garret with views of Big Ben on one side and Battersea Power Station on the other. On a more practical level, she finds she cannot function without lip-gloss.
Invisible Threads is Lucy Beresford’s second novel and was published in June 2015 by Quartet Books.
The Lodger by Louisa Treger
Review Date: 17 July 2015
Author: Louisa Treger
Release Date: 5 May 2015
Publishers: Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN –10: 1250051932
ISBN – 13: 978-1250051936
Available in Hardback, Paperback, and Kindle.
Authors Website: http://louisatreger.com/
The Last Word Review
A fabulous historical Debut novel. Each page is a Masterclass in writing
Louisa Treger’s debut novel set in the 20th Century is a cross over between an historical account and fiction, centres around one of the lesser known writers of this time Dorothy Richardson and her rise from dentist secretary to literary pioneer.
This is a well-researched and superbly written book. The complex life of Dorothy Richardson centres on her affair with H.G. Wells who is married to one of Dorothy’s old school friends. Bertie as Wells is known as takes centre stage through much of The Lodger. But there is another story here that the reader comes to terms with and that is the sexual awakening of Dorothy at a time when women where fighting just to vote. Now we Dorothy strike up a friendship with Veronica, and we find out that Veronica is no ordinary woman, the two strike up a close friendship that includes deep trust in each other and secrets of their adulterous affairs are shared. After a time this transcends into a complex relationship that becomes physical despite Dorothy still seeing ‘Bertie’ now things become more complex and disturbing for Dorothy as she now finds herself pregnant.
During this stage of the 20th Century the fact that here we see Dorothy involved in an affair with a married man, now pregnant with his child and also an affair with another Woman, this would almost certainly mean Dorothy becoming an outcast in society, disgrace and complete ruin. Just to make matters worse Veronica is incarcerated for protesting as a suffragette protester. Dorothy is riddled with guilt over her affair with Bertie and betraying her best friend add this to the remorse as her mother’s suicide and her feelings that she could have prevented this.
Locked in her attic bedsit every evening Dorothy emptied her thoughts and poured her heart out filling notebooks and so in time came the multi-volume ‘Pilgrimage’ which was based around the character Miriam Henderson and this is based on the authors own life between 1891 and 1915.
The one aspect of The Lodger that really appealed to me was the way that Treger does not in any way get to point the finger of blame to anyone that the reader can see, this is something each reader will come to have their own thoughts and to make up their own mind.
The style and prose of The Lodger is impressive, bordering on poetic each page moves easily to the next and keeps the reader engaged in the story. Beautifully written and poetically told. How Treger follows The Lodger is something that I will be watching very keenly.
Meet the Author
Born in London, Louisa Treger began her career as a classical violinist. She studied at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher.
Louisa subsequently turned to literature, gaining a First Class degree and a PhD in English at University College London, where she focused on early twentieth century women’s writing.
Married with three children, she lives in London. The Lodger is Louisa’s first novel.
Last Folio (A Photographic Memory) by Yuri Dojc & Katya Krausova
Review Date: 12 July 2015
Author: Yuri Dojc & Katya Krausova
Release Date: 1 May 2015
Publishers: Prestel Publishing
ISBN –10: 3791381458
ISBN – 13: 978-3791381459
128pp : 60 Colour Illustrations
Available in Hardcover, Linen with Jacket.
Authors Website: http://lastfolio.com/
The Last Word Review
Deeply moving and personal photographic account taken decades after the Holocaust
Firstly I am indebted to Prestel Publishing for sending a copy of Last Folio for review. The first thing that struck me was the size of this book. It is a large coffee table sized book. The sheer quality of the book is something that really impressed me. The quality of the paper used to display the photographs is of art quality and the binding is impressive.
To commemorate the end of the Second World War Yuri Dojc together with Katya Krausova released Last Folio. This is a journey back to Slovakia the first Country that adopted Germany’s anti-Jewish policies. This is a personal journey through the eyes of both the authors as they were former political exiles.
They both first returned in 2006 and returned to the village that was abandoned in 1942 when the villagers including children were deported to concentration camps including Yuri Dojc’s grandfather. What they left behind homes, buildings and Synagogue’s. But by far the most haunting of all was the books left behind in the Schools and homes and splintered gravestones. A long ago was now uncovered and recorded through the lens of Yuri Dojc and Oscar award winning Katya Krausova.
One of the most moving aspects of moving from building to building photographing what they found was a book. This turned out to be no ordinary book, but one that was owned by Yuri’s grandfather. This is indeed a very touching and personal moment.
No-one can begin to understand what took place in this village in 1942 when the inhabitants where rounded up and deported with only a few surviving the death camps, but what we are presented with here in Last Folio is a deeply moving and personal photographic journey to the past with photographs taken in the most exquisite detail with outstanding composition. Being a keen photographer this kept me up many a late night studying each photograph.
There are many photographs in Last Folio that are of decaying books, that were left behind and time has forgotten them until now. These tell a story of village and its people more about how they lived their lives before deportation.
The linen cover to Last Folio is saturated purple this was inspired by some of the school books photographed in the book. To accompany Last Folio there is an exhibition that has been to-date in Europe and the United States including the United Nations building in New York. This is a book that is haunting and at the same time powerful in a historical sense every photograph tells its own story.
Meet the Authors:
Yuri Dojc & Katya Krausova
Yuri Dojc’s photographs are held in the Library of Congress in Washington,vD.C. and in the National Gallery of Canada. He has published a number of books,vincluding the award-winning collection of Holocaust survivors, We Endured. Katya Krausova is a television producer and writer based in London. She is the co-founder of Portobello Pictures, an independent production company.
Perfect Daughter (No Greater Courage) by Amanda Prowse
Review Date: 9 July 2015
Author: Amanda Prowse
Release Date: 2 July 2015
Publishers: Head of Zeus
ISBN –10: 1784970336
ISBN – 13: 978-1784970338
Available in Hardback and Kindle.
Authors Website: http://amandaprowse.org/
The Last Word Review
This will fill your heart to bursting, beautifully written, heartbreaking yet uplifting
What seems like just a few short months ago I had the chance to review A Mothers Story and also the opportunity to interview Amanda Prowse, the author now presents her latest book Perfect Daughter. I must thank Midas PR and Head of Zeus for the Advanced Review Copy.
Amanda Prowse is not afraid of writing books that touch on issues that either have affected readers directly or know someone who has been directly affected. With Perfect Daughter this is a story that this reviewer has had first-hand experience of so it touched me and brought back first hand memories.
We are presented a story of Jacks a wife, a mother, a daughter doing everything on a daily basis to keep the family on an even keel and trying to be a success at everything. Pete is her husband and perfect in every way, just trying in our modern world to bring up a family and work and finding a balance to make everyone happy is hard work in its self, now throw into this story Jack’s mother Ida, suffering from Alzheimer’s now the story takes on a who new dimension.
This is story that at times is totally heartbreaking, yet anyone who has looked after loved ones suffering from this terrible disease will know at first-hand what is involved. This is a family that I came to love at every turn of the page as it resonates with me.
The story set in Weston-Super-Mare starts with Jacks having just married Pete and is expecting their first child, a new home and plans for the future, not only in being a family but careers and renovating their new home. Jacks always wanted a conservatory to make the home complete. Now we move ahead a number of years and the family has increased as they have two children and still no conservatory. I loved the younger Jonty for his spirit and his at times his wonderful humour which the story needed to give it some lighter moments. I really wanted to throw my arms around Jacks at times and re-assure her that everything was going to be ok, just visualising what she was having to cope with on a daily basis, changing her mother’s soiled bed clothes and juggling the daily routines of bringing up a family.
At times I did have to put the book down and read something else as it brought back memories for me that I have tried to bury. Anyone who has been there will know what I mean here. Watching someone who you loved and inspired you fall away and regress to the point that they don’t know you anymore despite all the love you give them is totally heartbreaking.
I have believed that if you plan to write a book about issues such as these that will affect the large majority of us in time then you must do so with honesty and candour and tell the story holding nothing back. Amanda Prowse has done that with all her books to date and this especially is especially true. It is not easy to do. I loved the way that this story bounced back to the past to recount Jacks days growing up and bringing it back to reality and the everyday challenged of bringing up Martha and Jonty and making sure that they had everything they needed. Every family has its difficult times and it is the love that keeps it going and keeping it together.
Perfect Daughter pulls no punches and will fill your heart to bursting, for many reasons. How would you cope if you were Jacks would you do anything different. I guess that is the point that we are all unique and react different to situations.
If you are putting a list of books to read this Summer, think about Perfect Daughter as it is thought provoking in more ways than one. If you have not read any of Amanda Prowse’s novels to-date, and always wondered, make Perfect Daughter your first. I think you will become a fan.
Meet the Author:
Amanda has always obsessively crafted short stories and scribbled notes for potential books. Six years ago, she quit her job as a management consultant and began writing full time. Her first book, Poppy Day is a contemporary novel following an army wife whose incredible love for her husband gives her the courage to set out to rescue him after he was taken hostage in Afghanistan. Originally self-published in October 2011, Poppy Day quickly became a bestseller and Amanda joined the prestigious Head of Zeus publishing house.
The second in the No Greater Love series, ‘What Have I Done?’ was an eBook sensation where women worldwide identified with the theme of domestic abuse in middle class households and it was subsequently voted a ‘Best Book of 2013’ by Amazon Kindle. Amanda followed this by joining the team of the ITV This Morning show as their resident author in 2013 when a series of her ‘Summer Shorts’ were featured on the ITV website.
All of Amanda’s books in the No Greater Love series share one common theme – the main characters are ordinary women who find themselves in extraordinary situations where their strength, resourcefulness and determination is tested to their very limits.
Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…
Follow Amanda on Twitter @MrsAmandaProwse, or become friends with Amanda on Facebook. For more information on Amanda’s books see http://www.amandaprowse.com
The covers for the series are works of art in their own right by the award-winning designer Ami Smithson of Cabin London. Perfect Daughter was released on 2 July and is the eighth novel she has written. Three and a Half Heartbeats will be released in September.
The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger
Review Date: 4 July 2015
Author: Sarah Leipciger
Release Date: 7 May 2015
Publishers: Tinder Press
ISBN –10: 1472223896
ISBN – 13: 1472223890
Available in Hardback, Paperback, Kindle & audio
The Last Word Review:
‘Sarah Leipciger sets the bar high with this rugged setting debut novel’
The wilds of Canada are the setting for Sarah Leipciger’s debut novel The Mountain Can Wait, this is a beautifully written and at times I found poetic. This is a novel that carries the reader at a gentle pace and really felt at one with this book at times you feel that the story takes time to come into its own as well as the characters. Whether this was the intention of the author but it does not in any way detract from the storyline.
The story starts with a tragedy and then you think the story would explode into life, and the beauty of the authors’ style of writing is that she keep it moving along at the same pace. Tom Berry has been left to bring up his two children (Curtis and Erin) alone after his wife Elka disappears. It is Curtis who is at the centre of the tragedy that starts this tale. Tom’s life as a forestry worker leading a small team in the remote forests. Now the tragedy will force Tom and his son to confront what has taken place and also the past and as well all know this will involve some soul searching and dealing with ghosts that have haunted Tom for some time.
The more that this reviewer read of the book the more empathy I had with Tom, he is a quiet man liking nothing more than the quietness of the forests and the nature of the Mountain don’t get me wrong here Tom is a man of strong character. If you look at this novel there are themes that are being explored deeply, the role the single parent and his relationship not only with his children and especially his son Curtis but also his wife and his forestry team then there is the theme of man and his relationship with nature. This is a story that will make you think as you read. There are not too many characters in The Mountain Can Wait and I felt that was just right, too many would have muddied the plot.
The feeling that I had after reading this was that here is a book that in time will come into its own a timeless classic.
This is an exceptional debut and I will for one be keeping an eye open for a second novel from Sarah Leipciger.
Meet the Author:
Sarah Leipciger was born in Peterborough, Canada. She spent her teenage years in Toronto, later moving to Vancouver Island to study creative writing and English Literature at the University of Victoria later leaving Canada in 2001 for Korea and South East Asia and currently lives in London with her husband and three Children where she teaches creative writing to men in prison. The Mountain Can Wait is Sarah’s first novel and she is currently writing her second.