Category Archives: Fiction
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival
4 – 13 October 2019
It is that time of year again when the full line-up for The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival line-up is announced and with 2019 being its 70th anniversary year the full line-up is just breath-taking.
With thanks from Phoebe Swinburn and the Midas PR team who have kindly let me have a copy of the full scheduled line-up. There are so many highlights for this year’s programme that you would need to book the two weeks off and move to Cheltenham. I was lucky enough to attend two years ago to interview and American writer while at the festival.
I am not sure where to start as there is so much for everyone whether you are attending on your own or as a family. There is a pop-up bookshop and plenty of places to eat and drink and just relax and enjoy the festival.
This is just a small selection of the highlights of the 70th anniversary festival.
COLM TÓIBÍN | CELESTE NG | DAVID CAMERON | TAN FRANCE | NADIYA HUSSAIN | IAN MCEWAN
BERNARDINE EVARISTO | CANDICE CARTY-WILLIAMS | DAVID LAMMY | TOM KERRIDGE | ESTHER FREUD
HELENA BONHAM CARTER | ALI SMITH | ROB BRYDON | CHIMENE SULEYMAN | ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER DAVID BADDIEL | BELLA MACKIE | JORDAN STEPHENS | SCARLETT CURTIS | SEBASTIAN FAULKS
SAM WARBUTON | TAI SHANI | RICHARD DAWKINS | TOM HOLLAND | DOM JOLY | STEVE BACKSHALL
CRESSIDA COWELL | MALORIE BLACKMAN | KONNIE HUQ | PAUL WHITEHOUSE | BOB MORTIMER
ANDREW RIDGELEY | LOUIS THEROUX | DAVID SUCHET | ALASTAIR COOK | ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH
KATY BRAND | PAUL MERTON | KERRY HUDSON | TRACY CHEVALIER | ROBERT HARRIS | MARY BEARD
HERMAN KOCH | HOWARD JACOBSON | JACKIE KAY | ROB AUTON | PAUL MULDOON | THERESA LOLA
EMILY MAITLIS | GINA MARTIN | JOHN HUMPHRYS | SIMON SCHAMA | RORY STEWART | JESS PHILLIPS
SOPHIA JANSSON | CARRIE GRACIE | CAROLINE CRIADO PEREZ | VALENTINE WARNER | YASMIN KHAN LEVISON WOOD | HANNAH WITTON | CANDY GOURLAY | DOUGIE POYNTER | DANNY WALLACE
KES GRAY & JIM FIELD | JUNO DAWSON | HOLLY BOURNE | MICHAEL ROSEN | DERMOT O’LEARY
With Guest Curators: MAX PORTER, YOMI ADEGOKE & ELIZABETH UVIEBINENÉ | DOMINIC SANDBROOK
TESSA HADLEY | ANTHONY ANAXAGOROU | LESLIE VINJAMURI | ROBIN STEVENS
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is delighted to announce the unmissable line up for 2019, marking the 70th anniversary of the world’s oldest literature festival, which is leading the way in engendering a love of reading in young people.
The Festival will bring more than 900 of the best writers, thinkers and performers of our time to the vibrant Regency town, setting the scene for once-in-a-lifetime conversations to take place over ten extraordinary days of unique experiences, critical debate and literary revelry.
From 4 – 13 October, the Festival Village will host an unparalleled literary line-up including this year’s recipient of The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, Colm Tóibín, the new Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, the highly anticipated Booker shortlist, as well as the most exciting emerging talent on the scene. Dynamic debut novelists include Candice Carty-Williams, Ronan Hession, Elizabeth Macneal, Jessica Andrews and Season Butler as well as the Festival’s showcases of the best new writing in Fiction at 7, Debuts and Cocktails and Proof Parties.
As part of the ‘Seven at Seventy’ anniversary celebrations the Festival welcomes Chris Tse, Kanako Nishi and a raft of international authors to the Cheltenham stage, as well as showcasing unearthed archive audio content, introducing a literary audio trail of Cheltenham, and street art courtesy of Cheltenham Paint Festival on the theme ‘Hurrah for Books’.
There will be up-to-the-minute political analysis fresh from the party conference season courtesy of David Cameron and David Lammy, with The Times debate – joined by Jess Phillips and Rory Stewart – questioning the future of our political parties, and The Sunday Times considering White House contenders with Adam Boulton and Sarah Baxter.
From current affairs to food, history to fashion, sport to art, science to travel, the Festival guarantees something for everyone with the fun extending long after dark with the eclectic Off The Page series of curated events, including a Game of Thrones quiz night, US story-telling sensation The Moth, jazz and poetry fusion group Tongue Fu, an evening celebrating the music of Joni Mitchell and a vibrant spoken word strand. And for one night only the irreverent Lit Crawl returns to take over the streets, pubs and bars of Cheltenham.
The perfect family day out, this year’s Festival includes a packed programme of world class authors and illustrators to inspire toddlers to teens, with The Woodland Trust Wild Wood filled with beloved characters, storytellers and activities, plus a Secret Seven Mystery Trail celebrating 70 years of the world’s favourite detective club. The Festival’s year-round education programmes, inspiring a love of reading and creative writing, also culminates in October with 9,000 school children on site taking part in Literature for Schools.
New partner Sky Arts will broadcast across the final week with live coverage, interviews and events from a bespoke Sky Arts Studio on site. The venue will be a free pop-in space where festival attendees can be part of the filming and take part in other creative activities. Elsewhere on site there will be free events for all ages around the Festival village, The Huddle, hosting an array of talks and brains teasers, including Daily Crossword, Cheltenham Writes and Very Short Introductions, and The Chatterbox, where guests can become secret agents by decoding mysterious messages around the Festival.
Booking for the Literature Festival opens to Cheltenham Festivals Members at 10am on Wednesday 28 August and general booking opens at 10am on Wednesday 4 September.
On a personal basis if you are thinking of attending then one book talk to attend is Joanna Cannon Breaking and Mending (Profile Books) who will be giving a talk on Monday 7th October on stage with Molly Case and Leah Hazard as part of Life on the NHS Frontline. They will share some hilarious stories but also some of the heartbreaking stories from the NHS.
Many of us remember the late 1970’s and Debbie Harry and Blondie, I was a huge fan then years later I got to interview Debbie Harry and imagine how nervous I was. Debbie Harry will be coming to the festival this year to talk about her memoir Face It (Harper Collins) on Sunday 13th October.
On Friday 4th October there is a discussion: The Holocaust: Tales of Survival. The Costa Book of the Year winner Bart van Es author of The Cut Out Girl (Penguin) along with Jeremy Dronfield author of The Boy Who Followed his Father into Auschwitz (Michael Joseph) who will be joined as part of the panel by surviving sibling Kurt Kleinmann.
Then for fans of Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer and the hit BBC series Gone Fishing now in its second series will be on stage talking life, health and all things fishing, this event will be a must attend and they will be on stage on Sunday 6th October at 6.45pm.
Fans of poetry and current affairs as well as lifestyle and cooking will be dlighted with the line-up this year and then there is the fiction line-up. Just a few names that I am looking forward to are: Elif Shafak, Louise Candlish, Louise Doughty, Patricia Cornwell, Tracy Chevalier, Elizabeth Macneal, Damian Barr just to name a few.
For further information visit the official website:
This year marks 70 years since Cheltenham Town Hall hosted the world’s first literature festival and started a global, cultural phenomenon. As part of ‘Seven at Seventy’ celebrations, the Festival welcomes Guest Curators Max Porter, Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinené, Dominic Sandbrook, Tessa Hadley, Anthony Anaxagorou, Leslie Vinjamuri; and Robin Stevens. Lending their unique voices and wealth of expertise to the programme, events include Sandbrook’s selection of the seven most influential British novels of the last 70 years, Anaxagorou’s rising stars in poetry and spoken word, a series of mystery events by Stevens, and a curated acoustic portrait of our complex and troubled country today from Max Porter.
Seven high profile authors will be reflecting on their breakout book in a special series of Cheltenham trademark ‘Celebrate With…’ events: Howard Jacobson on The Finkler Question; Robert Harris on Fatherland; Jessie Burton on The Miniaturist; Herman Koch on The Dinner; Tracy Chevalier on The Girl With a Pearl Earring; Alexander McCall Smith on The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency; and Jung Chang on Wild Swans. There will also be seven showcases celebrating new writing talent, including Jessica Andrews and Ronan Hession, as well as looking ahead to the breakout names for 2020 such as Deepa Anappara and Evie Wyld.
Literature festivals around the world have joined the celebration bringing their leading authors to Cheltenham including Chris Tse, Wana Udobang, Kanako Nishi, Esme Wang, Nicole Flattery, Sarah Henstra and Hernán Ronsino. The celebration of international literature continues with 70 global book festivals recommending one title they would like Cheltenham audiences to add to their bookshelves to form a ‘Reading the World’ reading list.
Building on last year’s inaugural ‘Podcast in Residence’ role, Literary Friction take on the 2019 residency and there will be seven unique podcasts featuring archive audio content from the past seventy years, as well as partnerships with seven further bookish podcasts.
Fiction fans will be spoilt for choice with a stellar line-up of literary superstars including Colm Tóibín, Ian McEwan, David Nicholls, Jung Chang, Ali Smith, Elif Shafak, Jojo Moyes, and Bernardine Evaristo. The Cheltenham audience will enjoy a celebration of the biggest books of the year such as Candice Carty-Williams (Queenie), Elizabeth Macneal (The Doll Factory), Bridget Collins (The Binding) and Damian Barr (You Will Be Safe Here) as well as new reads from Howard Jacobson, Victoria Hislop, Kevin Barry, Jessie Burton. George Alagiah, Tom Bradby and Peter Hanington will draw upon their frontline experience to share fiction as thrilling as their day jobs, Richard Roper and Beth O’Leary celebrate feel-good fiction, Deborah Moggach and Jenny Éclair examine the baggage of inheritance and family ties, Chris Power and Sarah Hall will reveal the art of the short story, plus last year’s Guest Curator Sebastian Faulks becomes our latest literary castaway as he returns with ‘Desert Island Reads’. There will also be the opportunity to hear from The Times and The Sunday Times Literary Editors, Robbie Millen and Andrew Holgate.
The Festival welcomes a host of killer women at the top of the crime and thriller genre including Patricia Cornwell, Louise Doughty, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Denise Mina and Erin Kelly, with Jessica Fellowes and Kate Weinberg discussing the secrets to plot a thrilling mystery. For further suspense, Alex North and CJ Tudor explore the dark side of human nature; Herman Koch and Louise Candlish discuss the appeal of writing toxic characters; the husband and wife writing duos behind pseudonyms Nicci French and Ambrose Parry will be revealed, and masters of the genre Mark Billingham, Christopher Brookmyre, Doug Johnstone, Stewart Neville and Luca Veste discuss the future of the crime writing.
There is also plenty for historical fiction fans, including Philippa Gregory on her period page-turner Tidelands, Tracy Chevalier on her beautifully orchestrated new book, A Single Thread, set between the two Great Wars; as well as Robert Harris (The Second Sleep), Stacey Halls (The Familiars) and Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale).
From George Eliot to Orwell, Chaucer to the Moomins, we are celebrating some of our most-loved classics as well as revealing the answers to burning questions such as: who are literature’s worst parents, which dystopian thrillers are most relevant now, and can words still pack a punch in the age of Twitter with Simon Schama. BBC Radio 2’s Book Club with Mariella Frostrup and guests will be exploring how novels have always been a revolutionary agent of social change ahead of the 300th anniversary of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, and Tessa Hadley, Colm Tóibín and Bernardine Evaristo are explaining the pleasures and motivations of re-reading.
Acclaimed actors Christopher Eccleston and Sheila Hancock will be joining Allie Esiri to celebrate Shakespeare’s dazzling body of work, actress Maureen Lipman remembers the inimitable Joyce Grenfell and her Hurrah for Books performance at the first ever Cheltenham Literature Festival in 1949, Kathy O’Shaughnessy, Juliette Atkinson and Rebecca Mead mark George Eliot’s bicentenary by delving into her fascinating life and work, plus Tove Jansson’s niece Sophia Jansson will share readings from the intimate letters of the beloved Moomins creator. Lara Prescott is joined by Boris Pasternak’s great niece Anna Pasternak to discuss the startling true story behind one of literature’s most memorable love stories Doctor Zhivago, and the Festival celebrates the life and writing of the much-loved literary figure Patrick O’Brian with his step-son Nikolai Tolstoy.
STAGE & SCREEN
The Festival is thrilled to welcome a multitude of music superstars including the masterful Andrew Lloyd Webber, Blondie legend Debbie Harry, Status Quo front-man and founder Francis Rossi and WHAM’s Andrew Ridgeley who will reflect on his life-long friendship with George Michael. Mark Radcliffe shares how music can transform our lives, Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis reveals the untold stories from the festival and there will be an evening of musical magic to celebrate Joni Mitchell.
Screen icon Helena Bonham Carter will discuss her exceptional and singular career, and there will be secrets from behind the scenes with Richard Curtis discussing his love of The Beatles, Oscar-winning Dustin Lance Black on his deeply personal story of coming out to his Mormon mother, plus screenwriter Julian Fellowes and producer Gareth Neame on the much-loved Downton Abbey. Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, creators of beloved comedies Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet will look back on their long careers, Daisy May and Charlie Cooper will discuss the BAFTA winning success of This Country, David Suchet will reflect on a career spent behind the camera, and beloved documentary maker Louis Theroux will share his strangest times in television. Comic Relief co-founder Lenny Henry will be leading the laughs, with more to come from the likes of David Mitchell, Richard Ayoade, Katy Brand and Paul Merton.
POETRY, SPOKEN WORK & OFF THE PAGE
In an exclusive Festival commission, Guest Curator Max Porter brings together Kerry Hudson, Niven Govinden, Momtaza Mehri and Rachael Allen with musicians Alula Down to create an acoustic portrait of our complex and troubled country today. Guest Curator, poet and Out-Spoken founder Anthony Anaxagorou presents his Dream Team of Mona Arshi, Jack Underwood, Caroline Bird, Wayne Holloway-Smith and Kei Miller. The Cheltenham audience will hear from further vibrant voices in the poetry and spoken work scene including Rob Auton, Matt Abbott, Ben Norris, Rachel Nwokoro, Young People’s Laureate for London Theresa Lola, alongside Chris Tse, Paul Muldoon, Brian Bilston, Pam Ayres, Julia Copus, Joe Dunthorne, new Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, and Scottish Makar Jackie Kay will be selecting her top ten of the most exciting BAME writers working in the UK today. The literary revelry continues after dark with a Game of Thrones Quiz Night, music from the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, some wonderfully and wildly misinformed insight from character comedian Christopher Bliss, and more from the much-lauded Bang Said The Gun, Tongue Fu and The Moth.
David Cameron will appear in the first event for his memoir For the Record, discussing his life, career and perspectives on the EU referendum and the future of Britain’s place in the light of Brexit. Joining Cameron on the exceptional Current Affairs line-up is David Lammy, Jess Phillips, Caroline Criado-Perez, James O’Brien, Gina Martin, Laura Bates, Nimko Ali, The Times editor John Witherow, The Times and The Sunday Times journalists Daniel Finkelstein, Rachel Sylvester, Matt Chorley, Sarah Baxter and Phillip Collins, with a glimpse behind the broadcast scenes from Emily Maitlis, John Humphrys, Nick Robinson and Ed Stourton.
The Festival looks outwards to Erdogan’s Turkey with Hannah Lucinda Smith and novelist Elif Shafak, to Trump’s America and his approach to global affairs with Chatham House’s Leslie Vinjamuri, to China and opportunities for women with Carrie Grace, the challenges India faces with Robin Niblett and Champa Patel; and to Putin’s Russia with Mark Galeotti, Peter Pomeranstev, and BBC Newsnight International Editor Gabriel Gatehouse.
Mostly Lit podcast host Derek Owusu and Jeffrey Boakye consider the experience of black men in Britain today, and Guest Curators Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené explore how it feels to be a black woman in a predominantly white space. Anthony Anaxagorou is joined by Mariam Khan and Chimene Suleyman to discuss how art and activism can be best combined to create positive social change, Jérôme Tubiana, David Constantine and Hashi Mohamed explore astounding accounts of human endurance and faith against overwhelming odds and terrible injustice, and Aeham Ahmad will be playing the piano on stage as he shares memories of performing in the streets of war-torn Syria.
HISTORY & ANCIENT WORLD
Moving individual stories of the Windrush generation will be shared from Colin Grant and Amelia Gentleman, literary critic Bart Van Es and biographer and historian Jeremy Dronfield will chronicle how the trauma of the holocaust gave rise to astonishing stories of courage and survival, plus there will be further historical insight from Guest Curator Dominic Sandbrook, William Dalrymple, Giles Milton with Anthony Seldon and polling expert Deborah Mattinson asking who was the most disastrous prime minister in British history. Virginia Nicholson considers the experience of women in the 60s, The Favourite author Ophelia Field and Anne Somerset explore Queen Anne’s life, and the relationship between Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth II is given a fresh take by author, historian and television presenter Kate Williams, plus novelist Katie Hickman will reveal the extraordinary lives of the British women who made their way to India and changed history. For ancient history aficionados, Mary Beard and Llewellyn Morgan will join author and classicist Peter Stothard to celebrate the power of Roman poetry on lifestyle and philosophy, whilst Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Daisy Johnson and Natalie Haynes will explore how we relate to myths in the modern life.
FOOD & DRINK
Cheltenham’s famous Art Deco restaurant The Daffodil will be transformed into a mecca of global foodie delights. Audiences will be transported around the world with mouth-watering Middle Eastern recipes from Yasmin Khan, sumptuous Moorish cooking courtesy of Ben Tish, Dishoom chef Naved Nasir and co-founder Shamil Thakrar cooking up a feast of Indian delight, and native Russian flavours from Alissa Timoshkina. Festival favourite Tom Kerridge will be sharing his foodie tips for a happier lifestyle and Valentine Warner records his journey through grief told in recipes of love and memories. There will be flavour mash-ups from Bake Off’s Liam Charles, Rukmini Iyer (The Quick Roasting Tin) will demonstrate the art of hassle-free cooking, Pam Corbin shares her pioneering jams, pickles and preserves and there will vegan delights from Rachel Ama (Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats) plus Henry Firth and Ian Theasby Johnson (BOSH). Plus, Jancis Robinson (The World Atlas of Wine) will be revealing the art of pairing a delicious three-course meal with matched wines.
Queer Eye will meet Bake Off with Tan France and Nadiya Hussain discussing their upbringings and new memoirs and Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer will talk life, friendship and the joys of fishing. Comedian Jen Brister (The Other Mother), Christine Armstrong (The Mother of All Jobs) and Matt Coyne (Man Vs Toddler) will share hilarious anecdotes and chart the ups and downs of sharing life with tiny humans.
Emily Dean and confirmed cat lover David Baddiel will be discussing tales of grief and recovery, The Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen will share tales from the farm, and Jordan Stephens, Clementine Inti Chavez Perez and Capser Walsh will discuss what it means to be a man in society today Tom Bradby, Marina Benjamin and sleep scientist Nicola Barclay will anatomise the cause, consequence and potential cures for insomnia, plus Guest Curators and authors Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené (Slay in Your Lane), vegan chef Rachel Ama, pilates and wellness coach Isa-Welly and Amy Thomson will help the audience strike the perfect balance in our busy lives, ranging from our approaches to digital health, to what we eat.
There will be gardening tips galore from Anne Chambers, Vanessa Berridge, Clare Foster, Rowan Blossom and Caroline Donald, and the doyenne of English interior design, Nina Campbell, will impart her wisdom. Lovers of classic fashion will be taken on a beautifully illustrated tour through the V+A’s blockbuster DIOR exhibition by curator Oriole Cullen and Condé Nast chairman Nicholas Coleridge will reflect upon his thirty-year career. There will be an exploration of feminist art and fashion from V&A curator Jenny Lister and drag queen Crystal Rasmussen and drag king Daisy Hale will explain how the art of pushing gender boundaries has taken hold of pop culture. The Times Fashion Editor Anna Murphy advises on how not to wear black and three of the country’s top names in beauty – facialist Alexandra Soveral, make-up artist Hannah Martin and hair stylist Kiki Koh – will be on hand.
A host of sporting legends will grace the stages of Cheltenham this year kicking off with Welsh rugby titan Sam Warburton, and for cricket fans there will be England’s greatest batsman Alastair Cook, plus Prashant Kidambi and Philip Collins. The Festival will celebrate inspirational women who have pushed themselves to the limits of their endurance, including record-breaking ultra-running phenomenon Mimi Anderson, the first woman to complete the infamous Transcontinental Race, Emily Chappell and Lara Prior-Palmer, the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win The Mongol Derby.
ART & DESIGN
This year’s Art & Design series explores everything from the architecture to illustration, including a very special discussion about Lucian Freud with his daughter Esther Freud, revered British illustrator Charlie Mackesy on his favourite pieces, Turner Prize-nominated artist Tai Shani celebrates rebel female muses, and ‘Cold War Steve’ Chris Spencer explains why we need satirical art now more than ever. Grant Wilson and Naomi Wood will examine the Bauhaus movement’s cast of characters in its centenary year, Andrew Hill and Emilie Taylor take a look at Ruskin’s contemporary legacy, and Jason Webster and Claudia Hopkins show how Spanish art is inescapably intertwined with the country’s turbulent history. Kate Bryan shares the dazzling and explosive stories behind some of art’s most influential romantic relationships, Ossian Ward illuminates the Old Masters as well as the dramatic vibrancy of contemporary art, Marit Paasche and Clare Hunter recognise the political and protest power of sewing, Jackie Bennett studies the intimate relationship between artist and garden, plus Angela Summerfield and Christiana Payne look at the role of trees in inspiring some of our greatest artworks.
FAITH & PHILOSOPHY
The Cheltenham audience will find enlightenment and fascination in all schools of philosophical thought, with Richard Dawkins expanding further on atheism in Outgrowing God, Peter Stanford exploring the reasons behind why so many of us still believe in angels, and historian Tom Holland describes Christianity’s transformative legacy on Western thought. Author Karen Armstrong will argue the importance of rediscovering global scriptures, and A.C Grayling will take the audience through the epic journey’s and traditions of Western and Eastern philosophy – from Buddha, Confucius and Socrates to Mill, Nietzsche and Sartre.
In this year’s Science line-up, Martin Rees offers a provocative and inspiring look at the future of humanity, and Arthur I. Miller contemplates on what it means to have original thought, creativity and consciousness in the age of machines. Rick Edwards and Michael Brooks will explore the science of death and mass destruction through some of our best-loved Hollywood blockbusters, and Angela Gallop, one of the world’s most eminent forensic scientists, will discuss her ability to reconstruct violent events and how she solved so many intractable cases. David Nott shares his extraordinary experience as a trauma surgeon in the world’s most dangerous war zones, Christie Watson reflects on twenty years in nursing, and Nicci Gerrard alongside Wendy Mitchell ask important questions about how we love, care for and value those who suffering from dementia.
NATURE, TRAVEL & ADVENTURE
An inspirational list of speakers will share their unique journeys including Sue Perkins on the Mekong, Adam Weymouth on his solo canoe odyssey along the Yukon River, Raynor Winn will revisit her 630-mile walk on the South West Coastal path, comedian Dom Joly will trace his hike across Lebanon, and Monisha Rajesh will recount her 45,000-mile adventure on the world’s most remarkable railways. Great historical adventures will be retraced by travel writer Alastair Humphreys who reflects on Laurie Lee’s iconic journey from the Cotswolds through Spain, and author and filmmaker Jacki Hill-Murphy recounts the achievements of early female explorers including Victorian nurse Kate Marsden’s epic trip across Siberia.
BAFTA winning naturalist, writer and television presenter Steve Backshall will share his exploration of undiscovered worlds and former British Army Officer and explorer Levison Wood will whisk the audience through the heart of Middle East. Writer Luke Turner and journalist Emma Mitchell will demonstrate the healing power of nature, editor Clare Gogerty and explorer Erling Kagge will show us how to travel in a way that enhances your connection to the world, adventurers Mark Boyle and Ben Fogle will explore the joys without modern technology, plus writers Philip Marsden and Dan Richards will discuss fulfilling life-long travel ambitions and why we remain drawn to the wild, and The Sunday Times travel team, including Susan D’Arcy, will be sharing their expert knowledge.
Activist, journalist and curator Scarlett Curtis will be joined by an exciting line-up of inspirational contributors from her new anthology It’s Not OK to Feel Blue (and other lies) to discuss what their mental health means to them; Chief Survival Instructor to the British Military, John Hudson, gives lessons for everyday life taken from the first-hand accounts of near disaster experiences; Matthew Syed shares his radical blueprint for creative problem-solving; Ella Risbridger and Bella Mackie share how alternative therapies of cooking and jogging helped them in their mental health recoveries; and YouTubers Hannah Witton, Khalaf and Instagram star Megan Jayne Crabbe encourage discussions about body image, imperfections and being confident in your own skin.
The packed Family programme has more selection on offer than ever including the new Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, with a world of mythical creatures and a special event with festival friends revealing what lies inside their notebook pages. The incredible programme also welcomes the legendary Malorie Blackman and her highly anticipated new Noughts & Crosses novel, presenter Dermot O’Leary and illustrator Nick East with the latest escapades of Toto the Ninja Cat, and some horrendously horrid fun with Francesca Simon. There will be crime capers with Guest Curator Robin Stevens, adventures galore with Helen Skelton, Abi Elphinstone and Candy Gourlay, plus much more from the likes of Danny Wallace, Dougie Poynter and Konnie Huq.
For littles ones there will be family fun with multi-award winning Oi Puppies! duo Kes Gray and Jim Field, and the Festival will be marking the birthdays of some famous characters including Kipper, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Elmer, as well as the 30th anniversary of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt with the great Michael Rosen There will be family shows I Believe in Unicorns, The Rainbow Fish, The Greatest Comic-Making Show On Earth and Maisy Mouse, for spoken word and music lovers the Tongue Fu for Kids band will be performing, while Mark Llewelyn Evans introduces the thrilling story of opera.
Budding young creatives can take top tips from the best in the business with workshops on everything from fairy-tale animation to writing adventures and detective move making. Plus the Festival is hosting its first ever ‘Big Family Book Quiz’ to challenge book knowledge, creativity and nonsense know-how! And if that’s not enough for YA fans Juno Dawson, Holly Bourne, Matt Abbott, Jenny Downham and Dean Atta will be taking to the Cheltenham stage.
EDUCATION & YEAR-ROUND OUTREACH
This year’s extraordinary ‘Literature for Schools’ programme includes Cressida Cowell, Francesca Simon, Chris Riddell, Hilary McKay, Kit De Waal, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Anthony Anaxagorou amongst many others, including Guest Curator Robin Stevens leading a series of mystery events. Spoken word artist Sophia Thakur will be performing with students from the Festivals’ year-round outreach programmes – Beyond Words, Write Now and Amnesty’s Words that Burn – in the Young Writers’ Showcase, and authors taking part in Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils – the Festival’s flagship education project supporting teachers with a national network of free reading groups – will be igniting creativity with workshops from Vashti Hardy, Joe Todd-Stanton and Emma Carroll. Plus the first of the new books selected for the 2019/20 programme will be revealed during the Festival!
Title Partners: The Times and The Sunday Times
Principal Partners: Baillie Gifford; Cunard; Sky Arts; Thirty Percy, University of Gloucestershire; Waterstones. Woodland Trust.
The Closer I Get by Paul Burston
Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.
Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.
When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.
But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.
A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…
My goodness how I loved reading The Closer I Get (Orenda Books) by Paul Burston. The idea of writing about the dangers of Social Media and stalking really had my thinking about how we all interact with other. Many will know and follow me via Twitter and there were times when I switched off Twitter while I was reading Paul Burston’s brilliant taught thriller.
Novels are not just about the storyline they are nothing without characters and Paul has created and crafted some wonderful characters with Tom and Evie. Let’s start with Evie. She is totally off her head in fact dangerously and worryingly psychotic. The story opens with what seems like a letter from Evie to Tom and from this moment the reader is inside Evie’s head. Then the story from Tom’s point of view moves back eight months.
Tom is a writer and his first novel was a huge success and became a big screen film starring a major Hollywood actor. But Tom is struggling to find the form of his successful debut as his second failed and now so does his next. He needs to up his game or his agent will not need an excuse to offload him. Tom is side-tracked by Evie who it seems is stalking him on Social Media.
The story is told by both Evie and Tom but who is telling the truth about what really is going on here? Evie clearly has a real interest in Tom and will not leave him alone. It is very clear Evie has some serious issues. As I became part of the storyline to try and understand both Evie and Tom I just became a little uneasy about what Tom was really up to. Was there something he was doing to get Evie to play along. This was beginning to freak me out a little. Were they both as bad as each other. This was brilliant writing from Burston and a very clever storyline. Together with other characters that make up The Closer I get this was a truly chilling and an unsettling read. I needed a cool shower after finishing reading, you will see why when you read it and you will want to. Reading this riveting thriller made me question what really does go via Social Media.
Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of The Closer I Get by Paul Burston.
The Closer I Get by Paul Burston was published by Orenda Books and was published on 11th July 2019 and is available now through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
The Thunder Girls – Melanie Blake
Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, an eighties pop sensation outselling and out-classing their competition. Until it all comes to an abrupt end and three of their careers are over, and so is their friendship.
Thirty years later, their old record label wants the band back together for a huge money-making concert. But the wounds are deep and some need this gig more than others.
In those decades apart life was far from the dream they were living as members of The Thunder Girls. Breakdowns, bankruptcy, addiction and divorce have been a constant part of their lives. They’ve been to hell and back, and some are still there.
Can the past be laid to rest for a price, or is there more to this reunion than any of them could possibly know? Whilst they all hunger for a taste of success a second time around, someone is plotting their downfall in the deadliest way possible . . .
Being completely honest I was not sure what I was going to think of The Thunder Girls (Pan Macmillan) by Melanie Blake but I need not have worried. This was a real page turner. If like me, you loved the music of the 1980’s you will love this.
When I think of the 1980’s I think of the music and I was close to the music business back then and I could tell you a few hair-raising stories. It was THE decade, colourful and exciting. The same could be said of the very successful The Thunder Girls. Four women who had the pop in the palm of their hands. Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita had it all. They were living the dream and loving it all. And then it came to a crashing end along with the friendships that went with the success.
We have heard it all before about pop bands being successful and then it all ends very suddenly. Now fast forward three decades and would you believe it their old label is trying to get the girls back together again but are the wounds still deep or can they be healed by heading back into the studio to record more songs and rekindle the good old days.
Superb fast paced drama being played out and Melanie Blake takes you on a breath-taking rollercoaster of a ride through the lives of the four women, it has it all, success and break-up, to jealousy and much more. There is a list of characters that reads like a Hollywood blockbuster. Don’t get me wrong this is not just a glitzy look at showbiz but also some rather serious themes run through this book, and if you think of showbiz and success and fame just think of the temptations that can be there and then you will see how deep this novel will go.
There is humour as you would expect in this story and you will judge some of the characters as well as you will like some of the girls but not others. People change over thirty years but sometimes the wounds do not heal as you would expect.
Over 400 pages but you will not want to put this one down in a hurry. The Thunder Girls packs a punch.
Thank you to Megan Denholm (ed Public Relations) for the review copy of The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake
The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake was published by Pan Macmillan and was published on 11th July 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
The Carer by Deborah Moggach
James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day, now happily chortling over cuckoo clocks and television soaps?
Then something happens that throws everything into new relief, and Phoebe and Robert discover that life most definitely does not stop for the elderly. It just moves onto a very different plane – changing all the stories they thought they knew so well.
This was one book I knew in advance of the London Book Fair earlier this year and was so delighted when a copy of the proof arrived but missed out on an interview with Deborah Moggach at the London Book Fair due to work commitments. This would have been one of the highlights of the year. Just a few days after publication The Carer by Deborah Moggach is selling fast.
The story follows a number of characters in James who is now elderly and is having to look after himself after his wife passed away and also son and daughter Robert and Phoebe both independent people and living lives as their parents hoped they would but they both know their father needs some help as they cannot be their all the time.
Along comes Mandy who is employed to look after their dad on a full-time basis. Mandy at first is really liked by both Robert and Phoebe and even their father but them something does not seem right and they see their father becoming a little more different than the father they thought they knew. Mandy seems to have worked some magic. Now the man who always seemed a little far off and not one for jokes seems to have found a new lease of life. He is laughing and with Mandy they go off exploring. What has changed and how and why? I am not giving away any spoilers here. This I want you to experience for yourself.
Now it is both Robert and Phoebe who are looking at themselves and asking many questions not only about their father and each other but now they are asking who really is Mandy? What has she done to the distant father they always knew. There is some doubt between them both to Mandy. The tended to go in a way I was not really expecting. Which I really liked. At the very beginning of the book is a ‘Meet the Characters’ which I actually thought was a great idea so you go to know the leading players before you start the novel.
I love this tender and funny novel and the wit that only Deborah Moggach can bring to her novels. If you are a fan, then you are going to fall in love with The Carer. Sensitive and well-structured and one book I am delighted to Highly Recommend.
Thank you to Georgina Moore for the review copy of The Carer by Deborah Moggach
The Carer by Deborah Moggach was published by Tinder Press and was published on 9th July 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
A Modern Family by Helga Flatland
Translated by Rosie Hedger
When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.
Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.
A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…
This is really a story many of us can easily identify with. A Modern Family (Orenda Books) by Helga Flatland and beautifully translated by Rosie Hedger. Many will not know Helga Flatland but she is already an award winning author in Norway after her debut novel Stay if You Can, Leave if You Must. This is now her fifth novel and follows three siblings. Liv, Ellen and Hakon and all their respective family members travel to Italy for their father’s birthday celebrations in what should be a grand affair. But what if all does not go as planned?
Their parents are the glue to which the family are bonded. But the glue has come unstuck as the extended family arrive in Rome for the celebrations their parents have an announcement to make. They are getting a divorce! BOMBSHELL! No-one was expecting this. It has come out of no-where and no warning of this announcement.
The initial shockwave is like watch what happens when a pebble is thrown onto a pond. The ripples extend outwards through each the families and how they come to terms with the news their parents have dropped on them. For Liv who is also the elder of the children, this has hit her hard and we follow her world as it has come to a standstill. For Ellen she is more or less the quieter of the siblings and then the young member Hakon who is the brother.
Each of the family member’s lives is now the centre of the story and each one has something of interest to the reader and many like me will find themselves nodding in agreement with certain parts of the storyline. ‘Yes I recognise this from my own family’ I won’t divulge too much about each of the three but they all have their hang-ups in life, just like we all do.
Helga Flatland has hit the nail on the head with A Modern Family as she has written a story that is not a thriller, or a crime novel, nor a romance novel but a novel based on a normal family. This could be my family or yours. This is about a family and each member and how they have come to terms with a piece of news that none were expecting to hear and how they now look at each other and their own relationships.
I want to just congratulate Helga Flatland on such a beautifully written and poignant novel. She describes a normal family with such vibrancy and the characters could be any of us. This is a novel that just reached out to me and one I did not really want to come to an end. Helga Flatland you have nailed it. One book I would recommend for your holiday read this Summer. Highly Recommended.
Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of A Modern Family by Helga Flatland
A Modern Family by Helga Flatland was published by Orenda Books and was published on 13th June 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter
It begins with an abduction. The routine of a family shopping trip is shattered when Michelle Spivey is snatched as she leaves the mall with her young daughter. The police search for her, her partner pleads for her release, but in the end…they find nothing. It’s as if she disappeared into thin air.
A month later, on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, medical examiner Sara Linton is at lunch with her boyfriend Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But the serenity of the summer’s day is broken by the wail of sirens.
Sara and Will are trained to help in an emergency. Their jobs – their vocations – mean that they run towards a crisis, not away from it. But on this one terrible day that instinct betrays them both. Within hours the situation has spiralled out of control; Sara is taken prisoner; Will is forced undercover. And the fallout will lead them into the Appalachian mountains, to the terrible truth about what really happened to Michelle, and to a remote compound where a radical group has murder in mind…
Shock! I have only just discovered the international bestselling author Karin Slaughter. I cannot believe this either. But I am so pleased I have. I am new to the Will Trent series but this did not deter me and can be read as a standalone novel.
This is a terrifying thriller and you will need to prepare yourself for some parts of the storyline as it contains some scenes which will make you angry. Do not let this deter you from reading as the tension is heart-stopping with some brilliant characters written into the plot and there is no let-up in the action as the story begins when a family head off to a shopping mall. As Michelle Spivey leaves the mall with her young daughter it is Michelle who is kidnapped. But who has taken her and why? Despite everything there is no sign of Michelle.
If this is not scary enough then the story really ignites as Will Trent and Sara Linton are enjoying what was going to be a relaxing lunch, but sound of explosions means their lunch will go cold but the action now really hots up as they speed to help and find a car accident and they stop to help. Home-grown terrorists have attacked Georgia leaving many dead and wounded.
These are bad guys and Sara is taken. Will is hurt but one of the bad guys is taken prisoner. Now the situation is rapidly getting out of control and there are some difficult moments in this story. Will is lost and hurt at prospect of allowing Sara to be taken by the gang members. This is Will at his most vulnerable but he must regain control to have any attempt of finding Sara alive as he now goes undercover and finds these murderous white young men are planning something more horrific and terrifying.
What they find is utterly shocking as there is an ultra-right wing group with one thing on their mind. Murder! This group of young white supremacists with an agenda and they will not be stopped. Something we are hearing a lot of in the sad times for real.
As much as some of the scenes are shocking I believe you can move quickly to avoid any upset to the reader. The characters of Will and Sara are strong and they both bring so much to this rollercoaster of a story.
Nothing is left to chance in this pulsating read as fans of Karin Slaughter will know from her previous novels. The author has researched well for the plot line and the superb characters she brings to her novels as well as emotions that are at times plainly raw.
The start may seem slow but persevere as this story just comes to life quickly and there is so much going one that you wonder how it will all end. A brilliant if at times disturbing read but we are living in troubled times. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Thank you to Rebecca Bryant (Harper Collins) for the review copy of The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter
The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter was published by Harper Collins and was published on 13th June 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
The Last Widow – The Blog Tour
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
‘In the first minute following her death, Tequila Leila’s consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore. Her brain cells, having run out of blood, were now completely deprived of oxygen. But they did not shut down. Not right away…’
For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life – friends who are now desperately trying to find her. . .
I cannot believe that this is my first review of a book written by one of our foremost critically acclaimed female writers of our time in Elif Shafak. After reading her latest novel set in the bustling city of Istanbul. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World is just breath-taking.
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World is in fact the last moments of the life of Tequila Leila’s life. These are her dying moments and each one a memory.
Tequila was a prostitute and her body has been dumped within the city and left to die. It is during these last moments of her life that she recalls her own past in flashbacks to her childhood and growing up, her family and the tastes and the smells of the Istanbul. But also her five friends that gave her the life and also peace of mind. Through these last minutes we see these friends that became close to Tequila they like her were surviving as only they knew how. They left the families and made their own lives. Living from one day to another they had created their own unique community looking out for one another. Each one is different and it is down to the reader to find one that you become fond of. I became attached to all of them just because they were so supportive of each other. I just warmed to their individual lifestyles.
Now I know why so many people love and totally respect the writing of Elif Shafak, only Elife can bring a story set in Turkey and breathe such life into such a story. There are of course many sad moments that will leave you asking many questions but there are some moments of real humanity and warmth. This is the story of Tequila Leila’s life and how she met her death. Leila is strong and this really comes across in this simply magnificent novel. Istanbul is vibrant and colourful. Her friends are bereft and devastated at the loss of their friend and cannot give her the burial she deserves. I am now a fan of Elif Shafak and will be seeking out further novels in the future.
For more information on Elif Shafak: http://www.elifsafak.com.tr/
Twitter: @Elif_Safak; Instagram @shafakelif
Thank you to Viking Books UK for the review copy of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange Worldby Elif Shafak is published by Viking UK and was published on 6th June 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail N. Rosewood
As a child, isolated from the world in a secretive military encampment with her distant mother, she turns for affection to a sympathetic soldier and to the only other girl in the camp, forming two friendships that will shape the rest of her life.
As a young adult in New York, cut off from her native country and haunted by the scars of her youth, she is still in search of a home. She falls in love with a married woman who is the image of her childhood friend, and follows strangers because they remind her of her soldier. When tragedy arises, she must return to Vietnam to confront the memories of her youth – and recover her identity.
An inspiring meditation on love, loss, and the presence of a past that never dies, the novel explores the ancient question: do we value the people in our lives because of who they are, or because of what we need them to be?
A novel that is separated into two parts with the first part beginning the story in Vietnam in the 1990’s and is focussed on a young girl who remains nameless throughout and is brought to this decaying military camp with her mother. If I Had Two Lives (Europa Editions) by Abbigail N. Rosewood tells the story of the young girl who from the age of four through to the age of twelve is kept behind the wire fence in the camp along with her mother. The story is very much in the first person narrative and we learn of how she copes in the camp and the only friends are another young girl and a soldier with whom she befriends and he repays this friendship by teaching her.
We learn that they a brought to the camp to protect them as the regime is very much against her. The child clearly has psychological problems as she was abused and left. At the age of twelve her mother manages to arrange her escape to the USA and begins a new life with relatives. Her mother will very soon follow, albeit an empty promise as her mother is soon embroiled in a political twist and turns back in Vietnam and never follows her daughter to America. She has been abandoned once again. For our young girl the past is haunting her and she struggles to move on with memories if the past.
It is one day that she spots a woman who shows a remarkable resemblance to the young girl in the camp she befriended and she falls in love with Lilah. But she is married. What happens next is that she has a child for the couple and then the story takes on a sadder route as we watch from afar our young girl and her young daughter head back to Vietnam not only to find her mother and the girl in the camp but it is also a healing process.
A remarkable story with an even more remarkable ending told with such detail and written with such beauty and a story of bravery and trying to heal the past and look to a new future. This one book I heartily recommend.
Thank you to Daniela Petracco for the review copy of If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail N. Rosewood
If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail N. Rosewood was published by Europa Editions and was published on 11th April 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver
A student kidnapped from the park.
Nineteen-year-old Sophie disappears one summer afternoon. She wakes up to find herself locked inside a derelict warehouse, surrounded by five objects. If she uses them wisely, she will escape her prison. Otherwise she will die.
An investigator running out of time.
Sophie’s distraught father calls in the one man who can help find his daughter: unique investigator Colter Shaw. Raised in the wilderness by survivalist parents, he is an expert tracker with a forensic mind trained to solve the most challenging cases. But this will be a test even for him.
A killer playing a dangerous game.
Soon a blogger called Henry is abducted – left to die in the dark heart of a remote forest – and the whole case gets turned on its head. Because this killer isn’t following the rules; he’s changing them. One murder at a time…
This is the first in a new series from the master thriller writer Jeffery Deaver. I was delighted to receive a copy in the post and a thumping page turner it really is. So much so that I am actually a few days late with my review as I kept re-writing the review. A good sign.
Our main character is Colter Shaw who is by definition a reward seeker pure and simple. Shaw’s skill is tracking after being brought up within a family that honed his skills and now he puts them to good use in this tense thriller The Never Game (Harper Collins). His services have been requested to search for a missing woman Sophie Mulliner after her father becomes worried for his missing daughter. Frank has heard so much of Shaw’s experiences and is frustrated at the lack of a breakthrough by the local police.
But soon this becomes a tale of red herrings and murder. One centre of attention is Sophie’s boyfriend Kyle who had a bit of a reputation for mistreating her. What does Kyle know? But there is another twist when Kyle himself is killed when they end up in a disused factory. Was Kyle himself silenced?
This is a fast paced thriller and there is a link to video games within the plot, well this is a first in a thriller for me. But found our main character Colter Shaw to be one interesting character with a past of his own. If you are a fan of Jefferyy Deaver’s novels, then you will not be disappointed and I am now already looking forward to the next instalment.
Thank you to Rebecca Bryant for the review copy of The Never Game by Jeffrey Deaver
The Never Game by Jeffrey Deaver was published by Harper Collins and was published on 16th May 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
Crossing Over by Ann Morgan (Audio Book)
Edie is struggling. She’s increasingly confused, but she can’t let the women in the village find that out – they’d only talk. But she’s forgetting so much – forgetting to wear matching clothes, forgetting to bake one of her walnut cakes for the WI sale…and forgetting to lock the door…until one day she wakes to find Jonah in her house and herself in her past.
Jonah is struggling. The journey to England was illegal and dangerous, and he’s the only one who survived – and he still hasn’t made it to London. Everything will be fine if he can just get to London. But can he leave Edie to look after herself? And can he hide from the authorities? And from his past?
I am still struggling to believe that I have previously not listened to audio books as I always preferred holding a book. Yes, there are so many positives to audio books, when I have been so tired to read I just listed to the story being narrated to me and it really works. Now I am hooked and so Crossing Over by Ann Morgan becomes the very audio book review.
What is important to know first is that Crossing Over is only available in audio book format and is available to download via Audible. Ann Morgan the bestselling author of Beside Myself (Bloomsbury) was released in 2016 and reviewed on my blog.
I have to say how much I loved listening to Crossing Over. The story of Edie who is alone and getting old and now and is starting to struggle by forgetting things that show would normally just get on with. It is a very sad story as we begin to understand what is really happening to Edie. She can recall many things especially from the past. But it is the day to day things she is forgetting and Edie does not want any of the women in the town to know. She forgets to bake one of her Walnut Cakes she would normally bake for the WI sale. Edie is getting confused easily now. Then one morning she discovers Jonah on her property and suddenly she is transported to a time past.
Edie has previously lost the one true love in her life Michael, but she is confused by Jonah.
Jonah’s story is an horrific story as he is an illegal immigrant and has travelled from Africa leaving everyone behind to find a new life but he is the only survivor of the crossing and this has scarred him. London is his destination as this is where he believes his destiny lies. But he hiding from the authorities and he knows what fate awaits if he is caught. Trust is a word that comes to mind here as both are worried and suspicious of all around them for different reasons that become apparent.
A story that is so breathtakingly beautiful and also painfully sad. My heart at times was so heavy and so sad as we know that the onset of Dementia for Edie and the story of Jonah who just wants to find a new life a better life that the one he left behind. Does he make it? That is for you to find out and the Narration by Adjoa Andoh works so very well it was as if this story was made especially for Adjoa to narrate. A story of our time and if you like listening to audio books please add this to your list of downloads. You won’t regret it.
Only available to download via Audible.
You can follow Ann Morgan on Twitter: @A_B_Morgan
Narrating Crossing over is Adjoa Andoh who is best known for appearing on two series over Dr Who and also a long serving member of BBC TV’s long running Casualty series before going on to make her Hollywood debut alongside Morgan Freeman in Invictus.
Thank you to Edwina Boyd-Gibbins (Midas PR) for the Audio review copy of Crossing Over by Ann Morgan
Crossing Over by Ann Morgan was released as an Audio Book on 29th March and is available as an audio download via Audible.com