You Wish By Terry Tyler #Bookreview

You Wish

You Wish begins with an alarming prologue where a dramatic drugs raid takes place, but immediately afterwards in Chapter One we find ourselves in the warm relaxing surroundings of a Mind, Body and Spirit Fair in Norfolk. It is a book of contrasts between the hopes and yearnings of several young women and what might happen if their wishes come true.

As usual with novels by Terry Tyler, the characters are captivating. We share their feelings, their mistakes and in some cases their gradual self-understanding. All facets of relationships; friendship, passion, dependency and selfishness are shown in the interconnecting tales. In Sarah’s case, obsession causes addiction, while Petra’s experience of rejection leads her to stalking. There is a sweet, almost mystical account of happiness after years of longing, by young teacher, Kate.

But it is Ruth and her friendships with Fleur, and later Jessica, whose story is the most complex and rewarding. The description of young love certainly took me back to that age, while her frustration with her idle but loving husband will strike a chord with many women. As light relief her experience of making contact with an old friend via Facebook is hilarious.

I have always found Terry Tyler’s books quite different to those of any other author. She is completely in touch with all the concerns of today’s women but she also remembers so well what it was like living in the 1980s. This novel would be great to discuss in a book group but it is also compulsive reading.

TT

Terry Tyler’s first Amazon publication, ‘You Wish’, won ‘Best Women’s Fiction’ in the eFestival of Words 2013, while short story collection ‘Nine Lives’ and family drama ‘Last Child’ have won other small online awards. She’s fascinated by the psychology behind relationships, which forms the background of her character-driven contemporary dramas; from the rock star aspirations of the lighthearted ‘Dream On’ and ‘Full Circle’, to the dark and complex psychological web of ‘The House of York’, it’s all about the characters. And the plot twists…

Her novella, Best Seller was released earlier this year~ it’s a quirky tale of three writers trying to succeed in the modern, hugely competitive publishing world.

You can read my review of Best Seller here.

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What Tim Knows and other stories by Wendy Janes

Tim

The short stories in this book are connected to significant moments in the lives of a group of people who feature in Wendy Janes’ novel What Jennifer Knows. There is no need to have read the novel first but it certainly gave an added dimension to me.
The first story, Beauty, describes the paramount need for beauty to surround Rollo, an Art Gallery owner. When he parts company with one of his exhibitors, the “empty plinths,” are reduced, “to totem poles with no message,” so it is essential that he finds beauty elsewhere. Never-Ending Day struck a chord with me as it reminded me so well of those awful first weeks, as a new mother, when you realise that you know nothing about babies and that you are making a terrible mess of trying to care for this one. Similarly, Perfect Family made me aware of the contrast between my home life as an only child and that of lively families with several siblings which seemed to have such fun together.
What Tim Knows contrasts completely with What Jennifer Knows. Jennifer knew too much, but Tim knows too little, or at least his comprehension of the world is very different to that of the people who surround him. Having taught children on the autistic spectrum, I have been caught out by my inability to state exactly what is a fact and am aware that there are no greys for many. I love the way this story puts us inside Tim’s head and shows us what an inexplicable world we live in!
A refreshing look at life through a wide variety of characters, which is available here

You can read my review of What Jennifer Knows here.

The Brazilian Husband by Rebecca Powell #SundayBlogShare

This year the Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro so our eyes are focused on Brazil.  I’m aware that it is country of great beauty but also of extreme poverty with a history of political chaos so I was curious about what I would learn of the country in Rebecca Powell’s book.

Brazilian Husband

The Brazilian Husband is written from the point of view of the English wife, Judith Summers, who is making her first visit to Brazil in order to return her husband’s ashes to his home.  Accompanied by her sullen 16-year-old step-daughter, Rosa, things go wrong almost immediately when their luggage goes missing, but Judith bravely seeks out a contact of her husband in the steaming, busy streets of Recife.  It appears that all he had told her of his life were lies and Judith still hasn’t told Rosa the truth about her own birth.

 

Interspersed with Judith’s account are chapter’s in Rosa’s words.  Bitterly unhappy after the sudden death of her beloved father, Edson, she has become estranged from her mother and doesn’t know how to cope with her turbulent emotions and hormones.  Both she and Judith are looking for identity and a future path in a violent and frightening context.

 

The story is set in 1996 when Lula, founding member of the Worker’s party is standing for election as President.  One of the people campaigning on Lula’s behalf is Ricardo, a sad, handsome human rights lawyer, who knew Edson before he left the country, but at first he refuses to help Judith.   We are taken back to 1978 in conversations between Ricardo’s dead wife and Rosa’s real mother Luciana and the truth of Rosa’s birth is gradually revealed.

 

This book is a romance, both personal for Judith, but also a romance with a country for her and her daughter.  They begin to understand the “saudade” which Edson felt, that mixture of longing, melancholy and nostalgia for Brazil.  An easy to read story, but also a book which captivates the soul.

Rebecca Powell

Rebecca Powell

Rebecca Powell was born in Bristol and has a degree in French and Portuguese from the University of Leeds. In her early twenties she worked for a year at a women’s shelter in the northeast of Brazil before moving to London, where she continued to work for a number of national charities. She now lives in the southwest of France with her husband and three children.

You can find The Brazilian Husband at Amazon UK or Amazon US

Rosie's Book Review team 1

The Magic Touch by Kelly Florentia

The magic

Despite its mystical title, The Magic Touch is very much set in the present day.  With text messages, Facebook and games of Candy Crush as essential tools in the storyline, it is easy for the modern reader to identify with creative heroine, 39-year-old Emma King and her long-term partner Harry.

 

Emma is a very likeable character.  She has become an essential part of Harry’s large Greek family, she gives her 93-year-old neighbour, Alistair, practical and emotional support and she loves Harry, deeply.  But there are mistakes and misunderstandings.  After a previous marriage in which Emma was abused, she is reluctant to commit to another wedding, so once again she has refused Harry’s request.  Now, he seems cooler and he is receiving texts from a female colleague.

 

At first I found all the characters in Harry’s family rather overwhelming, but soon there were twists and turns in the plot and the hint of magic was a welcome touch of humour and hope.  Emma’s previous marriage problems are described in a frank and realistic account and her relationship with Alistair is touching.  The story’s ending is uplifting after two convincing twists in the tale.  An enjoyable summer read.

Kelly

Kelly Florentia

Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. Her debut novel The Magic Touch was released on 24th March 2016. Her second novel Broken will be published on 20th August 2016.

Kelly has always enjoyed writing and was a bit of a poet when she was younger. Before writing her first novel, she wrote short stories for women’s magazines. To Tell A Tale Or Two… is a collection of her short tales. Kelly is currently working on her third novel.

You can visit her website at: www.kellyflorentia.co.uk

Rusty Gold by Christine Campbell

Rusty

Rusty Gold is Book 3 of the stories of Mirabelle, the Reluctant Detective.  In Book 1 we had seen, Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, choose to leave home without warning.  We followed the search for her all over Edinburgh and Mirabelle’s determination to find her daughter despite her sorrow and fears.  In the second book, Mirabelle has become the person, people in the area seek out, when they are searching for missing family members but in Rusty Gold, after four and a half years have passed, she has lost the confidence and wish to go on investigating for others.  She sacks her volunteer assistant, Kay, and wallows in her loneliness.

 

But other people don’t give up on Mirabelle.  Her larger than life determination and personality need to be revived and the turning point is when she hears that the dying mother of her long lost friend, Esme, needs her help.  Esme and her young friend, are in great danger, travelling around the island of Skye in an old campervan, unaware that dangerous criminals are after them.  Encouraged by the return of Detective Inspector Sam Burns into her life, Mirabelle asks Kay to accompany her and the two unlikely heroines try to save the day.

 

This book draws many threads from the earlier books together and we finally learn the full story of Summer’s conception and birth and how much Mirabelle loved her, despite her inability to be a good mother.  But the last few chapters are a thrilling adventure among the beautiful countryside of Skye, where all the women in this character driven series come into their own.  There is definitely a conclusion but there are also hints of further investigations for Mirabelle.  It is difficult to think of any other books quite like these and they could ideally be turned into a TV series.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

#FridayBookShare The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

#FridayBookShare is a game created by Shelley Wilson to help search for an ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

I recently received The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson, as a gift from a stranger, through an anonymous book sharing scheme.  Many years ago I loved reading Notes from a Small Island about Bill’s first impressions of Britain, but what does he think now?

First Line – “One of the things that happens when you get older is that you discover lots of new ways to hurt yourself.”

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the bestselling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain.Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey round Britain to see what has changed.

Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all, Bryson sets out to rediscover the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly unique country that he thought he knew but doesn’t altogether recognize any more. Yet, despite Britain’s occasional failings and more or less eternal bewilderments, Bill Bryson is still pleased to call our rainy island home. And not just because of the cream teas, a noble history, and an extra day off at Christmas.

Once again, with his matchless homing instinct for the funniest and quirkiest, his unerring eye for the idiotic, the endearing, the ridiculous and the scandalous, Bryson gives us an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.

Introduce the main character  Witty, indomitable, Bill. 

Delightful Design

Little D

Audience appeal  Anyone who enjoys reading Bryson’s humorous observations.  Anyone from Britain, anyone who has visited Britain or anyone who intends visiting.

Your favourite line/scene  –In order to become a British citizen Bryson had to pass a knowledge test, so he sent for a study guide:-

The study guide is an interesting book, nicely modest, a little vacuous at times, but with its heart in the right place.  Britain, you learn, is a country that cherishes fair play, is rather good at art and literature, values good manners, and has often shown itself to be commendably inventive, especially around things that run on steam.  The people are a generally decent lot who garden, go for walks in the country, eat roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on sundays (unless they are Scottish in which case they may go for haggis).  They holiday at the seaside, obey the Green Cross Code, queue patiently, vote sensibly, respect the police, venerate the monarch, and practise moderation in all things.  Occasionally they go to a public house to drink two units or fewer of good English ale and to have a game of pool or skittles. (You sometimes feel that the people who wrote the guidebook should get out more.)

 

If you want to join in, then answer the F.R.I.D.A.Y questions and use the Friday Book Share meme. Tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72) in, so she can read what you have added, too.

The House with the Lilac Shutters by Gabrielle Barnby

Lilac

I have mixed feelings about short stories.  In some ways they can be perfectly formed like poems and they can be read in a limited time window but lacking the total commitment to a plot it is unlikely that the reader can be involved with the characters as in a novel.  In Gabrielle Barnby’s book there are connections woven through most of the stories, giving them a unity of place and essence.

 

The house with the lilac shutters, which drew me to this book, stands opposite the Café Rose in a small town in the south of France.  Most, but not all, of the stories take place there, in the heat of the summer sun.  Some are set in a parallel town in England. The protagonist are old and young, visitor and local and all aspects of life are reflected; birth, death, adultery, love, suicide and desire.

 

There is an element of, measuring lives in coffee spoons, as many moments in time are described in intense detail,

 

“Today we are sitting together outside Café Rose.  On our right there is the river, dark and green, bending the light into convex ripples.  I sip my coffee and look onto the square.  I want to add another cube of sugar, but I resist and try to savour the unfamiliar bitter-rich flavour.”

 

Among the many characters are many with secrets, some with regrets or guilt.  Memories are dwelt on but only some find new opportunities.  My favourite character is Angelique, the carer, who dressed in bright colours brings light into the life of Aubrey and makes tasty dishes from her childhood in Cameroon.  One story, Leyla’s Legacy, really troubled me.  It is a tragic tale of cruelty and unhappiness and of the subjugation of women continuing into each generation.

 

These stories are thought provoking, encompassing many themes and emotions in everyday places.  Gabrielle Barnby is a very talented writer.

 

You can find the book here and my earlier post about it.