#Blogtour Life and Death Decisions by Dr Lachlan McIver

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour – Life and Death Decisions: Fighting to save lives from disaster, disease and destruction by Dr Lachlan McIver. ‘An action-packed tale of medicine in the most remote, poverty-torn areas of the globe from a Médecins Sans Frontières doctor.’

About the Author

Dr Lachlan McIver is a rural medicine and public health specialist with a PhD in the health impacts of climate change. He currently works as the Tropical Diseases and Planetary Health Advisor at the headquarters of Médecins Sans Frontières in Geneva. Lachlan is an Associate Professor at James Cook University and is the founder and past Chair of Rocketship Pacific Ltd – an international non-profit organisation dedicated to improving health in Pacific Island countries. 

Lachlan’s work has taken him to thirty different countries, and he has published over fifty scientific articles and textbook chapters. He regularly speaks at international conferences on health. For more information, visit drlachlanmciver.com or follow @lachlan_mciver on Twitter

About the book

Lachlan was sixteen when he found his father dead on the side of a dirt road in North Queensland, Australia. He had suffered a sudden heart attack and died alone. It was this tragedy that motivated Lachlan to train as a doctor specialising in providing medical care for people living in remote, resource-deprived locations.

Lachlan’s work with the World Health Organization and Médecins Sans Frontières has taken him to some of the world’s most extreme environments from the sinking islands of the Pacific to epidemics and war zones in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

In this no-holds-barred memoir, Lachlan recounts his experiences treating patients ravaged by tropical diseases, managing war wounds with drug-resistant infections, delivering babies by the light of a head torch, dealing with the devastating effects of climate change and narrowly avoiding being kidnapped by militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Tackling such impossible problems day in and day out inevitably takes a personal toll. Lachlan is ultimately forced to face his own battles with depression, alcohol abuse and bankruptcy.

Life and Death Decisions is a deeply human look at the personal cost of our broken global health system and a vital call to action.

Review

Lachlan presents the good, the bad and the uncomfortable in this frank memoir. It’s not just a facts, experiences and accomplishments. It’s a stripping bare of emotions, of choices, and an examination of consequence of actions.

I found the most interesting aspect of this read was the way the author relates to his achievements. It’s as if it is a never-ending race to save and help as many people as possible, and yet never feeling a true sense of accomplishment, perhaps because the underlying trauma of a death he had no way of changing always sits on his shoulders as a constant companion.

There appears to be a lack of acknowledgement of his impact on the world and the people he endeavours to help and has helped throughout the years. The drive, the selflessness and often reckless regard for his own life and his close relationships. Even the last pages are a testament to how he wants to live life by example to change the path we have created, which is at odds with saving lives at this moment in time. 

It’s a remarkable read, perhaps more so because he makes the hard work and dangerous situations look like second nature. It is food for thought – small steps for some of us, which will lead to bigger ones.

Buy Life and Death Decisions at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Endeavour pub date 1 Sept. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

Blogtour #Audiobook Women Like Us: A Memoir by Amanda Prowse

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour for the Audiobook – Women Like Us: A Memoir by Amanda Prowse.

About the Author

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty-six novels, non-fiction title and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles What Have I Done?, Perfect Daughter, My Husband’s Wife, The Girl in the Corner and The Things I Know have sold millions of copies across the globe.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, A Mother’s Story won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while Perfect Daughter was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016. Follow @MrsAmandaProwse on Twitter

About the book

Amanda Prowse has built a bestselling career on the lives of fictional women. Now she turns the pen on her own life. From her childhood, where there was no blueprint for success, to building a career as a bestselling novelist against all odds, Amanda Prowse explores what it means to be a woman in a world where popularity, slimness, beauty and youth are currency – and how she overcame all of that to forge her own path to happiness.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious and always entirely relatable, Prowse details her early struggles with self-esteem and how she coped with the frustrating expectations others had of how she should live. Most poignantly, she delves into her toxic relationship with food, the hardest addiction she has ever known, and how she journeyed out the other side.

One of the most candid memoirs you’re ever likely to read, Women Like Us provides welcome insight into how it is possible – against the odds – to overcome insecurity, body consciousness and the ubiquitous imposter syndrome to find happiness and success, from a woman who’s done it all, and then some

Review

I thought it was interesting how Amanda simultaneously gives the reader, the audience, this trifecta of reasoning and emotion that pings off itself. Acknowledging the truth of her family, upbringing and all the nuances of the working class background and feeling the societal guilt the world (very much a British thing, sorry) forces into our very psyche at the same time. You’re supposed to feel inferior and as if those around you are too. Somehow feel ashamed for who you are.

When you take that invisible burden and it is weighed down by layers of remarks and what people like to refer to as banter, however the way the target receives it can be completely different. In this case it has created a foundation of almost self-loathing and doubt, which leads to seeking comfort in external sources.

It’s a frank and open dialogue about herself and her life, one that is a rollercoaster of emotions. As a reader you go on that ride and often find correlation in situations, thoughts and experiences. It’s brave to open yourself up in such a way, even if it is a self-examination of sorts. It’s definitely an audiobook I would recommend to others.

On a side note – the author narrates the story herself and does so extremely well, but what I wanted to mentioned is what a perfect voice for audio she has – deliciously soothing with a hint of sultry. Combined with her story, which I think most women will be able to relate to in one way or another, it makes it such an easy listening experience.

Buy Women Like Us at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher – Audible UK: pub date: 6th September 2022 | Paperback: £8.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Audible Uk.

Listening Length – 12 hours and 16 minutes, Author – Amanda Prowse, Narrator – Amanda Prowse, Audible.co.uk Release Date – 06 September 2022, Publisher – Brilliance Audio, Program Type – Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language –  English.

#BlogTour The Island House by Mary Considine

It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Island House by Mary Considine. ‘An unforgettable new memoir that will transport readers to the wilds of Cornwall and a remote island life.’

About the Author

Growing up in the flat landscape of Bedfordshire, Mary fell in love with Cornwall and the sea on her first visit as a small child. Distracted by the garlands of London, she spent the 90s writing and directing plays in the London and Edinburgh Fringe, and scriptwriting. 

Work included Angels, Time Out Critics Choice, The Other Half, commissioned by The Carlton Tv screenwriting initiative; and a short film The Hand Job, shortlisted for the Lloyds Bank/Channel 4 short film competition. 

The noughties were spent teaching drama in secondary schools in the hills of North Yorkshire and, in pursuit of her now husband, back in London, before realising her impossible dream of moving to St George ‘s Island in 2010.

About the book

Mary and Patrick’s dream was to live in London, have 2.4 children, the nice house, the successful jobs. But life had other plans, and one traumatic year that all came crashing down.

bruised and battered, Mary finds herself pulled towards Cornwall and dreams of St George’s Island, where she spent halcyon childhood summers. So, when an opportunity arises to become tenants of they renovate the old Island House, they grab it with both hands.

life in the island is hard, especially in winter, the sea and weather, unforgiving. But the rugged natural beauty, the friendly ghosts of previous inhabitants, and the beautiful isolation of island life being hope and purpose, as they discover a resilience they never knew they had.

Review

I think the sentence that resonated most with me was – he knows the island is calling. I think at the core of decisions to sever oneself from the societal norm and rat race, which may or may not go hand-in-hand with trauma, stress, burn-out or other great upheavals there can be an element of gut instinct. The instinct that tells us we need to readjust, re-evaluate and seek change.

The isolation seems to adhere to those lines, although in this case it can bring both peace and hardship. Imagine cutting yourself off from the extended world, where you often rely on nothing else but your own strength and stamina. Survival instinct kicks in, but perhaps also a resonance of forgotten ancestral genetic instincts.

I found the story, the memoir, quite fascinating. There must be plenty of people who think of going slightly off-grid and retreating in a way – I know I certainly have. However I am more realistic about being able to cope with the extreme situations, and reverting to more basic comforts. It’s tough, albeit that fact is obscured by the scenery and the fantastical notion one has stepped back in time and staking a claim and place in the unknown. This imaginary fantastical notion of a fantasy life doesn’t do justice to the people who actually do make these choices and live in isolated areas.

Buy The Island House at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Monoray; pub date 9th June 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Octopus Books.

#BlogTour Trouble: A memoir by Marise Gaughan

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Trouble by Marise Gaughan – a stunning literary memoir from an exceptional Irish writer and comedian.

About the Author

Marise Gaughan was born in Dublin in 1991, and began doing stand-up in the open mic nights of Los Angeles in 2016. Now living in London, she continues to perform in all the major UK and Irish clubs and festivals. 

Her award-winning debut show ‘Drowning’ premiered at the Dublin Fringe festival in 2018 and was awarded the Women’s Irish Network Arts Bursary. Se presented a weekly radio segment on Ireland’s lyric.fm during lockdown that the Irish Times called ‘edgy, honest and funny’. This is her first book. Visit marisegaughan.com

About the book

Marise was nine when she first realised there was trouble, 14 when her Dad tried to end it all, and 23 when he finally succeeded.

In a turmoil of conflicting emotions Marise, the child who is left behind, runs – from Dublin to Amsterdam to Los Angeles, leaving a trail of sex and self-destruction in her wake. Until finally, she finds herself facing what she’s become in a California psych ward, a girl imploding through trying to make sense of her father’s suicide.

In this brave and powerful memoir Marise retells her unravelling, from child to adult, she strips back her identity and her relationship with her father, layer by layer, until she starts to understand how to live with him, years after he has gone.

Written beautifully, with wit and unflinching honesty, Marise has produced one of the most profound coming-of-age memoirs of recent years, a stunning new voice in Irish writing.

Review

If you read a lot of memoirs and biographies, then you will know the difference between a memoir written with boundaries and one without. Boundaries can mean holding back for friends, family or even yourself, and there can even be a certain level of dissociation. Then there are memoirs like this one that are so open, brusque and frank, that the reader can feel all ranges of the emotions acutely.

The author reveals her journey from childhood to young adult, and the impact her relationship with her father and his subsequent suicide has on her. Coming to terms with her anger, disappointment and lack of control over the his actions, takes its toll on her and the relationships she cultivates. It’s sometimes a hard journey to comprehend that your parent may have trauma, mental health issues that lead to destructive coping mechanisms.

I had to remind myself that there is such a thing as cultural divide when it comes to the interactions between parent and child in this book – Irish banter is very much a thing unto itself. It makes snark look like high-profile sniping. In the context of this family it is also what the family feels comfortable with, where perhaps others wouldn’t.

The author has no filter, which means it can often be crude, explicit and viscerally challenging. In the same breathe it is also extremely honest, which could mean the difference between someone taking something away from this or nothing at all. I thought it was exceptional – a deep dive that will hopefully lead to some peace and healing.

Buy Trouble at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Monoray, pub date 7th April 2022 | Hardback | £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour My Own Worst Enemy by Robert Edric

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour My Own Worst Enemy by Robert Edric.

About the Author

Robert Edric was born in 1956. His novels include Winter Garden (James Tait Black Prize winner, 1986), A New Ice Age (Guardian Prize Runner-up, 1986), The Book of the Heathen (W H Smith Literary Award, 2000), Peacetime and Gathering the Water (both Booker Prize-longlisted) and In Zodiac Light, shortlisted for the 2010 International IMPAC award. He lives in Yorkshire.

About the book

Robert Edric is a widely celebrated novelist, winner of the James Tait Black Prize and W H Smith Literary Award, and with nominations from the Booker Prize and Guardian Prize. He now applies his trademark candour to his first wry, honest and moving memoir of a now-vanished era of working-class 1960s Sheffield.

My Own Worst Enemy explores the relationship between a touchy, overbearing and tragicomic bully of a father and a son whose acceptance to grammar school puts him on another track entirely.

In clear-eyed but compassionate prose, Robert Edric vividly depicts this lost era of working-men’s clubs; of tight-knit communities in factory towns; and of a time when a woman’s place was only in the home. He brings to colourful life his family, both immediate and extended – over which hovers the barely-repressed frustration and anger of his own father.

My Own Worst Enemy is a brilliantly specific portrait of both a particular time and place and a universal story of childhood and family, and the ways they can go right or wrong.

Review

I think it’s important to view the minutiae of Edric’s relationship with his father and his roots from a broader perspective. When you grow up in working class surroundings in a working class family and endeavour to ‘better’ yourself, and I say that with the greatest irony, because the class structures determine that view of course, stepping outside of your circle and into a different one comes with certain advantages and disadvantages. 

A working class boy who rises from one class to another through an academic path, thereby possibly entering the middle class, upper middle or even upper – he enters a complex structure which closes and opens doors. The structure is also an unforgiving master. The working class no longer accepts the person who has entered the upper level, and the next circle will never fully accept the working class boy as one of their own.

It helps make sense of the fractious relationships and perhaps give a different slant on things. I’ve read the Guardian’s elitist incomprehensible fawning, but then perhaps you have to have lived or seen it to make the right connections. Of course, in the end the only person who can talk with any authority on his memoir is Edric – I do wonder what his father’s view on everything would be. 

The father who saw his son as the emerging elitist, the person looking down on him, instead of being proud of the accomplishments. Instead of acknowledging the drive and intellect, the aforementioned becomes the grain of sand in the eye that irritates on a constant basis. Of course that doesn’t negate any pre-existing predilection to abuse those you allegedly love and care for, it just adds fuel to the inner anger. 

I found the emotional disassociation in the memoir quite interesting, but then perhaps that is a coping mechanism learnt very early on to deal with the contentious and dysfunctional relationship between father and son – one that still looms over him at times.

It’s a dry, factual account of someone dipping into their beginnings. An attempt at closure, to comprehend, and of course give readers the key to the man behind many excellent reads.

Buy My Own Worst Enemy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Swift Press pub date 24 Feb. 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Swift Press.

#BlogTour The Reacher Guy by Heather Martin

 It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Reacher Guy by Heather Martin. -The Authorised Biography of Lee Child.

About the Author

Heather Martin was born in West Australia. She grew up in Aix-en-Provence, Paris, and Perth, where she would fall asleep to the sound of the Indian Ocean. She left Australia for England to become a classical guitarist but found herself singing with a Venezuelan folk group and learning to speak Spanish instead. She read Languages at Cambridge, where she also did a PhD in comparative literature, and has held teaching and research positions at Cambridge, Hull, King’s College London, and most recently, the Graduate Center, City University New York. 

Heather is a long-time Reacher fan. While waiting to get her hands on the next in the series, she once read a Lee Child book in Spanish and wound up writing to the author about the fate of his character in translation. The Reacher Guy is her first biography. Follow @drheathermartin on Twitter

About the book

The Reacher Guy is a life of bestselling superstar Lee Child, a portrait of the artist as a young man, refracted through the life of his fictional avatar, Jack Reacher. It tells the story of how the boy from Birmingham reinvented himself to become the strongest brand in publishing, selling over one hundred million books in more than forty different languages across the globe.

Heather Martin interviews friends, teachers, colleagues and neighbours, including agents and editors. Based primarily on her conversations with the author over a period of years, together with readings of his books and research in his literary archive, this authorised biography reveals the man behind the myth, tracing his origins back through the generations to Northern Ireland and County Durham, and following the trajectory of his extraordinary career via New York and Hollywood until the climactic moment when, in 2020, having written a continuous series of twenty-four books, he finally floats free of his fictional creation.

Lee Child comments: “I met Heather Martin some years ago, and we started talking about why people love telling and hearing stories. To get more depth and detail we started talking about why I do. Eventually I said, ‘If you want to really get to the bottom of it, you’re going to have to write my biography.’ So she did. It was a fun and illuminating process. I had forgotten a lot, and it was fascinating to be reminded. Now it all makes sense.”

Review

The thing about biographies, even authorised ones, they tend to hover just above the surface. You will get the top layers and the more personal moments the person is used to sharing – for whatever reason, and yes that is said with cynicism.

Martin doesn’t even bother with the peeling. It’s just right in and dig to the core, of course it only works because Child is open and willing. The two of them play off each other like tennis pros, they compliment each other, which in the long run makes this a better read.

That in no way should imply the book would be less of a great read if the cooperation between writer and subject had been a little less cooperative. Martin has clearly delved deeply into the mindset of the man behind Lee Child, and the creator of Jack Reacher. Somewhere in between there is a division, and yet if you go deep enough the three are the same on certain levels.

I imagine a non-authorised version would have a lot to say about the psychology behind it all, but that’s a topic for another book. This is a well-researched and written homage to the man behind the image. Martin absolutely does the man, the body of work and the legacy, justice. It’s an engrossing read, and I highly recommend it.

Buy The Reacher Guy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Constable; pub date 29th September 2020 hardback £20.00 – also available as an eBook/audio. Buy at Amazon com. At Waterstones.

#BlogTour Clothes… and Other Things that Matter by Alexandra Shulman

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Clothes…and Other Things that Matter by Alexandra Shulman

About the Author

Alexandra Shulman is a journalist, consultant and commentator. She was Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue from 1992–2017, the magazine’s longest serving editor. She has been Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and is an honorary fellow of the University of the Arts. She won 2017 Periodical Publisher’s Association Editor’s Editor Award and The Drapers Award 2017 for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion. 

She is Vice President of The London Library and was awarded the CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List. She has a weekly column in the Mail on Sunday, is a contributor to other national newspapers and has written two novels: Can We Still Be Friends? (2012) and The Parrots (2015). Inside Vogue: The Diary of My 100th Year was published by Fig Tree in October 2016 and sold more than 30,000 copies in hardback and paperback (Nielsen TCM). Alexandra was featured in a three-part primetime BBC series on Vogue’s centenary year in 2016. Follow @AShulman2 on Twitter, 

About the book 

In Clothes… and other things that matter, Alexandra Shulman delves into her own life to look at the emotions, ambitions, expectations and meanings behind the way we dress. From the bra to the bikini, the trench coat to trainers, the slip dress to the suit, she explores their meaning in women’s lives and how our wardrobes intersect with the larger world – the career ladder, motherhood, romance, sexual identity, ambition, failure, body image and celebrity.

By turns funny, refreshingly self-deprecating and often very moving, this startlingly honest memoir from the ex-Editor of British Vogue will encourage women of all ages to consider what their own clothes mean to them, the life they live in them and the stories they tell. Shulman explores the person our clothes allow us to be – and sometimes the person they turn us into.

Review

Not sure how many other bookworms do this, but I often think about who I am going to recommend a book to, both during and after the read. For the majority of books it’s not hard, and I love it when I can introduce someone to a genre or author they might not have ever considered reading. I think this book is more than just a lifetime of experiences or a history of fashion viewed through a leader and influencer in the world of clothes and fashion.

You can feel the awe, emotions and pride Shulman feels when she speaks about certain combinations, outfits, pieces and also accessories, such as bags and jewellery. Then she connects the aforementioned with our sense of self, being, our presence and statement to the world.

It made me think about my own relationship with clothes, which if I am quite honest has been two things – a way to define my individuality and my reluctance to conform to the norm and fashion trends has been a way to cement that over the decades.

At times I thought Shulman never really loosens the reins or lets the public facade slip to reveal the true person behind the incredible lifetime of experiences, which is why it’s a little dry in places and less of a memoir and more of an homage to the beauty of fashion items and accessories. Definitely a memorable read.

Buy Clothes… and Other Things that Matter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Octopus Books – Cassell, pub date 10 June 2021 | £9.99 | Paperback. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen by Erin French

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen by Erin French.

About the Author

Erin French is the owner and chef of The Lost Kitchen, a 40-seat restaurant in Freedom, Maine, that was recently named one of the World’s Greatest Places by TIME Magazine. Booking is by postcard ballot on the first day of spring with over 20,000 postcards received last season. Erin French has written for The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living and The Wall Street Journal. 

Her first book, The Lost Kitchen Cookbook, was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award and named one of the best 2017 cookbooks by The Washington Post and Vogue. Erin French will host The Lost Kitchen TV show on Joanna and Chip Gaines’ new television network, the Magnolia Network, launching in March 2021. Follow @thelostkitchen on Twitter, Visit findthelostkitchen.com

About the book

Erin French grew up barefoot on a 25-acre farm in Maine, fell in love with food working the line at her dad’s diner and found her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant tucked into a 19th century mill. In her story of multiple rock-bottoms, from medical student to pregnant teen, of survival as a jobless single mother, heartbreak and addiction, she slowly rebuilt her personal and culinary life around the solace she found in food―as a source of comfort, a sense of place, as a way of creating community and making something of herself, despite seemingly impossible odds. 

Set against the backdrop of rural Maine and its lushly intense, bountiful seasons, Erin French ’s rollercoaster memoir reveals the passion and courage behind the fairytale success of The Lost Kitchen.

Review

The thing about memoirs is sometimes the one way tunnel vision you often get. I absolutely applaud anyone who is able to dust themselves off after sinking to certain depths. When everything crumbles around you it’s hard to be able to see beyond the failure and disruption. Hearing how others felt and experienced said downfall and failures would give it an interesting edge – if only to support the author or to highlight how the people directly affected by the aforementioned felt during the extreme moments and the fact French was determined to overcome all obstacles.

It’s also interesting to note that the obstacles existed and yet at the core she was looking for peace, structure and longevity in her self-inflicted chaos. Connecting all of those things to a love of cooking, indeed to a sense of nostalgia formed through memories of childhood. It’s what draws a direct line between the author and the reader, even if they don’t share the heart or similar memories what they do share is cooking and eating.

The combination of memories, nostalgia and a willingness to open the door into her inner sanctum is what makes the read endearing, but what really captivates the reader and makes them hungry for more is the element of food.

It’s a story of perseverance, determination and proof that life can be a rollercoaster for many of us. It’s a story about failure and success, and one of never giving up.

Buy Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Aurum pub date 6 April 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Starchild: A Memoir of Adoption, Race, and Family by Michaela Foster Marsh

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Starchild: A Memoir of Adoption, Race, and Family by Michaela Foster Marsh.

About the Author

Michaela Foster Marsh is an acclaimed musician with three albums to her credit. Her work has appeared in television and film, including Dawson’s Creek and The Matthew Sheppard Story. She has been invited to sing at the Monaco International Film Festival, the Cannes International Film Festival, and for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.

Michaela is the founder and Executive Director of the Starchild charity, which works primarily with vulnerable children and women in Uganda, where it has built the School for Creative Arts in the village of Vvumba, near Kampala. In 2017 Michaela was a finalist in the Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year award. She has received a UK Prime Minister’s Award for her work in Uganda, a Peace and Unity Award from the First Minister of Scotland, and Clarkston, Glasgow, a Community Champion Award.

Follow @foster_marsh on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit starchildcharity.comBuy Starchild

About the book

Starchild: A Memoir of Adoption, Race and Family is Michaela Foster Marsh’s account of her remarkable journey – a story which takes her from Scotland to Ireland, Canada, England – and finally to Uganda. It is here that she comes face to face with the fascinating truth about Frankie’s birth – and an African family she never imagined she had. But finding Frankie’s biological family is not the end of Michaela’s story – or Frankie’s. Moved by the plight of poverty-stricken Ugandan children, Michaela resolves to honour Frankie’s short life by building a school in his memory – and the Starchild charity is born.

Review

I really love the way Marsh talks about her brother and their relationship. For her there is no difference between blood related and non-genetic relationship. Frankie is and was her brother and that is due to her parents raising them to believe that they are true siblings. This is the way it should be, but we all know it’s not always the case.

For their family parent was synonymous with the person who raised and cared for you, and not necessarily the person who gave birth to you. I think it speaks volumes that Frankie felt so safe and loved.

It’s completely normal for an adopted child to eventually find out where they come from. Not all adoptive parents or families agree, but I think it’s a fundamental journey that has to be taken, often just so there is closure. It’s not about the adoptive parents it’s very much about getting answers and understanding where you come from genetically.

Starchild is an emotional journey and yet also an eye-opener. Marsh made the journey her brother never managed to embark on only to be confronted with a troubled country and children in need of support and help. Marsh has taken her experiences and turned them into something positive.

A legacy for the young man who only lived a few decades, but he certainly left his mark on this world and his sister is making sure he is never forgotten.

Buy Starchild at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Fiction Studio Books; pub date 14 April 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour High Heels and Beetle Crushers by Jackie Skingley

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour High Heels & Beetle Crushers: The Life, Losses and Loves of an Officer and Lady by Jackie Skingley.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 2 x Paperback copies of High Heels & Beetle Crushers (Open UK / US Only)

About the Author

For Jackie Skingley, adventure has been her quest since childhood. Life with the British army allowed Jackie to live all over the world and gain huge appreciation for different cultures and customs. Since 1999, Jackie and her husband have lived in the Charente region of South West France where Reiki, jewellery making, painting and mosaics, as well as writing keep her fully occupied. Member of the Charente Creative Writing Group, mother and grandmother.

Follow @skingleyj on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads, on Facebook, Buy High Heels & Beetle Crushers

About the book

A compelling memoir of post-war Britain. Jackie Skingley grew up with limited career choices but joining the Women’s Royal Army Corps offered her a different life, living and working in a military world, against the backdrop of the Cold War. Packed full of stories reflecting the changing sexual attitudes prior to the arrival of the pill and the sexual revolution of the mid 60s, Skingley’s memoir denotes a shift in the political and social fabric of the era. Follow her relationships with the men in her life from finding her first true love, which through a cruel act of fate was denied her, to embarking on a path of recovery.

Review

As the daughter of military parents who served during the Cold War, a lot of the places and scenes coincide with what my parents told me and where we lived during our time abroad and in the UK.

One thing that is always evident is the lack of equality when it comes to the treatment of women and men in the military. Where certain behaviour would mean the end of a career for a woman and yet just a reprimand for a man.

What I found interesting is how Skingley links her sexuality and sexual experience with nearly ever moment in her past. Of course that unfortunately also means having to go through harassment, sexual assault and in general a maligning of reputation. And perhaps the assumption by society that women aren’t complete until they become part of a couple. An almost compulsory next step, because to do otherwise would suggest something more nefarious.

That’s also something the author includes in her memoir – the treatment of homosexuals in the military, during a time in history when it was still a criminal offence to have a same-sex sexual relationship.

It’s a post-war memoir that depicts the rather limited options of women in this era. I am sure there are plenty of moments that speak to the hardship of what she had to endure as a woman in the military in post-war Britain. The Cold War service often gets forgotten in the general mention of history, unless it is a spy driven story.

Forgotten are the men and women, who were expecting another conflict after the violent events of WW2, which then melded into other just as serious threats to the country and the world. It’s important not to forget those nameless people.

Buy High Heels & Beetle Crushers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Chronos Books; pub date 14 Dec. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

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