#Blogtour Feeding the Gods by Elizabeth Harrison

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Feeding the Gods by Elizabeth Harrison – ‘Female writing duo ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ releases a powerful thriller that addresses the issues women face through life and the readiness of the drug companies to provide a pill for every problem’

About the Author

Elizabeth Harrison is the pen name of Denise Harrison (Dee) and Elizabeth Buxton (Liz), two friends, writing together. Feeding the Gods is set principally in South Manchester and Cheshire, which is the area where the authors grew up, married, and had their children. Liz decided to make her career on the high seas, crewing the Atlantic, and living aboard a yacht sailing the Mediterranean, whilst Dee was involved in the start-up and development of two successful software companies. Follow @eh_author on Twitter,

About the book

Roberta, Rosie, Sandra and Linda meet at college in the 70s and remain constant friends, despite life’s up and downs. The sudden death of one of the friends leads the others to suspect that a slimming drug she had been taking was perhaps to blame. Was this a wonder drug or a threat to life? 

The friends start to uncover long held secrets and betrayals – both personal and professional, but the pharmaceutical industry is not yet finished with them. Feeding the Gods is a thriller that addresses friendships, the different roles a woman must take on through life and the power of the drug giants.

Review

This begins with death and ends with death, the first is one of a group of friends and the second addresses how we deal with the topic of death. A group of female friends  navigate the pitfalls of a patriarchal society and decades that boast of freedoms, but in reality just contain more dangers and restrictions. Whilst a small minority appear to be living the life every woman dreams of, the majority are still stuck in the hamster wheel.

The Svelta story resonated with me. In the 70s and 80s slimming drugs were keeping the majority of women stick-thin. Over the counter, easy to access and often sold in the aisle right next to muscle protein for body builders. Just one thing though – more or less pure amphetamines.

Although the first Amphetamine epidemic tends to cited only up to the early 70s, the truth is the first wave continued on much longer. The body image mania was quickly replaced by physical addiction, although it’s fair to say the majority would have been unaware at first of why. Slimming pills – speed.

The second sub-plot that resonated with me was the euthanasia element and the difference in the way modern affluent countries take care of their elderly.

There is a lot going on in this story, perhaps too many sub-plots being pulled in different directions, which means not all of them get the attention or depth they possibly deserve. The writing duo wants to do due diligence when it comes to giving a voice to women, and drawing back the veil of some very popular myths of certain decades. It’s a political, social and domestic thriller.

Buy Feeding the Gods at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎The Book Guild pub date 24 Mar. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Wayward Voyage by Anna M. Holmes

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Wayward Voyage by Anna M. Holmes.

About the Author

Anna is originally from New Zealand and lives in the U.K. with her Dutch partner.

Way ward Voyage is Anna’s first novel. She has been fascinated by the lives of women pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, for a long time. Some years ago, she visualised this story as a screenplay before exploring and building their world more deeply as a novel. Wayward Voyage made a longlist of 11 for the Virginia Prize in Women’s Fiction 2020.

Blind Eye an eco-thriller, will be published by The Book Guild in September, so this year, 2021, Anna will have two novels coming out. Her screenplay, Blind Eye, is joint winner of the 2020 Green Stories screenplay competition.  

A documentary about pioneers of flamenco in the UK that Anna produced and directed was screened in Marbella International Film Festival and in London. This passion project ensures a slice of cultural history has been captured. It is available on YouTube and via a portal on her website.

She holds a Humanities B.A, a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and an M.A. in Dance Studies. Initially she worked as a radio journalist before a career in arts management working with U.K. Arts Councils and as an independent producer, dance history lecturer and she has run a dance development agency. 

Anna is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and enjoys practising flamenco. Writing, dance, and yoga shape her life.

Follow @AnnaMHolmes_ on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit https://www.annamholmes.com/

About the book

Anne is a headstrong young girl growing up in the frontier colony of Carolina in the early eighteenth century. With the death of her mother, and others she holds dear, Anne discovers that life is uncertain, so best live it to the full. She rejects the confines of conventional society and runs away to sea, finding herself in The Bahamas, which has become a nest for pirates plaguing the West Indies. 

Increasingly dissatisfied with her life, Anne meets a charismatic former pirate, John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, and persuades him to take up pirating again, and she won’t be left onshore. The Golden Age of Piracy is a period when frontiers were being explored and boundaries pushed. Wayward Voyage creates a vivid and gritty picture of colonial life in the Americas and at sea.

Review

Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of Anne Bonny, the woman who earned the right to be mentioned in the footnotes of the Golden Age of Piracy. This is her story, part fact and a lot of fiction, imagined through the eyes of the child and later the fierce woman seeking something more than what society has preordained for her.

‘This thing called love could only truly be understood in its absence’ – I think this sentence encompasses the woman and indeed her inner struggles. The inability to believe she is worthy and comprehend her own emotional attachments or even the lack of. It describes the close relationships she has with the men in her life.

I really enjoyed the read, but perhaps more so because Holmes manages to create this 3D perception of her main character, which becomes even more intricate when you draw upon historical fact and fictional sources. Who was this woman of great notoriety, who will be forever be synonymous with the greatly romanticised era of piracy, rebellion and political change.

A woman who demanded a seat at the table and different role for her gender. She refused to be confined and described by sexual objectification and power taken from her through the same avenue. Making a name and taking a stance by becoming one of the boys is an interesting parallel to the world of business and the way modern women inhabit the male centric and patriarchal careers and societies.

Under any other circumstances and perhaps in a situation where the law had better opportunity to curb her actions Anne would have been perceived and treated as a woman with mental health issues. In yet another perhaps as criminally intelligent and a sociopath. It’s interesting how our legacies are framed by the person narrating and writing history.

It speaks volumes that her name, her history and her myth is embedded in books, television and even popular video games. I loved the way the author gave a voice, a story and an ending to Anne. It might not be the one everyone would tell, but it is one that is filled with a sense of compassion, the conflict, the pain and that immense inner determination and drive. It’s a really good read.

Buy Wayward Voyage at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Book Guild Publishing Ltd pub date 28 April 2021. Buy at Amazon comBuy at WaterstonesWHSmithFoylesBlackwell’sBrownsbfsBook Depository.

#BlogTour Unto This Last by Rebecca Lipkin

Today it’s my turn and the last day of the BlogTour Unto This Last by Rebecca Lipkin.

About the Author

Rebecca Lipkin has had a passion for Victorian art and literature from a young age. She first discovered John Ruskin through E.M. Forster’s novel, A Room with a View, and later joined the Ruskin Society at the age of seventeen to learn more about Ruskin’s work. Rebecca pursued a career in journalism, specialising in arts writing and theatre reviewed, and has worked for a number of national publications. 

Rebecca says, “Most accounts of John Ruskin’s complex personal life focus on his brief marriage to Effie Gray, but his twenty-year relationship with Rosa La Touche was of huge importance to the evolution of his thinking; it is a captivating and tragic story of two people whose loving friendship transcended boundaries and conventions to the very end.” 

Follow @rebecca_lipkin on Twitteron Goodreads, Visit rebeccalipkin.comBuy Unto This Last

About the book

London, 1858. Passionate, contradictory, and fiercely loyal to his friends, John Ruskin is an eccentric genius, famed across Britain for his writings in art and philosophy. Haunted by a scandalous past and determined never to love again, the 39-year-old Ruskin becomes infatuated with his enigmatic young student, Rose La Touche, an obsession with profound consequences that will change the course of his life and work.

Written in a style recalling Victorian literature and spanning a period of twenty years, the story poses questions about the nature of live, the boundaries of parenthood, and compatibility in marriage. Unto This Last is a portrait of Ruskin’s tormented psyche and reveals a complex and misunderstood soul, longing for a life just out of reach.

Review

John Ruskin is very much a man of his privileged upbringing, but also one who has clearly struggled in the past to fit into society, because he refuses to conform when it comes to certain areas.

He is already a man with an established reputation as art critic, artist, teacher and philosopher, however the contrast to those exceptional traits is his scandalous personal life. In his fourth decade he becomes enamoured by a young girl called Rose, perhaps because they both share an openness when it comes to discovering the world around them – the ability to look beyond the boundaries others set, and the inability to abide by all the restrictions others set.

John is a constant disappointment to his parents, and yet is bound to them like a young child unwilling to sever the ties, whereas Rose is bound by parents who expect their daughter to obey and not bring a hint of scandal upon them. Unfortunately their story, although a long one, doesn’t end well for either.

I think a distinction should be made, although one could argue that the two are inseparable, between Ruskin’s vision, talent and his sexuality, his lack of interaction in his short-lived marriage, and of course his attraction to Rose. Obviously his relationship and love for Rose can be classed as hebophilia, and would be today.

However given his marriage and lack of interest in his wife I think he was probably a man who had experienced a lack of affection and love or perhaps it was just a matter of asexuality. Being asexual would explain both scenarios and especially why he felt as if he had found someone who understood him, his soul if you like, in young Rose.

George Shaw makes an interesting point; ‘Isn’t he a Victorian Warhol, on the edge and in the centre at all times? And like Warhol, he saw his own philosophy and his belief not within himself but in the world around him.’

You have the genius, perhaps before his time, who is regarded as peculiar and as not always adhering to societal standards. In fact his aptitude in regards to art and the way artists held him in regard and  the way he endeavoured to share this love, without any self-recognition of his own talent in comparison, is very telling. Isn’t that always the way of things that men and women who have the capacity to think beyond the norms and boundaries, that they are often slotted into categories of the mentally ill, a danger to society, heretics and so on, depending on the era they live or lived in. I think that is also the case for Ruskin.

Lipkin absolutely does his life, the disparity between the way historians regard him, and the way he was both perceived and he perceived himself, absolute justice. It’s actually strange to think of it as a fictional account, albeit one based on factual events, records and historical records, because Lipkin seems to capture him so well.

I’d also agree and kudos to the author for looking beyond the short marriage and the questions which arose from it, and perhaps also for steering clear of recent televised accounts of his life. Instead the story is an attempt to understand the man behind the reputation, the rumours and more importantly behind the mind of the man who left a the legacy for future generations to enjoy.

Buy Unto This Last at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Book Guild Publishing: pub date 28 August 2020 – £9.99. Buy at Book GuildBuy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Oath by Michael L. Lewis

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Oath by Michael L. Lewis.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 3 x Paperback copies of The Oath by Michael L. Lewis (UK Only)About the Author

Michael L. Lewis was born and raised in England. After preparatory school in London, he was educated at Stowe School, Buckingham. Michael now lives in Los Angeles, California, has a law degree, and writes full-time. He was on the Board of Trustees for several schools and has been a member of the same book club for twenty-five years.

Follow Michael L. Lewis on Facebookon AmazonBuy The Oath

About the book

Three Juniors – A Blood Oath – A Deadly Outcome

1955. The polished veneer of a boys’ boarding school in Northern England masks a cadre of wickedness. Seniors viciously torment any junior they deem unfit. Jonathan Simon, in his first term is warned that there are three monsters in his dorm; seniors Flicker, Sleeth and Tunk, and that the code of conduct mandates no snitching.

Simon befriends two other juniors; pixie-faced Ian Gracey and witty, grossly overweight Arthur Crown. During a cross-country run, the three friends take a short cut and stumble into the cadet rifle range. Corps Sergeant Sleeth puts them through a degrading punishment using human excrement. The three juniors swear a blood oath never to allow another bully to abuse them.

Will this oath be their downfall, or will they make it through the school year? Snitching could have serious consequences but keeping silent will break their blood oath.

As Simon, Gracey and Crown try to survive this perilous journey, the constant threat of harm brings their friendship ever closer…

Review

Boarding schools are very much part of the educational path of the upper class and the wealthy. It’s the norm to send off children, especially boys, to learning institutes. I think tradition, peer pressure and shoving the responsibility from nanny to boarding school has become so ingrained in certain social groups and countries that considering an alternative doesn’t even factor into their decision.

Leaving aside how academically successful a boarding school can be, the emotional damage caused by separation, bullying and the often predator like proclivity of sexual activity in these institutes is probably immeasurable.

Lewis plots the story around all of these negative aspects of being shipped off to school. His characters mirror both sides of the coin. The bullies who rule the roost and the damaged victims they leave in their wake.

The lines are drawn in the sand soon after the new school year starts when the youngest newbies become targets for the older bullies. The younger boys are determined not to let them get away with their usual crimes. The small groups become entwined in a dangerous war of revenge and a fight for survival.

It’s a contemporary thriller, a fast-paced and uncomfortable read at times. It fits into the YA and adult genre. The writing leans more towards simplicity and only skims the first layers in terms of depth. Saying that, the style lends itself to a bigger audience in terms of both younger and older readers.

Buy The Oath at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Book Guild Publishing pub date 1 Mar. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Book GuildBuy at Book DepositoryFoylesWHSmithWaterstonesBlackwells.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 3 x Paperback copies of The Oath by Michael L. Lewis (UK Only)

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