#BlogTour This Fragile Earth by Susannah Wise

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour This Fragile Earth by Susannah Wise.

About the Author

Susannah Wise is an actor and writer who grew up in London and the Midlands. The death of her father in 2015 was the catalyst for THIS FRAGILE EARTH. His preoccupation with astronomy and the beauty of the night sky formed the jumping-off point for the story. Susannah studied at the Faber Academy, graduating in September 2018, during which time she wrote a second, more peculiar novel. Both books have been longlisted for the Mslexia prize. She lives in London with her partner and son.

Follow @susannahwise on Twitter, Visit susannahwise.com

About the book

Not long from now, in a recognisable yet changed London, Signy and Matthew lead a dull, difficult life. They’ve only really stayed together for the sake of their six year old son, Jed. But they’re surviving, just about. Until the day the technology that runs their world stops working. Unable to use their phones or pay for anything, Matthew assumes that this is just a momentary glitch in the computers that now run the world.

But then the electricity and gas are cut off. Even the water stops running. And the pollination drones – vital to the world, ever since the bees all died – are behaving oddly. People are going missing. Soldiers are on the streets. London is no longer safe.

A shocking incident sends Signy and Jed on the run, desperate to flee London and escape to the small village where Signy grew up. Determined to protect her son, Signy will do almost anything to survive as the world falls apart around them. But she has no idea what is waiting for them outside the city…


Signy reminded me of the early version of Tempe Brennan in Bones. Very logical, intelligent and blunt to the point of rude. She also spends the entirety of the book talking to those around her with a certain aloofness including those closest to her. Her conversations with her son are more like intellectual discourse between two peers.

Her world is suddenly thrown into disarray when the technology appears to fail completely, which leaves chaos and panic in its stead. Society isn’t really set-up for failure and the humans aren’t at all prepared for a pre-technology on the spot solution.

Sometimes some scenes seemed superfluous and some moments out of character, a bit like filling holes with some random stuff. This seemed like a contradiction to the premise as a whole. On the plus side the futuristic element felt easy to elate too. Nothing too outlandish and possibilities that could be in our near future.

It’s a dystopian sci-fi come technology premise – a possible glimpse of the future. A society completely dependent on gadgets, electricity, gas, drones and the Big Brother surveillance. It perhaps has a message about relying completely on technology in life, because if it fails there isn’t anything to fall back on. Cue survival mode and preppers, even if it’s just filling the pantry with long life milk, tinned food and bottled water.

Buy This Fragile Earth at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Gollancz, pub date 24 June 2021 – Hardback £14.99 also as eBook and audiobook. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris

It was my turn on the BlogTour Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris yesterday, but due to unforeseen circumstances I am posting today instead. This beautiful book is illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins.

‘The stunning new novella from No 1 bestselling author Joanne Harris: Orfeia is a gender-flipped retelling of the Orpheus Myth.’ 

About the Author

Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French writer, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. In 2000, her 1999 novel Chocolat was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. Chocolat has sold over a million copies in the UK alone and was a global bestseller. 

She is an Honorary Fellow of St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen. Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16 and runs the musical storytelling show Storytime. Joanne lives with her husband in Yorkshire, about 15 miles from the place she was born. Find out more at www.joanne-harris.co.uk or 

Follow @Joannechocolat on Twitteron GoodreadsBuy Orfeia

About the book

When you can find me an acre of land, Every sage grows merry in time, Between the ocean and the sand Then will you be united again.

So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself. But determination alone is not enough. For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or her freedom itself . . .


I can only recommend you buy a hardcopy of this beautiful book. It may only be novella length with 224 pages, but the illustration and the story make up for the length. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it as a gift and it is one of those books that takes up a special place on your bookshelf. 

It’s inspired by folklore or the myth of Orpheus, who tries to return to the Underworld to be reunited with Eurydice, but cannot do so whilst alive. The myth also speaks of him playing a mourning song to call on death, depending on the variation of the retelling. The songs and sound of grief, longing and love are important in this story.

Harris takes the tale and puts her mark on it as only she can. Orpheus becomes Orfeia the grieving mother, who returns to the world she has forgotten to find her lost child. To do so she must also enter a world, which demands death as an entrance fee, but before doing so she must also remember and adhere to the sly and often insidious games of her people. The people she left behind to live the life of a mortal, which in retrospect has only caused her grief.

I have to say the first chapters were heartbreaking. It was as if Harris was reaching out from within the pages and squeezing my heart. Words so beguiling and yet simultaneously brutally frank. One wonders, why isn’t there a word for mother or father who has lost there child. We have a title or phrase for everything else – perhaps the hope that one never has to endure said situation is why it remains nameless. No shout-out to the universe, hence no echo returning to inflict such pain. If only that were true.

I absolutely loved it.

Buy Orfeia at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in hardback by Gollancz on 3rd September 2020 – £14.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Waterstones.