#Blogtour Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara

It’s truly a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara. This is a feminist retelling you don’t want to miss.

About the Author

Luna McNamara holds a master’s degree from Harvard University in the study of women and gender in world religions. A lifelong lover of Greek myths, she has studied ancient Greek language and philosophy. She is currently a social worker living in Boston. Psyche and Eros is her debut novel. Follow @McnamaraLuna on Twitter, Visit lunamcnamarawriter.com

About the book

The greatest love story ever told…

Born into an era of heroes, a prophecy claims that Psyche – a Princess of Mycenae – will defeat a monster feared even by the gods themselves. Rebelling against society’s traditions, she spends her youth mastering blade and bow, preparing to fulfil her destiny.

But she is soon caught up in powers beyond her control, when the jealous Aphrodite sends the God of Desire, Eros, to deliver a fatal love-curse. The last thing Eros wants is to become involved in the chaos of the mortal world, but when he is pricked by the very arrow intended for Psyche, he is doomed to love a woman who will be torn from him the moment their eyes meet.

Thrown together by fate, headstrong Psyche and world-weary Eros will face challenges greater than they could ever have imagined. And as the Trojan War begins and the whole of the heavens try to keep them apart, will they find their way back to each other…before it’s too late?

Psyche and Eros has every single mythological ingredient readers could hope for: a fierce, aspirational female protagonist (this is definitely Psyche’s story), a Herculean-like quest, all your favourite Gods and Goddesses wreaking havoc on mere mortals and set against the outbreak of the Trojan War.


Not going to lie – absolutely freaking loved it. It’s all the way up there when it comes to the fantastic retellings, reimagining and new interpretations of Greek mythology, although to be fair this is more than just that. The author has taken a chess board of a variety of mythologies and well-known personas, well maybe more of a smorgasbord, and moves them and makes slight changes to known narratives to create this riveting retelling. It’s a reawakening.

Psyche is born under the glow or shadow, depends on how you see it really, of a prophecy that speaks of her future defeat of a monster. Just a minor problem with being perceived and treated as a possible heroine, society doesn’t expect girls to save the day.

Eros is a wee bit bored, confused and even perplexed by humanity, especially the way mere mortals manage to take what he bestows upon on them and manipulate, destroy and abuse it. He is frustrated by his fall from status and having to bow to those once lesser and now in control. He has no choice when he is forced to deliver a curse, because Psyche has come to the attention of a green-eyed monster.

The two are destined to meet, collide and change their paths forever. Love under the constraints of a cruel curse or never the twain shall meet per the fine print of the same curse.

I can’t recommend this enough, especially if you’re embracing old material view through a different lens. Narratives, myths, gods, goddesses and mortals written through the eye of the needle called man. Let’s turn up the volume a little louder on the silenced and unwritten perspective.

Buy Psyche and Eros at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orion Fiction; pub date 25 May 2023, available in hardback, ebook and audio £16.99. Buy at Amazon com

#Blogtour Henry VIII: The Heart and The Crown by Alison Weir

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Henry VIII: The Heart & The Crown by Alison Weir.

‘Six Wives. One King. This is the story you’ve been waiting for. You know their stories. Now it’s time to hear his.’

About the Author

Alison Weir is a bestselling historical novelist of Tudor fiction, and the leading female historian in the United Kingdom. She has published more than thirty books, including many leading works of non-fiction, and has sold over three million copies worldwide. 

Her novels include the Tudor Rose trilogy, which spans three generations of history’s most iconic family – the Tudors, and the highly acclaimed Six Tudor Queens series about the wives of Henry VIII, all of which were Sunday Times bestsellers. Alison is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an honorary life patron of Historic Royal Palaces. Follow @AlisonWeirBooks on Twitter, Visit alisonweir.org.uk

About the book

Alison Weir, No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the Six Tudor Queens series, returns with the second in a captivating new trio of novels spanning three generations of history’s most iconic family, the Tudors.

A young boy grows up dreaming of knights and chivalry. Harry is the second son. He is never meant to rule. But the death of his brother changes everything, and great destiny awaits this young prince. One day he will be the most infamous king in English history. – HENRY VIII. HIS STORY.


It’s fascinating how a different perspective, added information and the ability to leave a very deeply embedded image of Henry VIII to the side, can result in meeting a completely new version of the infamous monarch.

I came away with a better understanding of the man he became and why and was able to feel empathy and sympathy for the boy, the man, and the king. It doesn’t excuse his actions and choices, but the way the author has looked beyond the established narrative helps us to understand the possible motivation.

The glossing over of his years with Katherine and the deaths of their many infants –  it explains his obsession with an heir just a tad more, especially given the way he himself became the heir to the throne. The equally destructive obsession with faithfulness and that his wives be free of any suggestion of promiscuity, a point often driven home when it came to debating Katherine and her suitability as possible future wife to Henry.

I really enjoyed this, especially because it makes the seemingly erratic and often cruel decisions much clearer if seen through the lens of the spare who feels guilt for wanting to be king and then actually becoming the surviving heir. The child who loses the mother whose love, guidance and support could have raised a different man. The boy and young man who spends an entire lifetime subconsciously and consciously hearing and acting upon what his father taught him, a father who viewed him as a tool of power.

Weir takes the history we know by heart and makes it intriguing, but more importantly she makes us question well-known narratives and look for every voice in the story.

Buy Henry VIII: The Heart & the Crown at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Headline Review; pub date 11 May 2023 | Hardback, audio & e-book | £25.00. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Headline.

#Blogtour Kill For It by Lizzie Fry

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Kill For It by Lizzie Fry. ‘A gripping feminist thriller, Dexter with a twist – how far would you go for the thing you want most?’

About the Author

Lizzie Fry is a debut author of high concept thriller The Coven (published by Sphere books), but you might know her better as LV Hay. LV’s books previous books were crime fiction: The Other Twin, Do No Harm (Orenda Books) and Never Have I Ever (Hodder). The Other Twin is currently being adapted for the screen by Agatha Raisin producers Free@Last TV. Follow @LizzieFryAuthor on Twitter

About the book

Would You Kill For It? The story pits young and upcoming journalist Cat against veteran reporter Erin. Cat is sick of not getting ahead at work so comes up with a sickening plan to literally grab the headlines … and the only one who can stop her is Erin, but to do so she must put her own life at risk.

In the game of cat and mouse, there can only be one winner in the book advance readers are calling ‘Killing Eve meets Nightcrawler.’


Erin has made a choice, albeit allegedly a difficult one, career comes first and family somewhere at the end of the list. Her ambition has cost her an arm and a leg already, and now she has to make sure she maintains her slot at the top.

You would think that Erin would be able to understand the way Cat wants to succeed and get ahead. Stepping over others and being ruthless, perhaps more importantly teaching her that the most obvious path isn’t necessarily the one you should take, but it will be the one others expect you to stay on. Both women want to succeed, but at what cost to either of them?

At the end of the day is it a case of two sides of the same coin. Does same recognise same? Is it ambition or a frustration about having to swim upstream against the sexism and misogyny, wouldn’t that make someone do something extreme? In fact isn’t that the real difference between Erin, Cat and you and I.

And where does that ending leave us? It’s a bit like opening a door a few inches with the knowledge that just an inch of a slit could mean the return of something very dangerous indeed.

It’s the kind of read I absolutely expect from the author – under either name. She loves to pit the worst of human behaviour, traits and reactions, against each other. This dark domestic read is also a psychological thriller with important themes driving the characters and the plot. Women as second class citizens in the workplace, especially when it comes to leadership level. Having to fight dirty to sit at the place they have earned at the table, what’s worse is having to become one of guys to do just that or perhaps even become the victim of  someone abusing their power.

It’s a riveting read with imperfect characters who make split second ruthless choices to get ahead and doing so move the obstacles in their way.

Buy Kill For It at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Sphere pub date 18 Aug. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Between Us by Mhairi McFarlane

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Between Us by Mhairi McFarlane.

About the Author

When Joe and Roisin join their group of friends for a weekend at a country house, it’s a triple celebration – a birthday, an engagement and the launch of Joe’s shiny new crime drama on TV. For Roisin, it’s a chance to connect with the group of friends she made a decade before, working as a bookseller. But for Joe, it’s a distraction as his writing career soars.

As the weekend unfolds, tensions are revealed between the group and Roisin’s sense of foreboding about her own relationship grows. And when the friends watch the first episode of Joe’s drama, she realises that the secrets she told him are right there on the screen. But is that all he’s used? What if the fictional hero’s infidelity also isn’t fictional after all? Follow @MhairiMcF on Twitter

About the book

Sunday Times bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane was born in Scotland in 1976 and her unnecessarily confusing name is pronounced Vah-Ree. After some efforts at journalism, she started writing novels and her first book, You Had Me At Hello, was an instant success and she’s since sold nearly 2 million copies of her books. Between Us is her ninth book and she lives in Nottingham with a man and a cat.


I have to get something off my chest – I know this is marketed as romcom, and it does have romance and it does have comedy, but that’s not where I would put this gem of a reading experience. The comedy element is snarky, pithy, often vicious and soul-bearing banter. The romance is a deep exploration of long-term relationships and friendships, and how those friendships evolve and devolve as we grow and change throughout the years and our experiences.

For me this absolutely is a bit of a Fleabag – it certainly has the potential to be the kind of on-screen material that will resonate with a big audience. With the slight of a hand Roisin could interact the way Joe’s character does with the audience, and wouldn’t it just be grand to see Joe and his fictional character play off each other. Sounds like an interesting experience, so here’s keeping our fingers crossed that this story is seen for the deep introspective work it is.

It’s just so much more than recognising that you deserve better, that expecting the bare minimum of love, touch and respect isn’t needy or to be framed as pushy – it’s a normal expectation that no one should demean you for wanting. It’s hard when your truth is merely a variation of what they consider their truth to be, and yet somehow expect you to fall in to step with the abusive and deceptive nature of it all.

I enjoyed the read. The author has a way of bringing a variety of personalities to the table that coincide with groupings we as people naturally are drawn to. The way people are capable of being supportive, loving and then simultaneously destructive and self-destructive at the same time. I think the true nature of Joe was captured so well that it could have been its own version of a psychological thriller.

Highly recommend it, regardless of whether you are looking for a laugh, some romance or indeed don’t mind falling into the deeper side of the emotional well that long term relationships bring to the table.

Buy Between Us at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Collins Uk; pub date 11th May 2023 | Paperback Original | Ebook | Audio | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Outback by Michael Davies

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Outback by Michael Davies. ‘The Desmond Bagley Centenary Thriller by Michael Davies, from an idea by Desmond Bagley.’

About the Author and Desmond Bagley

Michael Davies began his career as a newspaper journalist and editor and a professional theatre critic. Since moving into fiction, his writing has appeared on stage, screen, radio, the printed page and online.

His debut play won a national competition, and subsequent work includes Tess – The Musical, an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. He is a lifelong Desmond Bagley fan, and in 2019 reworked one of Bagley’s abandoned drafts into the highly acclaimed novel Domino Island.

Desmond Bagley was a multi-million-copy selling author of 16 adventure thrillers. Moving to South Africa after WW2, his transition from unskilled printer’s apprentice, aircraft engineer, mine worker, photographer. Follow @mrgdavies on Twitter

About the book

A brand new novel that continues the legacy of ‘Master of the Genre’ Desmond Bagley by the co-author of Domino Island. – The Sequel to Desmond Bagley’s Domino Island.

Insurance investigator Bill Kemp had never wanted to trek deep into Australia’s remote interior. But when his clients Sophie and Adam Church inherit an abandoned opal mine, triggering some explosive long-lost secrets, they – and Kemp – find themselves facing an unknown enemy even more deadly than the vast, forbidding wilderness of the Outback…

The Desmond Bagley centenary novel honours the legacy of the bestselling thriller writer with a new adventure featuring Bill Kemp, described by Jeffrey Deaver as ‘part James Bond, part Philip Marlowe, and all hero’. Writer Michael Davies, who completed the first Kemp novel Domino Island for publication nearly 40 years after the author’s death, now weaves an original tale of danger and death under the blistering Australian sun.


Could anyone else hear the ominous music playing in the background in the first few chapters? It’s the outback, the middle of nowhere – the kind of place that will kill you, that’s if one of the many lethal creatures doesn’t get you first. No matter how interested you are in your heritage and family background, who goes into a dangerous and very unstable cave without having a real plan in case something goes terribly wrong, which of course it inevitably does.

Bill Kemp is a man of instinct, right? I wonder if the same thoughts crossed his mind when the first step in the midst of a well constructed bigger plan is executed. That gut instinct is quickly overshadowed by shock, concern and the feeling of I told you so.

What starts as fulfilling a wish to find out more about family roots, soon ends in a fight for survival for Sophie, Adam and Bill. A tenuous grasp on a thin thread that connects the three of them to the rest of civilisation.

It’s an insidious plot wrapped inside the fascinating backdrop of Australia, a remote and often deadly experience. Woven through something deeper and darker, the core essence of the outback becomes a visceral experience for the reader, as a simple excursion becomes a nightmare.

The author certainly does Bagley justice – this sequel is commendable and hopefully there is scope for more.

Buy Outback at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Collins Crime Club; pub date 11 May 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Sylvia by Maithreyi Karnoor

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Sylvia by Maithreyi Karnoor.

About the Author

Maithreyi Karnoor is a Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow in creative writing and translation at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. She has been shortlisted for The Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize for A Handful of Sesame, her translation of a Kannada novel. She is a two- time finalist for The Montreal International Poetry Prize. Sylvia is her debut novel. She lives in Bangalore, India. Follow @MaitreyiKarnoor on Twitter

About the book

Longing to connect to his ancestral roots, Cajetan Pereira has taken up residence near one of the rare and mystical Baobab trees in South India. Into his world walks Sylvia, a young woman in search of a story. They bond over their new-found relationship, until one day consumed by regret, Sylvia disappears. 

In a rich kaleidoscope of tales, Sylvia is glimpsed in the lives of other characters as a colleague, friend, wife, and lover, until she comes back into focus as she finds herself becoming whole once more – but is it too late? 

Brimming with exquisite prose, Sylvia is a beautifully woven tapestry of the ways in which we leave indelible imprints on each other’s lives. 


I feel it is paramount that we continue to evolve by learning and that includes the impact systemic racism, colonisation, slavery has had and still has. With that in mind, and knowing what the author is passionate about in their writing, while I was reading this I was thinking about something I watched recently about the way colonisers have colonised the important important religious, cultural and heritage events of minorities and other cultures. The way we view them is through the lens and interpretation of the coloniser, thereby never being able to correctly comprehend the aforementioned correctly, and thus also the people they are important to. 

This book is all about allowing the reader to step back and experience Indian mythology in a contemporary setting, and perhaps allow this exploration to give the us a better insight and interpretation.

Interpretation is key, perhaps the story of Bhaubaab, Lakshmi, and the snake, is a good example of that. The path of Bhaubaab and Lakshmi is the first part of the book, the second half consists of stories with characters with their own stories to tell. Or are they? Is it merely a metaphor for the premise that we are all and one the same. Our stories can be this, that, them. Everywhere embedded in every character. Interpretation, and this indeed leans into areas of speculation.

It’s beautifully written with lyrical prose and an almost spiritual element that is driven from first page to last via the ever changing and evolving Sylvia who – and this is how I experienced the read – represents all of us in a variation of roles, relationships and moments. Sylvia becomes the element of hope, belief, spirituality, even if only a small part – in each of us.

Buy Sylvia at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Neem Tree Press Limited; pub date 2 May 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Funeral Cryer by Wenyan Lu

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Funeral Cryer by Wenyan Lu.

About the Author

Originally from Shanghai, China, Wenyan Lu is the winner of the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2020. Wenyan holds a Master of Studies in Creative Writing as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. Her unpublished historical novel The Martyr’s Hymn was also longlisted for SI Leeds Literary Prize 2018 and Bridport First Novel Prize 2019. She lives in Cambridge with her family. Follow @wenyan_lu on Twitter or Instagram: @wenyanwrites

About the book

An Yu’s Braised Pork meets Flaubert’s Madame Bovary in this unforgettable, tragi-comic tale of one woman’s mid-life re-awakening in contemporary rural China.

The Funeral Cryer long ago accepted the mundane realities of her life: avoided by fellow villagers because of the stigma attached to her job as a professional mourner and under-appreciated by The Husband, whose fecklessness has pushed the couple close to the brink of break-up. But just when things couldn’t be bleaker, The Funeral Cryer takes a leap of faith – and in so doing things start to take a surprising turn for the better . . .

Dark, moving, and wry, The Funeral Cryer is both an illuminating depiction of a ‘left behind’ society – and proof that it’s never too late to change your life.


I could cry, happy tears mind you, about the simplicity of it all, which is a statement in itself – not the crying, the simplicity. At one point I was convinced the daughter was either hiding in a shed eating sausages or someone was texting the Cryer pretending to be the daughter. At the end I realised the genius is in the anonymity and simplicity.

In fact this is the kind of material that makes an prizeworthy film. A story that tells the tale of a woman isolated by her choice of job, ignored by her husband, and considered a second class citizen because she is a woman. She is at stage in her life when society no longer considers her attractive or worthy of consideration. A mid-life occurrence for many women when invisibility kicks in. Good enough to be the servant, the cook, the one making money and putting food on the table, and of course good enough to be the substitute in bed.

Simultaneously the story speaks to the rural economic desperation, the separation of town and country, they way the young move to the cities and are often left with no other option to finance themselves than selling themselves. The huge discrepancy between the haves and have-nots is very evident.

I think the Cryer is the epitome of the way a woman is perceived in society and also the way women endure silently, battle on with a drive that threatens to come to an instant halt at any time.

I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

Buy The Funeral Cryer at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Allen and Unwin; Hardback & eBook | pub date 4 May 2023 | £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Only Love Can Hurt Like This by Paige Toon

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Only Love Can Hurt Like This by Paige Toon.

About the Author

Paige Toon is the Sunday Times bestselling author of eighteen books that have sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide.

Paige writes sweeping, emotional love stories – filled with characters you’ll never forget and incredible settings – that take you on a unique journey. She tells nuanced stories with big, thought-provoking themes at their heart which leave you uplifted and believing in the power of love. She writes her novel from a converted camper van in the garden of her Cambridgeshire home. Follow @PaigeToonAuthor on Twitter

About the book

A love story with an earth-shattering secret at its core, this is without doubt Paige Toon’s most moving and heart-breaking novel yet.

Neither of them expected to fall in love. But sometimes life has other plans. When Wren realises her fiancé is in love with someone else, she thinks her heart will never recover. On the other side of the world, Anders lost his wife four years ago and is still struggling to move on.

Wren hopes that spending the summer with her dad and stepfamily on their farm in Indiana will help her to heal. There, amid the cornfields and fireflies, she and Anders cross paths and their worlds are turned upside-down again.

But Wren doesn’t know that Anders is harbouring a secret, and if he acts on any feelings he may have for Wren, it will have serious fall-out for everyone. Walking away would hurt Wren more than she can imagine. But, knowing the truth, how can she possibly stay?


Was I the only one who caught an earworm because of the title of the book? Every time I read the title I can hear Paloma singing away in my ear. I wonder if the emotional honesty of these lyrics inspired the heartbreak of this story.

Saying that, the author gives the reader a good run for their money when it comes to the rollercoaster we call life. It can be exhausting, both emotionally, mentally and physically. Then equally life can be filled with moments of beauty and pure joy. This strange balance is what keeps us going and this book captures that really well. 

More importantly perhaps the story also speaks to how fast our truths and lives can change. One moment you’re expecting to spend the rest of your life with the man you love and the next minute you are wondering how you ended up heartbroken and alone. Then the emotional turmoil Anders experiences and causes in equal measure – loyalty and a sense of honour can be a burden and something to celebrate. Wren copes with this struggle extremely well.

It’s a great read – this author always manages to bring a realistic story with all the complications of relationships, tragedies and people just trying to live life without breaking every time an unexpected twist tries to bring you to your knees.

Buy Only Love Can Hurt Like This at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher  : ‎ Penguin – Century PRH UK; pub date 27 April 2023 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Medici Murders by David Hewson

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Medici Murders by David Hewson.

About the Author

David Hewson is a former journalist with The Times, Sunday Times and Independent. He is the author of more than twenty-five novels, including his Rome-based Nic Costa series which has been published in fifteen languages, and his Amsterdam-based series featuring detective Pieter Vos. He has also written three acclaimed adaptations of the Danish TV series, The Killing. He lives near Canterbury in Kent. Follow @david_hewson on Twitter, Visit davidhewson.com

About the book

Venice is a city full of secrets. For hundreds of years it has been the scene of scandal, intrigue and murderous rivalries. And it remains so today. 1548, Lorenzino de Medici, himself a murderer and a man few will miss, is assassinated by two hired killers.

Today, Marmaduke Godolphin, British TV historian and a man even fewer will miss, is stabbed by a stiletto blade on the exact same spot, his body dropping into the canal.

Can the story of the first murder explain the attack on Godolphin? The Carabinieri certainly think so. They recruit retired archivist Arnold Clover to unpick the mystery and to help solve the case. But the conspiracy against Godolphin runs deeper than anyone imagined.


When the reader starts this journey into the investigation or clarification of the death of Marmaduke Godolphin, it seems to be an almost normal thing thing for Capitano Fabbri to ask for help from someone who knew him – knew of him. Is it though? In what way could a simple archivist possibly contribute to unravelling the mystery surrounding the demise of Godolphin, unless of course there really is a connection between a assassination of a de Medici committed many centuries ago.

Towards the end I felt as if Capitano Valentina Fabbri was perhaps from the very beginning of the story an instinctive and astute Columbo, but with an element of compassion where the law should supersede the emotional context of the scenario or crime.

Only a small side note: Valentina should have laughed not giggled, it’s not in keeping with her character. The assertive, confident person insistent on being viewed as without the usual stereotypical traits society deems womanly and in equal measures as a sign of weakness in comparison to men – she would have laughed.

I enjoyed the way past, present and the surroundings soaked in centuries of both told and untold history are woven into the fabric of the story, thereby elevating the characters just ever so slightly from their imposing background drop and the baggage that walks along with them.

It reminded me in some ways of Dibdin mastery, who also had this talent for enhancing story and character with art and history. I’d be interested in seeing whether Valentina, Arnold and hopefully Luca, will continue to enthral us with tales of mystery, vengeance and the fragility of human nature.

Buy The Medici Murders at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Canongate books;  Publication date: 4th May 2023 – Paperback £9.99 – eBook £4.79. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Ma

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Ma. ‘The eagerly awaited new novel from the internationally bestselling author of The Mountains Sing.’

About the Author

Nguyễn Phan Quế Ma is an award-winning Vietnamese poet and novelist. Born in the Red Delta of Northern Việt Nam, she grew up in the Mekong Delta, Southern Việt Nam. She is a writer and translator who has published eight books of poetry, short stories and non-fiction in Vietnamese. Her debut novel and first book in English, The Mountains Sing, is an international bestseller, runner-up for the 2021 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and winner of the 2021 PEN Oakland/ Josephine Miles Literary Award, the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship, and others, and has been translated into fifteen languages. 

She has a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and her writing has appeared in various publications including the New York Times. Quế Mai was named by Forbes Vietnam as one of the twenty most inspiring women of 2021. Dust Child is inspired by her many years working as a volunteer helping family members unite, and reflects the real-life experiences of Amerasians and their family members. Visit nguyenphanquemai.com or follow @nguyen_p_quemai on Twitter

About the book

During the Việt Nam War, tens of thousands of children were born into relationships between American soldiers and Việtnamese women. Tragic circumstances separated most of these Amerasian children from their parents. Many have not found each other again…

In 1969, two sisters from rural Việt Nam leave their parents’ home to find work in Sài Gòn. Caught up in the war that is blazing through their country they, like many other young Việtnamese women, are employed as hostesses in a bar frequented by American GIs. Soon they are forced to accept that their own survival, and that of their family back home, might mean compromising the values they have always held dear. As the fighting moves closer to the city, the elder sister, Trang, begins a romance with a young American helicopter pilot.

Decades later, two men wander the streets and marketplaces of modern Sài Gòn. Phong is a ‘Dust Child’ – the son of a Black American soldier and a Vietnamese woman, abandoned by his mother and ostracized all his life – and is looking for his parents and through them a way out of Việt Nam. Meanwhile war veteran Dan returns with his wife Linda, hoping to ease the PTSD that has plagued him for decades. Neither of them can escape the shadow of decisions made during a time of desperation.

With the same compassion and insight that has made The Mountains Sing a favourite of readers across the world, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai brings to life the interwoven stories of these four unforgettable characters, and asks what it takes to move forward


The author captures the feeling these children have, or in this case Phong, of living in a space of neither here nor there. Never accepted by the people of of his home country and treated as if he was personally responsible for the past. His appearance a constant reminder of the Americans who left and never looked back.

Simultaneously the trauma and PTSD the American GI’s experience is described with a calm intensity and never with an atmosphere of deserved guilt. As a reader you can feel empathy for any of the main characters without delving too far into the right or wrong of the political skirmish. Instead the author allows for the scenario of each as victim of circumstance merely trying to survive the horror of war.

Infused with an almost trademark sense of compassion, clarity and understanding, the story reminds us of not only the trauma, but also of the ripple these events create in the time. The aftermath, which consumes innocent children who by no fault of their own became unwanted  items in the packing area. With no possible avenue to trace parents who didn’t want them or were unable to raise them.

Imagine living in a Catch 22, where you are clearly discriminated against because of your connection to an American parent and yet are unable to fulfil the requirements to leave the country that has never wanted you in the first place.

It’s a story that comprehends the fact that life is imperfect, ergo there isn’t always a perfect ending or resolution. Equally that there can never be any real restitution for a lifetime of rejection or real peace for the those involved in vicious wartime conflicts. It’s a great read.

Buy Dust Child at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by ONEWORLD | pub date 20 April 2023 | Hardback | £16.99. Buy at Amazon com.