#Blogtour The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde illustrated by Philippe Jullian

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde illustrated by Philippe Jullian.

‘The complete collection, first published in 1952 with exquisite illustrations by the celebrated artist Philippe Jullian, republished in a beautiful giftable edition.’  

About the Author

Born in Dublin in 1854, Oscar Wilde was an Irish wit, playwright and poet best remembered for his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and his social comedies including The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). He published two volumes of beloved fairy tales. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and his two sons were born in 1885 and 1886. Wilde died in Paris in 1900.

About the book

For nearly 150 years, the classic fairy stories of Oscar Wilde have been cherished by readers of all ages. Rediscover all nine of the stories first published in The Happy Prince and other stories (1888) and A House of Pomegranates (1891) in this beautiful new edition of Duckworth’s exquisite 1952 complete collection, featuring intricate illustrations by the celebrated twentieth-century artist and aesthete Phillippe Jullian, and an afterword by Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland.

Review

I’ve read Wilde’s fairy stories before, quite often actually. Personally, I think they are exquisite, although Dorian Gray tends to get more attention overall, these are such memorable and often emotional stories. They are drawn from the ingrained folklore and stories Oscar grew up with. This is the 1952 edition republished, it contains beautiful illustrations by Philippe Jullian.

There is an afterword – a critical note – written by Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland, which gives insight into the inspiration behind these fairy stories. It might have made more sense to put it in the front, however this way you experience the story and draw your own conclusions. Either way it’s a fascinating insight.

It’s evident in these stories how deeply Wilde was able to connect with the emotions of his fellow humans, especially with those they like to keep hidden away from the world. He lays bare the vulnerability, the harsh truth and just how disconnected we can all be from each other, ergo capable of hurting each other and creating wounds that never quite heal.

It’s gorgeous edition, one I wouldn’t hesitate to buy for others. Side note – I just love The Happy Prince.

Buy The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde at Amazon Uk or Buy via Duckworth Books.

#Blogtour The No-Hopers Christmas Club by Geraldine Ryan

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour The No-Hopers Christmas Club by Geraldine Ryan.

About the Author

Geraldine Ryan is a proud Northerner who has spent most of her life in Cambridge – the one with the punts. She holds a degree in Scandinavian Studies, but these days only puts it to use when identifying which language is being spoken among the characters of whatever Scandi drama is currently showing on TV. 

For many years, she worked as a teacher of English and of English as a second or foreign language, in combination with rearing her four children, all of whom are now grown-up, responsible citizens. Her first published story appeared in My Weekly in 1993. Since then, her stories have appeared in Take a Break, Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly, as well as in women’s magazines abroad. 

She has also written two young adult novels – Model Behaviour (published by Scholastic) and The Lies and Loves of Finn (Channel 4 Books.) She plans for Riding Pillion with George Clooney to be the first of several short story anthologies. 

Keep up to date with Geraldine’s news, be the first to hear about her new releases and read exclusive content by signing up to her monthly newsletter Turning the Page. By adding your details, you’ll also receive a free short story. Use this link to subscribe: Turningthepage. Follow @GeraldineRyan on Twitter, or Facebook geraldineryanwriter

About the book

As warming as a mince pie and a glass of sherry, these eighteen festive-themed shorts are just waiting to be unwrapped.

• A lonely dog shelter volunteer battles to find new homes for her long-time canine residents while realising her own future is just as uncertain. As the new year approaches, can a fellow animal lover give her the fresh start she so wants for her dogs.

• A widowed grandmother prepares to reunite with her forbidden first love, only to discover the grand country pile from where he’s sent her a Christmas card isn’t quite what it seems.

• A single woman finally meets a man to couple up with over the festive season, but will the eccentric mistress of her late father destroy her plans?

• An ambitious 20-something attends a lavish Christmas party with only one aim – to bag a rich husband. But her plans are derailed when a troubling connection with the aristocrat she’s set her sights on is revealed.

Geraldine Ryan is a prolific short-story writer whose work has appeared in Woman’s Weekly and Take a Break’s Fiction Feast magazines. This yuletide collection follows hot on the heels of her first published anthology Riding Pillion with George Clooney. While Christmas comes but once a year, these moving and humorous tales will stay with you for a lifetime.

Review

If you take as a theme – It’s a Wonderful Life, where the balance between hope, dismay, carrying on or giving up is often just a moment of clarity or reflection. For me this was at the core of these short stories. Perspective is everything. Allowing yourself to take a different turn in the road. 

This is a collection of what appears to be cosy stories, but if you look close enough you can see the glimpses of human nature – good, bad, ugly and even the slightly messy. You can see the moments where the roads collide, and decisions must be made, which is quintessentially the way the majority of us live our lives.

I’d recommend this to readers who want a read that wanders through a variety of emotional depth. Short glimpses of situations and lives centred around the festive season. A story for everyone, and perhaps even some that will jolt memories, make you smile or vanish into the short interludes.

Buy The No-Hopers Christmas Club at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: ‎Wrate’s Publishing, pub date 14 Nov 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Word is Love by Florence Keeling

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Word is Love by Florence Keeling.

About the Author

I was born in Coventry but now live in Nuneaton. I married the love of my life over 20 years ago and we have two almost grown up children. We share our lives with two mad dogs as well.

Writing is a great passion of mine, that one day I hope to be able to turn into a career but until that day comes, I will continue working in accounts and payroll. I also write for children as Lily Mae Walters. Follow @KeelingFlorence on Twitter or Insta – florence.keeling

About the book

Lucky in life but unlucky in love, Lucy Greenfield owns a successful carriage business along with her best friend Max, and they have never been busier since their shire horses gained fame from their roles in the hit movie A Little in Love.

Too busy for romance, Lucy is surprisingly swept off her feet when Spencer arrives seeking help with his horse, and something more from Lucy. As quickly as Lucy falls, she wonders if all is not as it seems. Max can prove it, but that means he will have to express his true feelings for Lucy.

Relationships are strained as secrets unravel, and Lucy needs to solve the riddle of words to best describe how she feels… For her best friend.

Together, they must overcome what’s keeping them apart before it’s too late, if they are going to realise that the word is love.

Review

Lucy and Max – it seems as if they have been friends forever. They have a great working relationship and Max has become part of the family over the years. The family business is thriving since their shire horses became a fan favourite after featuring in a hit movie, a romance no less.

The carriage business becomes a way to deliver the dream, the perception of perfection and a happily ever after. It also attracts quite a varied type of clientele, such as Spencer the entitled toff, who charms Lucy in an instant. It jolts Max into facing the reality of losing a friend or perhaps it’s more about losing someone who means something more to him than just a friend.

It’s very much a tale about not realising what you have until the possibility of losing it all becomes a reality. Taking people and relationships for granted, because the assumption is that will always be there for you. The truth is people aren’t always on the same wavelength when it comes to love.

It’s a lovely story with potential for expansion. The horses and the family business could be a great source of material, especially if they are at a different wedding each weekend. It could do with a little more emotional depth, but light and breezy is also a way to go.

Buy The Word is Love at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: ‎Parcel & Page pub date 8 Nov. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Summer Escape by Hannah Ellis

It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Summer Escape by Hannah Ellis, the third book in the Isles of Scilly series.

About the Author

Hannah Ellis spent many years working in childcare before deciding she’d like to write books. When she’s not busy writing she likes to read, drink tea and eat chocolate. She also enjoys yoga and jogging. 

Follow @BooksEllis on Twitter, Insta @authorhannahellis or FB authorhannahellis

About the book

Single-mother Beth desperately needs a break. Grieving the loss of her mother, she sets off to the Isles of Scilly with her five-year-old daughter, Ellie.

Their holiday cottage is utterly charming, but it’s meeting Trystan – the owner of the cottage – that makes Beth’s stay so perfect.

When their holiday fling starts to feel like something more, she knows she’s in trouble. Her life is in Plymouth, while he lives in London. Besides, Trystan has already admitted he’s not ready for a family.

Is he prepared to take a leap of faith for Beth and Ellie? And with the odds stacked against them, can they find a way to make their relationship last beyond the lazy days of summer?

Review

Ellie sort of features as the cheerful and adorable conduit. You can’t help but love her charm, innocence and the way she has no filter, and no trouble letting people in. It makes it easier for those around her, like her mother, to connect with others when their gut instinct is to hesitate and block everyone. An otherwise lost opportunity becomes a possibility instead.

In essence that is the way Beth and Trystan meet, and slowly but surely something grows between them. But it’s a summer holiday, a friendship forged within beautiful surroundings, and a family willing to take both Beth and Ellie in and treat them like part of the family too. That’s one choice and the other is home, friends and family that are waiting for them to return.

It’s a lovely cosy romance with plenty of moments of emotional turmoil – the type any reader could and probably has experienced. Loss, grief, and doubt. Feeling lost and yet having to be the stable anchor for someone you love, in this Beth for her child.

There was a part in the last chapter that felt a little rushed, but then I wondered whether that could possibly be a lead-in for a part in the fourth book in the series. Overall, it’s a pleasant read I would recommend to other readers.

Buy The Summer Escape at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: ‎Hannah Ellis pub date 27 Oct. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Cruise by Catherine Cooper

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Cruise by Catherine Cooper.

About the Author

Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist writing for many national newspapers and magazines, specialising in travel. She also makes regular appearances as a talking head on daytime TV. She lives in France with her husband and two teenage children. 

Her debut thriller The Chalet was a top five Sunday Times bestseller and spent three weeks in the Kindle top 100. The Cruise is her third novel. Follow @catherinecooper on Twitter

About the book

A glamorous ship. A mysterious cast of passengers. And a New Year’s Eve party that goes horribly wrong…

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, disappears. The ship is searched, and the coastguard is called, but there is no sign of her, either dead or alive.

Lola was popular on the ship but secretive about her background, and as the mystery around her deepens, everyone on board becomes a suspect. Who was she arguing with the night she vanished? 

Why did she come aboard the cruise in the first place? What was she running from?

Review

A floating city of pleasure and luxury becomes the scene of a tragic accident or was it intentional, either way someone is missing. The aftermath reveals secrets, people hiding secrets, people using secrets to threaten others – overall it seems as if the disappearance of one person starts of a type of unravelling in other people. Is it guilt? A killer, a blackmailer or is there a bigger picture?

It’s a psychological thriller, a mystery with a sort of dual storyline, and the way they seem unconnected. The cruise ship, which in itself is an extravaganza of expensive living, and yet it is also becoming the scene of too many accidents and crimes. Simultaneously the story of a missing child, who reappears under traumatic circumstances with no memory of her life before she was taken.

The author does an excellent job of keeping the two stories completely separate for the majority of the book, so much so that the reader forgets one when they delve into the other, and vice-versa. Both so engrossing that there is no thought of why, or if they could be linked.

It’s an engrossing read, and certainly one that makes me want to read more.

Buy The Cruise at Amazon Uk or got to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins | pub date 10th November 2022 | PBO EB AUDIO. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Coming Darkness by Greg Mosse

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Coming Darkness by Greg Mosse. 

About the Author

A theatre director, playwright and actor Greg Mosse is the founder and director of the Criterion New Writing programme at the Criterion Theatre in London, running workshops in script development to a diverse community of writers, actors and directors. In addition, since 2015, Greg has written, produced and stage 25 plays and musicals.

Greg set up both the Southbank Centre Creative Writing School – an open access program of evening classes delivering MA level workshops – and the University of Sussex MA in Creative Writing at West Dean College which he taught for 4 years. 

The husband of the bestselling novelist Kate Mosse, Kate’s hit novel Labyrinth was inspired by a house that Greg and his mother bought together in the French medieval city of Carcassonne, where the couple and their children spent many happy summers. Following the success of Labyrinth, Greg created the innovative readers-and-writers website mosselabyrinth.co.uk MosseLabyrinth. The first of its kind MosseLabrynth was the world’s first online accessible 3D world, and the inspiration for Pottermore – the popular Harry Potter website. 

A multilinguist, Greg has lived and worked in Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Madrid and has worked as both an interpreter at a variety of international institutions and a teacher in the UK.

Greg and Kate live in Chichester, where Kate’s parents founded the Chichester Festival Theatre, they have two grown up children. The Coming Darkness was written during lockdown and is Greg’s debut novel.  Follow @GregMosse on Twitter

About the book

A massive new talent in British fiction, Greg Mosse’s storytelling is complex and finely crafted, combining twisting plotlines, intelligent dialogue and ambiguous characters, all skilfully brought together in an epic climax. Never before has dystopian fiction been so chillingly real.

Set in an alternate near future in which global warming and pathogenic viruses have torn through the fabric of society, The Coming Darkness follows French secret operative Alexandre Lamarque on the trail of global eco-terrorists. Lamarque’s target is set on destabilising the controls placed on global governments that protect human life from climate change. One wrong move and the world could be plunged into darkness.

From Paris to North Africa, Lamarque is drawn into an ominous sequence of events: a theft from a Norwegian genetics lab; a string of violent child murders; his mother’s desperate illness; a chaotic coup in North Africa, and the extraction under fire of its charismatic leader.

Experience has taught Alex there is no one he can trust – not his secretive lover Mariam, not even his mentor, Professor Fayard – the man at the centre of a deadly web of government control. Lamarque rapidly finds himself in a heart-thumping race against time, the one man with the ability to prevent chaos and destruction taking over.

Perhaps the world’s only hope of preventing The Coming Darkness… 

Review

When you wade through the vast amount of information, characters, scenes, era and abilities – it would be easy to miss what I believe to be the core of the book. Ironically, despite the story taking place in 2037, that core isn’t really much different from a possible current scenario. Good vs evil, advancement vs the comfortable status quo.

Who is right? The people wanting to use technology allegedly for the good of mankind and advancement or the group intent on creating a carte blanche. Strange conundrum – when is an eco-activist a terrorist and when are they just rebels with a cause? Depends on your perspective and perhaps more importantly; what is the end goal and how many victims will your crusade or agenda cost the movement and the world. In this case the group is an invisible entity willing to die for their cause.

The use of misinformation to connect a legion of believers, those who find patterns where others don’t – conspiracy theory vs fact. Uncomfortably close to the truth, and in this case how it can fuel a lethal narrative.

Just a side note – I read this with the image of 2037 being the future, like really far into the future, and then it dawned on me afterwards that it’s actually only fifteen years. That was a bit mindboggling, then again, A Space Odyssey 2000 and the 21st century once seemed yonks away too. I wonder if that was the intention to create a scenario that appears unfathomable, but it’s probably closer to reality than we realise.

I enjoyed the speculative nature of story. It combines current with futuristic, facts with intuition and perception. In the midst there is the moral dilemma of how we know who is on the right side of morality or is it a case of you only get to judge the situation when it has become a reality. Looking forward to what this author brings to the table next.

Buy The Coming Darkness at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Moonflower Books, pub date 10th November 2022 – Hardback £18.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory. ‘Political intrigue, rebellion, and scandal in the royal court of the Stuarts, brought to life by one of the nation’s foremost historical novelists’

About the Author

Philippa Gregory is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognised authority on women’s history. Her Cousins’ War novels, reaching their dramatic conclusion with The King’s Curse, were the basis for the highly successful BBC series, The White Queen. 

Philippa’s other great interest is the charity that she founded over twenty years ago: Gardens for the Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for over 200 wells in the primary schools of this poor African country. Philippa graduated from the University of Sussex and holds a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 at Edinburgh University. In 2016, she received the Harrogate Festival Award for Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction. Philippa lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire. Follow @PhilippaGBooks on Twitter

About the book

In a divided country, power and loyalty conquer all… It is 1685 and England is on the brink of a renewed civil war against the Stuart kings with many families bitterly divided. Alinor, now a successful businesswoman, has been coaxed by the manipulative Livia to save Queen Mary from the coming siege. The rewards are life-changing: the family could return to their beloved Tidelands, and Alinor could rule where she was once lower than a servant.

Inspired by news of a rebellion against the Stuart kings, Ned Ferryman returns from America with his Pokanoket servant to join the uprising against roman catholic King James. As Ned swears loyalty to the charismatic Duke of Monmouth, he discovers a new and unexpected love.

Meanwhile, Queen Mary summons her friend Livia to a terrified court. Her survival, and that of the Stuart kings, is in the balance, and only a clever and dangerous gamble can save them… 

A compelling and powerful story of political intrigue and personal ambition, from one end of the empire to another, set between the palaces of London, the tidelands of Fowlmire and the shores of Barbados. 

Review

This is the third book in the Fairmile series, all of them can be read as standalone, but I would recommend reading Tidelands and Dark Tides just because they are great reads. They are also for the majority based on a set of fictional characters entwined with certain historical facts – a tad different from previous series.

What remains the same is the way this author in particular puts historical women at the forefront of her stories. The women who tend to be written out of history, forgotten and are often falsely portrayed. Their subtle manipulations from the side-lines, their importance as political tools, and perhaps most underestimated their power to drive the agenda as mothers, daughters and wives.

Moving slightly away from the usual political intrigue and power plays at court, although the court of the Stuarts gives plenty of fodder for those who seek it. The story also moves into other areas that carry the stamp of colonial oppression – the slave trade and the sugar industry for instance. 

I’m not going to go through all the characters we know and love (or dislike) from the previous books – needless to say Livia is doing what Livia does best, Ned follows his heart and a keen sense of justice or rebellion, depending on where you stand. At the core of this is a family, how they are tied to each, their experiences and home.

The author always delivers a riveting historical read – story and reader come before all else.

Buy Dawnlands at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Simon & Schuster, pub date 8th November | Hardback – £20.00. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Simon and Schuster.

#Blogtour The People Before by Charlotte Northedge

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The People Before by Charlotte Northedge.

About the Author

Charlotte Northedge is the joint Head of Books for the Guardian. Charlotte has previously written for a range of newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, Psychologies and Cosmopolitan. A journalist, she has an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature from Birkbeck and is an alumni of the Curtis Brown Creative writing course. The House Guest was Charlotte’s greatly acclaimed debut novel, published in 2021 by Harper Collins. Follow @charnorth on Twitter

About the book

What if your dream house became your worst nightmare? Jess and her husband need a new start. So when the chance to buy a rambling old house in the Suffolk countryside comes up, they leap at it.

But not everyone in Suffolk is welcoming. The locals know a secret about the Maple House, and soon, Jess realises they’ve made a huge mistake. Something bad happened in that house. Something nobody wants to talk about. Something to do with the people before…

Review

When paranoia is deep in your bones and fear is a constant companion, then I wonder if the advantages of moving into an isolated house with little or no ability to get help when you need it, are really worth all the added anxiety?

I think Jess knows that subconsciously, although she does a great job of trying to convince herself and her family of the positive side of a new start in life. A start that is a little bumpy and uncomfortable at times as she gets to know the locals, and her children attempt to fit in too. Her husband isn’t much help – spending more hours than usual at work, which means Jess and her young children are alone a lot.

That probably makes the odd atmosphere, the mysterious feeling that there is someone watching her, trying to scare her family, all the more intense and frightening.

It’s a psychological domestic thriller that starts with an ominous feeling and ends with quite a few surprises. Even in the first few chapters I found myself telling Jess not to leave her daughter in a room that scared her – to listen more closely to her fears.

It’s a story that is a lot like a knitted blanket someone is slowly unstitching before our eyes, as this psychological mystery and dark domestic thriller takes the reader down rabbit holes they might not have expected in this smooth image of a perfect family.

Buy The People Before at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Collins; pub date 10th November 2022 Hardback | Ebook | Audio | £14.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Harper Collins.

#BlogTour One Woman’s War by Christine Wells

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour One Woman’s War by Christine Wells.

About the Author

Christine Wells writes historical fiction featuring strong, fascinating women. From early childhood, she drank in her father’s tales about the real kings and queens behind popular nursery rhymes and she has been a keen student of history ever since. She began her first novel while working as a corporate lawyer and has gone on to write about periods ranging from Georgian England to post World War II France.

Christine is passionate about helping other writers learn the craft and business of writing fiction and enjoys mentoring and teaching workshops whenever her schedule permits. She loves dogs, running, the beach and fossicking for antiques and lives with her family in Brisbane, Australia. Follow @ChristineWells0 on Twitter

About the book

From the author of Sisters of the Resistance comes the story of WWII British Naval Intelligence officer Victoire Bennett, the real-life inspiration for the James Bond character Miss Moneypenny, whose international covert operation is put in jeopardy when a volatile socialite and Austrian double agent threatens to expose the mission to German High Command.

World War II London: When Victoire “Paddy” Bennett first walks into the Admiralty’s Room 39, home to the Intelligence Division, all the bright and lively young woman expects is a secretarial position to the charismatic Commander Ian Fleming. But soon her job is so much more, and when Fleming proposes a daring plot to deceive the Germans about Allied invasion plans, he requests the newlywed Paddy’s help. She jumps at the chance to work as an agent in the field, even after the operation begins to affect her marriage. But could doing her duty for King and country come at too great a cost?

Socialite Friedl Stöttinger is a beautiful Austrian double agent determined to survive in wartime England, which means working for MI-5, investigating fifth column activity among the British elite at parties and nightclubs. But Friedl has a secret—some years before, she agreed to work for German Intelligence and spy on the British.

When her handler at MI-5 proposes that she work with Serbian agent, Duško Popov, Friedl falls hopelessly in love with the dashing spy. And when her intelligence work becomes fraught with danger, she must choose whether to remain loyal to the British and risk torture and execution by the Nazis or betray thousands of men to their deaths.

Soon, the lives of these two extraordinarily brave women will collide, as each travel down a road of deception and danger leading to one of the greatest battles of World War II

Review

I often wonder, especially after reading stories like this one, regardless of whether they are fictional or not, how many people are still bound by the Official Secrets Act and the operations they took part in during the war. How many secrets have died with brave people who risked everything for their country or did things in the name of patriotism.

How many men and women who just melded back into society as if nothing had ever happened, knowing that their stories who probably go untold forever. I think abiding by the rules of stumm is possibly even more impressive, than having a secret past as a spy, operative or an invisible face who steered events in a certain direction.

Paddy is used to a life of privilege and perhaps luckily also gifted with the talent of being able to improvise on the spot, which comes in handy when she is stranded on the other side of the channel on the cusp of France surrendering to the Nazi regime. A path that leads her into the inner sanctum of secret operatives fighting to keep the country and its people safe.

Simultaneously Friedl is being forced to choose between keeping her loved ones safe or betraying a country she knows little about. The women cross paths and are drawn into a dark world of suspicion, secrets and double bluffs.

It’s an interesting venture into historical war fiction. Fictional, and yet believable.

Buy One Woman’s War at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: William Morrow – Harper360, pub date 4 Oct 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside? by Max Lobe

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside? by Max Lobe, translated by Ros Schwartz.

About the Author

Max Lobe was born in Douala, Cameroon. At eighteen he moved to Switzerland, where he earned a BA in communication and journalism and a master’s in public policy and administration. In 2017, his novel Confidences won the Ahmadou Kourouma Prize. Other books by the author include 39 Rue de Berne and A Long Way From Douala published by Small Axes in 2021. Max Lobe lives in Geneva. Follow @maxlobe3 on Twitter

About the book

The narrator, Mwana, is a young man from Bantuland, living in Geneva. A graduate from a Swiss university, we first encounter Mwana waiting for a bus in the hills of Lugano gazing at a poster calling for “black sheep” to be sent home. 

Mwana’s efforts to find work are fruitless until he lands an internship in an NGO campaigning against racial discrimination. The team is busy organising a demonstration against the black sheep poster. Mwana has one foot in each culture. He sees Swiss society through African eyes, with all its contradictions: its moderation, stunning landscapes and its eccentricities, but also its intolerance and inflexibility. 

He also casts a critical eye on his native Africa, the weight of its traditions and beliefs. Is belonging nowhere the price Mwana has to pay for these insights?

Sad and playful Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside? is a moving reflection on the immigrant experience. 

Review

This is an interesting one, a little bit like a pulsing heart with a variety of arteries leading away from it in different directions. Mwana at the core – the heart, and the arteries represent origin country, new domicile, experiences of xenophobia and racism, experience of homophobia – there are so many nuances to the life of Mwana. 

In essence it is the story of immigration, which is often a difficult process in itself, but when the experience of the immigrant is seen through the lens of the racism, xenophobia and homophobia it’s an explosive situation that places a deep burden of fear, rejection and anger on the person involved.

It’s hard to explain the experience to someone who has never lived that kind upheaval before. Origin country is still home, despite both negative and positive connotations, new country is the unstable variant of home. Being surrounded by constant reminders of being unwanted and always being on high alert – it creates anger, depression and a sense of hopelessness.

Simultaneously it’s also a story about faith, hope, and unfortunately also sadly the snake eating its own tail when it comes to systems being in place to support those in need, including those who have an unintended stumble through no fault of their own. The brick walls they hit along the way, even from people who know what they are going through, it’s no wonder a certain cynicism develops after a while.

It’s definitely a read between the lines and a look closely at the real state of affairs kind of book. Good read. I think the most poignant point is that no matter where Mwana goes they feel as if adjusting will never be enough. No amount or how hard they try to assimilate to society will change the way the world reacts to him.

Buy Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside at Amazon Uk. Publisher: ‎Small Axes – Hope Road Publishing pub date 25 Aug. 2022. Buy via Hope Road.