#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 Tell Me How This Ends by Jo Leevers

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Tell Me How This Ends by Jo Leevers. A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick! 

About the Author

Jo Leevers grew up in London and has spent most of her career working on magazines, most recently writing features about homes and interiors for leading newspapers and magazines. This means she gets to visit people around the country and ask them about all the things in their homes. Some might call this a licence to be nosey…

Tell Me How This Ends is her debut. Whether writing fiction or interviewing people for articles, she is fascinated by the life stories that we all carry with us. She has two grown-up children and lives with her husband and their wayward dog, Lottie, in Bristol. Follow @JoLeevers on Twitter, Visit linktr.ee/joleevers

About the book

The captivating debut novel from journalist Jo Leevers is a beautifully rendered exploration of loss, morality and the power of storytelling. 

Haunted by the past, Henrietta throws herself into a new job transcribing other people’s life stories, vowing to stick to the facts and keep emotions at arm’s length. But when she meets the eccentric and terminally ill Annie, she finds herself inextricably drawn in. And when Annie reveals that her sister drowned in unexplained circumstances in 1974, Henrietta’s methodical mind can’t help following the story’s loose ends…

Unlike Henrietta, Annie is brimming with confidence—but even she has limits when it comes to opening up. Ever since that terrible night when her sister left a pile of clothes beside the canal and vanished, Annie has been afraid to look too closely into the murky depths of her memories. 

When her attempts to glide over the past come up against Henrietta’s determination to fill in the gaps, both women find themselves confronting truths they’d thought were buried forever—especially when Henrietta’s digging unearths a surprising emotional connection between them.

Could unlocking Annie’s story help Henrietta rewrite the most devastating passages in her own life? And, in return, can she offer Annie a final twist in the tale, before it’s too late?


I loved this, the story encapsulates the essence of what a huge impact some human interactions can have. Just small moments, often they seem so inconsequential, especially to the people involved. Annie and Henrietta have no idea that they are two people caught up in exactly such a moment. Their lives lived enduring, coping with and never quite processing the trauma.

Henrietta reminds me of Eleanor Oliphant, the person who never quite fits in because her way of experiencing life and interacting isn’t the expected societal norm. The new job is a challenge and an exciting adventure at the same time. Dealing with people telling their life stories to be turned into a precious memory for loved ones and even the clients themselves, well it seems like a really annoying task and simultaneously it could be a simple job, right?

Annie is one of those clients, but isn’t convinced that she has enough to warrant telling her life story, except there is the small matter of the sister that just disappeared off the face of the earth. Henrietta finds herself captivated by this mystery of the missing sister and starts to dig, and in doing so starts to unlock her own buried secrets and trauma.

It’s a beautifully introspective story that draws a connection of thin threads between the characters, which is driven by hidden balls of emotions they have successfully ignored for many years. Beautiful, blunt, and I can’t wait for more by this author.

Buy Tell Me How This Ends at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Lake Union Publishing; pub date 1st May 2023 | Paperback original: £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Arrow Garden by Andrew J. King

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Arrow Garden by Andrew J. King.

About the Author

Brought up to value thinking and making equally, Andrew’s first degree was in English Literature and Fine Art. He also holds an MA in Visual Culture at Bath Spa University. A lifelong interest in aspects of Japanese culture led to an extended trip in 2011 in the aftermath of the tsunami, assisting and observing participants in spectacular Shinto rituals of horseback archery.

The Arrow Garden is his first novel. Early drafts were longlisted for the Bridport Prize and The Bath Novel Award, before winning the BNA outright in 2020.

Andrew lives in Bath, England. When not writing he is to be found riding strange bicycles or, very occasionally, practicing traditional Japanese archery. Follow @AndrewJKing5 on Twitter

About the book

He needs a reason to live, she doesn’t want to die. When lonely and socially isolated translator, Gareth, takes up traditional Japanese archery in 1990s Bristol, he learns that to study Kyudo is to reach out, to another culture, another time, other people… But when one of them reaches back, two lives that should never have touched become strangely entangled.

In wartime Tokyo, Tanaka Mie, finds herself wandering the burned-out ruins of her dead parents’ fire-bombed home, with only hazy recollections of how she survived. Setting out on a hike to a mountain village shrine, away from the charred city, she begins a life to which she is not sure she is entitled, a life which feels like living on the other side of the sky. To visit the past or the future, even in imagination, is to change it. But it is also to be changed.


Gareth and Tanaka become the split arrow travelling towards a specific target, unbeknownst to the two of them, with completely different paths and experiences. The intersecting and crossing, and of the course the way the arrow becomes the metaphor for life and the journey taken, is miniscule moment that should be seen in its entirety. Step away from the complex ant hill of humanity, the tragedy and sense of fate, then imagine the vastness of each such encounter. The way every life holds the equal measure or capability of creating a negative or positive response and encounter. 

It leaves the reader with this wistful feeling that is hard to pinpoint, but hovering there in the background. The poetic and lyrical immersion of thought and emotion, as the soul of this creative expanse is laid bare. The echo of survivor’s guilt still a haunting companion until the end.

I really enjoyed the way the study of Kyudo was used as a way to drive, mirror and become the plot. Beautifully crafted and executed, so kudos to the author. I also think the postscript is equally written with a gentle tread and has the same amount of importance.

I loved the writing, the way each description and moment is almost like a held breath waiting to be expelled. Beautifully lyrical and consciously realistic when necessary. Definitely an author to watch.

Buy The Arrow Garden at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Aderyn Press pub date 19 Jan. 2023. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Aderyn Press.

#Blogtour Go As A River by Shelley Read

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Go As A River by Shelley Read.

About the Author

Shelley Read is a fifth generation Coloradoan who lives with her family in the Elk Mountains of the Western Slope. She was a Senior Lecturer at Western Colorado University for nearly three decades, where she taught writing, literature, environmental studies, and Honours, and was a founder of the Environment & Sustainability major and a support program for first-generation and at-risk students. Shelley holds degrees in writing and literary studies from the University of Denver and Temple University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing. She is a regular contributor to Crested Butte Magazine and Gunnison Valley Journal, and has written for the Denver Post and a variety of publications. 

Go As A River, her first novel, is inspired by the landscape she comes from and will be published in over thirty territories.  

About the book

In this soaring, compassionate novel, a breath-taking picture of our natural world – its trees and mountains and light – emerges. But more than this, it is the tale of female resilience and becoming that gives Go As A River its strength, its soul, and its possibility.

Nestled in the foothills of the Elk Mountains and surrounded by sprawling forests, wandering bears and porcupine, the Gunnison River rushes by the tiny town of Iola.

On a cool autumn morning, seventeen year old Torie Nash heads into her village pulling a rickety wagon filled with late-season peaches from her farm.  As she nears an intersection, a mysterious young drifter with eyes dark and shiny as a raven’s wing, grimy thumbs and smudged cheeks, stops to ask her the way. She could have turned left or crossed over, but she did not.  She stayed.  ‘Go as a river,’ he whispers to her.  

So begins a mesmerising story that unfolds over a lifetime, as Torie attempts to absorb and follow his words. Gathering all the pieces of her small, extraordinary life, spinning through the eddies of desire, heartbreak and betrayal, embracing and challenged by the landscape she calls home, Torie arrives at a single rocky decision that changes her life forever. 


It’s the most fleeting of moments, gestures and meetings that often leave the biggest imprint on our souls. Little does Torie know that a chance meeting with a young drifter is one that will change the course of her life, the way she interacts with her world and how she feels about herself.

In essence the words that remain with Torie, that she go as a river, eventually give her a bigger perspective and better understanding of the fragility of time and life. You’re merely a fluid moment passing by in a larger scenario or landscape, leaving behind an essence of your being and nature. Or in this particular case perhaps even leaving behind part of your spirit in another as they flow through their individual landscape. Never the twain shall meet until both rivers merge for some time or flow separately whilst consciously aware of the existence of the other.

The story in itself has a spiritual, philosophical atmosphere to it, a type of metaphor for life itself. Life is a combination of harsh reality and sheer breath-taking moments of tranquillity and beauty. Moments of clarity, epiphanies, and yet skewed with the the painful drudge of daily life.

It’s a wonderful read, the author has a beautiful way of making the reader  feel as if they are basking in the comfortable warmth of the sun whilst listening to the sound of leaves rustling and water travelling past. The inevitability, the tragedy, and the unpredictability of life.

Buy Go As A River at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Doubleday pub date 13th April 2023 | Hardback | £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour From Far Around They Saw Us Burn by Alice Jolly

‘The highly anticipated first short story collection from the author of the Folio Prize-shortlisted Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile.’

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour From Far Around They Saw Us Burn by Alice Jolly.

About the Author

Alice Jolly is a novelist and playwright. She won the 2014 V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize with one of her short stories, ‘Ray the Rottweiler’, and her memoir Dead Babies and Seaside Towns won the 2016 PEN Ackerley Prize. She has published two novels with Simon & Schuster – What the Eye Doesn’t See and If Only You Knew – and four of her plays have been produced by the professional company of the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. 

Her novel Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile, published by Unbound in 2018, was longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize and shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize. Her latest novel, Between the Regions of Kindness, was published by Unbound in 2019. In 2021, Jolly was awarded an O. Henry Prize for her short story ‘From Far Around They Saw Us Burn’. She lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Follow @jollyalice on Twitter

About the book

This collection contains works such as ‘Ray the Rottweiler’, which won the 2014 V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, and ‘From Far Around They Saw Us Burn’, which in 2021 received an O. Henry Prize, the US’s most prestigious short story award. 

From Far Around They Saw Us Burn is the eagerly awaited first short story collection from Alice Jolly, one of the most exciting and accomplished voices in British fiction today. The extraordinary range of work gathered here is united by a fascination with how everyday interactions can transform our lives in unpredictable ways. These are stories of lonely people, outcasts and misfits, and the ghosts that inhabit our intimate spaces. The result is a compelling, arresting and, at times, devastating collection – not least in the title story, which was inspired by the tragic true events of the 1943 Cavan orphanage fire. 

Written with an exemplary eye for detail and an intimate understanding of the complexities of human nature, Jolly’s collection builds up towards the ultimate question: what is revealed of us when we peel away the surfaces, and is it enough?


This is a novella length book of short stories, fifteen stories. Multiple variations on situations where humans are disappointing and flawed, simultaneously brow beaten into submission by societal norms.

I think it’s the clarity the author offers the reader, especially when presented with a certain perspective or rather the preferred perspective. Chipping away at the frivolous, and perhaps often misleading facts to hide the guilt. Although in the last story there is probably not an inch of guilt by hands who feel they are the voice of morality. The story even more tragic and scathing as it’s told from the viewpoint of the victims.

It’s an intriguing combination of short stories, which are like small microcosms of kodak moments in time. They pull you in in such a visceral way that it is hard to believe they are but brief moments to experience. I would definitely buy longer works by this author.

Buy From Far Around They Saw Us Burn at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in Hardback by Unbound on 30th March, 2023 for £18.99 and eBook for £9.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Paperback #Blogtour Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer.

About the Author

Bobby Palmer is a freelance journalist who writes for publications including Time Out, GQ, Men’s Health and Cosmopolitan. Isaac and the Egg is his debut novel. Follow @thebobpalmer on Twitter

About the book

Heartbreaking and heart-stealing, this bestselling modern-day fable is an unforgettable novel about sorrow, joy, friendship and love. When Isaac Addy walks into the woods on the worst day of his life and finds something extraordinary there, he already knows he’s going to take it home.

A grieving Isaac and his curious new friend are unlikely companions. They don’t even speak the same language. But their chance encounter will transform Isaac’s life in ways he cannot yet imagine. And maybe he will finally be able to tell the truth.

Sometimes, to get out of the woods, you have to go into them. Isaac and the Egg is one of the most hopeful, honest and wildly imaginative novels you will ever read.


The reader meets Isaac in the grip of heightened emotions, at his lowest and on a precipice. End the pain and the torment with death. Until something happens or rather something intervenes, which changes the course of his plans – at least for that moment in time. 

Interesting. It’s literary fiction with an element of magical realism. I suppose it also depends on how to want to engage with and view Egg. Is Egg a reality? Or is Egg a fiction of his imagination, to be more precise is Egg his coping mechanism?

The manifestation of Egg begins at the peak of the grief, desperation and an inch before committing suicide. Isaac is in a physical and emotional tug-of-war. Nothing to feel on this side of choice – life. Certainly even less on the other side – jumping off a bridge. He hears what I can only refer to as a core primal scream. Core emotions vented.

Now, is that scream not only him, but experienced as external, ergo as Egg. Is it also his subconscious will to survive coming forward as a more vocal conscious state? Each action and expression by Egg is in fact Isaac, which is why the story ends the way it does. Well, that’s my interpretation and I am sticking with it.

It’s the kind of book or story that might be a bit of a Marmite experience. I found it an intriguing piece of work and look forward to more by this author.  

Buy Isaac and the Egg at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Headline Review; pub date 18 Aug. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Small Joys by Elvin James Mensah

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Small Joys by Elvin James Mensah.

About the Author

Elvin James Mensah is a 27-year-old British-Ghanaian writer born and raised in South East London. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English and Journalism from Bournemouth University, where he began writing his first novel. When not writing about blackness and queerness, he can be found voraciously explaining either the interconnectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to his long-suffering friends, or the everlasting cultural impact of the Spice Girls. His other hobbies include drinking copious amounts of Capri Sun and re-reading Donna Tartt and Hanya Yanigihara novels.

About the book

Harley is a young queer Black man struggling to find his way in mid-noughties Britain. Returning home to Dartford, having just dropped out of an undergraduate course in music journalism, he is wracked by feelings of failure and inadequacy. Standing in the local woods one day, on the verge of doing something drastic and irreversible, his hand is stayed by a stranger: a tall husky guy who emerges from the bushes holding a pair of binoculars.

Muddy is an ebullient Mancunian whose lust for his own life makes others feel better by association. A keen birdwatcher, rugby fanatic and Oasis obsessive, he quickly becomes a devoted and loyal friend to Harley who finds his enthusiasm infectious and his dimples irresistible. In no time at all, they become inseparable. Harley starts to think that life may be worth living after all, while Muddy discovers things about himself that the lads down the rugby club may struggle to understand.

But when figures from the past threaten to plunge Harley back into the depths of depression, his only hope of survival is Muddy and the small joys they create together.


I think the story of Harley in connection with his mental health issues, especially when the culmination of anxiety and depression is linked directly to his time at university. Already existing predispositions, trauma and mental heath that is already fragile – all of those things lead to an overwhelmed young person who sees no other way out than to end the pain and confusion.

Leaving aside the relationship that builds between Harley and Muddy, the way Harley feels whilst at Uni was one of the most interesting aspects of the story. Why? Because it is a common scenario and not just specific to certain groups of people. Harley feels isolated because he is more vulnerable as a gay man, more so because he is a gay black man. He also lets a fairly strong Imposter Syndrome convince him that he doesn’t deserve his place among the brightest and academically inclined.

The anxiety and encroaching depression become an insurmountable mountain of pressure with no outlet. A room with moving walls that closing in on him inch by inch – the only way out appears to be drastic ad also crystal clear.

I think the impact of a negative university or college experience is underestimated by many. It can destroy mental health, lives and opportunities, and unfortunately the institutions and their experts don’t take it seriously. There are plenty who never meet a Muddy or experience the kind of nurturing opening of doors and arms that allow for a different result than the drastic choice Harley makes at the beginning of the book.

It’s a story written without a finger of blame, because the only thing that counts is bringing a valuable life back from the edge of the cliff and then witnessing how they open up to enjoy themselves, life and others.

It’s a beautifully written story with a strong emphasis on taking strength and power from the small moments and interactions in life, and learning to navigate the disappointments and negative aspects in a way that doesn’t knock you off your feet. Connecting, living, and understanding that there is always a way forward through the pain – even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. 

Buy Small Joys at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Scribner UK pub date 13 April 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major.

About the Author

Cesca Major is a novelist and screenwriter. She runs writing retreats and coaching throughout the year, is a mentor for Black Girl Writers and has taught creative writing for Jericho Writers and Henley School of Art. She blogs and vlogs about the writing process on her social channels.

Cesca has written under pseudonyms in other genres and has been nominated for both the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award and the CWA Gold Dagger Award. She lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and twin girls. Follow @CescaMajor onTwitter

About the book

Even the greatest love stories end. But what if this one didn’t have to? Emma is having the worst day of her life. Frustrating. Chaotic. And the only person who could make it better is gone by the end of the day.

Yet even worse than all of that: Emma keeps waking up to the same day, over and over again. But what if this is a sign things could be different? Can Emma change the heartbreaking end to this love story?


Emma is caught up in the daily pressures of life, and struggling to maintain work life balance. Her commitment to a tradition she has with her husband has become less of a priority over the years, which upsets him. If only she knew she is about to relive the same day over and over again. At first she is convinced that fixing the tragedy that occurs is the way forward, until realises that her entire family is waiting to implode.

It’s a hard one to pin to a genre, perhaps because certain elements fit in multiple ones depending on how you view the experience of Emma. A touch of literary fiction, an essence of dark magical realism in the form of the universe requesting its payment for the ferryman, and yet it is simultaneously also a contemporary picture of family life, relationships and love in our era.

It’s the kind of work you find yourself watching in screen form after someone has turned it into a visual lesson on compassion, morality, self-exploration of expectations and the frustration about the lack of control we have in life, then again the groundhog certainty of death could be presented with a darker more sinister face.

I really enjoyed the way the author combines the futility and powerlessness of the Butterfly Effect with determination to do better and save the lives of those around her. Just a small alteration here, a minor change there, with the same result over and over again. 

It’s also equally and perhaps more importantly about being more aware that time with loved ones is often a fleeting moment, ergo a reminder to try and do better. 

Buy Maybe Next Time at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Fiction | Hardback | £14.99 | pub date  30 March 2023 | eBook and Audio. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour All The Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour All The Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow.

About the Author

Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Kent, and has extensive personal, professional, and academic experience relating to autism. Like her protagonist, Viktoria is autistic. She has presented her doctoral research internationally, most recently speaking at Harvard College on autism and literary narrative. Viktoria lives on the Margate coast with her husband and children.

About the book

I lived for and loved a bird-heart that summer; I only knew it afterwards. – Sunday Forrester lives with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Dolly, in the house she grew up in. She does things more carefully than most people. On quiet days, she must eat only white foods. Her etiquette handbook guides her through confusing social situations, and to escape, she turns to her treasury of Sicilian folklore. The one thing very much out of her control is Dolly – her clever, headstrong daughter, now on the cusp of leaving home.

Into this carefully ordered world step Vita and Rollo, a couple who move in next door, disarm Sunday with their charm, and proceed to deliciously break just about every rule in Sunday’s book. Soon they are in and out of each others’ homes, and Sunday feels loved and accepted like never before. But beneath Vita and Rollo’s polish lies something else, something darker. For Sunday has something that Vita has always wanted for herself: a daughter of her own.


I think my heart broke a little for Sunday. Not sure if that was the intention, because the growth of the character or rather her ability to finally leave the expectations of the demands of society behind her, which is a positive development. Instead the bigger picture of the way Sunday is perceived, misunderstood and treated, is what I found most poignant.

The transition from trying to adapt to societal norms to make everyone else feel more comfortable about her to finally being able to lay that aside and just be Sunday – it’s a powerful message about the way we perceive neurodivergence in our society.

Dolly is unfortunately also part of that unjust scale. Only really experiencing her mother’s traits as inconvenient and perhaps even embarrassing – not really understanding how hard Sunday tries to curb the instinct and overrule the uncomfortable. Indeed her place in society as an adult is tolerated and Sunday is done unto instead of with or for.

Why is the expectation always – without fail I might add – how to conform and both blend and bend to fit in instead of acceptance of what can’t be changed. There is no niche for neuro-divergency, because each person on the spectrum has a combination that is individual to themselves, and the common traits are an assumption of sameness, which means the vast differentiation isn’t seen or catered for the way it should be.

It’s a beautiful work of literary fiction – poignant and memorable, it will certainly leave a lasting impression on readers, regardless of how they experience Sunday’s story. 

Buy All the Little Bird-Hearts at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Tinder Press: pub date 2nd March 2023 | £16.99 | Hardback- also available in Ebook. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Tinder Press.