#BlogTour Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris

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

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

About the Author

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

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

Follow @Joannechocolat on Twitteron GoodreadsBuy Orfeia

About the book

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

I absolutely loved it.

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

#BlogTour Beast by Matt Wesolowski

Today it is my absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Beast by Matt Wesolowski. It is the fourth book or episode in the brilliant Six Stories series. If you haven’t read a book in this series then I can only suggest you do so, because it is a fascinating premise.About the Author

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more.

His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller

Follow @ConcreteKraken or @Orendabooks on Matt-Wesolowski on Facebook on Goodreadson Amazon or visit him at mjwesolowskiauthor.wordpress.comBuy Beast

About the book

Continuing the unique, explosive Six Stories series, based around six podcasts comes a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention. Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East ’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘ The Vampire Tower ’, where she was later found frozen to death. Three young men, part of an alleged cult, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’.

However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of  Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, and the tragic and chilling legend of the Ergarth Vampire…

Review

Aside from the premise, which even four stories in hasn’t lost the capacity to captivate me, the author writes with such detail to authenticity when it comes to the characters – it’s remarkable. It also has me googling places, people and events, because he absolutely convinces me that everything is real. It’s a testament to Wesolowski’s talent as a writer.

Wesolowski uses darkness and the depth of inhumanity to create this almost imperceptible layer on top of his stories. No matter which character, scene or atmosphere – it’s always there lurking. You can feel it sift into your very being. Each word is saturated with the expectation of evil, fear and the inevitability of human failure.

In this fourth part or episode of the Six Stories series our narrator Scott King has taken a step into the limelight. After revealing his own story in Changeling (part three) he no longer hides his identity. In a strange way it creates a sense of equality between himself and the people he interviews. They are somehow all in the same boat, right?

This time we are on the hunt for vampires. We have a victim and her three killers, but do we really know the why? Was she really the lovable influencer with a penchant for having a bit of cheeky fun and saving the world at the same time? Or is there something more nefarious behind the way she tried to garner as many likes, shares as possible, and become famous? Scott King tries to find the truth in the midst of the rumours, half-truths and omissions.

It’s urban noir soaked in folklore, myth and imperfection of humankind.

It’s a riveting read. This author never fails to draw me in and keep me enthralled. I know people throw this out there all the time, but this would make a fascinating visual experience. Either way Wesolowksi is always a read I would recommend. He creates the kind of read that stays with you, which isn’t an easy feat at all.

Buy Beast (Six Stories #4) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; Publication Date: 6 February 2020 | Paperback | £8.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orenda Books.

Read my review of Six Stories (Six Stories #1) – Buy Six Stories

Read my review of Hydra (Six Stories #2) – Buy Hydra

Read my review of Changeling (Six Stories #3) – Buy Changeling