#BlogTour Note to Boy by Sue Clark

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Note to Boy by Sue Clark.

About the Author

Sue Clark has grilled John Humphreys, quipped with Ronnie Corbett, danced with one James Bond and had a one-sided conversation with another, and penned funny lines for the likes of Lenny Henry, June Whitfield, Roy Hudd and David Jason.

She’s been a BBC radio and TV comedy scriptwriter on such shows such as Alas Smith and Jones, Weekending, The News Huddlines and The Jason Explanation, a copywriter, a PR, a journalist, a magazine editor, a writer of guidebooks, a secretary and was, briefly, paid to read books all day long for a film producer. And now she’s written a novel.

Follow @SueClarkAuthor on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit sueclarkauthor.comBuy Note to Boy

About the book

Eloise is an erratic, faded fashionista. Bradley is a glum but wily teenager.

In need of help to write her racy 1960s memoirs, the former ‘shock frock’ fashion guru tolerates his common ways. Unable to remember his name, she calls him Boy. Desperate to escape a brutal home life, he puts up with her bossiness and confusing notes.

Both guard secrets. How did she lose her fame and fortune? What’s he scheming – beyond getting his hands on her bank card? And just what’s hidden in that mysterious locked room?

Review

What could a teenager with an attitude and an elderly woman who is incapable of looking after herself have in common? It doesn’t seem like a lot. Bradley wants the job because he is on a long road to nowhere and helping Eloise could lead to an opportunity. Helping her to write an autobiography of sorts gives him a chance to get to know the woman behind the mood swings, the erratic behaviour and he then sees the eccentric fashion icon with entirely different eyes.

I have to say that I didn’t experience this as a read full of comedic moments, but rather one full of poignant realistic moments. However I can absolutely picture this on the screen, and I hope someone sees the potential in this – The Lady in the Van kind of eccentricity coupled with a young man trying to grip the one possible straw that might take him out of his set-in-stone future of violence and deprivation.

Also the subtle note of white privilege and covert racism that is woven into the tale. It solidifies the the differences between the odd couple. The almost colonialist comments from Eloise and the teenager with a lack of education and nearly no chance of achieving anything other than a life in crime. Moments that can be overcome.

I really enjoyed this story, perhaps because it was easy to picture both main characters so well. Eloise is an excellent example of the loophole of invisibility the elderly vanish into, even when they have made their mark on the world. Even after spending their youth and primary years being successful or in the case of Eloise becoming a part of fashion history.

Clark hits exactly the right notes when it comes to the complex relationship between Bradley and Eloise. The trust issues, the need to protect and simultaneously the more selfish motivation Bradley is driven by. This is an excellent social commentary.

Buy Note to Boy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound Digital pub date 23 July 2020. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Unbound.

#BlogTour Tapestry by Beth Duke

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Tapestry by Beth Duke.

About the Author

Beth Duke is the nationally bestselling author of It All Comes Back to You, Delaney’s People, Don’t Shoot Your Mule, and Tapestry. She lives in the mountains of her native Alabama with her husband, Jay. Her favourite things are writing, reading, traveling with her family, and join in book clubs for discussion.

About the book

Twenty-one-year-old Skye Willis lives in Eufaula, Alabama, a tourist mecca of stately homes and world-class bass fishing. Her childhood friends are either stuck at dead ends or have moved on to accomplish Big Things.

Skye’s grandmother, Verna, insists on being called “Sparrow” because she suspects her ancestors were Muscogee Creek. She dresses in faux deerskin and experiments with ancient Native American recipes, offering a myth or legend to anyone who will listen.

Skye has no idea what to do with her life. She’s smart as hell, but she has no faith or knowledge there’s something out there she was “born to do.” Nor does she know much of anything about her father, who died in Afghanistan when she was a toddler. He and his family are a mystery her mother won’t discuss. But when Sparrow sets out to confirm her Creek ancestry through genetic testing, Skye joins in.

The results hit like a DNA bomb, launching them both on a path filled with surprises and life-changing events. Skye learns a harder truth than she ever expected.

Review

For me this story is about identity, both from a genetic and a non-biological perspective, but perhaps more importantly from a cultural and historical one too.

From Skye trying to discover something about herself by finding the family she doesn’t know. Also by acknowledging the identity Sparrow carries like a blanket of comfort and support around her shoulders. Where one path leads to confirmation and a sense of calm, the other leads to confusion and at first a lack of connection.Skye follows a path that leads her to a story of pain, and yet also one of strength and fierce determination. Duke gives this tale a note of frivolous joy, which often exists between those who care and love each other unconditionally.

I think it was important, especially given the sensitive historical nature of the topics, for the research to lead back to culturally appropriate sources. I wasn’t aware of the place known as AfricaTown – Plateau, but had heard of The Clotilda or Clotilde. I think it’s just another reminder that certain elements of history are whitewashed and are written by those who control the narrative. It deserves a larger place in history that’s for certain.

I loved the way everything fit so well with this book. The title, the cover – the plot that depicts the way lives are threads drawn out from a central point and woven together with a variety of colours thereby creating a beautifully diverse tapestry. The picture of life, and in a way the picture of our DNA.It’s an intricate tapestry of the past, the present, and of family.

Buy Tapestry at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in paperback, digital and audio formats by The Art of Dixie on 8th February 2020. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Book Depository. Buy at Barnes and Noble.

#BlogTour Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

About the Author

Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. She has also written for GQ, ESPN the Magazine, and many other publications. Fleischmann is in Trouble is her first novel.

Follow @taffyakner on Twitteron Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit taffyakner.comBuy Fleishman is in Trouble

About the book

Finally free from his nightmare of a marriage, Toby Fleishman is ready for a life of Tinder dating and weekend-only parental duties. But as he optimistically looks to a future of few responsibilities, his life turns upside-down as his ex-wife Rachel suddenly disappears.

While Toby tries to find out what happened – juggling work, kids and his new, app-assisted sexual popularity – his tidy narrative of a spurned husband is his sole consolation. But if he ever wants to really understand where Rachel went and what really happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen it all that clearly in the first place . . .

Review

It’s fair to say this gives readers a rather dim view on society, perhaps more so on women and I wonder if the underdog called feminism is actually given a kicking, instead of showing the systemic oppression of women, by presenting a gaudy caricature of them. It really depends whether people can or will read between the lines.

Toby has suddenly become a petit four for every woman with an itch. Why? Because he is now considered an unattached male since his marriage fell apart. This is the story of his coming to terms with the new him. The single man with critical kids and a demanding nearly ex-wife.

Right at the beginning there is this short bit about Hannah, which gives you an idea of what kind of voice to expect. It made me smirk, this accurate depiction of the conundrum known to humankind as ‘teenage girl’ – those who have experienced wrangling one of them will know of the very specific interim species and how they come with selective memories. Those of who haven’t experienced handling one of them thank your deities and do a course on quantum physics instead – it’s by far a pleasanter experience and easier to comprehend.

I think the most interesting thing about this premise is what would probably happen if you change one element. Take away the money and the gist of the story becomes an everyday tale. Tell the same story with money and it becomes a fascinating introspective deconstruction of a marriage.

The book might be a bit of a marmite read. Some readers will be unable to see past the air of pretension that often comes with a read that has set out to be literary fiction, as opposed to accidentally being coined as one. The others will enjoy the snarky brutally honest approach to a very common problem – the dysfunction in families and the pandora’s box of divorce.

Buy Fleishman is in Trouble at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Wildfire 21st April 2020 in Paperback, £8.99. Also in ebook and audiobook. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Starchild: A Memoir of Adoption, Race, and Family by Michaela Foster Marsh

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Starchild: A Memoir of Adoption, Race, and Family by Michaela Foster Marsh.

About the Author

Michaela Foster Marsh is an acclaimed musician with three albums to her credit. Her work has appeared in television and film, including Dawson’s Creek and The Matthew Sheppard Story. She has been invited to sing at the Monaco International Film Festival, the Cannes International Film Festival, and for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.

Michaela is the founder and Executive Director of the Starchild charity, which works primarily with vulnerable children and women in Uganda, where it has built the School for Creative Arts in the village of Vvumba, near Kampala. In 2017 Michaela was a finalist in the Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year award. She has received a UK Prime Minister’s Award for her work in Uganda, a Peace and Unity Award from the First Minister of Scotland, and Clarkston, Glasgow, a Community Champion Award.

Follow @foster_marsh on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit starchildcharity.comBuy Starchild

About the book

Starchild: A Memoir of Adoption, Race and Family is Michaela Foster Marsh’s account of her remarkable journey – a story which takes her from Scotland to Ireland, Canada, England – and finally to Uganda. It is here that she comes face to face with the fascinating truth about Frankie’s birth – and an African family she never imagined she had. But finding Frankie’s biological family is not the end of Michaela’s story – or Frankie’s. Moved by the plight of poverty-stricken Ugandan children, Michaela resolves to honour Frankie’s short life by building a school in his memory – and the Starchild charity is born.

Review

I really love the way Marsh talks about her brother and their relationship. For her there is no difference between blood related and non-genetic relationship. Frankie is and was her brother and that is due to her parents raising them to believe that they are true siblings. This is the way it should be, but we all know it’s not always the case.

For their family parent was synonymous with the person who raised and cared for you, and not necessarily the person who gave birth to you. I think it speaks volumes that Frankie felt so safe and loved.

It’s completely normal for an adopted child to eventually find out where they come from. Not all adoptive parents or families agree, but I think it’s a fundamental journey that has to be taken, often just so there is closure. It’s not about the adoptive parents it’s very much about getting answers and understanding where you come from genetically.

Starchild is an emotional journey and yet also an eye-opener. Marsh made the journey her brother never managed to embark on only to be confronted with a troubled country and children in need of support and help. Marsh has taken her experiences and turned them into something positive.

A legacy for the young man who only lived a few decades, but he certainly left his mark on this world and his sister is making sure he is never forgotten.

Buy Starchild at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Fiction Studio Books; pub date 14 April 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour One Step Behind by Lauren North

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour One Step Behind by Lauren North.

About the Author

Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and from her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation. Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.

Follow @Lauren_C _North @TransworldBooks on Twitter, or Lauren on Facebook, on Amazonon Goodreads,Visit Lauren-North.comBuy One Step Behind

About the book

Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker. Every time she leaves her house, she sees him. Disturbing gifts are left at her door. Cruel emails are sent to her colleagues. She  has no idea who this man is but she feels powerless against him.

Until the day he is brought into her hospital after a serious accident, and Jenna is given the chance to find out once and for all why this man is tormenting her. Now, the power is all hers. But how many lines is she willing to cross to take back control of her life?

Review

It’s not paranoia when there really is someone out to get you, right? The whole core of this story revolves around the way the main character is perceived. It’s easy to call someone crazy when you’re not on the receiving end of a stalker. It’s easy to brush off the worries of someone else when you’re not the one being threatened on a daily basis.

Jenna feels as if her stalker has invaded every part of her life, even the house and her privacy. He is there when she opens her door, takes her kids to school and when she goes home from work. He is everywhere all the time. Then one day he ends up in a situation where his life and death is in her hands.

North builds her story around a very important scenario, which was not acknowledged as a crime for many years. Only in recent years certain countries have started to address the fact that stalking is a crime, a crime that usually escalates into something more dangerous for the victim.

For too long victims have been told they had to wait until an actual crime had been committed until the police could intervene – many of those victims are dead thanks to an outdated criminal justice system.

North delivers a read that throws up some interesting dilemmas at times. Would you have made the same choice in the A&E for instance? Just throwing that out there. It’s a fast-paced read full of creepiness, betrayal and secrets.

Buy One Step Behind at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher:Transworld; Paperback | pub date 3rd September 2020 | £7.99 | Corgi Ebook available from 16th July 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North.

#BlogTour Operation Jihadi Bride by John Carney with Clifford Thurlow

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Operation Jihadi Bride by John Carney with Clifford Thurlow.About the Author

John Carney is an Ex-British army soldier. He led the efforts of rescue of various women and their children from the ISIS Caliphate. His name is on the ISIS-Death list, and to protect his identity, his name and other names have been changed in the book. He has operated a multi-million pound private security set up by Colonel Tim Spicer. He has operated a close protection service in Iraq since 2011.

Co-writer Clifford Thurlow’s recent books as a ghostwriter include the acclaimed Iraq memoir Making a Killing, the inside story of  a hired gun in Iraq, and Escape from Baghdad with Captain James Ashcroft. He has also written Fatwa Living with a Death Threat, for Jacky Trevane, which went on to sell 500,000 copies.

Follow John Carney on Twitteron GoodreadsBuy Operation Jihadi Bride , Follow @ThurlowClifford on Twitter, Clifford Thurlow on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit cliffordthurlow.com

About the book

Would you turn your back on a teenage Jihadi bride and her innocent children?

‘Jihad isn’t a war. It’s an objective. An aberration. If there are young women with children, lost boys… If they are trapped in that hell and we can get them out, don’t we have a duty to do so? Every person we can bring back is living proof that Islamic State is a failure.

Ex-British Army Soldier, John Carney, ran a close protection operation in Iraq for oil executives when he was asked by the family of a young Dutch woman to extract her from the collapsing Islamic State in Syria. Hearing first-hand of the shocking living hell of tricked naive young girls, many from the West, trapped, sexually abused and enslaved by ISIS, he knew only one thing – he had to get them out

Armed with AK-47s and 9mm Glocks, he launched a daring, dangerous and deadly operation to free as many as he could. With a small band of committed Kurdish freedom fighters, backed by humanitarian NGOs, and feeding intel to MI6, Carney and his men went behind enemy lines in the heart of the Syrian lead storm, risking their lives to deliver the women and their children to the authorities, to de-radicalization programmes and fair trials.

Gripping, shocking and thought-provoking, ‘Operation Jihadi Bride’ takes the complex issue of the Jihadi Brides head-on – a vital read for our troubled times.

Review

I can see this being a controversial read given the subject matter. It’s a topic that divides opinions. Do we have a moral obligation to save Jihadi Brides and their children, especially if their origin country is our own?  Is the risk of them continuing on in their newly acquired holy task greater than showing them some humanity?

Let’s get one thing clear. These are impressionable often vulnerable and young victims of radicalisation. They are groomed to feel as if they are part of something bigger, something sacred and all in the name of Allah. They are brainwashed into leaving family and friends. It’s no different than a religious cult, but with more devastating consequences.

These girls and young women are drawn in with fantasy scenarios and pictures of appealing men – only to be confronted with living hell in reality. Rape, gang-rapes, held prisoner and forced to integrate into a culture that treats women like property to be hidden and discarded when no longer useful. Innocent children become part of this vicious cycle and are new recruits for the Jihadi.

What should we do? Leave them to rot and let them be drawn deeper into the well of hate or give them a second chance?

Carney comprehends that pretending they don’t exist is not a solution. Instead we need to be addressing the reasons they are vulnerable to radicalisation and stepping in when we recognise it.

It’s an interesting read, especially because this is a problem the Western world hasn’t got a grip on, and because it is a divisive topic. Although it has the vibe of a story told in a battle voice narrative it is also infused with a strong sense of determination and hope.

Buy Operation Jihadi Bride at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Monoray; pub date 11 July 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Last Lemming by Chris Chalmers

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Last Lemming by Chris Chalmers.About the Author

Chris Chalmers was born in Lancashire and lives in south-west London. He’s been the understudy on Mastermind, visited 40 countries and swum with marine iguanas. His first novel, ‘Five To One’, was winner of a debut novel competition and nominated for the Polari First Book Prize; his latest, ‘The Last Lemming’, is out now in paperback and ebook. He has written a diary for 42 years and never missed a night.

Click on a reading from ‘The Last Lemming’, or a Five-To-ONE-MINUTE-MOVIE for a 60-second intro to the main characters and themes of ‘Five To One’. Or search ‘chris chalmers novelist’ on YouTube, for clips of Chris reading from his other books, poems about Christmas Eve and butcher’s shops, and fox cubs dancing to ABBA. (Yep, it’s as high-brow as that.)

Follow @CCsw19 on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit chrischalmers.netBuy The Last Lemming

About the book

TV naturalist ‘Prof Leo’ Sanders makes it to his deathbed without a whiff of scandal — then confesses his career-defining wildlife discovery was a hoax.

A National Treasure shattering his own reputation on YouTube is enough to spark a media frenzy, and the curiosity of part-time journalism student Claire Webster who makes him the subject of her dissertation.

Her investigations lead to Prof Leo’s estranged family, and a high-flying advertising guru he also slandered in the video. Ultimately Claire uncovers the truth behind the discovery of the Potley Hill Lemming — the first new species of British mammal in a century.

It’s a mystery spanning four decades; a tale of greed, obsession and long-forgotten murder at a lonely beauty spot.’

Review

It’s a cosy mystery which definitely has a comedy vibe, perhaps not intentionally but the whole lemming storyline was highly entertaining.

Claire is hot on the trail of an intriguing story. A national phenomena caused by the discovery of an elusive species, which is stopped in its tracks when the animals disappear soon after. The person who discovered them, Leo, is thrown for a loop and caught between trying to maintain credibility and wanting the acknowledgment.

The media frenzy is a double-edged sword. It brings recognition, attention and notoriety, but it also threatens to take all of those things and more away at the same time. It changes Leo and determines his actions, choices and the rest of his life.

Why would a man so invested in the truth turn around and call himself a fraud, how desperate is he or is this about discrediting someone else entirely?

Chalmers keeps readers questioning what it is they have got themselves into. Is it a coming-of-age story, one about discovering what you want in life, a window into the world of competitive wildlife conservation or is it really all about an unidentified body? I guess that is the charm of this read – you never really know what is heading your way.

Now I’ve written my review I am just popping my wellies on, grabbing my night goggles and wildlife camera – it’s time to hunt the elusive Lemmings!

Buy The Last Lemming by Chris Chalmers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: J.Mendel Books; pub date 10 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Unwinding by Jackie Morris

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Unwinding by Jackie Morris.

About the Author

Jackie Morris is an author and illustrator. She studied illustration at Hereford College of Art and Bath Academy and has illustrated many books, and written some. The Lost Words, co-authored with Robert Macfarlane, won the Kate Greenaway Medal 2019.

Follow @JackieMorrisArt on Twitteron Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit jackiemorris.co.uk Buy The Unwinding

About the book

The paintings between these covers were worked in the between times, an unwinding of the soul, when the pressures of work were too much. Dreams and wishes are the inspiration at times like this. Threaded through the curious world of The Unwinding are words, slight and lyrical. Their aim is to set the reader’s mind adrift from the troubles of our times, into peaceful harbours where imagination can stretch, where quiet reflection can bring peace.

The Unwinding is designed to be a companion, a talisman to be turned to again and again and a place of respite from an increasingly frantic and complex world.

Review

When I received this book I oohed and aahed over it. It’s just one of those books that is a thing of beauty. A piece of artwork to be cherished and shared. Okay, you’ve got me – I won’t be sharing it, but I will be buying it for others.

It reminds me of The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse which is also a book that serves more than one purpose. When you look beyond the story you see the beauty of the illustrations. It becomes a melding of colour, shapes, words, pictures and ultimately an experience that conjures up emotions. That emotional connection is what Morris is aiming for, regardless of what kind of connection. I think there is a hope that it will bring peace, joy, happiness and calm. However that depends on each person and their own frame of reference or state of mind whilst interacting with The Unwinding.

For me it was like listening to beautiful music. A joy so pure it can evoke the deepest heartfelt emotions. I see the work, the art and the hand of the artist reaching out to readers through the pages. Connecting in small moments of serenity. The words become a culmination of this vision of storytelling.

The tales themselves are lyrical prose with a grounding in lore, fairytales and myths. Old tales in new formation with the same goal – to enchant the reader with images and words that wander through the mind and indeed in time.

I loved it. It’s a treasure and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it as a gift for someone else. I can absolutely imagine it becoming a book someone picks up in moments where solace is needed or a moment of vanishing into the page is sought.

Buy The Unwinding at Amazon Uk Publisher: Unbound; pub date 9 July 2020. Buy at Unbound.

#BlogTour The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda.

About the Author

Megan Miranda is the author of All The Missing Girls, The Perfect Stranger, and The Last House Guest, which was the August 2019 Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.

Follow @MeganLMiranda on Twitteron Instagram, or @AuthorMeganMiranda on Facebookon Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit meganmiranda.comBuy The Girl from Widow Hills

About the book

Everyone knows the story of the girl from Widow Hills.

When Arden Maynor was six years old, she was swept away in terrifying storm and went missing for days. Against all odds, she was found alive, clinging to a storm drain. A living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book, and fame followed. But so did fans, creeps and stalkers. It was all too much, and as soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and left Widow Hills behind.

Now, a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden is known as Olivia. With the twentieth anniversary of her rescue looming, media interest in the girl who survived is increasing. Where is she now? The stress brings back the night terrors of Olivia’s youth. Often, she finds herself out of bed in the middle of the night, sometimes outside her home, even streets away. Then one evening she jolts awake in her yard, with the corpse of a man at her feet. The girl from Widow Hills is about to become the centre of the story, once again.

Review

It’s hard being an urban legend, perhaps harder when the people around you have taken advantage of the turmoil and fear you went through as a child to profit from it. When you become so famous that heads turn when you walk in the room, people whisper when you walk by and some hungry journalist regurgitates your experience for the world to see on a fairly regular basis.

No wonder Arden is done with being the kid who disappeared and was miraculously found unharmed after a few days. Now she is Olivia, and Olivia doesn’t have the same physical baggage as Arden, but unfortunately she does have the same psychological baggage.

Her shiny new undisturbed life takes a turn for the worst when she starts sleepwalking again, which is what got her into the predicament as a child. Then her sleepwalking self finds a dead man – in her yard and the evidence implies that she had something to do with his demise – she turns to a friend for help.

Miranda has this talent of combining reality with fiction when it comes to fears and scary scenarios. Why is the story so frightening at times? Perhaps because of the echoes of reality it brings with it. It’s a clever ploy, because anything rooted completely in fiction will always leave the reader with a safe place to retreat to. If it is rooted in reality then the reader will often react with base responses.

The author plays the long game when it comes to this plot and lays plenty of crumbs that lead onto false yellow brick roads – only to blindside the reader with the truth at the end. Tension, doubt and fear bring this read to a fulfilling conclusion.

Buy The Girl from Widow Hills at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Hardback · £12.99 · 2 July 2020 · Ebook also available. Publisher: Corvus. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Miseducation of Evie Epworth.About the Author

Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire but now lives in London. He is a design historian and academic writing tutor and has worked at various universities and museums around the world; he currently teaches at the V&A, Imperial College, and the RCA. He has also worked on Camden Market, appeared in an Italian TV commercial, and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan opera singers.

Follow @matson_taylor_ on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit matsontaylor.comBuy The Miseducation of Evie Epworth

About the book

Yorkshire, the summer of 1962. Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?

Up until now, Evie’s life has been nothing special: a patchwork of school, Girl Guides, cows, milk deliveries, lost mothers and village fetes. But, inspired by her idols (Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen), she dreams of a world far away from rural East Yorkshire, a world of glamour lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds).

Standing in the way of these dreams, though, is Christine, Evie’s soon to be stepmother, a manipulative and money grubbing schemer who is lining Evie up for a life of shampoo and-set drudgery at the local salon. Luckily, Evie is not alone. With the help of a few friends, and the wise counsel of the two Adam Faith posters on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’), Evie comes up with a plan  to rescue her bereaved father,

Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save their beloved farmhouse from being sold off. She will need a little luck, a dash of charm and a big dollop of Yorkshire magic if she is to succeed, but in the process she may just discover who exactly she is meant to be.

Review

Being 16 is hard enough, but being a teenager on the cusp of adulthood is perhaps just slightly more so. Not a child, but not quite an adult either. Evie doesn’t fit in either categories and being in between is often frustrating and confusing.

At the moment her life or life as she used to know it is being slowly extinguished by the woman intent on owning her father, the widower. Christine is eradicating all memories of her mother and wants Evie gone too. With a little help from her friends, both real and imaginary, she concocts a plan to save her poor father. A magical rescue mission pure Yorkshire style ensues.

I loved this book. I hope someone recognises the potential and gives it to us in a screen version. It sorta speaks for every kid, especially teenagers, who are thrust into familial situations not of their own making and are expected to tow the line with a smile on their face. It’s equally a siren call to the confusion they feel, the hormonal imbalance, the expectations of a world awaiting them like a star stepping onto the stage for a live performance – except the world isn’t waiting for them and the realisation of that reality is a bitter pill to swallow.

Taylor is not only an author I would recommend, he is also one I would return to again without hesitation. The snark, the authenticity and the complete obliviousness of certain characters in equal measure, combined with a hilarious and memorable main character – well it just makes this an excellent read.

Side note for those who have read the book ( if not I really hope you do ), must dash I have buttons to grind.

Buy The Miseducation of Evie Epworth at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: pub date 23 July 2020 | Hardback | £14.99. Publisher: Scribner UK; pub date 23 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com.