Category Archives: Book reading

Diana’s Winter Book Review (8) ~ The Lost Storyteller by Amanda Block

Click cover for Waterstones

Why did you choose this book?

The title caught my eye, as did the blurb on the back; a mystery linked to fairy tales intrigued me. I did not, however, like the cover. I think the current fashion of a few little pictures embossed on a dark background, floating in the air, could have put me off and seemed a bit childish. ‘Buy one get one half price’ in Waterstones helped too! (searching on line for a photo, I preferred the original blue cover)

Did I feel empathy to any particular character?

I was drawn to Rebecca. She was brought up by her Mum, a single parent, but started thinking about her father, especially when a journalist came asking her questions. The more family tried to dissuade from investigating her Dad’s disappearance, the more determined she was to find out what happened to him. A stubborn, but spirited young lady.

Is there a lasting thought or memory from the book which remains with you long after the novel is finished?

When you are on a mission, searching for something precious, it rarely turns out to meet your expectations, dreams and imaginings. Rebecca could just forget it and walk away, … but she didn’t.

I really enjoyed ‘The Lost Storyteller‘. It absorbed me from the start. Amanda Block is a great storyteller herself, and the plot was unusual, albeit a touch contrived in places; but novels often are. Great book!

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An Inspirational Stocking Filler for Christmas

New Cover Reveal of ‘Search for the Pearl’

I digress from my series of posts to bring you the news that


has this fantastic new cover:

An Inspirational and Motivational little book for young people who are struggling to find their way at the moment.

This version is only available:

at Waterstones

at the Great British Bookshop

I have heard so many people say that their grandson, grand daughter, nephew or niece find it hard to move on after Covid and Brexit. Opportunities open a few years ago have challenges, drawbacks and hidden pressures.

Their education has been disrupted.

Their university days which should have been uplifting and full of social events has been curtailed or irreparably damaged.

Opportunities to travel or work abroad have narrowed.

A gap year of travels is weighed down with concern for the environment.

A 20 year old waiter in Greece remarked back in May just as restrictions were being lifted, ‘I’ve always wanted to see a bit of the world and maybe work in the UK for a while but I’m not sure it will ever be the same again.’

This is a theme close to my heart having taught struggling 16 to 19 year olds for over a decade in Luton Bedfordshire before moving to Fife.

There are still a few copies of the first edition which I am prepared to GIVEAWAY FREE in the UK, for just the cost of postage, if you get in touch with me before Christmas and outline briefly why you think it might help. Please don’t name the young person though.

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Diana’s Autumn Book Review (7) ‘The Island of Missing Trees’ by Elif Shafak

Why did you choose this book?

I was browsing in Waterstones and was drawn firstly by the title, which was intriguing and also mentioned an island; pertinent following my recent series of Islands of Inspiration. Secondly I loved the cover and finally, when I turned the novel over, I read David Mitchel’s review:

“A wise novel of love and grief, roots and branches, displacement and home, faith and belief. The Island of Missing Trees is balm for our bruised times.”

Wow, I thought. I already felt in tune with the author and the themes of the novel, even before I’d opened the first chapter. They were themes akin to my own writing, leading to immediate empathy before I had a chance to absorb myself in the magic of this book; one which is truly remarkable.

Did I feel empathy to any particular character?

I’d often thought of trees as special; the way they oversee happenings in their sturdy, solid form; patient and ancient. To have a fig tree as a character bowled me away. I was hooked!

Yes, I loved the love story of two teenagers from different backgrounds; Turk and Greek. The tension of forbidden friendship, let alone passion and so I felt so in tune with Daphne as she sneaked out of her home to meet Kostas in war torn Cyprus, the love of her life.

Is there a lasting thought or memory from the book which remains with you long after the novel is finished?

So many that it is hard to describe them without being a spoiler.

There’s the fig tree of course, whose thoughts transcend cultural divide and prejudices. Its survival, against the odds, whose story I will not elaborate on here. I want you to be as delighted as I was as you read.

There was tragedy and loss and yet an overriding dream that love will prevail, however hopeless it may seem.

There are very few books which you are reluctant to leave behind you as you turn the final pages. As you close the novel for the last time a sense of loss overwhelms you; You are truly bereft ~ ‘The Island of the Missing Trees’ is one of those books.

Brilliantly written, evocative of the times depicted therein.

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