Tag Archives: Mystery

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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Virtual Tour around the main settings for my latest novel ~ real and imaginary

MISSING Past and Present is unlike my previous novels because two of the main settings are imaginary. Why go to all that trouble?

  • It challenges the imagination of the writer and the reader
  • It will not offend a reader ~ in my murder mystery, set on my doorstep at the time in a village down in Bedfordshire, some folks loved it that way but others were a bit disturbed by it ~ well, it was murder after all!

Strangely enough this did not deter my ability to see the scenes as vividly as ever in my mind’s eye, maybe more so. I suppose writing fantasy is like that.

Tour 1 in the imaginary Town of Drumford

Here’s my sketch of the main town of Drumford in my novel, or at least the centre, where a lot of the action took place. It was the birth place of Dot, my protagonist, and the focus of a life of memories.

The main scenes were set in The Ark, a centre for the homeless, but there were also scenes in the community police station in the old bank building, in the cafe, in both churches and in the Women’s Refuge.

Belmont Park featured both in the past and the present; as a park to enjoy in today’s world it was a place of reflection, even secret assignations. The ruins of the old manor house, still visible among the gardens, brought to life its past for Millie, my trainee nun, nearly two hundred years before.

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Filed under MISSING Past and Present, Mystery inspired by history series, Planning a novel, Writing, Writing a novel

Diana’s January Book Review ~ The Strawberry Thief by Joanna Harris

Diana’s January Book Review ~ The Strawberry Thief by Joanna Harris. I must be the last person to read Chocolat, so when I spotted this paperback in Waterstones before Christmas, I was drawn to it. I think it is the fourth in the series, but great as a standalone novel too.

I’m not strictly following the theme running through many books I choose to review this time, for reasons you’ll read in my review:

  • They tell a tale linked to history
  • The books are often set in two time periods
  • The location is a place either I have an affection for, or one I would dearly love to visit.

Why did I choose this book?

Strawberry Thief was set in a small (imaginary) village in south west France near Bordeaux, where some of my family live, and so it was easy for me to imagine the scene from the start. I did not know at the time, but Vianne tries to make sense of the present by reflecting on her time with her mother in the past… but above all, I chose it because I love chocolate; and wild strawberries too.

Did you feel empathy for any particular character?

I could not help but feel Vianne a kindred spirit, trying to settle into a new home – a quiet village; quite a contrast to her last base in the city. Suddenly coping with all the joys and drawbacks of living in a smaller tight knit community. Mind you, as a chocolatier she had an advantage; chocolate.

Is there a lasting thought or memory of the book which remains with you?

Yes ~ What will the wind blow in today?

A mysterious book of life’s struggled, neighbourly conflict, misunderstandings, guilt and love ~ maternal and romantic and of course CHOCOLATE!

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