Book Review: The Nowhere Child by Christian White


What would you do if you found out from a stranger that he suspects you are a missing girl, named Sammy, who may have been abducted when you were two from another country? This is the basic premise of a book which is full of suspense and twists right until the end.

Kim Leamy is the woman who has been approached and after initially brushing off the idea, she begins a quest into her family history. Her mother is already dead so she can’t ask her and the more she questions the more difficult it is to find logical answers. Her digging takes her to unexpected places with almost disastrous outcomes.

I’d heard a bit of hype and had actually seen the author talking about his debut novel at a couple of events and after reading it, I was not disappointed.

It’s much more than a kidnapping and whodunit story as the author explores trauma, cults and religious zealotry. The alternating stories between past and present was superbly done and as a reader we feel Kim’s gradual realisation,her confusion and pain.

I finished this one in two days so immersed was I in it. Highly recommend it.

COVER REVEAL: NEW RELEASE

Announcing New Release: A Perfect Stone by S.C. Karakaltsas

I am so excited to let you know that my novel, A Perfect Stone will be ready for release October 10, 2018. The cover is done, the proof has been examined from front to back and the format double-checked. There is nothing like holding your new book in your hands for the first time.

It might seem as though I’ve churned out another novel in a short time but believe me, this has been a project of more than two years in the making and at times a laborious undertaking. But it’s also been a labour of love and passion as I researched the heartbreaking tale of what happened to children who were forcibly removed from their homes during the Greek Civil War in 1948.

A dual timeline story taking the reader on a journey through the snow-covered mountains of Northern Greece, to Czechoslovakia, Macedonia and Australia, I hope you’ll like reading it as much as I loved writing it.

How do you find a place to belong when there’s nowhere else to go?

Living alone, eighty-year-old Jim Philips potters in his garden feeding his magpies. He doesn’t think much of his nosy neighbours or telemarketers. All he wants to do is live in peace.

Cleaning out a box belonging to his late wife, he finds something which triggers the memories of a childhood he’s hidden, not just from his overprotective middle-aged daughter, Helen, but from himself. When Jim has a stroke and begins speaking another language, Helen is shocked to find out her father is not who she thinks he is.

Jim’s suppressed memories surface in the most unimaginable way when he finally confronts what happened when, as a ten-year-old, he was forced at gunpoint to leave his family and trek barefoot through the mountains to escape the Greek Civil War in 1948.

A Perfect Stone is a sweeping tale of survival, loss and love.

Now available https://www.amazon.com.au/Perfect-Stone-S-C-Karakaltsas/dp/0994503261/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1538698782&sr=1-1

Book Review: The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland

 

 

The cover is amazing and I knew I was in for something powerful when I read the first line of this book. “In the weatherboard house at the end of the lane, nine-year-old Alice Hart sat at her desk by the window and dreamed of ways to set her father on fire.”

Alice is the daughter of an abusive father. When tragedy strikes, Alice finds herself living with a grandmother she didn’t know she had, on a native flower farm where she grows up loved and protected. Her grandmother, June, a tormented woman with hidden secrets loves Alice with such an intensity that when she betrays her granddaughter to protect her, sets off a course for Alice neither of whom can reverse.

This is an expansive novel covering twenty years with twists and turns as the family secrets unravel and Alice finds out about her tumultuous past. The first hundred or so pages are gripping and I found myself holding my breath. The family violence is harrowing but thankfully short-lived . Then the narrative slows in the second third and meanders almost in a healing way as Alice settles into her new life at the native flower farm. The reader, unlike Alice is led tauntingly into the family secrets. June communicates best through flowers and this is emphasised cleverly when each chapter opens with the name of a native flower reflecting the theme.

Frustration grows as June is unable to tell Alice the truth about her family and for me this was a touch longer than I would have liked. There was some repetition and at times, Alice’s behaviour seemed to be at odds for a child with trauma. The last third, however was a page turner and I was unable to put it down.

I enjoyed the supporting characters, Twig, Lulu, Candy who all offered Alice their strength when needed. June was more complex and I felt little sympathy for her. The settings from the lush tropics to the red outback are wonderfully portrayed as of course are the flowers.

This is a story of loss, love and betrayal, and I now see native flowers in a very different way.

Interview: Peter Lingard, Author of Boswell’s Fairies

Instead of a book review, this week, I thought I’d chat with internationally published author, Peter Lingard who has just released his debut novel, Boswell’s Fairies – see my earlier review

I hope you enjoy it.

Peter Lingard, tell us a bit about yourself.

My life has been in phases. I went to a good school but quit at 15. I worked in a bank and found it stultifying. I served in the Royal Marines and, after leaving them, worked for a shoe importer because marine shipping was the closest thing to Royal Marines on the filing system used by the employment agency. The man that owned the company considered taking me on a good deed. It was an easy jump to freight forwarding and later my employer sent me to the US to open a new office for them at JFK airport. It took me a number of years but I eventually owned my own freight forwarding company in NY.

I yearned to travel again and returned to the UK where I worked as an accountant and a farmhand for a while. However, too many people were saddled with attitudes that soured me. (I wrote to a newspaper in Wales suggesting that if they put as much energy in their work as they do in hating the English, they be a very successful country. The responses were less than pleasant.) As Australians speak English, I thought this country might be a good place to visit, and I arrived in 2000.

You’ve just published your first novel. What is your book, Boswell’s Fairies about?

A lot of servicemen are adept at telling fantastic stories. Marines I knew swore they’d swum the widest oceans, climbed the highest mountains (not without justification – think of the Falklands war), and dated the most beautiful and willing women. I have blended these colourful lies with the story of a squad of recruits undergoing the 10 months of basic trading. The main characters are a bored banker, not too hard to image, and a pro wrestler who was fed up of having to lose every fight until someone decided he’d paid his dues.

What inspired you to write this story?
What’s the point of having a good story if you can’t tell it to people? Writing it was enjoyable. That is until one has to edit and edit and re-edit.

How long have you been a writer and what influenced you to first put pen to paper?
I was always a good joke teller and I excelled when it came to shaggy-dog stories. I could take a shaggy-dog story and make it shaggier but then sometimes forget about the punch line. While there was never a decision to start writing, I used to write things down and improve my jottings, as I did with jokes. Once I was happy with the result, I’d forget about them. In 2002, or then about, my wife suggested I join a writing group to see what others might think of my musings. The Americans have an expression that fits … run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes it. Well, quite a few did salute my stuff. A radio station in Queensland liked my tales but not my writing skills and the host, Charles Eeles, took the time to give me some pointers. Then I progressed from one writing group to another until I found the current bunch of writers at Phoenix Park. We are a good mix and are well advised by the facilitator, Nicole Hayes.

You’ve written more than 300 short stories, many of which have been published. How difficult was it to write a full length novel?
It wasn’t much different in some respects. Each chapter in my novel was a short story and the continuity of the plot and main characters strung the stories together. Once I’d finished the book, I did away with chapters and only had breaks for changes of location. I’m working on another book which is another a collection of stories without much connection … well, the main character is a barman in a London pub and there will be an ongoing romance, but it’s still just a bunch of stories. Shaggy dog stories.

What books have influenced you the most and what are you currently reading.
I was impressed by My Son, My Son. I can’t remember the author’s name (if anyone says that about me, they die!). Another one was, I Bought a Mountain (again no author). I found Great Expectations enjoyable, even if though I had to read it as a school project. I like books by Scott Turow and Sebastian Faulkes. Dan Jenkins is an author who influenced my style. John le Carre’s The Pidgeon Tunnel (and everything else he’s written) please me greatly. Kamila Shamsie, A God In Every Stone impressed me. What am I reading now? Scott Turow’s Personal Injuries, but I’m not into yet (at 200+ pages).

I was raised to respect books. Never bend them back (it ruins the spine), never turn down the corner of the page to mark where you’re up to, and never leave a book unfinished. I still respect the first two, but I’ve decided the third is bull, so this book better buck up soon.

If you could give advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Use advice carefully. Make sure you keep your style – unless of course it’s your style that’s holding you back. Be judicial … remember the adage; people do, teachers teach.

What’s next in writing for you?
As I mentioned before, I’m writing about the life of a London barman. The working title is The Book of Dave. It’s humorous and perhaps barbed at times but readers will laugh and, if I find the right lines, they’ll be sometimes saddened. Then I have two more books featuring the main characters in Boswell’s Fairies. One covers their time in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Borneo, and the other is about their return to England to find guys have grown hair to their shoulders and girls have hiked up their dresses. I don’t have titles for those yet; perhaps Asian Tour and Swing Time? We shall see.

 

Boswell’s Fairies     Now available on Amazon or on http://peterlingard.com/

About the Author

Peter Lingard’s  short stories have been published over 300 times in The Literary Hachette, Blue Crow, Structo, Crack the Spine, Short and Twisted, 100 Stories for Queensland, and other such magazines. Many pieces have aired on 4RPH, Brisbane, and Radio NAG, Queensland.  Fifty-two of his stories are published by Alfie Dog in the UK. He also appeared on Southern FM’s program ‘Write Now’  and on 3CR ‘Spoken Word’ to read, recite and discuss his work and was a regular guest  on 3WBC to read his tales. Peter’s  work has garnered praise, prizes, and accolades from critics around the world including Australia, America, and the UK.

 

 

So now there are two.

 

Joining the publication of Climbing the Coconut Tree is Out of Nowhere which was released 31 May 2017.

Unlike my first book which is an historical fiction, Out of Nowhere  is a collection of short stories written over the last eighteen months.

Everyone has a story to tell and I was often inspired by other peoples stories or the things that just happen. So a theme began developing about how the unexpected can take us by surprise.

There are sixteen short stories. The Surprise follows a mother and son’s life changing journey; in The River, a woman sees something she wishes she hadn’t. In the title story, a man tries to understand his wife – too late.

Feel free to take a peek at the book trailer or the book.
https://sckarakaltsas.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/book-trailer-out-of-nowherehttps://

Amazon

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