- About the Author
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One surprising aspect of Coleridge’s life – for me, at least – was discovering just how radical his outlook was. Here we are in the late 18th century and he could almost be thought of as a hippy - trying to construct an alternative society on egalitarian principles, dreaming of emigrating to America to live off the land. The opium addiction just adds to the Woodstock vibe! How would you characterise the younger Coleridge – was he a genuine free-thinker? How far adrift from the norms of his age was he?
Book Review: Sue Miller "Monogamy"
It is rare for me to give up on a book but with this one I came to the stage where I picked it up with a sense of dread so about three quartets of the way through I finally gave up.
The reviews I have read seem polarised: some people raving about the beautiful writing, others, like me, finding it repetitive and tedious.
I was drawn to this book by the blurb: “Annie has long known...
In Praise of Kate
What am I going to do? I’ve just finished reading the last Jackson Brodie novel by Kate Atkinson.
It’s hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t read them what it is about Kate Atkinson’s books that are so addictive. It’s the way she gets inside her characters’ heads, gives them the strange off-the-wall thoughts that go through all of our minds. We really know these people. They’re not perfect. They don’t...
Book Review, The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns
This is a beautiful written book, in fact almost too beautifully written: in some places it felt like a fairy story. I found the first part a bit off-putting: there is an awful lot of sitting by a bedside watching a loved one suffering, which doesn’t move the story forward and is almost slushy in its portrayal of an end-of-life scenario.
Another Year Over...
This is the time of year when I write a review of everything I have achieved in the last twelve months.
I’m not going to concentrate on the difficulties we have all had and the challenges we have faced with the pandemic because these have all been well documented.
Instead I shall deal with my own personal positives, starting with the publishing of my two historical novels...
Book Review A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
This is the sort of book you put down reluctantly, immediately looking forward to the next time you can read it again. Tracy Chevalier beautifully conjures up England in the 1930’s: the clothes, the streets, the houses, the smells, the attitudes and the general way of life, in particular for women, a subject I am so interested in myself.
Thirty-eight year old Violet “escapes” her home town to go all of twelve...
Sophy Layzell is an author based in Somerset with a debut novel ‘Measure of Days’ released in August this year by the Book Guild. It makes the perfect Christmas stocking filler for teens! It’s topical, thought provoking and a good conversation starter for some pretty big subjects.
This book is the first...
How well do we really know the people we have relationships with? How much do we tell them about our past? Would my version of my childhood bear any resemblance to my brother’s version of the same childhood? And what about my previous friendships and relationships? How much of the truth do I tell people today?
We all present a version of ourselves to the outside world. And that version of ourselves varies depending on who we’re with. The better we know people the more we reveal about ourselves.
I bought this book thinking it was going to be about the Bloomsbury set: Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Lytton Strachey etc. It was my own fault, I should have read the blurb more closely. It is, in fact, the biographies of five women who lived at one time or another in Mecklenburgh Square. Much of the “biography” is not, in fact, about their time in the square and to call them biographies is also misleading: they’re more sort of “potted histories” of some of their...
Coleridge: The Opium Eater
“I am fully convinced,” Coleridge wrote, “That to a person with such a stomach and bowels as mine, if any stimulus is needful, opium is incomparably better in every respect than any fermented liquor, nay, far less pernicious even than tea.”
In Coleridge’s time opium was the only painkiller available and there is no doubting Coleridge’s need for it: his illness was genuine. The swollen...
Bethany Askew is the author of eight novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days, Poppy’s Seed, Three Extraordinary Years,The Two Saras and I know you, Don’t I?
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Two more women’s fiction books have been accepted for publication in 2020 and 2021 respectively and she is currently working on a new novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.