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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...
Book Review: Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop
What a disappointment this book was! I really enjoyed The Island by the same author and I know her books are highly thought of and well researched. The main problem with this one I think is that I couldn’t relate to the main character. I couldn’t see her in my mind or feel her thoughts and feelings. It’s the same with all the characters in this book: they lack depth and feeling. They’re almost caricatures. It’s as though she has wanted to tell a chunk of history...
Coleridge in Love: The Two Saras
Samuel Taylor Coleridge had a theory on love
“Sympathy constitutes friendship; but in love there is a sort of antipathy, or opposing passion. Each strives to be the other, and both together make up one whole.”
Love, he felt, was generous. “I can neither retain my happiness nor my faculties unless I move, live and love in perfect freedom.”...
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.