About Me

My photo
Bookish. Publisher at Louise Walters Books. Reader, writer, and editor. Working class gal.

Monday, 17 June 2013

And the winner is...

... Ann! Congratulations Ann, if you could DM me your address on Twitter, I'll get the book posted off to you ASAP.

My oldest son, a stickler for doing these things correctly, wrote all the names out on a post it note each, folded them all very neatly, put them in my 8yo's cap, and picked one out with his eyes shut after I'd shuffled them around.

Thank to everyone for entering. Amanda, I have read The Lighthouse, and I really enjoyed it... until the ending! I felt somehow cheated by it. For me it was a little too ambiguous. I wonder if anyone else reacted in that way? The writing is marvellous though, and it had me hooked throughout.

Ann, Crafty and Rowena, I haven't read any of your suggestions but they all sound interesting. Rowena, yes, endings can be difficult to write and difficult to read sometimes... it doesn't have to be happy and I think it doesn't always have to surprise either... a surprise is good though! It does have to be satisfying, as you say, and I suppose it's subject to the you-can't-please-them-all-syndrome like everything else.

Thank you all for taking part and I hope you all get to read Little Boy Lost, beg, borrow or steal, I'd love to know what you make of it.


Sunday, 9 June 2013

A Give Away and a Book Review - Little Boy Lost

I'm having a little give away! But first a review of Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I went to Persephone Books in Bloomsbury recently. It is a beautiful shop, choc-full of the beautiful Persephone books. "One Shade of Grey" as Waterstones in Piccadilly described them! The books are just gorgeous and a pleasure to hold, smell, feel and of course read. Most of the range are books by forgotten or neglected female writers and they are a joy to discover.

I chose three books while I was there, one of which was Little Boy Lost, which appealed because I am a sucker for stories with children... not necessarily for stories with child narrators... but with stories concerning children and parenting and family life.

Hilary, a widower, lost his Polish-born wife Lisa at the hands of the Gestapo, in Paris, during the early years of WW2. They had a baby son, and Hilary met him only the once, the day after he was born.  On leave at his mother's home for Christmas 1943, a friend of  Lisa's, Pierre, calls on Hilary to tell him that his baby son has been "lost". Which means he is probably alive and been smuggled to "safety" somewhere by the French resistance. Hilary is still on active service so he can do little about it, but after the war has ended, he returns to France to try to track down his "lost" son. Pierre has done much of the legwork for him, and has tracked down a boy of the right age at an orphanage in a bombed-out town referred to as A-.

This is where the novel really takes off and the roller-coaster begins. Hilary has severe doubts about his ability to be a father. He's not sure how to handle his meetings with the boy who may be his son: "He must hide his fear and his boredom, must strive to interest and amuse. And he must try constantly now to keep the meeting gay and secure and never to open a breach through which emotion could suddenly flood in."

These daily meetings are supposed to help Hilary decide if the child is indeed his son or not; but it becomes increasingly less important as we grow to love the child and fear for him. We fear for Hilary too, as he  wavers, and we look on in near horror as he becomes perilously side-tracked by the niece of the owner of the hotel where he is staying. The novel, written in 1949, is surprisingly frank regarding sex: "... he dragged her into the shadow... pushing her against the hard stone as he pressed his body to hers, his tongue between her lips, draining with thirsty relief the warm comfort of her mouth." Hilary wants to have sex very badly with this young woman, with no strings attached. When she makes a suggestion that he finds  impossible to resist, the tension ratchets up to an unbearable level. The will he/won't he situation regarding Hilary and the small boy who may be his son is truly fearful and the little boy lost of the title can apply to both Hilary and the boy.

Finally (but not laboriously, it is a short novel), we reach the end, and what an ending it is, one of the best I've ever read. Absolutely no spoilers here, but whatever you do, do not read the ending first! Some stories fizzle out, but not this one. It is word perfect and if you're anything like me, it will leave you an emotional wreck.

So, I am going to give away a copy of Little Boy Lost! If you would like to win it, could you leave a comment and tell me which book, for you, has a wonderful ending? You don't need to give away the ending, but simply recommend the book. Can't wait to see your recommendations. 

The competition will close next Sunday, 16th June, at midnight BST, and I will put names in a hat and draw out a winner.  

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Liebster Award

The lovely Anita Chapman at http://www.neetswriter.com has nominated my blog for a Liebster award. Thank you Anita :)

The rules:
  • Thank Liebster Blog Award nominator on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you;
  • Answer the eleven questions from the nominator;
  • List eleven random facts about yourself;
  • Present the Liebster Blog Award to up to eleven blogs and let them know they’ve been chosen;
  • Pass on the eleven questions to your nominees, or create new ones;
  • Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
Here are my answers to Anita's questions!

1. What's your favourite novel and what do you love about it? The only way to answer this is to pretend I'm on Desert Island Discs and can only take one book with me. I would have to take Jane Eyre.  It's got everything: romance, Romance, intrigue, a dash of horror, suspense, humour, a satisfying ending and it's literary but readable. The ultimate page turner!  

2. Do you have any pet peeves in fiction? I do. Preposterous story lines that make me say Oh, Please! I'm not going to specify any novels. (I do enjoy preposterous story lines that don't make me say Oh, Please!)  

3. What are you most proud of? My children and their on-going achievements.

4. Your most and least favourite people in history? Henry the 8th wasn't very nice, but probably agree with Anita regarding Hitler and Churchill. Churchill must have felt that he really did have the weight of the world on his shoulders. I certainly wouldn't have begrudged him his cigars and brandy :)

5. The country, city or other place you'd most like to visit? I'm not much of a traveller (see number 10 below) but I'd love to visit New York City. 

6. Which five people would you like to meet (dead, alive or fictional)? Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte,  Anne Bronte, Jane Austen (there's a pattern developing here), and the rest of Abba (see number 2 in random facts below). The rest of Abba will have to count as one person if that's allowed?

7. What makes you laugh the most? My daughter and I have a similar sense of humour and I love it when  one of us says or does something random and it tickles us, and we're off. Nobody else would find it funny, but we do. 

8. If you could know the future, what would you wish for? For me and all my loved ones and friends to live very long and very healthy lives. 

9. If you won the lottery and could donate money to charity, which charity would you choose and why? The Brittle Bone Society. A fantastic charity that helps people affected by Osteogenesis Imperfecta. I would give them shed loads of cash if I won the lottery!

10. Do you suffer from any little phobias or superstitions? Spiders and flying, in that order probably.

11. What's your favourite guilty pleasure? Abba and The Mamma Mia movie.  

Eleven random facts about me:

1. I have never flown.
2. I have met Bjorn from Abba.
3. I have a lazy eye, but it doesn't show, so I'm told.
4. It took me 4 attempts to pass my driving test.
5. Until my great grandmother died at the age of 103, there were 5 living generations in my family.
6. I used to be a punk rocker, well, I thought I was a punk rocker. A wannabe, really.
7. I still love punk music and that will never change.
8. I always wanted to be a writer, I just didn't admit it for a long time.
9. I have peered through a hole in the fence of Parson's Pleasure in Oxford (a punk-days adventure)
10. I have always longed for a sister
11. I had a cardiac ablation in 2009 due to SVT (Supra ventricular tachycardia) and during the procedure my heart rate got up to 280bpm. (The ablation cured me, thank goodness).

Hope you're still awake!
I'm going to pass the Liebster on to the following blogs if they have the time to take part: