So excited to be sharing my review with you today, ahead of the announcement tomorrow of the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize 2021 – https://www.swansea.ac.uk/dylan-thomas-prize/  Click the link to see the other books in the running and for more details!  And if you want to watch the ceremony live, Thursday 13th May at 7pm then click here…https://www.swansea.ac.uk/dylan-thomas-prize/award-ceremony-2021/

My thanks to the team at Midas PR for letting me be part of it all!

Of the books shortlisted, I was lucky to review My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell so here’s my thoughts on such an explosive and shocking story!


An era-defining novel about the relationship between a fifteen-year-old girl and her teacher


Vanessa Wye was fifteen years old when she first had sex with her English teacher.

She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student.

Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that.

Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many.

Nuanced, uncomfortable, bold and powerful, and as riveting as it is disturbing, My Dark Vanessa goes straight to the heart of some of the most complex issues our age is grappling with.





Wow! Where to start?! If you are looking for a book that’s a nice easy read, then this is NOT that book!! But it is a book that fits perfectly with the times we live in and despite the uncomfortable subject that will leave you feeling shocked and creeped out, it’s a story that you can’t help but become involved in as I found myself shouting out in despair at Vanessa with the situations she put herself in……

At the heart of the story is a teacher abusing the trust of his student – in this case, it’s 15 year old Vanessa.  She’s completely taken in with her teacher as he shows her attention, he notices her! And in a world where she feels invisible that’s a very powerful thing for a young girl.  He plays on her insecurities and she’s too young to understand the inappropriate way he’s behaving.  For her it’s her first real encounter with ‘love’ – there’s nothing inappropriate about finding someone you connect with….. age is just a number…. he’s her soul mate…..  he makes her feel special……

The story is told over 2 different times – back at school when this relationship begins and how it makes Vanessa feel, and the emotional abuse that we witness her teacher, Jacob, use to justify his comments and the time they spend together.  And then we see Vanessa in her 30’s, and how the past has affected her and what happens when the past catches up with her as he gets back in touch as there are rumours threatening him as another girl makes claims against his behaviour.

When a journalist gets in touch with the older Vanessa, she starts to think back over the relationship she shared with Jacob back then and I found it fascinating to see how she begins to see things a little differently as she looks back over things, and listens to others who may have shared similar experiences with the sleazy teacher! But there’s always that part of her that finds ways to justify his behaviour and makes excuses for it.

It’s one of those books that stops you in your tracks as you just can’t stop thinking about the characters, and knowing that there are people like in reality just makes your skin shudder. It was also fascinating to see how Jacob would play the ‘victim’ role himself… he gets clingy, gets her to say really creepy things – thus transferring the issue to Vanessa making it seem like it was her making him behave this way.

An outstanding story that isn’t afraid to confront the darker side of life and relationships – brilliant!



No Fourth River by Christine Clayfield #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway


Electroshock therapy, child abuse and modern-day slavery… just another day in Christine’s life.

Take a heart-wrenching yet inspiring ride through one woman’s incredible journey that is so compelling that you are simultaneously trying to look away and unable to stop yourself from reading on.

Christine’s father is a wealthy, tyrannical man renowned in the diamond business. At the age of just five, little Christine is cast aside into a boarding school where she is ridiculed for two embarrassing problems. She grows up in a never-ending circle of traumatic experiences both in her boarding school and at home. It culminates into a falling out between father and child that was never fully mended, leading her into a world of promiscuity and alcohol, eventually landing her in a violent marriage.

Driven to the limits of despair and heartache, she creates a plan to escape her world of misery. Will her plan work?

A story that asks: How do you find the strength, when you suffer almost unbearable abuse and are broken beyond repair, to pick up the pieces of a shattered life?

This journey shows the tenacity of the human spirit and how the will to survive can often be hidden behind self-destructive tendencies. This beautifully written novel is an incredible inspiring true story about loss, abuse, survival and hope.

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: RASC Publishing


Born in 1959, the successful UK business woman and author Christine Clayfield has achieved recognition as a Bestselling Author for one of her Internet marketing books. She has written 6 books: 1 novel (her own life story) and 5 business books.

Christine is an author, wife, mother and business woman.

Christine’s past holds much pain and abuse, but it did not stop her from being the woman she is today by changing her life and building the future she wanted. She wants to empower and inspire the world with the release of “No Fourth River”, a novel, based on a true story: her own life.

Life was certainly no easy ride for her. To say she had a hard life as a child and a young adult, is an understatement. ‘No Fourth River’, is her way to let the world know that despite the pain of your past, YOU have the ability to change your future. YOU can make it happen if you just believe. It all starts with YOU.

Christine loves writing books and helping others to achieve business success! She has helped countless people to get to grips with making money online and publishing books.

Christine Clayfield is an Internet marketer, Author, Entrepreneur, Infopreneur, Public Speaker and Book Publisher. She is the author of:
– From Newbie To Millionaire
– Drop Shipping and eCommerce. What You Need And Where To Get it
– Finding Niches Made Easy
– Design Free Websites
– Work From Home Ideas
– No Fourth River

She is also the creator of the Self Publishing Video Tutorials: http://www.WorldWideSelfPublishing.com

For more information:


This was definitely not an easy read.   And as it’s a novel based on a true story, that makes the horror of the abuse that the family suffered even more horrifying. 

It follows the story of Christine as she is faced with seeing her mother very ill in hospital, and as she sits by her bedside it allows her mind to go back in time and see her childhood and the conditions the family were forced to live under due to a brute of a father.  he was a successful man away from the home, but once behind closed doors he was  a tyrant who wielded control power over his wife and children and often made them suffer sickening consequences for disobeying him. 

Christine and her brothers were all treated appallingly over the years and the abuse didn’t stop even when they reached adulthood, even if they tried to get away.  Christine ended up leaving home at 18 to escape, but soon found herself under the control of another evil man and you begin to wonder what will be her breaking point.

When that breaking point is reached, it turns the whole story around as it gives her power to stop the things happening to her and get back to concentrating on herself and trying to restore that confidence that had been taken away from her for so many years.  And I think this is why this story needs to be shared and read.  It gives hope to those who may find themselves in similar circumstances.  Knowing that it isn’t their fault and that good can come out of bad.

The abuse suffered throughout the years is awful to read and just appalling that a human can treat others in such a way, more so when that is their own father.  You could sense the fear through those pages and you can understand why Christine rebelled in the way she did when she became a teenager.  She wanted to be liked and would do anything for that feeling of someone being interested in her.

A truly powerful book and one full of hope and inspiration from the author with a series of messages aimed at those who feel so powerless.


Thank you to the author and Bookollective for the copy of this book and letting me be part of this Blog Tour.  Please go to my Twitter page for details of the giveaway as the author wants to send a copy of the book and some chocolates to one lovely winner! You lucky people! So go to @bookkaz for more details and GOOD LUCK!!