#BookReview THE BELOVED CHILDREN by TINA JACKSON @fahrenheitpress #TheBelovedChildren

ABOUT THE BOOK


“There is some really atmospheric storytelling and joyful language at play here, with Jackson as an entertaining mistress of ceremonies.” – Ben East, The Observer

What can we say about this book from Tina Jackson except that it’s something very special indeed.

Three young women; Chrysanthemum, Rose & Orage are thrown together on the stage of Fankes’ Theatre during the closing days of the Second World War performing as The Three Graces.

It’s there they come under the spell of wardrobe mistresses Dolores and Janna – a chance encounter that will guide and change all of their fates forever.

Set in the dying days of vaudeville theatre and laced with mysticism, fortune tellers, ghosts, and evocative descriptions of the closing days of the War – The Beloved Children will literally make you laugh out loud and perhaps even shed the odd tear.

The Beloved Children is wise, funny, heart-breaking, joyous, poignant, and entirely entirely enthralling.

Tina Jackson has conjured characters that you will fall unapologetically in love with and placed them in a world that you won’t want to leave.

If any Fahrenheit book is ever going to be nominated for The Booker Prize it’ll be this one.

“This book genuinely weaves a spell around the reader and once you make friends with Janna, Dolores, and The Three Graces you’ll never want to be without them in your life again.”

PUBLISHED BY FAHRENHEIT PRESS

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MY REVIEW

What a special little book this turned out to be! I’m always delighted to find a little gem of a story and if you’re looking for something that’s a little bit magical, emotional, funny and imaginative then look no further!

Set around the three characters of Rose, Chrysanthemum and Orage whose paths cross when they are all young girls auditioning for a theatre show, this is their story of how they became family and where life took them all. They are all very different personalities but they click and I just loved how they looked out for one another during their time at the theatre, through love, disappointments, secrets and lots more!

This starts out at the end of the war and you just can just picture life backstage at the theatre and it really brings back those ‘old days’ theatre feels! It was so easy to picture in your mind as you followed the story unfold – you could almost smell that dusky scent and hear the performers preparing to go on stage.

As the girls grow up into women, life throws them different curveballs and as you become more involved with them as characters then it did get quite emotional to see what they had to go through. There are many twists in their life journeys, and the always imposing characters of Dolores and Janna were always around to whip them into shape!

The story also had the viewpoint of 60 years later, with Rose and Chrysanthemum looking back on their lives together – the memories of special moments shared and troubled times faced – it was very difficult not to fall in love with these characters as they all went through so much and made them realise the importance of the roles that they all played in the life on one another. The real definition of the dysfunctional family that they became to one another!

One of my books of 2020!! Glorious stuff!!

★★★★★

My thanks to the team at Fahrenheit for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview KING OF THE CROWS by RUSSELL DAY #KingOfTheCrows

ABOUT THE BOOK

“Ocean’s Eleven meets 28 Days Later.”

2028, eight years after a pandemic swept across Europe, the virus has been defeated and normal life has resumed. Memories of The Lockdown have already become clouded by myth, rumour and conspiracy. Books have been written, movies have been released and the names Robertson, Miller & Maccallan have slipped into legend. Together they hauled The Crows, a ragged group of survivors, across the ruins of London. Kept them alive, kept them safe, kept them moving.But not all myths are true and not all heroes are heroes.Questions are starting to be asked about what really happened during those days when society crumbled and the capital city became a killing ground.Finally the truth will be revealed.

Praise for King Of The Crows“Staggeringly prescient – an absolute triumph…”“The most inventive heist novel you’ll ever read.”“In terms of plot, structure and ambition, this is the most imaginative novel I’ve read in years…”

Praise for Russell Day – winner of the CWA Margaret Allingham Prize“Russell Day is an artist – one who paints pictures with his words…””A brilliant book, one that has cemented Russell Day straight into my must read authors list.””Russell Day has established himself as one of the best new crime writers of recent years. I cannot wait for his next novel.”

PUBLISHED BY FAHRENHEIT PRESS

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MY REVIEW

Reading a book about a pandemic during an actual real life pandemic could be seen by some as a stupid thing to do!! BUT for me I found it the perfect time to read this book!! The parallels between fiction – this book was written a couple of years ago, which makes it even more staggering to me on how events are panning out… – and the reality are mindblowing and it’s a difficult book to put down once I started reading it!

Set in 2028, 8 years after the virus that ravaged Europe has moved on, this book is a story that looks back over those years when the virus was rife, how people lived through it and how people are looking back on it and questioning what they were told and how it has been portrayed by the media as films and books have been released chronicling the events, creating legends of those involved in particular events.

It’s told through snippets of the screenplays, the internet chatter, police interviews, graffiti seen, emails sent and the experiences of people moving around on the ground at that time and this really does help give it a more realistic feel. What struck me as the most pertinent and telling was the relevance of hearsay becoming belief! The internet rumour sites were readily spreading untruths quicker than the virus itself, and all it needed was one person to read this and a new truth is born. Oh and cats…. never trusted them before, even more so now!!!

As we follow the real story of the time during the pandemic, alongside the way the films portrayed the main characters of The Crows, it was fascinating to see how the hatred was whipped up amongst different factions – the anti government groups, anti police, anti media….. a little too realistic for my liking!! The virus itself mutates, there are zombies/undead but there is more insanity leading to extremes in behaviour and we’re witness to that with the actions of many, fighting for their lives after being hung out to dry by those in charge, while others see this as a perfect opportunity for a raid on the financial capital.

The before, the during, the after is all brilliantly captured in all its grim glory – the fear, the panic, the unknown, the theories! One phrase really struck a chord for me ‘Stay calm, Stay at home, do what we say’!! Sounds a little familiar!!

It was exhilarating, exhausting, extraordinary – an experience I am very grateful to have had the pleasure of reading – and living through! – and I cannot recommend this highly enough! One of my books of 2020!!

★★★★★