#Blogtour The Lost Man by Jane Harper @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK #TheLostMan

The Lost Man  by Jane Harper  Little Brown

He had started to remove his clothes as logic had deserted him, and his skin was cracked. Whatever had been going through Cameron’s mind when he was alive, he didn’t look peaceful in death.

Two brothers meet at the remote border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of the outback. In an isolated part of Australia, they are each other’s nearest neighbour, their homes hours apart.

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old that no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish.

Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he choose to walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

My Review

You know its going to be a good 2019 when a new novel  by Jane Harper lands on your door mat. Would  it be as good as her two previous novels The Dry and Force of Nature and I am pleased to report that yes it was.

First of all its addictive, from the very first page when Cameron is found dead at The Stockman’s grave you want to know exactly what made him walk to his death. Harper then proceeds to take us on a journey full of twist and turns, and a cast of characters who could or couldn’t have had a hand in his death and she used the most wonderful character of Cameron’s elder brother Nathan to tell the story.

Here was a broken man, haunted by a devastating divorce, father to a son he hardly ever saw and ostracised by the outback community where he lived. Thrown back together with his family it gave Harper the perfect vehicle to show us a family torn apart by grief, bearing the scars of a father and a husband who was both violent and difficult.

It was what made this novel stand out within its genre, it just wasn’t your typical thriller, it was more an examination of how life and the people in it can have such a devastating affect on individuals. I felt huge sorrow for Nathan, as he grappled with his own emotions, yet you could feel that underneath there were nagging doubts surrounding the death, that saw him dig deep into the families past, suspicion falling on nearly everyone.

Each family member dealt with the death in differing ways and I loved the diversity Harper injected as we too had to unpick motives, and actions to try and work out if it was murder. The revelations that unfurled were like little tremors until finally the earthquake, the truth, which shocked and surprised me as I am sure it will anyone who reads it.

What really struck me about The Lost Man was the wonderful insight into life as a farmer in outback Australia. It was and is a life that was totally isolating and lonely, your nearest neighbour over four hours drive away, no shop to pop to to buy the odd bottle of milk. It was a hard life that required special characteristics of its people in order to survive, magnifying their actions, and at times their desperation. The arid, dusty landscape and the unrelenting heat emanated from the pages and it gave the novel an unwavering intensity, heightening the drama which, at times I found quite chilling.

Once again, Jane Harper has delivered a first class thriller, that may not be action packed but will slowly wheedle its way inside your head,  enthralling you from start to finish.

About the author

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Jane Harper is the author of the international bestsellers The Dry and Force of Nature. Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with film rights sold to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane has won numerous top awards including the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year, the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year and the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and now lives in Melbourne.

 

#Review The Familiars by Stacey Halls @stacey_halls @BonnierZaffre #Pendle #Witches

 

The Familiars by Stacey Halls  Bonnier Zaffre February 7th 2019

To save her child, she will trust a stranger. To protect a secret, she must risk her life…

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn’t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.

Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong.

As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the North-West, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye?

Soon the two women’s lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood’s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake.

Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

My Review

I had been so excited to read The Familiars, my hometown in Barnoldswick, Lancashire sits in the shadow of Pendle Hill and as a little girl I was always fascinated by the stories of the Pendle Witches. Imagine my delight when I first heard about The Familiars and was then lucky enough to receive a proof copy, at last a novel set in my locality, but would I be disappointed?

I can happily say that I wasn’t. I adored the characters, none more so than Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a young woman who clearly adored her husband, Richard, yet couldn’t give him the one thing he so desperately wanted, a son. You would have expected a woman of her status to be vain, a woman used to the luxuries of her position, and a naivety that betrayed her age, a mere seventeen years old, yet she was none of those. To my utter delight Fleetwood was bold and brave, almost tomboyish, and her determination to fight injustice on behalf of her midwife and friend Alice Grey saw her risk everything and more.

Alice Grey was the young women who promised to safely deliver Fleetwood’s baby, to ensure that Fleetwood herself also survived. She was hardworking, caring, poor, a victim of circumstance that put her own life in danger, but you couldn’t help but love her gentle, caring nature, and admire her iron will and strong instinct for survival. Fleetwood and Alice’s relationship was touching and heartwarming, each finding in one another what they had failed to find elsewhere, friendship.

The imposing and beautiful Gawthorpe Hall and the surrounding countryside provided the perfect setting, and Halls’s narrative captured its essence beautifully. I loved reading about the towns of Padiham and Colne, so close to myself, yet now so very different. Halls gave a real sense of their vibrancy, of the dirt and grime and the grinding poverty that many found themselves in. Set against all this were the witches, women who only sought to help people, using old wives tales, potions and sayings that many so clearly misunderstood, and often for their own  personal reasons. The villains of the novel, were just that, villains, who you loathed from the moment you met them, none more so than Roger Nowell, chief witch hunter, and the man I would quite happily have sent to the same fate he wished to send his supposed witches!  I wasn’t quite sure about Fleetwood’s husband Richard, at first I liked him, then well, you will have to read and find out.

But what about Fleetwood? Oh how I cheered her on as she stood up to Roger and his cronies, as spoke out of turn and placed herself in danger, she was truly a woman ahead of her time  and I loved her all the more for it.

The Familiars wasn’t a novel that gave you the luxury of time, its narrative was fast and furious, packed with drama, Halls throwing everything at you from wind, rain, darkness, witchcraft and vile, ignorant people intent on destroying the innocent. It wasn’t all darkness, there were the odd glimmers of hope and light but would there be a happy ending? I know that I wanted one, but at times I wasn’t quite sure I would get one, all I knew was that Fleetwood was a true heroine, a truly remarkable young woman, a wonderfully created character, testament to the skills of the author.

The Familiars will have you hooked from page one and I read in two sittings as I travelled to and from London so if you are planning on reading, put some time aside, get comfy on the sofa with a large mug of tea and enjoy!

P.S any TV production companies out there, please option The Familiars, it would make the most fanatsic drama series!

I would like to thank Bonner Zaffre fro a copy of The Familiars to read and review.

 About the author
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Stacey Halls grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire, as the daughter of market traders. She has always been fascinated by the Pendle witches. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and moved to London aged 21. She was media editor at the Bookseller and books editor at Stylist.co.uk, and has also written for Psychologies, the Independent and Fabulous magazine, where she now works as Deputy Chief Sub Editor. The Familiars is her first novel.

 

#Blogtour Inborn by Thomas Enger @EngerThomas @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Inborn

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Inborn by Thomas Enger  Orenda Books February 22nd 2019

When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a
murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the
investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and
even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as
being in the dock … for murder?
Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it
becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously … and
secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community.
As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question
everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a
decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that
someone is prepared to kill to protect?
It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust.
But can we trust him?
A taut, moving and chilling thriller, Inborn examines the very nature of evil, and
asks the questions: How well do we really know our families? How well do we
know ourselves?

My Review

There was nothing like a foray into Scandi Noir when actual snow was lying on the ground outside my window, except in Thomas Enger’s Inborn, there was no snow just a constant deluge of rain, most unusual for a novel set in Norway! Yet, that didn’t matter as it somehow added to the depressing and disturbing circumstances the main protagonist, Even found himself in.

What would you do if you were sixteen years old and found yourself under suspicion of murder? That is exactly what Enger set out to show us and wow, did he do a good job!

From the very first page there was no let up in the pace as Enger placed Even right at the centre of everything. You could feel the tense pressure he was under, yet somehow apart from the odd blip there was a calmness and maturity about him, an inherent need to prove his innocence and unearth the real killer.

What Even didn’t expect and what I didn’t expect were the multiple layers he would have to peel back. Each seemed to strike closer to home and even closer to truths about Even’s family, that many wanted to see remain quite firmly in the past. There was always a niggle at the back of my mind that he did do it, that he was the killer. Enger did nothing to alleviate my suspicions as he piled up the evidence, and what a brilliant way he chose to do it with an immersive narrative and an imaginatively devised structure, whereby he used Even’s testimony in a courtroom, long after the completion of the investigation, to tell the story.  I admired the seamless way Enger flit between past and present, you never knew quite what would happen next and in which direction Even would take us. The additional use of Even’s  ‘trial’ by social media increased the tension and I was even more convinced that he was guilty.

Every crime novel needs detectives and Inborn was no different but Enger’s detective Yngve Mork wasn’t your usual brash, go get em type, instead he was a man who struggled with his own loss, and emotions. His methods were sensitive, thorough and intelligent and gave me confidence that he would solve the murders,

Perhaps one of Enger’s greatest skills was his ability to perfectly match Mork’s emotions with the investigation, almost as if he was wading through a dark,  dense forest before he slowly emerged into daylight, intact and with a solution.

Even and Mork’s stories also sat perfectly side by side, as they simultaneously unfurled the novel’s many layers, the latter parts both dramatic and very very tense. It was not quite the ending I expected, but surely that is what you want from a very good crime/thriller.

Inborn was writing at its best, it’s pace unrelenting, it’s characters interesting and compelling and just a fantastic read.

Can someone please pass me another Thomas Enger novel, I am hooked!!

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Inborn to read and review and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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Thomas Enger is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication, and marked the first in the bestselling Henning Juul series. Rights to the series have been sold to 28 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Killer Instinct, upon which Inborn is based, and another Young Adult suspense novel, was published in Norway in 2017 and won the same prestigious prize. Most recently, Thomas has cowritten a thriller with Jørn Lier Horst. Enger also composes music, and he lives
in Oslo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogtour Gallowstree Lane by Kate London @kate_katelondon @CorvusBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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Gallowstree Lane by Kate London  Corvus  February 7th 2019

When a teenage boy steps out of the shadows of Gallowstree Lane and asks a passer-by for help, it’s already too late. His life is bleeding out on the London street.

The murder threatens to derail Operation Perseus, a cover police investigation into the Eardsley Bluds, an organised criminal network. Detective Kieran Shaw can’t and won’t allow that to happen. But fifteen-year-old Ryan has other ideas. He’s witnessed the death of his best friend, and now he wants someone to pay…

As loyalties collide, a chain of events is triggered that threatens everyone with a connection to Gallowstree Lane.

My Review

Imagine a spider spinning its web, the strands are numerous, until finally they all fit neatly together, ready to catch its prey. This is exactly how I viewed Kate London’s Gallowstree Lane. It didn’t matter that it happened to be book three of a series, as it stood up so well as a standalone, even if there were a few bits that I perhaps, needed to catch up on.

The subject matter couldn’t have been more timely or relevant, as night after night we hear of another stabbing, of another, often young person in our cities. What does it mean for all those involved, wether they be the victim, the friends, the family, the gangs that run the streets or the detectives who have to solve the crime. London put me right in the middle of the action, from the chilling and horrifying first scene of young Spencer bleeding out on the street as his friend Ryan looked helplessly on to the frustration and danger encountered by the investigating detectives.

For me, it wasn’t so much about the investigation but the gang culture, their use of vulnerable young teens desperate for money, but most of all admiration and attention. Her characterisation of Ryan was superb, a young lad with no strong family behind him, no-one to put him right. His vulnerability and confusion screamed at me from the pages, my frustration with the police and authorities screamed even louder, as I read. It was almost like watching a car crash in slow motion.

The ruthless pursuit of territory, of superiority by the rival gangs the Bluds and the Soldiers was not pleasant to read, yet London’s real experience as a detective gave it an all too horrifying reality.

London was equally brilliant at her portrayal of the investigation and I was pleased that it wasn’t cold or unfeeling.

I loved Lizzie’s vulnerability as a single Mum, desperately trying to be a good mum to her toddler as well as a good police officer. I admired her tenacity and determination to put everything on the line to prove a point, that she could do it all no matter what. She was testament to how much harder it was to be woman in a mans world, which is not to say that is what I thought London was trying to achieve but my own personal thoughts.

Sarah was equally tenacious and determined, with a stubborn streak that saw her get results.

Lizzie and Sarah may have been polar opposites but they cared, they wanted to protect Ryan and they prevented the novel from being cold and hard, they gave it the emotion it needed. Now don’t get me wrong, I know men have feelings but London only gave me glimpses as Kieran fought to save all his hardwork of the past two years, they gave the novel balance with their harder, more pragmatic approach.

London handled her characters beautifully, her complex plot with ease, laying down layer upon layer of background, delicious intrigue and the London streets that held so much menace and danger.

If you want an honest, realistic portrait of the prevalent gang culture on the modern streets of our cities then i suggest you grab yourself a copy of this superb novel.

I would like to thank Corvus for a copy of Gallowstree Lane to read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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Kate London graduated from Cambridge University and moved to Paris where she trained in theatre. In 2006 Kate joined the Metropolitan Police Service. She finished her career working as part of a Major Investigation Team on SC&O1 – the Metropolitan Police Service’s Homicide Command. She resigned from the MPS in August 2014. Her debut novel Post Mortem was published by Corvus in 2015.

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#Blogtour Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti @ilaria_tuti @wnbooks @gigicroft #FlowersOverTheInferno #TeresaBattaglia

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Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti    W&N  February 7th 2019

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A CRIME WHEN YOUR OWN BODY IS FIGHTING AGAINST YOU?

Something devastating has taken place here in these mountains. Something that requires all my investigative abilities.
My name is Teresa Battaglia, I am a police chief inspector and I walk through hell every day. It’s not my gun, nor my uniform: my real weapon is my mind. Yet my mind is failing me…
My name is Teresa Battaglia, I have a secret that I dare not reveal even to myself, and for the first time in my life I am afraid.

In the village of Travenì, surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Italian Alps, a series of violent assaults take place. 

When the first body is found in the woods, Police inspector Teresa Battaglia quickly realises her decades of experience as a profiler will not be enough to solve what looks like the work of a profoundly deranged mind. Soon more victims are found and when a new-born baby is kidnapped, Teresa’s investigation becomes a race against the clock.

But Teresa is also fighting a different kind of battle: against the silent reticence of a community determined to protect a secret legacy of shame; and against her own body, weighed down by age and diabetes, and her mind, once invincible and now slowly gnawing away at her memory…

My Review

I have to admit to some trepidation when I started Flowers Over The Inferno. Was it going to be just another crime novel? Would the translator get the essence of the characters and the authors narrative? I needn’t have worried, the translation was top notch and the novel absolutely superb.

Why? The characters were more than interesting and absorbing. Lead investigator, Superintendent Teresa Battaglia wasn’t your average detective, she was older, ill with diabetes and hid her past and present circumstances from those around her. It was only the reader that got to know the real Teresa, the one filled with fear and pain. On the outside she was tough, unforgiving, intolerant, only the odd crack in her facade appeared as the relationship between herself and Inspector Massimo Marini developed.

Massimo Marini, the new kid on the block, the outsider was a man to be admired as he persisted in his attempts to impress his new boss. You could tell this would be the start of a very good relationship as somehow they complemented each other, each working to their strengths to solve the murders.

The crimes were horrifying and Tuti was unflinching in her descriptions, which were definitely not for the faint hearted. Don’t be put off as there was more to them than simple violence and that is what was so interesting about the direction this novel took. It wasn’t necessarily about the horrifics of murder, for me, it was more about us as human beings. What makes us who we are? How does our upbringing affect our adult life and would it necessarily turn us into a murderer?

Tuti’s exploration of these themes was absolutely fascinating and at times heartbreaking as she delved deep into past and history of the small ski town of Traveni to answer those questions. The intermingling of past and present was seamless and slowly, before even Teresa and Massimo had worked out and brought all the varying strands together, you knew what happened, who the murderer was. The only question left was how they would learn all the facts, how they got there and would they be in time before more victims turned up amongst the forests of Traveni.

As with all good crime novels it didn’t happen easily and Massimo and Teresa had to use all their skills and a bit of luck to get there. Their journey was fast paced, intense and the latter parts of the novel both dramatic and heartrending. The landscape played an important part, the snow, the deep, dark, dense, forest and the starkness of the quarries and caverns were brilliantly described and intertwined, pitting itself against the police, thwarting them at every turn and provided the perfect camouflage for our perpetrator. The themes of man’s need to develop, to cut back the environment, to protect the tourist industry played a part but remained in the background.

It was this heady mix of the human psyche, the horrors of  the past, the environment and the two wonderful characters of Battaglia and Marini that made this novel so good, so immersive and for me just brilliant.

I would like to thank W&N for a copy of Flowers Over The Inferno to read and review and to Virginia Woolstencroft for inviting MY Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

ILARIA TUTI lives in Friuli, in the far north-eastern part of Italy. FLOWERS OVER THE INFERNO, her debut novel and the first book in the Teresa Battaglia trilogy, was a top 10 bestseller on publication and the biggest debut of 2018 in Italy.

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#Blogtour The Geography of Friendship by Sally Piper @SallyPiper @Legend_Press #The GeographyofFriendship

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The Geography Of Friendship by Sally Piper   Legend Press  February 1st 2019

When three women set off on a hike through the wilderness they are anticipating the adventure of a lifetime. Over the next five days, as they face up to the challenging terrain, it soon becomes clear they are not alone.

Lisa, Samantha and Nicole have known each other since school. Lisa is a fighter, Samantha a peacekeeper and Nicole a rule follower. United they bring out the best in one another.

Only once it is too late for them to turn back do they appreciate the danger they are in. Their friendship is tested, and each of them must make a choice that will change their lives forever.

My Review

There is some great fiction winging its way from Australia and Sally Piper’s The Geography of Friendship is another one to add to the list.

It wasn’t your average thriller, three girls go on a hike and only two come back etc, it was more an examination of friendship, of how events can change, divide or simply destroy friendship. It was also about how we react as individuals to a traumatic occurrence and the lasting implications it can have on the trajectory of our lives.

Piper’s three main protagonists were all so different, and I think that is what made this novel so immersive and enjoyable.

Samantha, self-conscious about her weight, mother to three boys and a husband who no longer saw her, the spark no longer glowing in their marriage.

Lisa, feisty, quick-tempered, single parent and always thought that to get anywhere you literally had to fight.

Nicole was harder to get a grasp of, a loner with a hard impenetrable exterior that tweaked your interest, that made you want to know why.

Flitting between past and present, Piper immersed us in their individual thoughts, and emphasised the wide divide that stretched between them. You could sense the tension as they confronted their fears and faced up to home truths that had long laid dormant, festering just beneath the surface.

Piper beautifully intertwined the differing landscape into the story, the heat simmered from the pages as you got a feel for the growing isolation of the three women.

What made this novel so compelling was its slow burn, the sense of anticipation Piper created so that you never knew quite what would happen next. When the tension became almost too much and just when you thought you couldn’t stand anymore, bang. Piper hit you with scenes that were wonderfully dramatic and definitely well worth the wait.

I so desperately wanted them to be ok, to regain the bond that they once shared, to put the past to bed.

To find out if they did then I suggest you buy or borrow The Geography of Friendship and discover the outcome for yourself.

I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of The Geography of Friendship to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Sally Piper is an award-winning Brisbane based writer.  She is a former nurse and nurse educator, specialising in neurosurgical critical care, and has worked in both Australia and the UK.

Sally has had short fiction and non-fiction published in various online and print publications, including a prize-winning short story in the first One Book Many Brisbanes anthology, The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Saturday Paper, Weekend Australian and WQ plus other literary magazines and journals in the UK. She has been interviewed for radio, been a guest panellist at literary festivals and delivered many author talks and readings.

Sally holds a Master of Arts (Research) in Creative Writing from Queensland University of Technology. During her post-graduate studies she also tutored on the QUT Creative Writing program. She currently presents workshops and seminars for the Queensland Writers’ Centre and mentors on their ‘Writer’s Surgery’ program.

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Follow Sally on Twitter @SallyPiper

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#Blogtour The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden @lumsdenrich @tinderpress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BillyBinns

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The Six Loves of Billy Binns  Tinder Press january 24th 2019

THE SIX LOVES OF BILLY BINNS is a deeply moving, bittersweet century-spanning debut set in London against the backdrop of the changing 20th century. It is reading group fiction perfect for those who loved the quirky pathos of Gail Honeyman’s ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE and the warmth and humour of Rachel Joyce’s THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY.

At well over a hundred years old, Billy Binns believes he’s the oldest man in Europe and knows his days are numbered. But Billy has a final wish: he wants to remember what love feels like one last time.

As he looks back at the relationships that have coloured his life – and the events that shaped the century – he recalls a lifetime of hope and heartbreak.

This is the story of an ordinary man’s life, an enchanting novel which takes you on an epic yet intimate journey that will make you laugh, cry, and reflect on the universal turmoil of love.

My Review

I have a new love in my life, he may be over one hundred years old and live in a care home but he was one lovable rogue and his name was Billy Binns.

It was perplexing to read that I had lots of competition for his affection, in fact I had six rivals, but I didn’t mind because I got to learn the life story of this deeply flawed but wonderful character that Richard Lumsden had created.

What was truly wonderful was that Billy’s story was a complete history of the 19th Century plus a little of the 20th. His 1900’s birth date took us through the horror of the trenches of World War I and the blitz of World War 2.

We got to see it all, through the eyes of Billy and what wonderful eyes they were.  I will never forget the horror, sheer terror and absolute bravery of Billy’s experiences above and in the trenches of World War I, testament to Lumsden’s fantastic narrative that placed you right there with Billy, as you felt his fear and terror.

Yet, it wasn’t just Billy’s war experiences or indeed his passage through the century’s main historical events that drew you in, it was also loves in his life, Mary, Evie, Archie and Mrs Jackson. All were completely different and what I admired most of all was Lumsden’s  ability to match each love with the trends, fashions and most importantly the society morals and thoughts of that particular time. It was a great way to understand and learn the history and a unique way to unlock the voice of Billy Binns.

He wasn’t a goody two shoes, in fact in some ways he was quite naive, his life lacking in a strong role model, a father who took little or no notice spending most of his time in the pub and a mother unable to stand up against her husband and guide her son along the right path. His naivety and consequent bad decisions, had a dramatic effect on his life and at one point I was inwardly screaming at him to stop and think and not risk everything, a clear sign that Lumsden and well and truly got me emotionally involved with Billy.

In fact, the whole novel was a rollercoaster of emotion, at times it plunged you deep into the depths of despair before pulling you up and making you chuckle at some of Billy’s antics.

He may have been a bit of a rogue, but deep down he had a heart of gold and I was incredibly sad to leave him as I turned the final page.

I adored Billy Binns and I loved the novel, it had everything and more, love, war, sorrow, grief but above all hope.

Bravo Richard Lumsden for a truly memorable debut.

Please read the bits about the author, the history behind the writing of the novel is absolutely fascinating

I would like to thank Tinder Press for a copy of The Six Loves of Billy Binns to read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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I was twenty-seven in 1992 and living in Shepherd’s Bush when I first had the idea for this book. Inspired by old photographs on the walls of the library (now the Bush theatre) of trams on the Green, and an old white arch beside the central line station, I mapped out Billy’s story but became daunted by the amount of research required to detail all of the last century and turned to writing TV & radio scripts instead.

In 2000, I discovered a series of booklets published by the Shepherd’s Bush Local History Society. I phoned their secretary, Joan Blake, who invited me to their monthly meetings in the back of St Luke’s Church on the Uxbridge Road. Over the next few months I listened to stories of growing up in W12 through the 20s, 30s & 40s, and watched slide shows featuring the exhibition palaces and canals at White City. With the kind help of Joan and her friends I was finally able to get started. It took me eighteen months to research and write part one of the novel. Then, faced with more intensive bouts of historical research for parts two to five, I decided I wasn’t cut out to write novels and abandoned the idea.

By 2009, having already worked on a couple of plays for BBC Radio 4, I decided to write ‘The Six Loves Of Billy Binns’ as a play too. It still needed more research but a 45 minute radio script was less daunting than going back to the novel. In 2009 Sir Tom Courtenay gave Billy his voice, and the radio play, of which I’m very proud, still gets repeated from time to time. However, I knew I’d bottled out by not telling Billy’s story as originally intended.

In 2015 I turned fifty, and at a very different stage of life, twenty-three years after starting part one of the novel. A supportive literary agent encouraged me to get it finished. I went back to my Shepherd’s Bush Local History Society booklets and took another two years to complete a draft to send out to publishers.

It’s a story about love, disappointment, and the flaws that make us human. Billy has a tendency to re-interpret his own history, but ultimately he’s an ordinary man who lived an ordinary life, and I hope the readers might take him to heart on his journey to remember what love feels like.

Richard Lumsden has worked as an actor, writer and composer in television, film and theatre for 30 years. As an actor his films include Downhill, Sightseers, Sense & Sensibility and The Darkest Hour, as well as numerous television shows and theatre productions. THE SIX LOVES OF BILLY BINNS is his first novel.

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