#blogtour The Feed by Nick Clark Windo @nickhdclark @headlinepg

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The Feed by Nick Clark Windo  Headline January 25th 2018

All you need is The Feed. Accessed by anyone, at anytime. You can share your thoughts , your emotions, you can communicate without actually verbalising what you want to say. It’s highly addictive, but not for Tom and Kate. They refuse to absorb it fully into their lives, having a slow day, taking the time to communicate, switch off and enjoy each others company.

But what if the Feed collapses? What if it no longer exists? What will the population do? Even worse what if you are Taken whilst you sleep, if you lose all your memories, your knowledge and your dreams.

Fast forward six years and this is the very situation Tom and Kate find themselves in. The Feed has collapsed, millions are dead or Taken. Small isolated communities have sprung up, forced to scrape an existence, foraging for food to stay alive, watching each other sleep, praying they do not become one of the Taken.

Living with their daughter Bea, Graham and Jane, Sean and his son Jack, Tom and Kate are living a nightmare, a nightmare that’s about to get worse when Bea is kidnapped. Setting off on a journey to find their daughter, they will discover the true horrors of the world they currently live in and face decisions that will alter the course of their lives forever.

There is a lot to get your head around at the start of this novel. Firstly is the concept of the Feed, how it works, what it meant for society and its inhabitants, then there is the dark dystopian world Windo portrays when the Feed collapses.  Windo is highly adept at handling the information making it easy for us, the reader, to understand. His descriptions  and imagery are vivid and almost cinematic in places, and at times quite eerily, dark and scary!

The characters, Tom and Kate dominate the novel. It is very much their story, their quest to find their daughter. Other characters play their part in the development of the novel, aiding and abetting with Tom and Kate’s quest. I had a particular fondness for Graham, a resister, one who refused to have anything to do with the Feed, determined to live what he believed to be a normal life. The toll that events have on him and the way in which Windo tells his story is quite touching and emotive.

Some readers may find the first half of the novel quite slow, but Windo needs to provide us with background, to build the tension and we hurtle headlong into the fast paced drama of the second half. Tom and Kate have to deal with surprises and revelations as their search becomes more frantic and desperate.

I found myself totally immersed as I raced through the pages, barely drawing breath as Windo bombarded me with yet more amazing imagery. His portrayal of a devastated city will stay with me for a long time, as will the desperation of some of the people Tom and Kate encounter.

In some ways this is a truly terrifying novel. How hooked are we on technology? How much does our everyday life depend on the internet and social media? Where we would be if it crashed? We might not be in such dire straits as Tom and Kate but it would certainly cause a great deal of concern and consternation. Lets hope it doesn’t happen and maybe appreciate a little more time without the internet and actually talk to each other!

The Feed is thought provoking and utterly compelling and would translate so well into a TV series or even a movie and I for one would be queuing upto watch.

Thank you to Headline for providing a proof to read and review and Anne Cater for organising and inviting mybookishblogspot on the blogtour.

About the author

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Windo studied English Literature at Cambridge University and acting at RADA.  Windo ia also a film producer and communications coach. He currently lives in London with his wife and daughter. The Feed is his first novel.

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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan @SVaughanAuthor @simonschusterUK

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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan  Simon and Schuster January 11th 2018

What do you do if your handsome husband who also happens to be a member of parliament and junior minister admits to an affair just before it is splashed across the papers? If your Sophie, his beautiful wife, mother of his two children, you brush yourself down, forgive him his misdemeanour, and wait for it all to blow over. And this is exactly what happens until suddenly that same person with whom he has the affair accuses James of rape.

Enter Kate Woodcroft, QC; criminal barrister hired by rape victim, Olivia to prosecute James. Focused, tenacious, a bit of a loner, Kate is determined to ensure James is found guilty and pays for his crime.

The stage is set, will Kate succeed, is James guilty, and can Sophie withstand the humiliation and betrayal and stand by her husband?

What unfolds is a novel steeped in intrigue, power and class divide.

Told from the perspective of the three main protagonists, Kate, Sophie and James, Vaughan gives us a deep insight into the thoughts and indeed the differing sides of the story.

James, privately educated, wealthy, an Oxford graduate and the best friend of the Prime Minister. It is in flashbacks to his time at Oxford in the 90’s and his membership of the Libertines, a rich boys lunch club, that his true character comes alive. He has a real sense of entitlement that whatever he does is right, that money and connections will protect him. His behaviour and particularly his attitude towards women is questionable but to reveal the full extent would be to spoil the plot. From the very beginning I disliked James and as the story unfolded my dislike intensified. He is everything we often see today on our televisions, and in our newspapers. It was appalling to read of the antics of his peers at Oxford because we know all too well that it is in the 90’s it was so very true.

Sophie is also privately educated, fairly wealthy background, and an Oxford graduate. It is during her time at Oxford that she meets and falls in love with James. Wooed by his charm James can do no wrong, although they lose touch at Oxford before meeting and marrying seven years later. Their marriage is dominated by James’s ambition to rise through the ranks of government, Sophie subservient, bending to his will. At the beginning I found Sophie hugely frustrating, so subservient, willing to accept James’s version of events and then slowly the real Sophie emerged. The real Sophie was a woman who realised that she could stand on her own two feet and have the life that she wanted, out of James’s shadow and control.

Kate is the normal, working class girl. Brought up in humble surroundings with no private education and none of the trappings of wealth, Kate has had to work hard to get where she is. A naive and shy girl, an incident forces Kate to reinvent herself, to become the the tenacious, confident and focused barrister who will eventually prosecute James. She has one true friend, Ali, is a friend that will stay with her through all of the novels tumultuous events.  She is not an easy character to like but you have to admire her strong will, her vulnerability and her ability to hide her one big dark secret.

Vaughan holds nothing back in this novel neither from a political or class point of view. She writes so vividly and expertly about class divide, the haves and have not’s, not only in general society but also at places of such notorious privilege as Oxford. Vaughan has exaggerated the differing perspectives to heighten the drama and yes clubs may still exist at Oxford or Cambridge but I doubt such outrageous behaviour would be tolerated now as it was in the 1990’s. From a political perspective, I think Vaughan has got it spot on and it is quite worrying that MP’s such as James do exist, that they are responsible for running our country. Her previous career as a news reporter and political journalist have no doubt helped provide such authenticity to the events she so wonderfully describes.

You can guess or predict some of the revelations, but that is not what this novel is about. It is  more about why things happen and how the characters are able to deal with secrets long hidden, and to reconcile what they have done or not done. It is about the intricacies of the relationships between the characters and the clever way in which the pieces of the jigsaw fit together.

Anatomy of a Scandal is what it is says it, an anatomy of a scandal both the good and the bad. It is a scarily true novel of our times and deserves all of the hype and attention it is currently receiving.

About the author

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An Oxford graduate in English, Sarah Vaughan is a former Guardian journalist, news reporter and political journalist. Vaughan did not start writing novels until her 40’s and her first novel The Art of Baking Blind was published in 2014. It was followed in 216 by The Farm at the Edge of the World which became a bestseller in France.

Vaughan currently lives in Cambridge with her husband, two young children a geriatric cat and puppy.

Turning For Home by Barney Norris @barnontherun @DoubledayUK @TransworldBooks

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Turning For Home by Barney Norris  Doubleday January 11th 2018  

This is the story of Robert and Kate.

Robert is an ex Northern Ireland Minister once heavily involved in negotiations with the IRA, a role that he will revisit all but briefly as The Boston Tapes surface, an oral history of ‘The Troubles’ by Boston College.

Every year Roberts’s family come together at his rambling country home to celebrate his birthday. This year it will be different, his wife dead, no longer by his side, and an event he is secretly dreading.

His Granddaughter, Kate, is dreading the gathering for entirely different reasons. A lot has happened to Kate in the intervening 12 months not least the estrangement from her mother who she will meet at the party.

Told in their alternating voices, Norris delves deep into the psyche of Robert and Kate.

Robert analyses his previous life as a government minister as he remembers the Enniskillen bombings, the academic Frank Dunn the unassuming go between passing messages to and from the IRA. I found this fascinating, remembering for myself the horrors Enniskillen and the devastating effect it had on everyone. We also see the personal side as he tries to reconcile his ministerial life with that of a family, his obvious love for his wife and his grief at her death. I think he also felt quite redundant as a person, and the controversy of the Boston Tapes made him feel useful again, giving him real purpose if only for a short time.

Kate’s voice is the most interesting and most affecting part of the novel.  Norris brilliantly describes Kate’s descent into anorexia, the reasons that drove her to starve herself, using anorexia as a way to regain some kind of control in her life. Her difficult relationship with her mother, her childhood and ultimate road to recovery are all laid bare, in narrative that that is both emotive and compelling.

Both Kate and Robert’s stories appear to be quite separate but there are common themes that slowly emerge.They have both had to face grief, events that have affected them deeply and to find ways to deal with the emotions and ultimately to recover and survive.

I liked the way Norris used characters at the different ends of a spectrum, Kate at the beginning of her life, Robert nearing the end. He shows that whatever age we are we still have to deal with the huge gamut of emotions and events that life throws at us, we just have differing ways of recovering and learning to live with the choices we have made.

The writing is sublime. It is both measured and evocative, Norris gently steering the reader through a novel of love, loss and above all hope.

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain was brilliant and I did wonder if Norris’s second novel would be as good. I needn’t have worried as Turning For Home is different but somehow more accomplished and just as good.

Barney Norris is more than living up to his reputation as one of our best young writers.

Thank you to Sophie Christopher at Transworld for a proof copy to read and review.

About the author

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Born in Sussex in 1987, Norris is an award winning playwright, poet and essayist. He received a BA from Keble College Oxford and an MA from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Norris founded the theatre company Up In Arms. He won the Critics’ Circle and Off-westend Awards for Most Promising Playwright for his debut play Visitors.

Norris has also writte 2016.n for The Guardian and The Independent.

His first novel Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain was published to huge critical acclaim in

#Blogtour Beautiful Star and Other Stories by Andrew Swanston @AndrewSwanston @DomePress @emily_glenister

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Beautiful Star and Other Stories by Andrew Swanston Dome Press. January 11th 2018

I am delighted to share my thoughts and a few words from the author, Andrew Swanston on the final day of the Beautiful Star and Other Stories blogtour.

Thank you to Emily Glenister and Dome Press for a copy of the book to read and review.

Now to the serious stuff, my thoughts on Swanston’s book.

Beautiful Star is a collection of novella’s and short stories bringing famous and not so famous moments in history to life.

It begins with the title story Beautiful Star, a fishing vessel, built to earn an income for the Patterson family. Told from the perspective of the daughter Julia, it describes the skill and the craftsmanship of the boat builders of St Monan’s on the East coast of Scotland and the harsh lifestyle of the fishermen. When tragedy strikes the community pulls together to support those affected and build a memorial as a lasting reminder of their bravery.

In another story, it is 1002AD and a young monk, Eilmer is obsessed by birds and how they fly. Over many years Eilmer persists in his belief that man can fly with amazing results.

We meet the button seller who acts as a messenger for the Duke of Wellington during the Battle of Waterloo and Jane Wenham, tried and pardoned for witchcraft.
The common thread that runs through all of these stories are Swanston’s wonderful characters. I absolutely loved the monk Eilmer, a man with so much determination and masses of patience in his quest to fly. I will never forget the drummer boy who accompanies his father and joins Napoleaon’s army at the Battle of Waterloo, so brave and strong as he witnesses the unimaginable horrors of battle.

Where some historical novels can drown the reader in too much tedious historical detail, Swanston’s is measured, and relevant. It was actually nice to read about periods in history long forgotten or not often talked about.

I loved Swanston’s imagery, could smell the gunpowder on the battlefield of Waterloo and clearly visualise Eilmer, wings strapped to his arms as he attempted to fly like a bird!

Swanston made us feel a myriad of emotions. There is sorrow for the ‘witch’ Jane Wenham, a woman clearly a victim of circumstance and misunderstandings and admiration for the bravery and pure grit of Lady Mary Banks as she defended Corfe Castle.

Swanston’s stories are vibrant and mesmerising offering a unique and wonderful insight into British history that will linger long after the turning of the final page.

Enough of me lets here the author Andrew Swanston’s own thoughts and musings on his wonderful collection.

Imagine, please, that you are living about a thousand years ago.  You are fascinated by nature and particularly by birds. How do they learn to fly? What enables them to do so? In the right circumstances could a man fly?  How might you find out?
Well, if you are as brave and determined as the Benedictine monk, Eilmer, you make a pair of wings and jump off the highest point of Malmesbury Abbey, trusting to God and the wind to keep you from falling to your death.

Move on seven hundred years and you are the captain of one of Her Majesty’s warships. On your way back from the Mediterranean you are caught in a storm and have very little idea of where you are. You are responsible for your ship and for the eight hundred souls on board. A mistake could be fatal. What do you do?

Another hundred years have passed and you are a civilian happening to be at the crossroads at Mont St Jean, thirty or so miles south of Brussels, while a ferocious battle between the army of Napoleon and the British and their allies is being fought in the valley below. Lacking an aide, the Duke of Wellington himself asks you to ride down into the thick of the battle to deliver a message. How do you respond?

Sometimes these and countless other stories like them are footnotes to much bigger events – Waterloo, The War of the Three Kingdoms, the French Wars – sometimes they stand alone. The loss of a few fishing boats might not of be lasting importance, but to the extended families involved was entirely devastating. A conviction for witchcraft, on patently false evidence and against the direction of the judge, is all the more terrible if the convicted woman is your grandmother.

Researching such events is one of the pleasures of being an historical storyteller. And, in doing so, one comes across all manner of tasty tid bits.  Here are a few. Scottish fisherman would not set sail on a day on which they saw a minister. Ministers presaged death. Nor would they use the word ‘salmon’ because its name frightens away the fish. They called it ‘the red fish’. On the eve of Waterloo, Napoleon ordered ‘well-cooked mutton’ for his dinner in Brussels after the battle. Eilmer the monk saw Halley’s Comet twice – in 991 and 1066 – the first brought the Danes, the second the Normans. Medieval Malmesbury was so famous as a centre of learning that the pope sent young priests there from Rome.  A cake baked by a suspected witch must be burnt at once or it would bring trouble. Trivia, perhaps, to us, but certainly

to the men and women of the time.

About the author

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Andrew read a little law and a lot of sport at Cambridge University, and held various
positions in the book trade, including being a director of Waterstone & Co, and Chairman
of Methven’s plc, before turning to writing.
Inspired by a lifelong interest in early modern history, his Thomas Hill novels are set during
the English Civil Wars, and the early period of the Restoration.
Andrew’s novel, Incendium, was published in February 2017 and is the first of two thrillers
featuring Dr. Christopher Radcliff, an intelligencer for the Earl of Leicester, and is set in
1572 at the time of the massacre of the Huguenots in France.

Beautiful Star Blog Tour Poster

#Blogtour The Confession by Jo Spain @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks

The Confession Cover

The Confession by Jo Spain  Quercus Books January 25th 2018 

CONFESSION (noun)  A formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime

CONFESSION (mass noun) ‘proof of this crime must be established by confession’

JP Carney is guilty. He walks into the million pound property of wealthy bank owner Harry McNamara and in front of his wife Julie methodically, with a golf club, beats Harry to near death.

Julie can only sit and watch, paralysed, unable to act. When Carney finishes, and walks out, Julie calmly goes upstairs changes her soiled trousers before calling the police.

An hour later Carney walks into a police station and confesses to Harry’s murder, claiming the crime was not premeditated and he did not know the identity of his victim.

Detective Alice Moody believes otherwise, how can anyone not know who Harry McNamara is after his fraud trial and subsequent acquittal. Moody is convinced Carney knew exactly what he was doing and is hellbent on discovering the truth.

And so we embark on a novel with so many twists, turns and revelations that will, by the end, leave you quite exhausted!

On top of all that its a novel that examines the choices the characters make, their upbringing and events that have a last effecting on the course of their lives.

Take our murderer, JP Carney. Raised in London by a mother who suffered severe depression and would finally leave, and a father slowly but surely succumbing to alcoholism unable to cope with JP and his younger sister Charlie. When they return to his father’s Irish homeland it is Carney who goes out to earn money, by illegal and legal means, moving into a flat and ultimately raising his sister. He is a loner, unable to connect or rely on others, and in some ways you do feel sorry for him, a victim of the actions of others.

Julie is the polar opposite. Raised in a large Irish family, the first to attend university she meets and marries Harry McNamara, owner of HM Capital, Ireland’s most prominent bank. Julie experiences wealth beyond her wildest dreams, yet finds it hard to adjust, pursing a career as a teacher trying to lead an ordinary life in a surreal and privileged world. But money can’t buy you happiness and Harry is not quite who he seems as Julie begins to find out. I found Julie hugely annoying, each time she discovered another of Harry’s misdemeanours and decided to leave him there was always something that pulled her back. Their codependency is deep and complex yet all prevailing. I am not sure even with all of Harry’s wealth I would have stayed.

Alice Moody is the tenacious detective, not willing to leave a stone unturned, convinced Carney knew exactly what he was doing. I loved that she wasn’t portrayed as your pretty, slim, attractive to men kind of detective, that so many authors plump for. Moody is overweight, has heaps of attitude, yet is respected by those she works with. She was perfect for this role and it is almost a race between her and Julie to discover the reason for Carney’s actions.

Spain cleverly uses the voices of each of the characters so that we see the story from all perspectives. It allowed the emotional turmoil and sheer desperation felt by Julie and Carney in particular to shine through. I felt Spain handled this superbly in what is a complex novel never confusing the reader but allowing them to form their own opinions and come to their own conclusions.

When all the various strands finally come together and the truth is revealed I was quite breathless.

This is a novel that will send you here, there and everywhere, on a veritable roller coaster that never seems to stop. It is brilliant and will definitely one of the books of 2018!

Thank you to Quercus and Hannah Robinson for the proof copy to read and review and for the ever lovely Anne Cater for organising and allowing me to be part of the blog tour

About the author

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Jo Spain’s first novel ‘With Our Blessing’ was shortlisted in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller and was a top ten bestseller in Ireland. Jo has written two further novels featuring DI Tom Reynolds.

Jo has also worked as a party advisor on the economy in the Irish parliament and is now writing full-time. Spain lives in Dublin with her husband and four children.

The Confession

Peach by Emma Glass @Emmas_Window @BloomsburyBooks

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Peach by Emma Glass  Bloomsbury January 11th 2018

This short novella does not ease you in gently, the first lines hit you like a train

Thick sticky sticky wet ragged wool winding round the wounds, stitching the sliced skin together as I walk, scraping my mittened hand against the wall, Rough red bricks ripping the wool. Ripping the skin. Rough red skin.

Slowly we realise that this is the aftermath of a rape and the girl, Peach, is attempting to reach home, to safety, to assess her injuries and get clean.

The rest of the novella continues in a similar vein as Peach’s thoughts pour out onto the page. Keeping her rape secret she carries on her everyday life as if nothing has happened, yet her stream of thought, her constant fear that he is ever present, lurking in her head, in the background and everywhere she goes remains.

Peach is portrayed as just your normal, average teenager, academically bright, a steady boyfriend and from a loving family. Her rape is harrowing but what I found even more harrowing was the aftermath. How Glass, describes Peach’s inner most thoughts and feelings is revelatory and you almost want to ask her how she knew what to write, where it came from, how she could get so deep into Peach’s psyche.

The narrative is in short staccato sentences, almost poetic in its structure, but with immense power and intensity. It  is brutal to read but so very compelling and sad.

I did find myself at some points wanting to scream at her to tell someone, to get help, but I think that would have made life even more difficult for Peach, who just wants everything to be normal, yet is tormented by an act of such violence, that it consumes all her energy.

The ending was just brilliant, in fact the whole novel was brilliant!

Emma Glass has written the most stunning debut. It will not be to everyone’s taste and much of it is deeply harrowing and shocking but oh my goodness it is brilliant.

Thank you to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for a copy to read and review

About the author.

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Emma Glass was born in Swansea, She studied Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Kent before deciding to become a nurse and studied Children’s Nursing at the University of Swansea. Emma now lives in London where she is a specialist nurse at Evelina Children’s Hospital.

Peach is her debut novel.

#blogtour #Hydra by Matt Wesolowski @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBook

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Hydra by Matt Wesolowki   Orenda Books January 15th 2018

Arla Macleod is 21 when she massacres her mother, stepfather and sister in anapparent psychotic episode that becomes know as the Macleod Massacre. Locked up for life in a mental institution investigative journalist Scott King is the only person she will speak to.

Famous for his ‘Six Stories’ podcasts King is slowly immersed in Arla’s world picking apart the events leading up to the massacre, interviewing five people who knew her and trying to understand why she killed her family. Was it really diminished responsibility, did Arla know exactly what she was doing?

Having not read Wesolowki’s Six Stories and having heard and read all the rave reviews I was intrigued to discover for myself why he is such a good writer.

What I particularly enjoyed was the unique structure of the novel. Told via six podcasts, and interspersed by the thoughts of Arla and King we are slowly able to garner not only an insight into Arla’a past life and character, but also how she was viewed by others. Seen as a loner with what others would call odd tendencies, she is a complex character, perhaps as a result of her family background. A cold somewhat uncaring mother, a deeply religious and strict stepfather and a younger sister, who can do no wrong, obviously the favoured daughter and you can perhaps understand why she finds life so difficult.

What I didn’t expect was the dark and eerily creepy quality that Wesolowki brings to the novel. Arla’s fascination with goth singer Skexxix, his rituals and the black eyed children add an extra dimension to the novel that I found very disturbing and I would recommend you do not read in the dark!

The insights into Arla’s mental state are extremely well done and in some ways you cannot help but feel sorry for her. Maybe if her parents had invested some feeling and time into Arla she would not have found refuge in the online world.

King is a mysterious figure, always wary of revealing his identity, seemingly fearless until he too becomes involved in Arla’s story as he begins to receive threats, warning him to step away from the story. I loved his tenaciousness, his unwillingness to give up despite the fear he felt, adding that extra bit of drama to the novel.

The writing is fantastic full of amazing imagery, and wonderfully atmospheric. It is multi layered each podcast unraveling another angle, another revelation, surprising the reader as the plot takes yet another turn.

This is a novel that will hook you from the first page, it will draw you into to a dark and murky world, and is a story for todays media driven society.

I loved it and now need a copy of Six Stories to get another fix of Matt Wesolowski’s fabulous writing. If has a spare copy please send!!

Thank you to Anne Cater for organising the blogtour and Orenda Books for a proof to read and review.

The blog tour runs until February 7th.

About the author

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Matt Wesolowski is from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young
people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has
been published in numerous UK- and US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie
Creature Feature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella,
The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt
was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in
2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK
and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major
Hollywood studio..

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris @BonnierZaffre @Emily_BookPR. #TheTattooistOfAuschwitz #LaleSokolov

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The Tattooist of Berlin by Heather Morris  Bonnier Zaffre  January 11th 2018

This is the true story of Lala and Gita Sokolov and their incarceration in Auschwitz.

Lale was the tattooist or Tetovierer, labeling all the incoming prisoners for survival. A job that entailed scratching numbers into arms with indelible ink, a mark that would stay with them throughout their lifetime.

Given more freedom than many of his fellow prisoners Lale was able to move about the camp exchanging jewels and money from the dead for food that he would distribute  amongst his fellow prisoners.

A charming, amiable young man, Lale was determined to survive, a determination strengthened when he meets Gita, tattooing her identification number as she arrives in camp. It was love at first site and its is a love that will see them both survive the terrible atrocities they witnessed and endured.

Lale is such a wonderful character. Charming, focused, with a steely determination to make the best of his situation for himself but more importantly for his fellow prisoners. The risks he took could have and very nearly cost him his life. The sheer hell that he witnessed would have broken many men, but not Lale, he accepted his lot and got on with it. Perhaps one of the most poignant passages in the novel is of Lale sat tattooing the new arrivals as ash descends on him from the cremation huts, Lale continuing with his job as the dead bodies of those had been gassed were burnt.

Gita, the love of his life, is also determined to survive, working in the administration block living for Sundays when she and Lale can share stolen moments, a small break from the horrors of everyday life.

The descriptions and the imagery perfectly portray the horrors of life in the concentration camps. Morris tells of the brutality of the SS Officers and the guards and also of those prisoners who have the grim task of burning bodies, sorting through the belongings of the dead and in some cases inflicting harm to gain names of troublemakers.

For all the horrors Lale and Gita endured, what shines through is their love for each other, a love that never falters and will see them survive, marry and eventually have a successful and full life in Australia.

Perhaps because of the subject matter I found it hard to criticise the novel. It is not perfect and there are flaws, particularly with some of the flash backs to Lale’s previous life, but these are unimportant when Morris is retelling the true story of an incredible man.

This is not a comfortable read and nor should it be. What the Jews and other minority groups suffered at the hands of the Nazi’s is something the world should never forget. The fact that this is a true story makes it all the more horrific, yet it has glimmers of hope and humour and ultimately love.

About the author

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Heather Morris lives in Australia and for several years worked in a large public hospital in Melbourne.At the same time she studied and wrote screenplays.

In 2003 Heather met Lale Sokolov, an event that would change her life. They formed a close friendship in which Lale slowly began to tell his story which Heather originally wrote as a screenplay. She eventually reshaped into her debut novel, ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’

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