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Strong As Death – Book Review

This is a superb debut novel from Julia Lund. I only discovered this writer and fellow blogger by way of one of the comments she left on a mutual friend’s blog. Her blog, http://julialundauthor.wordpress.com, provides a delightful insight into her writing and art, and some fascinating biog info. Equally delightful in a medium where, inevitably, it’s impossible not to sometimes be overwhelmed by self-promotion, she also takes the time to engage with her readers, offering detailed comment and advice where appropriate, and praise where merited.

This is a book I would highly recommend, not just for its entertainment and storytelling value, but for any aspiring writer, the dialogue is some the very best I’ve read, and indeed, learned from…

 

Strong As Death, by Julia Lund (Available in eBook via amazon kindle)

 

julia3‘Strong as Death’ is the beautifully written story of young love and the obstacles it must overcome. Anyone who remembers the pain and joys of their first lover will feel an affinity with this beautiful tale, mixed with memories of those awkward first moments, and then the thrill of realising that your heart’s desire might just be feeling the same way!

Its central character, Minnie Shilling, is like many other seventeen year old girls: shy, modest, sometimes a little awkward, and painfully unaware of her own beauty, especially when she thinks of her glamorous and confident best friend, Dee. But alongside that, she’s also incredibly talented, so talented that it’s destined to bring her as much trouble as it does joy. Add to the mix the arrival of a dashing young man and you have all the ingredients of a seemingly joyous ‘happy ever after tale’ of an enduring first love, but like all great love stories, things are never quite that simple…

Needless to say, just when everything seems perfect, life gets in the way, or in this case, something beyond ‘life’; Minnie slowly comes to realise there are forces at work that seek to harness her talents in ways that she cannot begin to imagine, and the only way they can do that is from those dark places that lie beyond this life.

My only slight concern whilst reading this book was perhaps the second chapter, where there is a sudden and unexpected change of character and setting, which at the time I thought was perhaps just a little bit ‘too much, too soon’ for the reader to take in, but after that, the transitions between Minnie’s regular life and the those of the world that might await her, were both smooth and well-timed; I would add at this point, having read the book in full, that this minor issue was nowhere near sufficient to make me hesitate for one moment in giving this book a thoroughly well-deserved five star rating.

Written in the first person, the author is able to infuse such life and depth into Minnie that it’s impossible not to feel that you really know her. What’s more impressive though is the way all the secondary characters are also brought to life by way of the amazingly authentic and clever dialogue; even characters who we only hear of in passing but never actually meet, take on a life of their own. Equally impressive is the author’s use of imagery: as well as being refreshingly witty and original, it also seems in perfect sync with Minnie’s character and how you imagine she would think of the world about her.

This is a superb debut novel of the young adult genre that was truly touching in the way it finally and unexpectedly brought together its many different layers, exceeding all my expectations, and one that I cannot recommend highly enough…

 

Beneath the Rainbow – Book review

Beneath the Rainbow

stars5‘Can’t put down’ page-turner!

by Lisa Shambrook 

lisaEvery parent or indeed anyone who remembers the magic of their own childhood will identify with this book from the very first page. What starts off as a personal tragedy quickly blossoms into an enchanting story of joy, happy memories, and hope. True, it deals with the difficult theme of every parent’s worst nightmare, the loss of a child, but it blends seamlessly with the possibility of what lies beyond, a beautiful vision of a life beyond this one, and it is this aspect of the book that captivates the reader throughout. Told largely from the perspective of a young girl, Freya, killed in a tragic road accident, the story moves in and out of the lives of those left behind as well as those who she meets on the other side. Freya acquires a wisdom beyond her years but the author still allows her the voice and emotions of a child, rather than trying to impose an adult vocabulary. There are some touchingly comic moments, such as the mourners at Freya’s funeral being sure they can hear the angels singing for a moment. There are several times, particularly towards the end that really tug on the heartstrings, moments of sadness skilfully intertwined with happiness and hope. On a literary note, the book employs a stream of consciousness style that bears a well-deserved comparison with Virgina Wolf’s Mrs Dalloway.

A cracking good read that even the most cynical of us are likely to be left with perhaps a tear of joy, and a hope that maybe, just maybe, there could be an element of truth in its vivid description of Freya’s journey and what lies beyond …

***

See HERE for author’s Amazon author page …

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