The Pursuit of William Abbey – Blog Tour

 

 

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GoodReads:
A hauntingly powerful novel about how the choices we make can stay with us forever, by the award-winning author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and 84K.

South Africa in the 1880s. A young and naive English doctor by the name of William Abbey witnesses the lynching of a local boy by the white colonists. As the child dies, his mother curses William.

William begins to understand what the curse means when the shadow of the dead boy starts following him across the world. It never stops, never rests. It can cross oceans and mountains. And if it catches him, the person he loves most in the world will die.

Gripping, moving, and utterly thought-provoking, this novel proves once again that Claire North is one of the most innovative voices in modern fiction.

 

My Review

Once more, my huge apologies for the late post, I’ve really just been bed ridden and cranky and sleeping when I’m not awake to be cranky.

But.

I got to read this book in between bits of my coughing and grumpiness and I did not expect the book to have such a profound effect on me, but it did.

Confession time this is the first time I’ve read a Claire North book [Or Webb or Griffin book] and so I went in with not knowing what to expect other than the basis of the book sounded SO intriguing.

William Abbey is a very complex character in his own emotions that he presents, but his actions are all driven by his reactions and instincts, it’s really great to have such an in depth character. You’re not meant to necessarily like Abbey but in learning his story, I think the important part is to understand him, to see why he made his choices for better or worse.

North doesn’t soften the aspects of colonialism that are rather prominent in this book and I loved that. For so long to stretch your empire was seen as a noble thing, one used to justify almost anything, but even then not everyone would have seen it as noble, some knew, whether they admitted it or not, that it was wrong. An abuse of power and an abuse on fellow humans in the worst atrocities.

Abbey was a product of this time, not to justify what he did and didn’t do, just that you learn that some people were simply not strong enough in mind or heart to do the right thing when it was so easy to just let things happen.

For Abbey this results in him being cursed and now, well, his eyes are open and he’s left to continually travel the world in trying to outrun his curse.

Others see his curse as a gift, whether they are cursed or not, and some, those who have so long abused power in their noble works for the empire see it as a gift that THEY can use.

I would say though this story had a lot of tragedy in it, it also held hope, even if hope wasn’t always the truth that people like Abbey, a truth-speaker, could know without a doubt.

While Abbey is cursed to flee from his shadow, it’s never far and carries the weight of the truth of it, and if it catches up to him….someone he loves will die. But Abbey is not the only one to have this ‘affliction’ and I loved that we got to see how even power could try and corrupt and use such a personal curse for its own uses.

There’s a lot of great moments in this book, twists and turns of the human heart that I didn’t expect and honestly every page gave me something to think about.

A stupendous read that crosses over the genres of historical fiction, fantasy, and more.

I think it’s certainly worth the read and North’s prose is easily read with a sort of eloquence that makes it flow rather quickly. So despite the length of the book, it seems to fly by as Abbey shares his story with Sister Ellis.

I would say hands down this was one of the best reads of the year for me, I’d put it up there with some of my favorites now and I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the chance to read this.

It’s just a story about the complexity of humans and their nature, and it’s not always pretty, but it is honest and raw and there is a certain beauty in that.

Five cups of coffee from me, I’m off to go sleep more. Thank you so much to Orbit and Compulsive Readers Tour for a chance to read and review this honestly as part of the blog tour.

About the Author

Catherine’s first novel, Mirror Dreams, was completed when she was 14 years old. The book was published in 2002 and garnered comparisons with Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman. She went on to publish a further seven young adult novels under her own name, earning her extensive critical acclaim and two Carnegie nominations for her novels Timekeepers and The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle.
While studying International History at the London School of Economics, she wrote an urban fantasy series for adults, writing as Kate Griffin. On graduating LSE she went to the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts to study Technical Theatre and Stage Management. Throughout her training she continued to write, and while working as a lighting technician at the Royal National Theatre wrote her first Claire North novel, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which became a word-of-mouth bestseller and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. The follow-up Touch was described by the Independent as ‘little short of a masterpiece’, and her next novel The Sudden Appearance of Hope won the 2017 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. Her recent novel The End of the Day was shortlisted for the 2017 Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award, and her latest book, 84K has been shortlisted for the Brave New Words and Philip K. Dick Awards.
Catherine currently works as a live music lighting designer, teaches women’s self-defense, and is a fan of big cities, long walks, Thai food and graffiti-spotting. She lives in London.

 

The Rest of the Tour

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The Immortal City – Blog Tour

 

 

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GoodReads:
In the heart of Venice, a woman is sacrificed to a forgotten god, sparking a mystery lost for thousands of years.

Dr. Penelope Bryne is ridiculed by the academic community for her quest to find the remnants of Atlantis, but when an ancient and mysterious script is found at a murder site, she flies to Venice determined to help the police before the killer strikes again.

Penelope has spent her entire life trying to ignore the unexplainable and magical history of Atlantis, but when she meets the enigmatic Alexis Donato, everything she believes will be challenged. Little does she know, Alexis has spent the last three years doing his best to sabotage Penelope’s career so doesn’t learn the truth—Atlantis had seven magicians who survived, and who he has a duty to protect.

As Alexis draws her into the darkly, seductive world of magic and history, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head if she is to find the answers she seeks.

With the new MOSE system due to come online, and Carnivale exploding around them, Penelope and Alexis will have to work together to stop the killer and prevent dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea.

 

My Review

Hey guys, hitting you up with another book review on this lovely Saturday. If lovely for you means, cold, slightly damp, and having cleaned up a spider graveyard in the bathtub of your new house.

Anywho!

I was lucky enough to get to do the cover reveal for this book and now here I am reviewing it as part of the blog tour.

The synopsis really had me with Venice, but then I saw Atlantis and it was like I was 9 again looking over maps wondering where Atlantis could have been. Shhh. I was a very curious child with a love of archaeology.

So right off the bat, I wanted to read this given the premise.

Well, there wasn’t as much Venice I would have liked but there was certainly cool dark magic and occult things going on so that placated me.

As far as Atlantis content goes, well, I think/hope there’s more of it to come, it is the first book afterall and this was setting up the world and plots and so on.

I loved the Magician characters I thought they were fun and mysterious and I just wanted to go hang out in their ‘crib’ and drink wine with them.

Unfortunately, I had little love for Penelope. I think she must have been so much younger than I would have thought. This reads more as YA, though Penelope herself is old enough/brilliant enough if she’s still a teen, to have her doctorate. I think the reason I didn’t like her is that I found the romance aspect for her rather dull, but, I did enjoy her hunger for knowledge and her curiosity. I love it when characters are as big as history lovers as I am, haha.

Another Character to enjoy is Marco the inspector, he is just the best in my opinion haha.

The magic was actually very neat, and the ties with Atlantis were something I can’t wait to learn/read more about in the next book.

I mean there is little to fault with the premise and ideas, I thought they were awesome, I just found it lacking with Penelope’s character growth/development so at times it made it hard for me to love it as much as I wanted to. Still a good start to a series, enjoyable to read, and I look forward to reading book 2!

Thank you to BHCPressBooks for a copy of this in exchange for my honest review

 

About the Author

Amy Kuivalainen is a Finnish-Australian writer that is obsessed with magical wardrobes, doors, auroras and burial mounds that might offer her a way into another realm. Until then, she will write about fairy tales, monsters, magic and mythology because that’s the next best thing. She is the author of The Firebird Fairytales Trilogy and The Blood Lake Chronicles series that mash up traditional tales and mythology in new and interesting ways.

Author Links

Website| Twitter | GoodReads

 

A Tapestry Of Treason – Blog Tour


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Synopsis:
Her actions could make history – but at what price?

1399: Constance of York, Lady Despenser, proves herself more than a mere observer in the devious intrigues of her magnificently dysfunctional family, The House of York.

Surrounded by power-hungry men, including her aggressively self-centred husband Thomas and ruthless siblings Edward and Richard, Constance places herself at the heart of two treasonous plots against King Henry IV.  Will it be possible for this Plantagenet family to safeguard its own political power by restoring either King Richard II to the throne, or the precarious Mortimer claimant?

Although the execution of these conspiracies will place them all in jeopardy, Constance is not deterred, even when the cost of her ambition threatens to overwhelm her.  Even when it endangers her new-found happiness.

With treason, tragedy, heartbreak and betrayal, this is the story of a woman ahead of her time, fighting for herself and what she believes to be right in a world of men.

This is one woman’s quest to turn history on its head.

Book Information:
By: Ann O’Brien
Published By: HQ, Imprint of HarperCollins
Publishing Date: 22/08/2019
Format: Hardback [eBook & Audio]
Price: £14.99

 

My Review

I have to admit, I’ve never read a historical fiction book like this before but I have enjoyed watching movie adaptations of ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and ‘The Duchess’ < though the latter is a biography instead of a historical fiction novel.

Still, I read the synopsis of this and knew I couldn’t pass it up with my love of history and let’s face it, we always could use a few more books about women that history has swept over. I was delighted to take part in this tour!

The first chapter just drops you in, you’re caught up immediately into the world that Constance of York occupies. There is no mistaking Anne O’Brien’s attempt to immerse you completely into this world. You are transported to 1399/1400s and it is rife with political intrigue.

O’Brien does a great task in not focusing too much on one set of details, in particular, instead, she takes everything into consideration. There is the expectation of women of the time, but also the reality of women in that period. They may not have much power out front but they can still do things their own way. Constance is a woman of ambition and of course that tends to make her not well received by others, viewed as immoral though others around her are forgiven and lauded for treasonous thoughts all because they are men and she’s a woman.

I was slightly daunted by the page count but then O’Brien builds up this quiet intensity, she brilliantly keeps the tension all the way through out. It actually made it hard to put down, there was this feeling of Constance running out of time or rather that she was always on the verge of being in trouble and I was completely on board for that. 500 pages and it kept me on the edge of my seat, to me that’s the sign of a brilliant novel. I adored it and I now adore O’Brien.

Anne O’Brien clearly does her research and brings Constance to life, giving her a voice that would fit in seamlessly as fact rather than the fiction it actually is.

If you’re a fan of history and/or Philippa Gregory books then I highly recommend this five cups of coffee read to you!

[Thank you to HQ for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review as part of the tour]

 

About the Author

 

Sunday Times bestselling author Anne O’Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history. Todayshe has sold over 250,000 copies of her books in the UK and lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire. The area provides endless inspiration for her novels about the forgotten women of history.

 

The Rest of the Tour

A Tapestry of Treason Blog Tour (1)

Charity Shop Finds!

 

Hey guys! It’s Sunday and I’m lazy, so it’s another Charity shop find for me. I was especially excited by the first two books if I’m going to be honest!

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I have The Poppy War on Kindle but I do tend to read better when I have a paper or hardback, and I wanted to get The Bone Season as I’m seeing Samantha Shannon again this month and well, I’ve already asked her to sign my Priory haha, and besides, I want to get into this series now. ❤

 

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I purely got this one because I loved the out there cover, I’ve read both of these books and we own them already but I like having ‘fun’ editions. And I’m obviously a little obsessed with books. Like you probably. It’s cool, I’m not judging.

 

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The ‘Historical Whodunits’ just called to me, how could it not? For a mystery thriller like myself, I had to at least give it a try and my husband had been curious about Tom Hanks and his book, so we nabbed that up as well.

 

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This is where I am probably going to lose most of you lol, we went on another nonfiction binge. Sidney Poitier’s movies always have been some of my faves so I grabbed up the memoirs and the book on the left is a Scotland history but it’s focusing on different aspects and isn’t one ‘speciality’ like a lot of history books are, and obviously 1421 is a dope ass history book about China and all its amazingness.

 

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Nelson Mandela was such an intriguing man, and it’s hard not to want to read more on him so I grabbed this and the one on the right is a book about Chairman Mao.

 

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Somme, Somme everywhere. We are huge history buffs as a couple, and so this was a sort of ‘for both of us’ binge.

 

Total?

A little over 10 quid.

Did you score any good book deals? Doesn’t have to be from a charity shop, what about just buying a book you wanted in general?

At the Narrow Waist of the World: A Memoir -Review & Author Q&A-

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GoodReads:
Raised by a lively family of Spanish Jews in tropical and Catholic Panama of the l950s and 1960s, Marlena depends on her many tíos and tías for refuge from the difficulties of life, including the frequent absences of her troubled mother. As a teenager, she pulls away from this centered world—crossing borders—and begins a life in the United States very different from the one she has known.

This lyrical coming-of-age memoir explores the intense and profound relationship between mothers and daughters and highlights the importance of community and the beauty of a large Latin American family. At the Narrow Waist of the Worldexamines the author’s gradual integration into a new culture, even as she understands that her home is still—and always will be—rooted in another place.

Today I’m reviewing a memoir that was a really powerful read for me.

It was written with such fluidity that I forgot that this wasn’t just a beautiful novel of fiction. Marlena takes you straight into the heart of her culture, of Panama, and most importantly, her family. There are some similarities over various Hispanic cultures and so I really connected with Baraf’s story, things were so easy to understand on more than just a reading intake level.

Marlena has provided translations where they fit best and in some cases, as many who speak more than language know, some things just get lost in translation and those phrases are left untouched but easy enough to figure out the gist within the context for those who don’t speak Spanish.

There really is a poetical feel to it and you get lost in the words and pages. Marlena is unabashedly and unashamedly honest about her feelings, her experiences, and the bonds with her family. The family history completely intrigued me and I thought this book was simply beautiful.

It’s not often I have read books that I connect with on a cultural level, though admittedly there are vast differences between my heritage and Marlena’s, there are somethings which connect and overlap between the cultures and having a memoir reflecting that at all was quite important to me. I didn’t know how much it meant to me until I was reading it.

This memoir though isn’t just for those with similar cultural backgrounds, it’s also a great read to understand someone coming to terms with their own memories and family history, nothing world shocking, but instead, so common and relevant that most can connect to her through her familial interactions, especially the bonds between siblings and parents. Also, it takes a look at grief and that it does linger, and Marlena does a great job with writing it with such a lyrical ease.

Thank you to Marlena Maduro Baraf and She Writes Press for a chance to read this in exchange for my honest opinion. And thank you for a chance to interview.

A more in-depth review plus interview will appear on my blog at a later date, and this review will go up on Amazon upon Publication.

A heartfelt and poetical memoir ❤️

You’ll be able to buy this wonderful memoir come August [6]!!

 

Interview/Q&A

 

  1. When did you know/decide that you would write a memoir?

It was a surprise to me. I’d taken a first creative writing course late in my life, and from an early assignment I uncovered a memory from my childhood. After that I couldn’t stop. It was not a decision. It happened. I do think writing the memoir originates from a nostalgia for the place of my birth,

 

  1. I loved how you so clearly captured the heritage and culture of your family, did you have to do much research into any of the family history?

There are several books written about the historic community I come from. I had pretty much read them all, and also several books about the history of Iberian Jews who were expelled from Spain and Portugal during the Spanish Inquisition in the late 1400/1500s. So I had a general sense, but I still had to check my facts, because you can make mistakes when you try summarizing things. I also interviewed elders in the family for some very specific details of more recent times–but still before my time.

 

  1. After writing this, did your family read it? 

This is a perfect question. And I am not sure I can answer it fully yet. My sister and brothers were very supportive when I started writing this. We went through a lot together so I think we are closer than other siblings. Four of the “chapters” were published in literary journals and some in the family read those. One of my children has read parts. The other not. However, I have a huge extended family that lived these stories and knew the same people. I’ve yet to see how they will react. I will be in Panama for a book fair very soon and will find out. My mother’s best friend is still living and I adore her and I don’t want to hurt her. Her feelings are probably that you don’t say certain family things in public. I pray she will understand.

 

  1. What was your writing process for this and how long did it take you to write it?  

I would say writing, rewriting, and editing took about 5 years (and if you’ve read the book you know that I don’t use a lot of words). My process was taking out words that were not essential. Other writers tell me that I lean towards poetry. I wanted the reader to fill in the gaps with her own connections. (This was not a conscious thought.)  By the way when I got up in the morning and went directly to the empty page. If I got distracted with a little chore or two, I lost the day. I still struggle with this. The trick is not to look at your phone before you start, if you can possibly do this.

 

  1. What is your next writing project? Do you have anything planned in particular?

I have this vague notion that I’d like to try fiction to see what I could invent, also to study poetry seriously, and I am definitely continuing with interviews with Hispanics all over this country, something that I started several years ago. 

 

  1. Do you think this helped you to cope with your own memories, was it cathartic for you? 

    Yes. Halfway through I felt driven to discover who my mother was really and realized she was flawed and also very human and wonderful. As an adult with not the same need for her that I had growing up, I can see her more clearly. Writing the memoir cleared up the old hurts and made me more confident. 

  2. Would you change anything about writing this if you could? It was such a personal read, and I really felt so connected to your memories while reading it. I would say it was incredibly brave to write such an honest memoir. 

Thank you so much for saying this. I don’t think I would change anything.

 

I would like to say thank you all for giving me the opportunity to read this.

I am so happy that this resonated deeply with you. I think a reader who is keyed in to the words and images and understands and connects is the greatest gift a writer could receive.

 

 

About the Author

 

Author Website

 

Soy panameña y americana. Can you split the two? Born and raised in Panama, I chose to leave my tiny land for Los Estados Unidos de America—a newly minted immigrant. I was in my late teens. In my thirties, I swore allegiance to the country I’d adopted and became an American. I raised a family and worked as book editor at Harper & Row Publishers and McGraw-Hill Book Company after which I studied at Parson’s School of Design and established my own design studio. In the last ten years I’ve dedicated myself to the compelling art and craft of writing. I’m a devoted alumna of the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute.
Two loving sons have given me two amazing women as daughters-in-law. I am married to a funny, Brooklyn-born man. Life is strong. I endure the Mets. I love orchids and cats.
At the Narrow Waist of the World: a memoir is a mother-daughter story about mental illness and healing. Is mental illness fixed, or does it move in and out of focus? Mine is a story about forgiveness and acceptance. About leaving home and looking back and finding it again.

The information and photo have been taken from Marlena’s website which can be found:

Here

 

Publisher information can be found:

Here

 

The Awakening Aten – Blog Tour

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Blurb:

The Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.  
Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.  
This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.

Book Information:
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Troubador Publishing (21 May 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1789018757
ISBN-13: 978-1789018752

Where to Buy

Amazon UK

 

My Review

I haven’t been able to read much fiction set in Ancient Egypt, I tend to stick with nonfiction on this ‘subject matter’ and I’m pretty passionate about history and for years as a child, I wanted to be an Egyptologist, but that’s just me fangirling over Egypt. So, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

The Awakening Aten. This is a promising start to a generational saga. Morrissey obviously did his research for this book, I was really impressed by the dedication shown in the history of this book. There are characters that were straight from the pages of history, many real, some purely fictional but all flowed seamlessly together and unless you recalled the list at the start that stated who was ‘real’ and who was fictional, they all blended together.

Some of you may be familiar with the story of Joseph, a biblical figure who rose from slave to being a respected and powerful man in Egypt. If you read this you’ll see similarities between him and Yuya, the man who he could have been based on. [Also a cool DreamWorks film that I really like haha]

Yuya rises from slave to the most powerful man in Egypt but he keeps his own ideology and faith while supporting those of family and friends who worship as most do in Egypt at this time period.

There is a long cast of characters for this, from all walks of life and backgrounds. An older generation their children and grandchildren those surrounded in their world.

Yuya’s friend Kha was one of my favorite characters and I really enjoyed his arc and the others as well. Being recalled to a world over 3000 years gone, it doesn’t lessen the connection I had with these characters. They were men and women who loved, toiled, and went through tragedies and triumphs no matter if they were Royalty, powerful men risen from their circumstances, or just artists who were passionate for their work.

There is a question of faith whether mono or polytheistic, and it’s interesting to see how Morrissey has taken the shift of many gods to one in Egypt’s history.

The ending has left me unable to contain my enthusiasm to read book two and I am already waiting for its release.

A rich and in-depth novel on Ancient Egypt and characters who connect to us across the ages.

I’m a huge fan and know I will return to Yuya, Kha, and the others again and again. Thanks to Anne Cater, Aidan K. Morrissey and Troubador publishing for a chance to read and honestly review this as part of the Random Things blog tour.

 

About the Author

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I am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North East of England, to concentrate on writing.
A graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1981.
My career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.
I have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
‘The Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.
I have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.
This novel is the first in a plannned five book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.
My hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the Northumberland Hills.

Author Links

Website Twitter

 

Rest of the Tour

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JSS Bach- Blog Tour

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Blurb:

J

SS Bach is the story of three generations of women from either side of Germany’s 20th Century horror story – one side, a Jewish family from Vienna, the other linked to a ranking Nazi official at Dachau concentration camp – who suffer the consequences of what men do. Fast forward to 1990s California, and two survivors from the families meet. Rosa is a young Australian musicologist; Otto is a world-famous composer and cellist. Music and history link them. A novel of music, the Holocaust, love, and a dog. The author’s writing is a wonderland, captivating and drawing the reader in to the presented world. Time becomes no object as a literary universe unfolds and carries the reader through eighty years, where emotions are real and raw and beautifully given.

Book Information:
Hardcover: 200 pages
Publisher: Wrecking Ball Press; Hardcover edition (4 Mar. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1903110629
ISBN-13: 978-1903110621

Where to Buy

Amazon UK

 

My Review

 

Where do I start? This holds all the horrors and beauty of mankind. The fact that even when someone isn’t good they can still do good. It’s a book that shows how the past echoes on in the future, how it really affects people rather than the imprint it just leaves in history books.

Goodman immediately drops you into the story, he doesn’t waste time on flowery prose and shows you the heart of the matter, the journey he wants to take you on. It’s one that’s not for the faint hearted. He also is brilliant at describing history in such a modern and stark way. He shows how ugly things were, how brutal it was, and yet his words are elegant, poignant, guiding you through brutal honesty and lyricism of music.

Three generations of women from the same family have been entangled in Otto’s life, whether they know it or not. Katja is the origins of it all and her character is not an easy one to appreciate, but, Goodman does a good job showing you enough about her to at least have some understanding on certain parts of her workings. I can appreciate the struggles she went through though they are justified in many ways.

Her daughter Uwe broke my heart, if there was ever a character that I wanted to reach out and cherish, it’s her. The child of two Nazis, and yet just an innocent life herself. She bears the burden of the shame brought on to her by her parents, hated by others for simply being born to them. It’s a hard life to live, and really it was a heartbreaking read overall but especially for her, Otto, and Greta. In fact the reason I rated this 4.5 instead of 5 is simply because I wish there would have been more to Uwe’s story, and the women in general but this story in reality is about Otto more than anyone else in my opinion.

Otto himself is a character full of turmoil, tragedy, and isolation. Goodman breathes him to life, there’s not one moment where his actions are believable, the way he lives his life, the choices he’s made. The only thing I struggled to believe was a certain moment that occurs in the book once it’s back to 1994, but I won’t say it and spoil it, it was quite a small issue, and one though I don’t agree with, it makes sense why Goodman put it in. In fact the rest of the story is pretty flawless, I just wanted more because I think it needed more about the women but it’s hard to argue with the choices Goodman has made. Otto though, he is the true main character in my humble opinion, and your heart will be gripped by him.

Rosa is Katja’s Granddaughter and Uwe’s daughter, raised by Katja, she’s grown up in a world knowing the stark truth about her grandparents but never knowing her own past entirely, told that her father had died, and not at all knowing who he was. She is tugged by the past onto a path that will eventually lead her to Otto.

And at the heart of everything, the main reason I wanted to read this, is music.

Otto is a brilliant cellist and composer, Katja was a musician until she went deaf (not a spoiler as you find out within the first few pages she is indeed unable to hear), and Rosa is a musicologist. Fun fact, My postgrad is in Musicology, so I was a bit critical of the musical aspects of this, and Goodman certainly did his research, I was pretty impressed and he didn’t overreach, it was a perfect balance. Music connects Otto to his family and to Katja, to Rosa later on, and it draws people in and strips them down to the bare bones of their pain and joy, its something that can’t be quantified or explained but I loved the way Goodman wrote about it, the sensations it brings in emotions and to our bodies.

As I stated earlier, this book is not for the faint hearted. This shows the brutality and violence of WWII, there are Nazis before and after the war, there are people who are cruel, but it’s never needless cruelty or violence in Goodman’s writing, it all adds purposefully to the story.

4.5/5 Cups of coffee and I tip my hat to Goodman. This was a brilliant novel that broke my heart in the best ways. Thanks to Anne for letting me be part of this tour and thanks to Goodman for the copy of his book. [I don’t typically write this in blog tours but of course my honest opinion was given in exchange]

 

About the Author

Martin Goodman Author Picture

Martin Goodman was born in Leicester, and has lived and worked in China, Qatar, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and France. Travel forms a large part of his writing: both for strictly travel-related books and also for novels and biographies. His first novel ON BENDED KNEES was shortlisted for the Whitbread prize, and his most recent biography SUFFER AND SURVIVE won 1st Prize, Basis of Medicine in the BMA Book Awards 2008. He is the Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hull. He lives in Hull, London and the French Pyrenees. ‘Such narrow, narrow confines we live in. Every so often, one of us primates escapes these dimensions, as Martin Goodman did. All we can do is rattle the bars and look after him as he runs into the hills. We wait for his letters home.’
– The Los Angeles Times

Author Links

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The Rest of the Tour

JSS Bach Blog Tour Poster