Tuesday, 23 September 2014

30. A Dent in the Reading Pile

Once again, on behalf of the newspaper column, I’m sharing the antics of my children and I think it’s only fair considering the many times they’ve embarrassed me. I have to have my snippet of revenge before the next developmental stage begins and I’m all over the ignoring my mother’s sound advice of ‘I told you so’ and ‘they’re just like you at that age’.

It’s book fair time at school, which means many wonderful books waiting to be discovered. However, to celebrate the occasion, creating an acceptable costume for my youngest to wear is a little more daunting.

If I were one of those talented parents who could sew or possessed the creative gene to throw something together that looked fabulous, this wouldn’t be a problem. Alas, my tailoring skills are limited to sewing buttons. I can brag though that once sewn, those buttons don’t come off again – ever.

My next problem was what my little miss might choose to wear considering her varying interests and her inclination to personalise her outfits. Visions of teenage mutant ninja turtle princesses and computer game-inspired characters filled my head. To my surprise, she chose to be one of those regular fairy garden princesses. (Her words, not mine.)

Fortunately, we have some ready-made costumes in the dress-up box. With a tweak here and there, we’ll come up with something. Whatever costume she chooses, it will need a button or two so I can say I had a hand in the creative process. The teacher will have scissors in case of any wardrobe malfunctions, right?

Just so you know, the youngest went as a flower from Alice in Wonderland’s garden and I didn’t have to cut her out of her costume when she came home. :)

Because the pile of books on my bedside table has been breeding again, here are my thoughts on J L Addicoat’s debut novel – Spirit of Love.

Widowed Julia comes to a 17th century manor with the intention of restoring the lodgings to their former glory, as had been her husband’s dream before he died. Although she’s sure she spied someone from the corner of her eye upon entering the house, she thinks she’s alone until voices sound behind her. She then meets an older couple who have been servants of the household since their youth. Before retiring for the night, Julia discovers a diary belonging to the wife of the man who built the manor. In its pages, she learns the woman placed a curse upon the manor and all its inhabitants so that no one who dies there can leave. Their spirits are bound to the manor along with the ghost of the evil husband who tortured his young wife to death. That night, Julia’s husband, Richard, comes to her in a dream and confirms the curse begging Julia never to leave the manor at night for that is when the old Lord is at his strongest. Despite this warning, Julia finds herself falling in love with the manor, the older couple who seem very happy to help her and especially the young man who has come to restore the gardens to their former glory. But all is not as it seems.

This tale begins in such a gentle manner, but surprises are in store and if you like a bit of sauciness in your stories then you will not be disappointed. When reading this story, I felt as though I was exploring a regal old building too. Secret passages, hidden rooms, nothing was omitted from the story. The story had a timeless quality about it. The imagery was beautiful as was the ending. :) A most enjoyable read.

For contrast, I read my first Patricia Cornwell novel. Late last year, as an experiment, I wrote a suspense novella, but something was missing and I definitely found it lacking. After reading Ms Cornwell’s novel, I can see why. :/

‘Body of Evidence’ centres on medical examiner Kay Scarpetta and is told in fist person viewpoint from this character, yet cleverly fills in the information the medical examiner needed through letters written previously by the deceased and from various characters Kay meets on her way to discovering the identity of the murderer. Admittedly, I thought I’d figured out said murderer within the first fifty pages. As it turns out, while I was correct to be suspicious of that particular character, he wasn’t the culprit. What a tangled plot Ms Cornwell weaved. So many characters to follow, so many misleading thoughts and yet they came together in the end so seamlessly I wondered why I ignored my instincts when the clues began to focus in another direction. Let’s just say that I will never make a great detective (but nobody tell my kids that.)

The character who fascinated me most, however, was not the strong female lead, the seen-it-all-before detective nor the murderer. This particular character wasn’t a mainstay in the story but was definitely a pivotal one (though I only worked out how pivotal when I’d finished reading.) Imagine a character who ‘sees’ the emotions people try to hide as vivid colours. Angry, aggressive people appear hazed in varying shades of red, calmer or depressed people appear as cool blues regardless of whether they are displaying those emotions. This character ventured into the field of aura reading and believed in their ability to see the future and absorb the emotions of others. To a paranormal writer, this character was gold. I wanted to know more about that person – did they believe what they were saying? Did they have such abilities or was it the fragments of a tortured mind? Unfortunately, said character wasn’t sticking around to sate my curiosity and yet he’s the one character I can’t get out of my head.

Now that there’s a slight drop in the reading pile’s height, it’s back to the writing. Perhaps that should be rewriting because it seems I haven’t so much as edited as obliterated the original novel. I’ll have to discipline myself now and stay focused on those words as a few favourite television shows are returning, and there are some making their debuts that have garnered my interest. Oh well, sleep (like housework) is overrated anyway. :)

Happy Reading :)


  1. You always make me smile, D. I'm another person who sews buttons on so that they will outlast all other aspects of the clothing :)

    The secret passages in J's haunted mansion sound wonderfully eerie. Lovely review

    Good luck with the writing! 2014 has been such a busy year fitting in writing and editing always feels like such an amazing achievement - and yeah, the temptation of tv is real!

    1. It's quite a skill to be a button sewing extraordinaire. LOL

      Glad I made you smile and you enjoyed the review. :)

      Thanks for the good wishes. Still crossing my fingers. As well as looking forward to your next release. :)

      Darn TV temptations. lol

  2. Thanks for the review D.D.
    Glad you liked the novel.
    Sewing on buttons is one thing my mother taught me early, but I'm also a pretty good hand on the sewing machine. My machine may date from the 60's, but it still works well.
    My buttons don't come off either. :)
    Good luck with the rewriting, or further writing.

    1. You're welcome, Jen. :) Hope it does well for you.

      I never conquered the sewing machine as my year 8 Home Ec teacher can attest. And good to see there's a few button champions around. ;)

      Thanks for the good wishes. :)

  3. Another interesting post, DD. I was a big fan of Patricia Cornwell, until she changed her style in her later books and began writing in the present tense. I lost a bit of interest then. But good luck with your writing.

    1. I enjoyed her main character and it was definitely a different type of read than I'm used too, but I don't think that's the direction I want to take my writing. Thanks for the good luck. :)

    2. I guess we all have that reading pile, and what a strange mixture of titles and genres mine is. I can satisfy any mood from 'get focused' to 'downright lazy.' Yes, good luck with the rewriting. Sometimes it's hard to know where to start, isn't it?

    3. Hi Margaret. I'm broadening my horizons a little and reading out of my comfort zone. Hopefully it will aid me. And you're right, reading can certainly satisfy any mood. Thanks for the good wishes and yes, rewriting is a completely different ballgame.