Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT A Taste Of His Own Medicine by @LindaFawke Dark #Romance #wwwblogs

Today’s team review is from E.L, she blogs here http://lindleyreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

E.L has been reading A Taste Of His Own Medicine by Linda Fawke

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A Taste of his own Medicine by Linda Fawke is a romance with a decidedly dark twist. The plot sees us crisscross from the 1970s to the present day and Fawke does a good job of drawing us in with her intriguing tale of revenge.

This is a novel with a lot to recommend, in particular Fawke’s attention to detail and the way she creates a vivid picture of university life in the early 70s. The main character Kate Shaw is a pharmacist and former member of the “class of 75” and Fawke cleverly constructs her story around Kate’s experience at university and the 30 year anniversary reunion of her class. Fawke effectively highlights how universities were changing and becoming more inclusive and accessible to people from lower socio-economic classes and all of the tensions that came with that.

Fawke also uses her eye for detail to create characters that we all recognise such as the tight-fisted scrounger, lecherous womaniser and pompous, self-aggrandizing oaf. My main stumbling block with the novel, however, is that the negative characters are relentless and there are no positive characters to offset them.

There’s no doubting that Fawke is a talented writer and she writes assuredly with total control over her story which is told almost exclusively in 3rd person narrative. There are a couple of paragraphs where Fawke switches to 1st person and although I understand her reasoning for this, for me it jarred with the rest of the story.

Kate Shaw who drives the story is a 50 something successful workaholic with a string of pharmacies and enough money to afford an affluent lifestyle. This is in contrast to her humble beginnings when she was the first member of her family to go to university and her unworldliness is reflected in the fact that she’s shocked when she sees a gay couple and isn’t used to eating out or big city life. The diversity of university is a shock to Kate but instead of immersing herself into it she focuses totally on work. Essentially Kate is not a likeable character, dismissing other students as “a waste of space” and anything less than a First as failure.

We warm to Kate slightly when she begins a student romance with her polar opposite, the unreliable, easy going, part-time male model, Jonathan Carson. However, when the romance invariably doesn’t last, Kate seems to become totally unhinged. To such an extent that 30 years later, despite having been married for over 20 years, she is still harbouring a toxic grudge which goes on to encompass everyone else she feels did her wrong at university.

As I mentioned earlier, the main problem I had with the novel was the overwhelming set of unpleasantly selfish characters. There is no moral compass to give the self-destructive revenge plot any context. There are a couple of characters who initially seem to be positive and honest but by the end even they become embroiled in selfish, disloyal behaviour.

What for me might have made the characters easier to relate to would have been the use of 1st person and maybe multiple viewpoints. This might have helped give some humanity to the characters, particularly Kate, who I think the reader really needs to connect with in some way.

My favourite parts of the novel are the sections at the reunion which reflect all the humour and farce that tend to go hand in hand with these kinds of functions. There are lots of comic moments in Fawke’s description of the goings on and this did serve to detract from the unpleasantness of Kate’s behaviour.

All in all, I think if you like a dark romance and enjoy stories of revenge, scheming and intrigue then you will get a lot out of A Taste of his own Medicine. I suspect that I just didn’t connect with it in the way that other readers might. And, as always with reviews, it’s merely a personal response and I look forward to reading what other readers make of this well written tale of settling scores.

Book Description

How long can the desire for revenge last? 
Kate Shaw, a successful pharmacist, goes to a thirty-year reunion at her old university and uses the weekend to settle some old scores. Her main target is her ex-lover, Jonathan. She decides to scar him for life as he scarred her. Her bizarre plan works but he shocks her with his strange, unwanted reaction. 
What is the unexpected link between Jonathan and Kate’s husband? 
What is the significance of the ‘Love Bite’ photograph? 
What hold does Jonathan have over Kate? 
Revenge is never simple. 
A darkly humorous story of love, lust, loss and vengeance.
 

About the author

Linda Fawke

Linda Fawke is an arts person who studied science but always wanted to write. Now retired, she indulges this passion, writing fiction and non-fiction, even occasional poetry, preferably late at night. She has recently completed her first novel, ‘A Taste of his own Medicine’, using her background in pharmacy for its setting. 

She has been a winner of the Daily Telegraph ‘Just Back’ travel-writing competition and has published in various magazines including ‘Mslexia’, ‘Litro’ online, ‘Scribble’, ‘The Oldie’, ‘Berkshire Life’ and ‘Living France’. She was recently a finalist in the ‘Hysteria’ short story competition.

She is now writing the sequel to her book.

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LAST BITE OF THE CHERRY by Margaret Cullingford Dark #Romance @CullingfordMags #RNA @RNAtweets

Last Bite of the CherryLast Bite of the Cherry by Margaret Cullingford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last Bite Of The Cherry is a dark romance, more of a tale of slowly unfolding life-stories which culminate in another chance for some of the characters.

The book opens in 1969, Monica Sommers is just fourteen, she witnesses her parents arguing, then a near fatal accident. A distressing time for the young Monica.

A couple of chapters later and it is now the year 2000. Monica is in training to be a nun, is involved with a refuge for abused women and she also counsels. She hopes to help Rosaleen Westlake, a women suffering from depression. Through their sessions Monica finds similarities in their lives and this unleashes her own past.

The book hops back and forth with time-slips throughout Monica’s life. Much of it involves her re-telling these events to her very good friend Father Malachy O’Brien.

This is an intense read, often dialogue lead, but with sprinkles of rich descriptions as the storyline builds in layers. There are also some enjoyable characters who bring their own wide ranging local dialects to the book. I particularly liked Dora.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Book Description

Monica Sommers, during counselling sessions with depressed Rosaleen Westlake, is reminded of her own tumultuous past. Monica, only child of warring parents, loves unwisely. Insecure, impulsive, she betrays with irreversible consequences, Will Ackroyd, the love of her young life. Will loves her above all else. Seeking atonement, she meets and falls in love with Malachy O’Brien, her chance of a last bite of the cherry, if love, like life, is a bowl of cherries. Malachy is everything any woman would want in a man. But, can he love her in return? Malachy is a priest. Cherries have stones. 

About the author

Margaret Cullingford

Mags Cullingford, escaping the rumpus of a university department, decided to generate uproar she could control. She realized a long-term ambition to write fiction. Although ‘romantic’ is not how she would describe herself, Last Bite of the Cherry is a love story, with issues and then some. Otherwise there would be little fun in either writing about, or reading of the characters she conjures up, or so she thinks. 
She has now completed her second novel, Twins of a Gazelle, and is currently working on a third. 
Mags is a founding member of the indie publishing group, The New Romantics 4

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