📚Set during the 1970s. Terry reviews #HistoricalFiction Fortunate Son by Thomas Tibor, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT.📚

Today’s team review is from Terry.

She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Terry has been reading Fortunate Son by Thomas Tibor.

4 stars

Reed Lawson has a lot on his plate – he’s juggling college and membership of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), and his much revered father has been MIA in Vietnam for three years.  Then there are the droves of anti-war demonstrating hippies on campus, calling people like himself and his father ‘warmongers’.


When circumstances lead him to volunteer at a community project giving help to people with drug and emotional problems, he falls for Jordan, a strident feminist and peacenik.  His life also becomes entangled with a younger girl with serious emotional and family problems.


I enjoyed reading this; the storytelling itself is fine, the characters are clear and three-dimensional, and the author certainly knows how to write convincing, appropriate dialogue, a talent I believe is innate – I didn’t wince once, which says to me that the knack probably comes naturally to him.  Reed’s conflicting emotions about his father, and his reaction to discoveries about his parents, were extremely well written.  Also, there were a few excellent passages about the time and feel of the era:


‘The interstate had opened a few years ago.  Motels, fast food joints and gas stations mushroomed at each exit, sprouting garish oases in the rural countryside.  His mother hated the trend, predicting the country’s regional charms would be bulldozed in a few decades to make way for chain stories and restaurants that peddled the same brand of blandness in every state.’


‘He felt a kinship with all who’d travelled before him on thousands of miles of highway, which had replaced dirt roads, which covered trails hacked from raw wilderness.  Generations of restless Americans, forever on the move.  Pushing west, pushing south, yearning to go anywhere that promised to be better than where they came from.’


Although it’s a good book and I liked it, I thought it could have been cut down by about ten per cent to make it tighter; it’s quite long, and a fairly slow unfolding.  Also, the reminder of the era’s culture was a little over the top – the frequent indication of what song was playing on the radio or floating out of a student’s window, the way everyone’s conversation revolved around drugs, Vietnam, feminism and their own existential crisis, constantly.  It became a little repetitive after a while.
Having said that, I would most definitely recommend it as a solid human interest novel and a good story, particularly if you remember or have an interest in the era.

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Fortunate Son is a coming-of-age story set on a southern college campus during the turbulent spring of 1970. Reed Lawson, an ROTC cadet, struggles with the absence of his father, a Navy pilot who has been Missing in Action in Vietnam for three years. While volunteering at a drug crisis center, Reed sets out to win the heart of a feminist co-worker who is grappling with a painful past and to rescue a troubled teenage girl from self-destruction. In the process, he is forced to confront trauma’s tragic consequences and the fragile, tangled web of human connections.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

⚔’The first book in the Darkland Tales series’. Sandra reviews Scottish #Histfic Rizzio by @DameDeniseMina, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT ⚔

Today’s team review is from Sandra. Find her here https://www.firthproof.co.uk/index.php/book-reviews

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sandra has been reading Rizzio by Dame Denise Mina

Historical Mystery

Rizzio is the first book in the Darkland Tales series, where Scottish authors focus on a historical event and view it through a modern lens.  On March 9th 1566, Mary Queen of Scots’ private secretary, David Rizzio, is murdered in front of her, during a supper party in her private chambers. Encouraged by his father, Mary’s husband, Darnley, is one of the conspirators. Known to be frustrated by his lack of power, as he is only her consort, not king in his own right, Darnley is easily manipulated by those who stand to lose their estates and power, and wish to remove her from the throne – her only crime is to be Catholic and a woman.

Having grown up in Scotland, I knew a bit about Mary Queen of Scots, but had never come across this story before. Denise Mina’s fresh interpretation brings it to life in a way that no text book ever could; it is historical fiction viewed through the filter of a crime novelist. It is a short novella and I read it in one sitting, but it left me hungry to know more. Told from the point if view of an omniscient narrator, you do not just read this story, you feel as if you are right in the middle of the action. The characters are well drawn, easy to distinguish, and the vivid descriptions of the clothes, food and furnishings add authenticity. The facts are known, but Denise Mina’s excellent writing turns it into a tense, gripping and emotional narrative. It is a very dark tale of greed, the desire for power, and the fragile position of women in society. I really enjoyed Rizzio, and am keen to read the other volumes in this fascinating series.

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On the evening of March 9th, 1566, David Rizzio, the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots, was brutally murdered. Dragged from the chamber of the heavily pregnant Mary, Rizzio was stabbed fifty six times by a party of assassins. This breathtakingly tense novella dramatises the events that led up to that night, telling the infamous story as it has never been told before.

A dark tale of sex, secrets and lies, Rizzio looks at a shocking historical murder through a modern lens—and explores the lengths that men and women will go to in their search for love and power.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

👮‍♂️’#Memoir of a Compton police officer’. Sherry reviews Black, White And Gray All Over by Frederick Reynolds, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT.👮‍♂️

Today’s team review is from Sherry.

She blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sherry has been reading Black, White And Gray All Over by Frederick Reynolds

Memoir

This memoir of a Compton police officer appealed to me for several reasons. First, the time period of the officer’s service which was partially during the Rodney King trial and the Los Angeles riots. Other important events were the gang wars and murders of rap and hip hop artists. Second, the officer grew up in Detroit and initially was headed down the wrong path and ended up turning his life around. He was a bright, sensitive child who was led astray when he got a bit older. Trying to find a way to fit in as well as to find a way to escape from his difficult home life.

The author did not try to sugarcoat his past or the difficulties he faced in his marriage and relationships with his children. The memoir was intriguing and educational. The fact that the author didn’t paint a rosy, perfect picture of himself was admirable. Not many people have the kind of insight to themselves as he does. He came from a hard background and grew up with issues between his parents and that seemed to lead to his desire to escape his reality that led him down the wrong path to start with.

I admire how he shared his journey and how we, as readers, were able to follow along and watch him grow and change. There’s a strength in that kind of honesty. He seems like he’d be a great person to sit down and share a beer or coffee with and chat long into the night. His front row seat at many events that shaped the world we live in is intriguing and being able to have a chat with him about those various events would be a great way to spend an evening. His perspective as a black man was enlightening to this reader. Race relations are volatile in our country (and have been for a very long time) and learning how people of other races see and interpret the world is vital. Those endeavors can hopefully go a long way toward peaceful coexistence in our time.

If I have one complaint about the book, it would be how it got bogged down with names and descriptions of all his coworkers and the perpetrators he arrested. There was way too much of that in the book. It dragged down the prose. The reader doesn’t need to know everyone in the room or at the crime scene or what they looked like—unless it adds to the story.

Overall, this is an interesting read and journey through a snapshot in time in the Midwest and along the west coast. Events that had national impact here in the United States. And it is, above all, the tale of one man’s story of the obstacles he faced on the way from anger and a life of crime to well-respected law enforcement officer, and ultimately, to his happiness and destiny.

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From shootouts and robberies to riding in cars with pimps and prostitutes, Frederick Reynolds’ early manhood experiences in Detroit, Michigan in the 1960s foretold a future on the wrong side of the prison bars. Frederick grew up a creative and sensitive child but found himself lured down the same path as many Black youth in that era. No one would have guessed he would have a future as a cop in one of the most dangerous cities in America in the 1980s—Compton, California. From recruit to detective, Frederick experienced a successful career marked by commendations and awards. The traumatic and highly demanding nature of the work, however, took its toll on both his family and personal life—something Frederick was able to conquer but only after years of distress and regret.

AmazonUK AmazonUS

🎶’An incredible debut from a creative visionary’ @deBieJennifer reviews Strung by @RoskeChronicler, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog 🎶

Today’s team review is from Jenni.

Find her here https://jenniferdebie.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Jenni has been reading Strung by ⟅R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫

Literary fiction

It took me several days after finishing ⟅R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫’s debut novel, Strung, to figure out how to write about this book cogently. It might speak to the smallness or traditional structure of the literary spaces I typically move in, but I can honestly say that I, as a reader, author, poet, and academic, have never seen anything quite like Strung. The nearest comparison I could make, fittingly for the lyrical writing and musical motifs that riddle this novel, comes from the modern music industry instead of prose.

Much like the great concept albums of the 20th and 21st centuries, masterworks like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Prince’s Purple Rain, and Beyonce’s Lemonade, that blend music, storytelling, and distinctive visuals, Strung is what I have decided to call a “concept novel”. Yes, there is a relatively straightforward story in these pages, a slow-burn, magical romance between a woman caged by society and a fae sacrificed by his people, but there are also illustrations (some beautiful, and some vaguely unsettling), complicated linguistics á la Tolkien’s elvish, and an insistent recourse to musical elements, allegories, and allusions that are impossible to ignore. ⟅R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫ obviously had a vision when crafting this novel (because it is crafted, as much as it was written), and they pursued that vision relentlessly.

Like the concept albums mentioned previously, if these elements are something you, as a reader, enjoy, then this is a novel that you will enjoy. There are those, myself among them, who will hold The Wall or Lemonade up as generation defining pieces of art, just as there are those watched both and shrugged them off. This is no knock on those viewers, or the creators of these media pieces, all consumers and creators of art are allowed their own opinions and preferences, as nuanced or simplistic as they would like.

However, if this all sounds a little too complex, or dense (and this is a long, complex novel—there can be no doubt about that), if you are the kind of reader who prefers novels that do not require a full glossary and your own, occasional linguistic notes to fully appreciate the character relations, then this might not be the story for you. This is a novel in love with its own creation, and the resulting piece is certainly stunning, rife with subtle language that will likely reward repeat readings, but there are times when the author seems more interested in the conceptual elements: the nuances of the fae language, the reoccurring musical motifs, or the complicated dynamics of the restrictive social order they created in this world, rather than the storytelling itself. I found this most prevalent in the conclusion to the novel, which felt a little hollow in ways that I was not expecting.

That caveat in mind, Strung is an incredible debut from a creative visionary. I do not know if this is ⟅R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫’s singular, magnum opus, or if they will treat readers to future works of similar magnitude, but this is definitely an experience of a read, and one worth pursuing for those willing to put in the time.

4.5/5

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Once thread, heartstrings make Fate’s best instruments.
Few in the world of Iodesh believe the Faye are more than legend—until an unwanted suitor captures one as Lady Lysbeth Haywood’s bride price.
Presented with the Faye, Lysbeth is torn between her excitement to learn more about the legendary people, her dread at the possibility of a forced engagement, and her battle of attrition with Avon society.
It’s worth the struggle, for as layers of the Faye’s extraordinary mysteries are peeled away, their revelations—and Lysbeth’s own role in them—reach farther than she ever thought possible.

Based on a decades-long paracosm, Strung weaves complex patterns from themes of control, adherence, and fate. The result delivers social commentary through a musical lens, reimagined folklore, and two richly-detailed fantasy cultures. A must-read for fans of dreamy, literary fiction!

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

📚For Those Who ‘love a good historical #mystery’ Noelle reviews Dark Hunter by F.J. Watson, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT.📚

Today’s team review is from Noelle.

She blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Dark Hunter by F. J. Watson

Historical Mystery

I do love a good historical mystery, and Fiona Watson has written an atmospheric and compelling one, set in the city of Berwick-upon-Tweed in the early 14th century.

In the year 1317, a young and pious squire named Benedict Russell is sent to the English-held garrison of Berwick-upon-Tweed, a town sitting on the border between Scotland and England. The town’s strategic position and relative wealth had previously resulted in a succession of raids, sieges and takeovers during centuries of war between these two countries. Three years earlier to Benedict’s arrival, the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, had won a massive victory at the battle of Bannockburn and were raiding over the border. Edward II decided to send reinforcements to Berwick in case of an attack.

Benedict is learned – he can read and write – and is belittled by his fellow squires, who are more trained in the art of swordplay and warfare. He discovers through keen observation and a little diversion that the knight supplying food to the garrison is diverting money into his own accounts. Recognition of his ability gets him the task of discovering who murdered a beautiful young girl, one whom Benedict lusted after, and left her mutilated body outside the city’s walls. Benedict must decide if the murder was a crime of passion or one which involves a traitor or spy for the Scots.

The pace of discovery as Benedict works through various clues is deliberate, as would be for a sleuth of that time, but introduces the reader to the realities of life in the 14th century: the poverty and squalor set against the wealth of the ruling class, the hierarchy amongst the knights and their treatment of servants, and women as chattel to be used as pawns. The author draws on her knowledge of conditions of daily life, religious practices, practices of medieval punishment, food, drink, clothes, weapons, and social distinctions to put the reader firmly inside a city awaiting a siege, with all of the tension exacerbated by the murder.

This is also a coming-of-age story as Benedict slowly becomes a man and discovers his own reserves of strength and ability to love. The secondary characters are very well-drawn, from the knights and squires to the various townspeople Benedict comes to know, from apprentices to paupers. I was especially drawn to the murdered girl’s sister, who becomes a valuable companion to Benedict. She is afflicted with something I interpret as scoliosis, which makes her the butt of derision, but she has an intelligent and unusually perceptive mind trapped in her twisted body.

I very much appreciate that the author did not attempt to make the language of the day mock-medieval. She did write the story in the present tense, however, as is becoming common more recently. As a reader, I find it makes the story-telling more immediate but slows the pace of the story.

This is an excellent first fictional outing for a medieval scholar and I highly recommend this to mystery and historical fiction aficionados.

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The year is 1317, and young squire Benedict Russell has joined the English-held garrison of Berwick-upon-Tweed after the spectacular Scottish victory at Bannockburn three years earlier.

Serious and self-doubting, he can’t wait for his time there to come to an end. Living on the disputed territory between Scotland and England is a precarious existence, and as the Scots draw ever closer and the English king does nothing to stop them, Benedict finds himself in a race against time to solve the brutal murder of a young girl and find the traitor who lurks within Berwick’s walls.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

I ‘have grown very fond of the clever Sinhalese police inspector’, says @LizanneLloyd with her review of historical #Mystery Break From Nuala by @harrietsteel1

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading Break From Nuala by Harriet Steel.

I have read almost all of the Inspector de Silva Mysteries and have grown very fond of the clever Sinhalese police inspector and his delightful English wife, Jane. This mixed marriage ought to encounter disapproval, but the sensible and likeable couple are usually greeted with friendship. Sometimes, however, Shanti De Silva is patronised by senior British police officers because Nuala is seen as a backwater.

Expecting to enjoy a peaceful holiday in a luxury hotel, the couple find themselves in a typical Agatha Christie setting. First a nightwatchman is found dead, then Elodie Renaud, a famous diver, staying in a bungalow in the hotel grounds, is struck down with symptoms of severe food poisoning along with her film team. Soon after Shanti befriends Helen Morris, a charming teacher, on holiday with her demanding Aunt Edith, the young woman disappears under mysterious circumstances. Not only does Inspector de Silva feel he must investigate, but bravely, his wife Jane takes an active part in trying to discover where Helen might be. The local police believe she has been murdered by a local fisherman but there several likely culprits among the hotel guests.

The book is set in an uneasy time and place. It is 1940 but Ceylon is not yet involved in the war.  People feel guilty at their pleasant lives while there is suffering in Europe. There are vivid descriptions of life in Galle,

“Stalls selling an assortment of fruit, vegetables, tin pots and pans, trays of snacks and brightly coloured drinks were set up along the road. Women haggled over wares while groups of men loitered in the shade of palm trees gossiping and chewing betel. In some places, de Silva noticed beggars crouched on the ground, scrawny arms outstretched and hands holding battered tin cups.”

I enjoyed seeing Shanti and Jane working together to solve the mysteries and events became increasingly thrilling. Like the earlier books, this novel would make a wonderful episode in a TV series.

5 stars

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It is autumn 1940, and Inspector de Silva and his wife Jane are looking forward to a well-earned holiday. But their hopes of a relaxing break in the picturesque city of Galle beside the Indian Ocean are dashed when death, mysterious illnesses, and a missing guest cast a gloomy shadow.
As they’re drawn into the investigation, the mystery deepens. Is there a villain amongst their fellow guests or further afield? The search for answers will lead them into great danger that has repercussions far beyond the island of Ceylon.

AmazonUK AmazonUS

A Police Officer’s #Memoir. Black, White, and Gray All Over by Frederick Reynolds, reviewed by @OlgaNM7, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Olga. She blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Olga has been reading Black, White, and Gray All Over by Frederick Reynolds

This is a memoir, and as far from fiction as one could imagine. In fact, it is so full of facts and data that it can become overwhelming at times. The sheer number of events, of characters (well, not really characters, but real people: relatives, friends, neighbours, infantrymen, police officers, detectives, criminals, victims, local authorities, politicians…), of dates, of cases… make the book overflow with stories: sometimes those the author, Frederick Douglass Reynolds, participated directly in; others, stories providing background information to the situation or events being discussed or introducing some of the main players at the time of the action. I think anybody trying to recount even a small amount of what happens in the book would have a hard time of it, but anybody interested in the recent history of Compton law enforcement and local politics will find this book invaluable.

The author goes beyond the standard memoir, and although his life is the guiding thread of the book, he does not limit himself to talking in the first-person about his difficult childhood, his traumatic past, his petty criminal activities as a gang member in his youth, his time as a Marine Corps Infantryman, his less than stellar experience with personal relationships (until later in life), his allergy to compromise for many years (to the point of even refusing to get involved in the life of one of his children)… This well-read and self-taught man also offers readers the socio-historical-political context of the events, talking about the gangs, the rise of crack cocaine, the powerful figures moving the threads and holding authority (sometimes openly, and sometimes not so much), and he openly discusses the many cases of corruption, at all levels.

There is so much of everything in this book that I kept thinking this single book could become several books, either centring each one of them on a particular event, case, or investigation and its aftermath (for example. although Rodney King’s death didn’t take place in Compton, the description of how the riots affected the district makes readers realise that history keeps repeating itself unless something is done), or perhaps on a specific theme (as there is much about gangs, racism, corruption, the evolution of police roles and policing methods, violence in the streets, LA social changes and local politics, drugs…). Another option would be to focus on the author’s life and experiences growing up, on his personal life (his difficulties with relationships and alcohol, his PTSD…), and later his career, but perhaps mentioning only some of the highlights or some specific episodes, and with less background information about the place and its history (although some brief information could be added as an appendix or in an author’s note for those interested in knowing more).

This is a long book, dense and packed with a wealth of data that might go beyond the scope of most casual readers, but there are also scary moments (forget about TV police series. This is the real deal), heart-wrenching events (the deaths of locals, peers, colleagues, personal tragedies…), touching confessions (like the difficulties in his relationship with his son, becoming grandad to a boy with autism and what that has taught him), shared insights that most will find inspiring, and also some lighter and funny touches that make the human side of the book shine. Although Reynolds openly discusses his doubts, and never claims to be spotless, more upstanding, or better than anybody else, his determination to get recognition for his peers fallen in action, and his homage to those he worked with and who kept up the good fight clearly illustrate that his heart (and morals) are in the right place.

Most people thinking of reading this type of memoir are likely to know what to expect, but just in case there are any doubts, be warned that there is plenty of violence (sometimes extreme and explicit), use of alcohol, drugs, and pretty colourful language. 

I recommend this book to anybody interested in the history of policing in LA (particularly in Compton) from the 1980s, gangs in the area, local politics, corruption, and any major criminal investigations in the area (deaths of rappers included). It is also a book for those looking for an inspiring story of self-improvement, of managing to escape the wrong path, and helping others do the same, and it is a book full of insights, inspiration, and hope.

I wonder if the author is planning to carry on writing, but it is clear that he has many stories to tell yet and I hope he does.

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From shootouts and robberies to riding in cars with pimps and prostitutes, Frederick Reynolds’ early manhood experiences in Detroit, Michigan in the 1960s foretold a future on the wrong side of the prison bars. Frederick grew up a creative and sensitive child but found himself lured down the same path as many Black youth in that era. No one would have guessed he would have a future as a cop in one of the most dangerous cities in America in the 1980s—Compton, California. From recruit to detective, Frederick experienced a successful career marked by commendations and awards. The traumatic and highly demanding nature of the work, however, took its toll on both his family and personal life—something Frederick was able to conquer but only after years of distress and regret.

AmazonUK AmazonUS

3 #Horror Novellas. Terry Reviews Undead by Mark Brendan, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT.

Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Terry has been reading Undead by Mark Brendan

3.5*

In the first of these horror novellas, a man falls foul of the Spanish Inquisition and finds himself on a curious island where he comes under threat from unhuman terrors.  The second tale is about a necromancer in the eighteenth century, and the final one about some members of Napoleon’s forces stationed in Northern Africa, who are looking for a way out of their situation.


All three stories are highly inventive, and I very much enjoyed some aspects of all of them.  My favourite was the last one, about the French deserters; this one really kept my attention and I was engrossed.  The atmosphere of the time was so well written, and I particularly liked the early scenes at the site of the battle.  I also liked the sections of the first one where the hero is a galley slave. The stories are fairly gory but not unnecessarily so; it worked.


I felt that the book, as a whole, could have done with a better copy editor/proofreader, as there were a few wrongly used/spelt words and many punctuation errors, mostly missing vocative commas.  The content editing is fine; the stories flowed well and were told in a way that kept my attention. It was just the incorrect punctuation and other errors that should have been picked up, that distracted me.  Also, I felt that on several occasions the dialogue was too modern for the relevant periods in history.  Not horrendously so, but I think an experienced copy editor could polish them up to something first rate.

Desc 1

A collection of the author’s previously published pulp horror novellas, gathered for the first time in a single volume, Undead features three macabre tales of blood, terror and the living dead. In the first story, Exuma, a convicted seventeenth century heretic is shipwrecked along with his galley slave companions on a mysterious Caribbean island, where worse things than the surviving guards haunt the shadows. The second, The Worm at the Feast, is a darkly comedic, Gothic account of the life and misdeeds of an eighteenth century alchemist, who is also by turns a murderer, grave robber, bandit and necromancer. The final tale of historical horror, Temple of the Hyena, follows the exploits of a crew of deserters from Napoleon Bonaparte’s army in Egypt, lured into the deep desert by an ancient treasure map that promises riches beyond their dreams of avarice.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

‘Watson brings the medieval stronghold of Berwick-upon-Tweed to life in dark and beautiful ways’. Jenni reviews Dark Hunter by F. J. Watson. #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Jenni. Find her here https://jenniferdebie.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Jenni has been reading Dark Hunter by F J Watson.

Historian F.J. Watson brings the medieval stronghold of Berwick-upon-Tweed to life in dark and beautiful ways in her haunting debut novel, Dark Hunter: A Town Under Siege. A Killer Within. Set physically in a city just a stone’s throw away from the modern boarder between Scotland and England, and positioned temporally only three short years after the disastrous Battle of Bannockburn, Watson brings all of her skill as a historian to bear in recreating the peril, and paranoia, that comes with being an Englishman defending King Edward II’s claim to Scotland in this particular time and place. The ongoing attrition with the Scots is a losing battle and the men at Berwick know that, even as they send reports and pleas back to their king for support across the course of the novel.

In the midst of this throng, a murder takes place. The beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant is stabbed to death and left outside the city walls, with no clear motive for her death, or obvious culprit, in sight.

Raised for the church and a life of quiet scholarship, only to be pressed down a martial path when his older brother dies suddenly before the novel begins, the responsibility for solving this murder falls squarely on the shoulders of Squire Benedict Russell. As the novel unfolds, Ben must grapple with his faith in God, his belief in those around him, and his understanding of where the myriad lines of good, evil, loyalty, and logic lead him. Answers are almost always complicated, and endings are rarely clean in the 14th century, and Ben’s experiences as he searches for the truth alongside Lucy, younger sister to the murdered girl, reflect that.

From the bells used to mark the time, to the mud of the streets, to the way his fellow squire, Will, treats the girls working in garrison’s kitchen, Watson’s extensive experience as a historian of this time and place shine in the little details. This is no sanitized view of the medieval period, there is rot here, and cruelty, even as there is beauty and cleverness and a protagonist who is only searching for the truth.

Beautiful in spite of the darkness, unflinching in its portrayal of the complicated dynamics within a wartime border town, and full of strongly drawn characters, Dark Hunter is a satisfying mystery sure to please fans of crime thrillers and historical novels alike.

5/5

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The year is 1317, and young squire Benedict Russell has joined the English-held garrison of Berwick-upon-Tweed after the spectacular Scottish victory at Bannockburn three years earlier.

Serious and self-doubting, he can’t wait for his time there to come to an end. Living on the disputed territory between Scotland and England is a precarious existence, and as the Scots draw ever closer and the English king does nothing to stop them, Benedict finds himself in a race against time to solve the brutal murder of a young girl and find the traitor who lurks within Berwick’s walls.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

‘Every single one of us has an unlimited source of potential for personal growth’. @ShelleyWilson72 reviews #SelfHelp The 7 Questions by @theNickHatter

Today’s team review is from Shelley. She blogs here https://shelleywilsonauthor.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Shelley has been reading The 7 Questions by Nick Hatter

This was the statement that hooked me in to The 7 Questions – ‘Every single one of us has an unlimited source of potential for personal growth – and the way to tap into this is not through following rigid advice or rules: it’s by asking the right questions.’ I’m not the kind of girl to follow rules, and if you ask my parents they’ll tell you I always ignored their advice and did my own thing! Okay, so this might have been true in my teenage years, but as an adult I still resist.

Following my own self-help journey has allowed me to ask important questions and reflect on the choices I’ve made over the years, and an opportunity to learn more about myself is always welcome.

I’ll start by saying The 7 Questions is one of those books you read from cover to cover and then dip in and out of when necessary. I found myself revisiting certain chapters when something in my day-to-day life triggered me. The author’s belief that self-awareness is key to our personal transformation is clearly evident in how he writes and what he shares.

As the title suggests, this book is divided into 7 chapters (questions) with ‘growth action’ sections at intervals throughout each chapter that helps you review and take action on what you’ve learned.

My personal favourite question was ‘Am I Running Away From Anything?’ (Chapter 3) as this was where I had a few revelations of my own.

Hatter’s conversational tone lets you explore additional questions and prompts without fear of judgement – something I realise is a fear of mine! The book takes you on a journey of self-discovery using the author’s knowledge and skills as a life coach to guide you through every step. It’s easy to follow and the growth actions are fabulous for reinforcing each lesson.

I especially liked the Challenging Catastrophising Exercise at the end of the book and have used this on a few occasions (and shared it with my daughter who is living away at University).

If you want to understand yourself better then I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of The 7 Questions by Nick Hatter.

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Do you feel stuck in bad habits, or wonder why you procrastinate, or why you keep repeating old patterns? You might not realise the answers you need are already within you.

Every single one of us has an unlimited source of potential for personal growth – and the way to tap into this is not through following rigid advice or rules: it’s by asking the right questions.

In THE 7 QUESTIONS, award-winning life coach Nick Hatter offers a toolkit that you can apply time and again for more clarity and continuous self-awareness whenever you feel you’ve lost direction in life. Each question will prompt you to search within yourself and address the bigger picture – from how you formed your opinion of yourself to whether your beliefs are serving you – and ultimately improve your self-esteem, confidence and emotional intelligence when the loss of a job, relationship or loved one brings you low.

Drawing on vivid examples from the cutting edge of psychology and the author’s personal experience, THE 7 QUESTIONS will help you discover your own unique answers.

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