Sunday, 31 August 2014

Letterbox Love #14

Welcome to Letterbox Love, this is a UK meme, hosted by the lovely Lynsey at Narratively Speaking and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This post is a means by which to highlight the books we get in the post and beyond, and especially to bring attention to those books which may be sat on our shelves for a little while yet that we love all the same.

I've been very lucky to receive some awesome books from publishers this week as well as buying a couple of books too of course! So I'm going to share these lovely goodies with you just now...

I bought The Marriage Mender by Linda Green this week as it was released on Thursday. I am very much looking forward to this one because I love The Mummyfesto so I can only imagine this one is going to be just as good! 

I also bought Isla and The Happily a Ever After since I read the first two novels in this wires by Stephanie Perkins on the Saturday and Sunday of the Bank Holiday Weekend so naturally on the Monday I had to have this one. I loved it and a review of all three of them is coming soon! 

I was browsing in the Works last week and what should I spy? A large print version of one of my fabourite books Fairytale of New York by Miranda Dickinson. It would've been a sin not to pick it up...

I was lucky enough to receive several amazing books in the post this week too. Seeing Other a People by Mike Gayle. One Step Close to You by Alice Peterson. Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson and All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner. I am so so excited about all of these, I was literally jumping and squealing when I opened the parcels-kind of embarrassing when you're at work! I can't wait to read them all!!

I was also Lucky enough to be sent a copy of Claudia Carroll's new novel Love Me or Leave me which is out in just over a week. 

And finally I received a gorgeous copy of Waiting for Doggo. I'm looking forward to reading this but a little bit scared as I'm sure it'll make me cry! 

How lucky was I to receive all these books from publishers this week? Thanks to all the lovely people who sent me books, I literally can't wait to clear my evening schedules and read all of these lovely beauties, keep your eyes peeled for reviews very soon! 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Blog Tour: Janina Matthewson on Writing Of Things Gone Astray

I am very lucky to be part of another fabulous blog Tour today. Of Things Gone Astray is a new novel by Jania Matthewson and I am privileged to have the author on the blog today talking about how she wrote the novel and what the drive was behind what she wrote. Sure to delight fans of Andrew Kaufman, Of Things Gone Astray sees Mrs Featherby waking up to discover the entire front wall of her house is missing; Delia goes to the park to sit under her favourite oak tree, to find that it is no longer there; Robert goes to work one morning to find that his building and all traces of his colleagues have vanished whilst Marcus, a pianist, opens his piano to find all of the keys have disappeared.

And in the meantime, Jake, who lost his mother a year or so beforehand and continues to struggle with life after her departure, well, he doesn’t seem to have really lost anything at all but he does start discovering things - and so the lives of these characters cast in this world begin to interweave splendidly.

Without further ado I'll hand you over to the lovely author...

Writing Of Things Gone Astray
Two years ago I was working front of house at the Edinburgh Fringe. This was a mistake. My brother was in a show, and my mum had come over for the month so we were all there. When I wasn’t shepherding audiences through tightly packed waiting areas and cleaning stages that had coke spilled over them in one show and glitter thrown in the next, my mum would take me to cafes and buy me coffee while I wrote the first draft of something I was calling True and Lost.
I returned to London, to a series of sublets and temp jobs, to large scale insecurity, to the complete absence of any support network. I’d only been in London for a year and I hadn’t really found my place.
It was a book written in snatched moments, in borrowed bedrooms, on a promise that I was sure would be snatched from me at any moment. The third, fourth and twentieth drafts were written in the conservatory of a house I was staying in for a couple of weeks that ending up turning into a year and a half, and the final version was done in my mother’s garden in Christchurch last December.
As I was writing about people losing things, losing important things, and figuring out how to put themselvesback together I was reestablishing myself. This particular creative process was a two year period of gathering my thoughts, finding my feet, and learning how to breathe again.
It was also the beginning of me finally taking active and purposeful steps to choose how to live, to do what I really wanted to do, which is a terrifying thing to do because what if it all goes wrong? And even if it all goes right, what if you get comfortable with it going right only to have it all turn around and start going wrong again?
You have to be so earnest when you’re tying to be successful at something you actually really do want to do, so the further along you get the harder it’s going to be to laugh it all off when you fall flat on your face.
Every time I sent in a new draft to my publisher I was sure he’d reply with a quick polite, “so sorry but I’ve changed my mind.” Even after I told him this and he assured me it was a stupid thing to think. Even now, days away from publication, there’s a niggling fear that I’ll get a call saying “look, we’ve read it again, and we were wrong, so very wrong.”
The process of writing Of Things Gone Astray was an exercise in putting myself back together but it was also about realising that there is no way to really do that. Not completely, not perfectly. So for me it’s about learning to live with the imperfect me I’ve somehow managed to cobble together.

Of Things Gone Astray was released yesterday and is available in hardback and ebook. 

About the author

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Janina Matthewson moved to London following the earthquake, an event which features as a pivotal part of her novel.

A trained actress, Janina has also written for the stage and screen. Her first play, Human and If was performed at The Tea House Theatre in London, directed by Sue Curnow. Her short film, The Other Side, was shown as part of the Rialto Channel’s 48 Hours project in New Zealand. She currently works for Sky, where she spends her days writing reviews.

Thanks so much to Jania for joining us on the blog today! 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Review! Popular: A Memoir by Maya Van Wagenen

Stuck at the bottom of the social ladder at pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya Van Wagenen decided to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help Maya on her quest to be popular? 

The real-life results are painful, funny, and include a wonderful and unexpected surprise—meeting and befriending Betty Cornell herself. Told with humor and grace, Maya’s journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence.

Review: oh my goodness I learnt so much from this book! I didn't expect to learn anything for the book-I thought it looked like a fun read and loved the concept of someone taking a 1950s popularity guide and apply it to modern day teenage popularity but wow, this book was so much more than that! I learnt about what life is like in a modern day middle school, I learnt how teenagers cope with death of those younger and older than them, I learnt about what it is like to live on the US/Mexican border and I learnt what US teenagers really think about popularity...

I loved the way Maya decided to structure her experiment and then her subsequent book on the experiment, focusing on a different popularity tip each month. I thought some of her findings were absolutely hilarious! But at the same time, some of them had results which saddened me somewhat, and sometimes I really didn't want her to carry on. Obviously I knew that she would be carrying on, otherwise there wouldn't have been a book! I thought the way she ended the experiment was absolutely fabulous as well.

The voice of this author is so strong and so wonderfully familiar, I felt as if she were actually my friend and I became part of her family for the duration of the book, for someone to have a strong a voice as this at such a young age is something truly spectacular. I think I could have read this book if it we double or even table the length because it just captured me so much. I found it was an easy book to pick up where you left off and so good for me to read over a particularly busy weekend. This book has the makings of an amazing film and is a must read for anyone wonder what being popular is all about. It will reassure you of your self worth and give you hope that we are actually only human at the end of the day whilst entertaining you, making you laugh, possibly making you cry and making you think. A truly fabulous book and something which everyone should make their next read! 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Review: The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

Each summer, Jenn and her husband Greg return to Deia, on Mallorca's dramatic west coast. This year the arrival of Emma, Jenn's stepdaughter, and her new boyfriend Nathan threatens to upset their equilibrium. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by Nathan's youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly-charged liaison that puts lives and relationships in jeopardy. For Jenn, after this summer, nothing can ever be the same.

Review: I have to admit that I bowed to peer pressure when reading this book. I wasn't sure about it initially but then I decided to give it a go, and rather cheekily, my choice of this book at this time was down to the fact that it was a fairly short book. Although I have an ebook copy of this one, my time meant that it was really better to get an audiobook copy and so I bought this book again in audiobook form. Five hours of listening later and I was done! 

This book is intense. On the surface it doesn't really look like anything much is going on, but really everyone's emotions are changing every minute of every day and because this book focuses on one character in particular, the effect is Ben more intense, effectively you are living this week or so through the life of this one woman and her conflicting feelings and emotions. I admit that I did expect a little more to happen in the book. You are presented with feelings and situations in the novel and  yet there don't seem to be many consequences or results of people's actions. (It's very hard to talk about actual events in the book without giving any spoilers away!)

I love the setting of this book. I really wanted to be by the pool on the cover and you could almost feel the heat hitting you as you the story unfurled and each scene was described to you. I didn't really like any of the characters however. Jenn seemed really immature considering the fact that she is a grown woman with a family of sorts. Her husband seems to be absent, I just found Emma spoilt and vindictive and I thought Nathan to be exceedingly arrogant. It didn't really put me off the book, my dislike of these characters and I do always feel that if you feel strongly about characters overall then the writer has done a good job! 

I wouldn't say that this is strong summer recommendations for me but it is definitely a very quick read mad the audiobook was extremely well done. I think it will appeal to those who like something short and intense like this but not necessarily those who want a little more depth to their novel. Overall I enjoyed the book and I'm glad I read it but I would've like some more reaction to the actions that took place. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 Wrap Up

I was really excited about this particular bout of books because it actually fell during my summer holidays, my time off school but it turns out that actually I might have had some more reading time if I'd been at work and reading in the evenings when I got in. It turned out to be a very social week and some of my driving time wasn't actually used for audiobooks as I had planned. Nevertheless I think I've done a pretty good job this week reading wise. 

I read 140 pages of Poular: A Memoir at the start of the week, getting me off to a good start...

The first book I read to completion this week was The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckermen, adding 477 pages to my total, making it 617.

The second book I read completely was actually an audiobook, One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond, at 400 pages this brings my total to 1017 pages. 

I had an excellent reading day on day 6 completing these two books and reading ALL of Anna and the French kiss by Stephanie Perkins, at 372 pages, this brings my total to 1389.

The fourth book I read completely this week was another audiobook. I do have this one in ebook form and I also have a proof copy but I really wanted to read it and so I thought audiobook would be the best form to enjoy this book in. I started this on day 5 and finished it on day 7. At 310 pages, this brings my total to 1699.

On day 7 I read Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. This marks my fifth complete book of the week and at 338 pages, brings my total up to 2037 pages! 

Finally, I had 20 minutes left of the Bout of Books and so I read 22 pages of Of Things Gone Astray by Jania Matthewson. I am on the blog tour for this book which is released on Thursday and so I thought my final 20 mins would be well-spent by reading the start of this one. Look out for some exclusive content from the author on Friday after this book is released. 

So my grand total for the week was 2059 pages! I'm very impressed with this and it definitely beats my last Bout of books total. I read 5 complete books, finished another book and started another book. I think this is pretty cool, it means lots of reviews for me to write, so look out for those soon, I don't mind getting those done as I really enjoyed everything I read!

So how did you get on? What have you enjoyed reading? Did you enjoy Bout of Books? I've had a ball and can't wait for the next one! 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 Day 6 Update

So day 6 was just about as successful as I thought it was going to be! First of all I finished off the last 100 pages of The Dead Wife's Handbook, meaning that was my first complete book of the week. At 477 pages. Look out for my review of this soon! 

I also finished off the last half hour of One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond. This has given me the second complete book of the week at 400 pages! I loved this one so I was really pleased to finally get the chance to finish it! 

I also read another complete book today-thank goodness for weekends right? I finished Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. This has been sitting beautifully on my shelf for ages now and so I was very very pleased to be able to read this today. This was 372 pages so added a fair amount to my total! 

I also continued to listen to Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I have about an hour of this left which I will listen to tomorrow and then that will bring me up to 4 complete books, as well as the one I finished off, for the week so far! Exciting...

I think I might be beating my total from the last bout of books, things will all become clear when I do my wrap up post which will be my last update so look out for that in the next day or so! 

Happy reading! 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 Day 5 update

Day 5 was a lot better than the other days this week. I had a long car journey and the traffic was pretty busy which meant that I got to listen to a LOT of an audiobook! I only had an hour and a half left of one night in Italy by Lucy Diamond so I didn't listen to that on my journey, instead, when I got home I called up my mum and we listened to an hour over face time, meaning that I now only had 30 mins of this left-torture waiting to listen to it with her! 

When I got home after doing the usual washing that is inevitable after a trip away, I read another 150 pages of The Dead Wife's Handbook meaning I'm now less than 100 pages away from finishing, this is definitely going to happen on day 6 and would've happened on day 5 if I hadn't fallen asleep! 

And finally the audiobook I listened to on my long journey... Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I listened to the equivalent of 210 pages of this meaning, like the others, I am tantalisingly close to finishing this one-day 6 is going to be all about getting these guys finished! 

So still no books completely finished but I have managed quite a bit of reading so far this week, how are you getting on? Are you enjoying these updates? What are you going to be reading over the weeken?

Happy reading! 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Review: Witchrise by Victoria Lamb

Only one witch can rise above the coming storm ...

When Tudor witch Meg Lytton receives an unexpected legacy - her mother's magical wand, ring and spellbook - she has no idea her future happiness is in danger. For the witchfinder Marcus Dent is back in her dreams, and he will use any weapon to gain her newfound powers for himself.

Now Meg must discover the secret of Invictus, her mother's magical ring. Summoned back to Hatfield, she knows a battle is coming. But Meg is no longer alone in her struggle against Dent. Surrounded by her friends, she faces her greatest challenge head-on: losing Alejandro, her beloved. For it seems the Spanish novice has been keeping secrets from them all.

Powers clash and hearts break in the spellbinding third book of The Tudor Witch Trilogy.

Review: I was so excited for the conclusion in this trilogy and I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed! I felt a little bit like, in terms of storyline and action, all the good bits had been used up in the first 2 books and so this one suffered accordingly. I was really pleased to hear the ending to Meg's tale and I was really pleased with the way that this author concluded Meg's story but overall I wasn't overwhelmed by the storyline. 

I really like the character of Meg. She is definitely a strong female lead and this book is as much about feminism, or this series for that matter, as it is about witches. I really like that fact that she is independent and finds out for herself what she has to do In order to get the job done! She wants to follow in her mothers footsteps and make her proud and that is something else I really like a outer. She also seems to avoid outing other people out for her own gain, all the while standing up for what she believes in and what is right! 

I love all the other characters in this trilogy although i do find Meg's family to be a little to interfering. I likes Alejandro's storyline in this book though, even though he didn't appear as much in this book as he did in the others... I think the gore in this novel is lower generally than the gore in the first two books in the series, perhaps this was where the storyline was lacking a bit for me-who knows! I did feel a little bit like nothing of importance happened overall although clearly there was enough going on to keep me reading and keep me enjoying the novel. 

The trilogy has magic, mystery, action and historical elements as well as romance and tension and overall I think it's a really strong trilogy. I think that even if you don't enjoy books about witches you could still access this trilogy as all three books don't overpower you with witchcraft and all three books are quick reads as well! I love Meg as a character and I'm going to miss her, I know other readers will also love her for her girl power and her heart and so if you haven't read any of these books, I would definitely recommend the trilogy to you! 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 Day 4 Update

Not as good a reading day as I thought it would be as I had some dental work done and so didn't feel brilliant. I DID get to listen to a lot of my audiobook as I was in the car quite a bit with lots of listening time... So I listened to just about 5 hours of One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond. I think I'm going to finish this one tomorrow! 

I read another 100 pages of The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman. I am now just over halfway though this book which I think is pretty good since I've been travelling and socialising until all hours this week! 

I've got another long journey from the north to the south again tomorrow so expect to read a lot of audiobook during that time. I'm hoping as well that I'll get home in time to make a good go at finishing The Dead Wife's Handbook-I'll keep you updated! 

How are you all doing and where are you finding time to read?

Review: A Place For Us by Harriet Evans

The FIRST of four exclusive part-serialisations of a A Place for Us by Harriet Evans - you'll be desperate to read on ...

The day Martha Winter decided to tear apart her family began like any other day. So opens A Place for Us by Sunday Times bestselling author Harriet Evans, a book you'll dive into, featuring a family you'll fall in love with ... and never want to leave. If you devour Rosamund Pilcher and Maeve Binchy and have discovered Jojo Moyes, you'll be thrilled to add Harriet Evans to your collection of favourite authors.

The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door. You step inside.

The hall is cool after the hot summer's day. The welcome is kind, and always warm.

Yet something makes you suspect life here can't be as perfect as it seems.
After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret.

But wouldn't you pay any price to have a glorious place like this?

Welcome to Winterfold.
Martha Winter's family is finally coming home.

Review: wow, this really packs a punch for the first part of a novel. The characters, the setting, the storyline-you get just as much from this little snippet as you would do from the whole thing! You are dumped right into the action with some mysterious goings on in the Winter household. It's not just the heads of the household that are involved though, more and more and more characters keep being introduced, and all of them seems to have some sort of secret to hide or some sort of tragedy loming over them. The novella is cleverly structured that the characters each get a chapter at a time and so all the information about them trickles in bit by bit, like sorting out the pieces of a jigsaw. 

The language in the installment is just beautiful. The words paint a perfect picture of several idyllic settings, each home to a a member of the Winter family, and yet each of those settings in marred by the secret that each of them hides. You are whisked between rural England, Paris and Florence and enter the households of families, couples and single people, all of them living in a state of suspense and a states of loneliness. 

Each of the characters in this novella are strong in their own way, even if the life choices they have made haven't been so strong... The matriarch of the household, Martha, seems to be the one holding them altogether, a pupeteer of sorts, and she is the lynchpin of the storyline too, in inviting them all to her 80th birthday where secrets will all be revealed. Her husband is a minor celebrity within the UK and he plays quite a minor role in this installment, although I am sure that he will really come into his own in future sections of this book. I really liked the younger members of this family and thing that they will play a big part as the story unfolds.

I think that this is another great serialisation. It allows suspense to build between sections and allows you to really think about the events that have happened in one novella before the next installment comes out. It has been cleverly written though because I already feel like I have got to know that characters and got an insight and an inkling into what their secrets might be! I really enjoyed reading this novella, it felt like I'd read a full novel only without the satisfying conclusion and I definitely definitely need to read more! 

Bout Of Books Day 3 update

Now today was always going to be a bad one for reading & I wasn't expecting to have read much today. So... I read another 85 pages of The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman. I'm enjoying this so far so managed to squeeze some in before bed! 

I also listened to another 90 minutes of One Night In Italy by Lucy Diamond because I had a couple of places to drive.

Hopefully I'll manage to do a little but better so far-I'd like to get  a little more time to listen to my audiobook because it's really good but I don't get chance to get into it as much as I should...

Hope your reading is going well this week! 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Review: The Arcade Year 2 Episode 7: Ghosts by Kitty Charles

In the dark corners of Angell's Arcade lurks a resident no one knows is there.

Frederick Angell has watched over his investment for more than a century, unseen and unnoticed, doing what little he can to help his adopted family. When one of the Arcade's younger tenants is threatened, Frederick is forced to leave his beloved building and do things he's never dreamed possible. But in saving one tenant, he finds a salvation of his own... 

Review: oooo what a different episode of The Arcade this was-I loved it! The episodes starts with some characters I hadn't heard of and I totally didn't know what was going on, I even checked back onmy kindle to check that I had opened the right thing, assuming that I had clicked on another bok by mistake. But no, these were intruders into the arcade, people who didn't belong there, and who should come along to stop them in their tracks? The Arcades founder, Frederick Angell! 

Yes, this months episode is all about him!  I love this as I've been wanting to know more about this illustrious character since the Arcade began. We heard a little from him at the start and the end of last year but in this episodes we get to see many of the major events of this arcade from his point of view. What does he think about all the bed hoping that goes on in the arcade? What does he think of the problems that his shopkeepers Are facing today? And what was the arcade like when he founded it?

We also get to see a ore personal side of the arcade founder, his own relationship and private life and I'll admit I did actually shed a tear during his account of his relationship with his wife. There may just be a few other ghosts in this months episode, you'll have to read it yourself to find out how they are involved I the whole thing! Although thai month focuses on a ghost, it's not scary, but it does give a major insight into the comings and going of the arcade and of the arcades past and so for that reason I think it is a wonderful summing up of an episode and something all arcade fans MUST read! I just want to know now if this, in fact, was a different Kitty penning this months episode...

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Bout of books 11.0 day 2 update

I've been pretty busy seeing my friends today (not as busy as I'll be tomorrow) but I did have a dentist appointment this morning which afforded me a chance to read 60 pages of The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman.

I also drove to my friends and walked to and from the dentist which meant i could listen to another 2.5 hours of One Night In Italy by LucyDiamond.

Not bad considering how busy I've been. Intending on getting some more audiobook in tomorrow and possibly some more DWH before bed! 

Top Ten Tuesday: books people have been telling me I MUST read! 19/8/14

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

A good one this week, I've bout quite a few books because people have told me I MUST read them, whether I want to read them or not. Some recommendations will work out, some will not. This is a selection of those I haven't read yet. 

1. I Capture The Castle by Dodi Smith. 

2. Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison. 

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

4. Looking for Alaska by John Green

5. The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

7. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E Smith

8. Everyday by David Leviathan 

9. Solitaire by Alice Oseman 

10. Johnny be Good by Paige Toon. 

All of these books are sitting on my book waiting to be read and all have been heavily recommended to be by other bloggers, readers and authors and I do really want to read all of them. I'm going to try and read a couple of them this week as I'm doing the Bout of books Readathon so keep your fingers crossed for me, 

Bout of Books 11.0 Day 1 Update

So today was the first day of the bout of books readathon and I was going to listen to some of my audiobook on my four hour car journey home but I ended up having my friend in the act for that journey so THAT didn't happen! 

Then I was going to arrive home and have some reading time before anyone else came in, but again because I was with my friend that didn't happen either! I did manage to sneak in a bit of reading time in the evening though so here's what I've read so far...

140 pages of Popular: A Memoir by Maya Van Wagenen. This means that I finished this book and I loved it (review coming soon)

I listened to an hour of an audiobook in the end. This was One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond. This means I have read a twelfth of this book-that's my progress. 

I will try and do a day 2 update tomorrow but it might be a combined day 2/3 update as I'm away tomorrow night and so not planning on getting much reading done. 

How's everyone else doing? What have YOU read so far this week?

Monday, 18 August 2014

Guest Post Leah Flemming Author of The Postcard

I am very lucky to have an exclusive extract from the new novel by Leah Flemming-The Postcard

It's a very exciting extract and Leah even explained why she chose this particular snippet for you guys today, so I shall hand over to her...

I chose this letter because it sums up the quest of the story and introduces the idea of family secrets for Melissa.
Dear Mel
Sorry to spring all this on you but I wondered if you were up to solving the mystery I never got round to sorting in my life. Funny how it never seemed important to go searching for my past but now I’ve run out of time  I feel I owe you an explanation…
I ‘ve had this postcard for years. Found it when I was clearing out old Grandma Boyd’s effects. It was stuffed in with Pa’s love letters. She’d kept it for a reason and when I saw the picture and the name, I just knew it was something to do with me. Don’t ask me why, I got a tingle of something, a fuzzy memory that just wouldn’t surface but when I asked Pa, he just laughed and offered to chuck it out. He said she liked the picture. It reminded her of England  before the First World war. I knew he was telling fibs so I kept the postcard,
I don’t recall much how I came to be in Australia but I know I wasn’t born here. My memories are liked broken shards of glass, fragments, flashes of colours in a kaleidoscope. I recall the taste of metal on a ship’s railings, flaking grey paint, salt spray on my cheeks; these are flashes that come to me in dreams. Some bits are like lead, heavy and dark. It’s as if I am peering through a hole in a huge wall through to a green garden full of flowers. I’m not one for flowery lingo as you know, don’t know one plant from another but I know the smell of roses anywhere.
I saw a shrink once in the Rehab clinic who thought a bit of hypnotism might help my recall but I didn’t fancy that. Who knows what can of worms it might open up? I know I was a bit of a shit to you both , a closed book at times with my binges and black moods,, not fit to be a parent.  I never deserved the love your mother gave me. I let her down every time but deep inside I sense a waste of potential in me. I could have been a better husband and father. I’m not making excuses but there are memories and bits of my life, I’ve worked hard to blot out. Perhaps if I could have faced up, I might have made you proud of me not ashamed. The Boyds were kind folk but not ones to lavish the praise and affection I craved. It was your Mum who opened my heart to such possibilities but I let her down big time. I wish things could have been different for all of us…
I’ve often wondered where that voice of yours came from. Your mother, bless her heart was tone deaf but I did once warble in tune, I think, so someone passed it down the line and I’d like you to find who. I’m handing on the baton to you. You have a right to know what made me the way I am, warts and all.
I know once you get your claws into a job you see it through but don’t let it interfere with your future. I just hope you are curious. The answers will be out there somewhere. Who the hell brought me out here and why? I wish I could recall things better but there’s a Berlin wall between me and my past. One day you’ll have kids of your own and they ought to have a proper history to blame for their failings. If anyone can piece this jigsaw puzzle together you can, so go find it, girl, no matter what and try to forgive the apology that was Lew Boyd,

Thanks so much to Leah for that extract and don't forget to order your copy of The Postcard to read more from this fabulous book!