And now for something very special from Catherine:
My very first (bad) attempts at writing
Growing up, I was a voracious reader and devoured every mystery and adventure story the wonderful Enid Blyton ever wrote. And at some point, I decided that’s what I wanted to do, too. I was going to be a writer.
My very first endeavour was a weekly, comic-style magazine for my younger brother, Ian. (I can’t remember if my decision to name it the ‘Willy Comic’ was meant to be funny or just accidentally snigger-inducing. Not that Ian, aged five at the time, would have appreciated the joke anyway.)
I designed and wrote it, and laboriously drew and coloured in the (very bad) pictures, then I posted it through our letter box as if it had come straight from the newsagent’s. I was a bit bossy as a kid and expected my long-suffering brother to take part in various activities that didn’t exactly float his boat. There was the home-made library he was forced to visit (I stuck little cardboard pockets for the library tickets I made, in the front of all my books) and the café, where the poor lad drank my ‘fairy wine’ (water and sugar) without complaint, as far as I remember. But the one thing he really did enjoy, he told me recently, was the Willy Comic arriving on the doormat every week.
After that, I started writing mystery stories - based very heavily on Enid Blyton’s Famous Five - the first of which I wrote on holiday in Spain when I was about ten.
We were staying in the little fishing village of Calpe, on the Costa Blanca. Our hotel, called The Hippocampus, was right on the beach (this was years ago, so Calpe has probably changed a lot). Dominating the bay was a huge natural rock formation that seemed to rise up from the sea, called the Penon de Ifach, The only reason I remember its name all these years later (my memory for names is rubbish) is because it was the inspiration for my very first ‘book’.
I remember we climbed the rock in the heat of the afternoon sun, scarily high, and the views over Calpe and the mountains in the background were incredible. And that walk with its twisty paths and scratchy foliage (with plenty of places for villains to hide) was the inspiration for my tale of abominable goings-on by a gang of diamond robbers, who used the rock as their lair and hid their spoils in cunning places, unaware of the enthusiastic junior sleuth from England who’d spotted their flashing lights on the great rock at night from her hotel bedroom window and managed to single-handedly expose their evil doings!
Thank you so much to Catherine for stopping by today, here are my thoughts on the novel:
Review: this is my first foray into the world of Catherine Ferguson's books and this novel was sweet and an enjoyable read so I am glad that I picked it up! We get to meet Holly who seems to be a little overwhelmed with the world. She is still mourning he loss of her grandmother and doesn't really want to leave the life she has built for herself in Manchester but she is duty bound to return to the Cotswolds and finish what her grandmother started. I could totally sympathise with Holly, we all know what it is like to be forced out of our won little bubble.
There are a host of supporting characters who literally support Holly on her journey, she meets some interesting people in the little village that she lived in with her grandmother when she was younger. I loved the relationship she built up with Jack and his sister Layla. I loved seeing Layla develop, alongside Holly, as the book progressed. Holly also meets Connie who is a great ally to her and means more to her than Holly actually realises.
Of course there is the mystery that is alluded to in the title of this novel. Holly finds a diary that belonged to her grandmother and the mystery unravels from thee. I found that I wasn't as interested in this aspect of the storyline, not being as interested in mystery novels as other genres, but what I did enjoy about the storyline was the amount I learned about gardening the the restoration of houses. I saw one reviewer describe this book as a relaxing read and I really did find a sense of calm whilst joining Holly in the countryside and watching her grow and learn.
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