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Archive for the tag “dementia”

Blog Tour – ‘The Scribbler’ by Iain Maitland ~ @RKbookpublicist @SarabandBooks @iainmaitland

I am beyond thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘The Scribbler’ by Iain Maitland was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 7th May 2020 by Contraband and is the first of a series.

I would like to thank Ruth Killick for inviting me to participate and both Ruth and the publisher for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute exactly what I thought about ‘The Scribbler’ after the all important book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

“He’s back, Carrie. The Scribbler is back.”

DI Gayther and his rookie colleague DC Carrie have been assigned a new caseload. Or rather, an old one… cold murder cases of LGBTQ+ victims.Georgia Carrie wasn’t even born when the notorious serial killer began his reign of terror across the East of England, but Roger Gayther was on the force that failed to catch him and remembers every chilling detail.

Back in the Eighties, Gayther’s team hadn’t been assigned sufficient resources. But now, after all these years, there’s a sudden death featuring The Scribbler’s tell-tale modus operandi. Gayther and Carrie have to find and bring him to justice to stop the killing once and for all.

 

My Review

Oh My Goodness! How did I not know about Iain Maitland and his work before now? I mean what planet have I been living on all this time? I feel like I have just made one of the greatest discoveries on Earth. Literally I do. What a mind this author has.

I thought ‘The Scribbler’ was a fantastic read. I really liked the author’s style of writing and I could almost feel the atmosphere at times.

This was one of those books I could not wait to get back to, especially as I got deeper and deeper into the story. It was like falling into a hole and wanting to get to the bottom to find out what was there.

There were certainly some interesting characters, many of whom I just didn’t take to. I liked DI Gayther and DC Carrie and I thought that they had a really good working relationship. Together with Thomas and Cotton they made a good team. I was most interested to see how far they got with the cold murder cases of LGBTQ+ victims.

The Scribbler was just so evil and twisted. How he could live with himself I really do not know. There was another side to him though surprisingly and it seemed that he did have a heart somewhere. He was very protective of his family, especially his sibling. As I read on it became apparent as to why The Scribbler had become the way he had, not that murdering people was any excuse. I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit sympathetic for him and his brother.

‘The Scribbler’ is a dark, gripping, creepy and tense read. It deals with a number of issues including mental health, homosexuality, abuse and loss.

If you are a fan of crime fiction, then I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy of ‘The Scribbler’ now.

I was over the moon when I discovered that this was the first book in a series, and I will wait patiently for the next one. In the meantime, I will definitely be buying Iain Maitland’s first two novels, there is no doubt about that at all.

I think this is another book to add to my favourites of the year.

 

‘The Scribbler’ can be purchased from:-

Saraband – https://saraband.net/sb-title/the-scribbler/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1912235803?pf_rd_r=F917907HFJGYKDDY0DCR&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e

 

About Iain Maitland

Iain Maitland is the author of thrillers: The Scribbler (2020) Mr Todd’s Reckoning (2019) and Sweet William (2017) as well as two non-fiction books on mental health: Dear Michael, Love Dad (2016) and Out of the Madhouse (2018). An ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity, Iain also speaks on mental health issues in the workplace. A writer since 1987, he is a journalist and has written more than 50 books, mainly on business, which have been published around the world.

 

Links

Website – http://www.iainmaitland.net/home

Twitter – https://twitter.com/iainmaitland

Blog Tour – ‘The Gingerbread House’ by Kate Beaufoy

blog-tour-poster

I am absolutely thrilled to be starting off this blog tour.  ‘The Gingerbread House’ is being published on the 2nd March by Black & White Publishing.  I was very kindly sent a copy to review which you can read soon.  First up though, a guest post by Kate Beaufoy herself.

 

An Introduction to The Gingerbread House

The Gingerbread House tells the story of Tess and Katia, a mother and daughter who move into a pretty bungalow in a remote country setting to care for Eleanor, Tess’s aged mother-in-law. Tess is trying to write a book, so a distraction-free zone is what she wants. Katia, however, finds the house eerie and claustrophobic; in order to escape its confines she retreats to her childhood treehouse and spends hours talking to an imaginary friend, telling herself stories, and spying on Toby, the fit young gardener.

Initially, Tess and Katia imagine that caring for Eleanor will be do-able – after all, what could be easier than looking after a little old lady? But it’s a tougher ask than either of them anticipates. Eleanor has dementia, and it’s getting worse. Soon Tess finds herself stressed-out and despondent, reaching for the wine bottle as soon as the carriage clock strikes 6.00 pm. And Katia is powerless to help …

Like most novels, The Gingerbread House is experience distilled through imagination. Although some of what Tess goes through is based on real events, the book is – as becomes clear to the reader turning the pages – a work of fiction.

I wrote the first draft ten years ago, never intending it for publication. It was an amalgamation of snapshot memories and a stream-of-consciousness record of a dark time, and I wrote it in just five weeks. Then I abandoned it. Back then it was something I felt I needed to do – a bit like talking therapy – but instead of communicating my feelings to a shrink, I wrote them down. Then I filed the story as ‘White Peacocks Doc’ and tried to forget about it.

However, as a writer, my job is to put a shape on words, and I couldn’t entirely ignore the fact that some 80,000 of them had spilled on to my computer screen. I couldn’t forget about the white peacocks and their spooky call. I couldn’t forget about the plight of Tess and Eleanor. I would open the file from time to time, rearrange the misspelled mess I had written in such a hurry, refocus, restructure.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from some of the best editors in the UK, and among the most helpful phrases iterated is ‘Take a knife to your little darlings.’ I cut 20,000 words. Instead of using a first person ‘Poor Me’ narrative, I brought Katia in to tell the story. I invented a friend for her, Charlotte, in whom she could confide her worries and sorrows. I conjured up beautiful Toby so that Katia could harbour a little crush, and so Tess could have someone to talk to.

What ultimately grew into a big story is driven by a small cast of characters. While some of them are fabrications, some are based on actual people: Lotus, Doctor Doorley, Donn. The white peacocks were, surreally, real. All of the women to whom Tess speaks on the phone are true friends of mine, to whom I reached out, and who helped me through a tough time. I was lucky – so very lucky – to have them.

Since I wrote the story of Tess and Eleanor and Katia, the concerns that made me tell the story have multiplied. Once as taboo a subject as cancer, dementia is being spoken about throughout the media. Equally importantly, the role of the carer is being highlighted. Just recently, BBC 4’s Woman’s Hour devoted an entire week to the subject.

Some women in similar situations to the one in which Tess finds herself have nobody to talk to. Hopefully this new openness will encourage those who have felt alone for too long that there are thousands and thousands of other Tesses out there.

The Gingerbread House by Kate Beaufoy is published by Black & White.
http://www.katebeaufoy.com

 

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My Review

The first thing I want to comment about is the cover which I absolutely adore. It’s simply stunning; I love the colours and the picture of the house which has been given the name, ‘The Gingerbread House’. It looks so lovely and homely and it makes you want to go and live in it. You would be forgiven for thinking that this story is a fairy tale. Except it isn’t, far from it in fact.

The story is narrated by Katia, Tess’s daughter. I really enjoyed the writing style and the way the reader is given a tour of the house. I couldn’t wait to visit all the rooms and learn more about it. Katia who seems to see and know everything that is going on gives a very honest account of the situation at hand and what her parents, especially her mum are going through. But poor Katia can only watch as things fall apart and as I found out later there’s a reason for that.

Reading about Eleanor who was suffering from dementia was heartbreaking. Yes, she was old, but that didn’t make things any easier. It must have been really frustrating for her to not be able to do the things she used to. I don’t think poor Tess ever imagined just how hard it would be caring for Eleanor. Being asked the same questions hundreds of times a day and having to wash her clothes and bedding regularly due to accidents was no joke. That sort of thing would be enough to give anyone a nervous breakdown. I really worried about Tess, especially when she started drinking more.

There was a very dark sense of humour throughout the story which took a bit of getting used to. I had to read a joke two or three times before I understood it. I guess the humour is what helped to keep Tess and Donn going though. Temporary relief is what I think you would call it.

‘The Gingerbread House’ kept me reading. It will hopefully strike a chord with those who have loved ones with dementia. I’m sure a number of things will ring true.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

About Kate Beaufoy


Kate Beaufoy has an MA in French and English literature from Trinity College Dublin. As Kate Thompson she has had a dozen novels published, including the Number One bestseller The Blue Hour, which was shortlisted for the RNA award. Her previous book was Another Heartbeat in the House, which was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards. The Gingerbread House was inspired by her experience of caring for her mother-in-law, when she was suffering from dementia. Kate has contributed to numerous publications and broadcast media in both Ireland and the UK. A former actress, she was the recipient of a Dublin Theatre Festival Best Actress Award. She lives some of the year in Dublin and some on the West coast of Ireland, and is happily married with one daughter. Kate is an advanced-level scuba diver, a wild swimmer, and the keeper of a bewitching Burmese cat.

 

‘The Gingerbread House’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gingerbread-House-Gripping-heartbreaking-surprising-ebook/dp/B01MU7T4Y6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488136899&sr=1-1&keywords=the+gingerbread+house

 

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