5* Review for Quarter Acre Block by Janet Gogerty #ContemporaryFiction

This is a 5* review for Janet Gogerty’s amazing  book, Quarter Acre Block. Janet is a member of Verified Purchase Review Group.

If you would like to join Stevie Turner’s Group and gain reviews for one of your books, please click on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/verifiedreviews/

51RMODWfBkL._UY250_.jpg

 

In the nineteen sixties, many ‘ten pound pommies’ had never left England before and most expected never to return or see loved ones again.

George Palmer saw Australia as a land of opportunities for his four children, his wife longed for warmth and space and their daughter’s ambition was to swim in the sea and own a dog.

For migrant children, it was a big adventure, for fathers the daunting challenge of finding work and providing for their family, but for the wives the loneliness of settling in a strange place.

 

Our Review

I can remember the winter of 1962-63, also known as the Big Freeze. It was one of the coldest winters on record for the UK. The temperature plummeted and lakes and rivers froze. The sea actually froze in a few places, something I never expected to see!

Blizzards and the freezing cold probably had most of us dreaming of living somewhere warmer. I know my mother did.

She had heard about this new scheme where you could travel to Australia to start a new life and all for £10. That must have appealed to many people after suffering through that particular winter. I was only a child then, and don’t remember why we didn’t go, so when I saw this book all about a family who did go, I had to read it.

I followed this family as they made plans, packed up their belongings and travelled all that way. I discovered what it was like to find yourself in such a vastly different environment to the UK, and found it all fascinating.

The early arrivals were given a quarter Acre block of land to live on, which is a substantial amount of space, practically unheard of in the UK unless you had pots of money.

I learned what their new life was like through the eyes of the youngest daughter. She described an enjoyable journey as they slowly came to terms with their new life.

This was a light-hearted and fascinating read about something that almost happened to me. I often wonder what my own life would have been like if my mother had managed to swing it…

About the Author

 

71qChF3KFKL._UX250_.jpg

Janet Gogerty

 

I have been writing frantically for 10 years and still enjoy being part of two writing groups. I am inspired by anything and everything and enjoy writing about ordinary people; but usually, they find themselves experiencing strange events!

When I was encouraged to tackle a novel my daughter suggested I use my short story ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ as she wanted to know what happened to Emma, whose fate had been left in the air at the end of the story. The novel became a trilogy, Three Ages of Man and finally Lives of Anna Alsop, published in March 2015.

I enjoy writing fiction of any length and have had many short stories published online. I have just published my fourth collection of short stories Someone Somewhere which includes two novellas. I also write a regular blog ‘Sandscript’ at http://www.goodreads.com. My website http://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk long ago took on a life of its own with new words and pictures regularly; visit to read short stories and other items.

 

 

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Review for A Marriage of Convenience  by Stevie Turner #Contemporary Fiction #Family Life @StevieTurner6

#ThrowbackThursdays have been a brilliant way to replace some of our missing Amazon reviews… and give us all another chance to read about these amazing books!

 

51yLseXTl3L._UY250_.jpg

Gerrie Hermann, aspiring rock star from a rich South African family, has an unusual proposal for Sophie Woods when he meets her for the first time in their university canteen.

Strait-laced Sophie has never done anything out of the ordinary in the whole of her 19 years. When she decides to take Gerrie up on his offer she has no idea that her decision is going to affect the rest of her life in ways that she could never have foreseen, even in her wildest dreams.

 

Amazon Link:

Our Review

Would you marry someone simply to help them out of a dilemma?

This is what Sophie Woods, a university student, is about to do, a business arrangement, nothing more. But what happens afterwards is the stuff that dreams, and Hollywood movies are made of. Sophie, young and naïve, has never done anything risky before and has no idea of what fate awaits her.

Gerrie, a South African student, is an aspiring rock star with wealthy parents, who unfortunately don’t approve of his career choice. Gerrie wants to stay in England and the only way he can do that, is to get married.

Sophie falls in love with her new husband, but circumstances conspire to ruin their unexpected happiness and break both their hearts as well. The tension builds unbearably for them and their future outcome looks decidedly bleak.

There doesn’t seem to be an easy solution to their problems and after so long, can there really be a happy ever after?

 

Excerpt from A Marriage of Convenience

The same wood pigeon is cooing outside my bedroom window that I’m sure has been there since my early teens.  Everything around me is so familiar, yet nothing is the same anymore.  The pink duvet cover adorned with red roses covered me as a girl, but now I am a woman, soon to bring another life into this world. 

I have been so very stupid. I sit up in bed and look at the clock, which shows 08:45.  I pick up my mobile phone from the bedside table, but there’s no message from Gerrie.  Dad will already be on his way down to the canal to take the first group of tourists on a morning boat ride. Mum rattles around downstairs making drinks. It’s time for me to get up and face what the day can throw at me.  I keep waiting to feel sick or faint; isn’t that what all pregnant women do?  However, apart from sore breasts I feel as fit as a fiddle and desperately hungry.  I can hear Mum humming to herself as I pad downstairs and slink into a chair at the kitchen table.  She gives me a smile “Did you sleep okay?”

“Yes thanks.”  I nod. “It’s a relief now I’ve told you everything.”

Mum hands me a cup of steaming coffee. “Of course it is.  We’ll stand by you.  There’s no way I’ll see my daughter or grandchild want for anything.”

I get up and hug my mother, who is already making me a toasted bacon sandwich.  It occurs to me that all the money in the world cannot make up for the love I’ve received over the years from my two wonderful parents.  I am truly lucky.

“Gerrie’s father is a diamond merchant out in South Africa, but he doesn’t approve of me and won’t be giving us a penny.”

 “You don’t need him.” Mum grimaces as she hands me a plate of food. “You can come home any time.  We’ll be pleased to have you and the baby here.”

I make short work of my sandwich and shoo Mum upstairs while I wash up.  After an invigorating shower, I wrap a towel around me and go back into my bedroom to get dressed.  My phone is buzzing away by the bed.  I pick it up. “Hi.”   Gerrie’s accented voice booms down the line. “This is the third time I’ve rung.”

 “I was having a wash.  How’s it going with you?”

There’s a brief silence before he carries on. “I miss you.  Are you coming back?  Sorry I punched the wall.” He sounds like a little boy who has lost his mother in a crowd, but deep down inside I’m still angry.

 

Biography

Stevie Turner works part-time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audiobooks, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audiobooks, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ caught the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017.

Some of Stevie’s books have been translated into German, Spanish, and Italian.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk
You can find her blog at the following link: http://www.steviet3.wordpress.com
You can sign up for her newsletter here: https://www.facebook.com/StevieTurnerAuthor/app/100265896690345/

 

 

Honesty in WorldWar2 by Chris-Jean Clarke #ContemporaryFiction/History@ChrisJeanClarke

 

WW2 through the eyes of a child: It is mid-summer, 1944 and Britain is embroiled in war.

A large percentage of city and town dwellers are being killed; homes bombed, and personal belongings destroyed. The people not only fear for their own safety, but they also realize, that even if they are fortunate enough to survive there is a slim chance their offspring will not.

They feel they have no choice but to send their children to remote country villages to be raised by strangers, in the hope they will have a better life. The only adults permitted to travel with the children are mothers with youngsters under five years old, the infirm and the elderly. Meantime, the community of Honesty Brook Dale feel it’s their duty to rally together to help the evacuees by sharing their homes and limited food and clothing supplies. 

Our Review

I was only a child during WW2 and evacuated out of London to Northampton, but probably a little too young to remember much of what was going on around me. I knew I had been taken somewhere strange, but didn’t feel alone or scared, unlike some of the children in these circumstances.

Reading this book, listening to the children as they tried to cope with being uprooted or worse, have their homes and family destroyed in front of them, must have been terrifying. Making me realise I was a lot luckier than most.

The people who took in these evacuees found themselves taking a very different role in the war effort. For most, it wasn’t easy, squeezing extra people into their lives when food was already rationed. People who must have resented being treated like lost luggage.

I loved the name of the village in this book, Honesty Brook Dale. Honesty is one of my favourite flowers and is mentioned several times, reminding me of the shiny silver seedpods I loved as a child.

I know you’re not supposed to have favourites when it comes to children, but I couldn’t help loving Cyril Blessum. A typical boy, into every mischief, desperately trying to understand everything, and not making a very good job of any of it.

“If only me Dad were able to come home, George wouldn’t have to be so tired from working long hours … and we could have fun again,” he added as new tears threatened to spill down his cheeks.

Unbeknownst to Cyril, George had been standing at their bedroom door, listening. “Nobody wants change, our kid, but we have to make the best of what we’ve got,” George said as he joined Cyril by the window.

He gently squeezed Cyril’s shoulder and continued, “Remember when we used to walk for miles over the fields. We would play by the brook and go as far as the entrance to the coalmines or walk across the fields in the opposite direction towards the cottage hospital. That’s how far I biked today looking for ya. I was real worried, our kid. I thought something bad had happened to ya … that’s why I got so mad.”

Cyril slipped his hand into George’s and said, “I am sorry, honest … but I don’t know what to do to make things right with Mam.”

 “Ya know I was thinking Cyril. Mam used to love it when we picked a few flowers for her while we were over the fields. Her favourite is honesty because she loves the delicate shades of pinks and purples. I remember she always managed to find a spare jam jar to put them in. We can pick a few at the weekend if ya want?”

 “Yeah, it will be just like old times … only without Dad.”

This heart-warming but sometimes sad story reminded me of The Railway Children, waiting for the war to end and their fathers and brothers to come home…

About the Author

Chris-Jean Clarke.jpg

Chris-Jean Clarke grew up in the West-Midlands (UK) but now resides in South Staffordshire (UK) with her husband, Geoff and children, Nathan and Kyrsten.

Prior to giving birth to her two beautiful children, Chris-Jean worked for twenty years with people with learning and physical disabilities.

She studied the art of writing children’s stories @The Writing School, Oxford Open Learning.

Chris-Jean also donates stories & poems twice yearly to the Peacock Writers to benefit various charities. (NB She does not publish her contributions in any other form.)

November 2016, Chris-Jean was accepted as a paid reviewer for Readers’ Favorite. During this month she was also accepted as a Publishing Assistant for the Books4Kids program, South Dakota.

Early 2018, Chris-Jean transitioned from Publishing Assistant to author with the release of her educational story: To Dye For.