Places in our Memories: With Robbie Cheadle

A huge thank you to talented author, Judith Barrow, for hosting my article in her Places in our Memories series. I have shared some of my memories about the births of my three sisters which obviously changed my life significantly. You can find out more about Judith’s excellent books here: https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6 and read my review of The Heart Stone here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RI9RUUVY8XUGF

There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.

Today I’m welcoming Robbie Cheadle, someone I’ve known and admired as an online friend for many years.

Thank you, Judith, for inviting me to talk about my memories.

As a little girl I was quiet and self-contained. The oldest of four daughters, my mom was often busy with a new baby and so I spent a lot of time alone. I do believe I was a lonely child and passed my time reading, listening to Broadway musicals on my mother’s record player, and doing numerous artistic projects.

By the time I was eighteen, I’d lived in twenty-one houses and attended fourteen schools. Twelve of my school changes occurred before I was twelve and once, I changed schools twice during the same academic year.

I never developed lasting and strong friendships with other girls which may have been a consequence of all these disruptions. Instead, my sisters and I played together. Their births were the highlight moments of my younger years.

A typical picture of me as a child

My time as a baby and a toddler are grey mist to me, but the first powerful memory I have is of the entrance of my sister, Catherine, into my life. She displaced me as the only one and I wasn’t pleased about it at the time.

Continue reading here: https://judithbarrowblog.com/2022/09/05/places-in-our-memories-with-robbie-cheadle-mondayblogs-memories/

Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: Tau Game Lodge, the watering hole #elephants #lions #buffalo

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2022/09/01/more-from-clay-hill/

We recently visited Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve. We happened to arrive on an unusually hot day for August and were treated to an amazing show of animals who all came to drink and swim in the watering hole. We walked up to the viewing point at the other side of the grounds and saw elephants so close you could reach out and touch them (which, of course, we didn’t because that would be dangerous and disrespectful to the animals who are not remotely tame or trained).

I love this video of the animals coming to the water hole to drink. It was simply amazing to watch.

Side door to the bar at the viewing point

One of the elephants reversed right up close to me standing near the fence.

We went out for a game drive in the afternoon on the first day. We saw lions and buffalo.

Our Safari vehicle with its high doors that latch closed

Here is a short video of the lion rolling over:

My blogging friend, Wayne, from Tofino Photography (if you don’t know Wayne and his amazing wildlife photographs, I suggest you go over and take a look around https://tofinophotography.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/rendezvous-spot/) made a comment about animals heads on the walls of game lodges. I have never visited a game lodge that displays heads of animals as we go to places dedicated to conservation of wildlife, but such lodges do exist where they do canned hunting (which I abhor). Anyhow, Wayne’s comment inspired this poem which will be included in the poetry book I’m working on called Lion Scream which is about the plight of animals in Africa. Thank you, Wayne, for the obscure inspiration.

Horny Burden

The lead buffalo stands

Majestic, on guard

Surrounded by cows, their calves, and lessor bulls

Responsibility

Weighing heavily

***

A formidable pair

of horns deck his head

A natural defence, also a burden

In this fake man-made world

Where greed dominates

***

The hunter lines him up

Prepares for his shot

Bang! The bullet strikes, animal slumps forward

His magnificent horns

Will soon grace a wall

Before I depart, I must share this song by Flanders & Swann called The Gnu. It is about the head of a Gnu (which we call Wildebeeste) on the wall:

I must admit that I love Flanders & Swann and always have. I was a mighty odd little thing my grandma said.

Roberta Writes – Book review: Partners in Time by Stevie Turner

What Amazon says

John Finbow, a successful writer, and his wife Kay move into Southcombe Rectory, a large Victorian house that has been empty since the 1960s. It had previously been owned by the Cuthbertson family who had lived there for generations. Their marriage is under strain, as John, 39 would like children before he gets too old, but Kay, 34, does not.

When John is working in his study soon after moving in, he is disturbed by the sight of a young woman who appears out of the blue on his sofa. Emily Cuthbertson, whose old bedroom is now John’s study, was 25 at the time of her death and the youngest of 8 offspring of the late Reverend Arthur Cuthbertson and his wife Delia. Emily had died in 1868 but is now unwilling to leave behind her old life on earth, due to having missed out on a family of her own whilst being a companion to her widowed mother. Emily is still desperate for a husband and children, and John is the answer to her dreams.

One hundred and thirty years separate them. Will Emily and John’s love survive time’s relentless march?

My review

I have read a few of Stevie Turner’s books and found them to be interesting and well-written reads. I was of the view that her biggest writing strength was her ability to convert current topical issues into an engaging story, examples are child pornography and pedophilia (For the Sake of a Child), kidnapping and holding captive of women (A House Without Windows), cancer and its treatment (A Rather Unusual Romance), and the social problems facing transgender people (His Ladyship). Due to this thinking I was a little reserved about embarking on a paranormal read by this author. I am also an avid reader of well-known paranormal novels and I was concerned I’d make unfavourable comparisons to other authors and books I’ve read. I started small with Ms Turner’s paranormal novella, Finding David, and enjoyed it very much. I then decided to give Partners in Time a try. I am very glad I did as this is one of the most unique and enjoyable paranormal novels I’ve read in a long time.

John and Kay Finbow both grew up on a council estate in the UK and both are ambitious to improve their lot in life through hard work. When John’s writing of screenplays results in unexpected and significant financial success, he aspires to live in a country mansion and leave the familiar council estate. Right from the beginning, Kay has some reservations about the move and leaving behind her familiar environment although she is not close to her four sisters all of whom have busy family lives with their children.

Following their move into the newly renovated mansion, John reveals his strong desire for a child. He is surprised and taken aback by Kay’s revelation that she does not want children. The resultant discord between the couple give Emily, a woman who died childless in 1868 at the age of 25, the opportunity she has been waiting for to connect with a living man. John starts having visions of a young woman asleep in his office and he becomes quite distracted by her. Gradually, his interest enables Emily to become less ghostly and more of a physical apparition and he becomes romantically involved with her. This may sound like a fairly common story line, but what happens next is certainly unlike anything I have ever read before. It was most ingenious and I really take my hat off to the author’s cleverness with this story.

None of the characters in this book were particularly endearing people although Kay does soften over time and decides that having a child wouldn’t be that bad or destroy her life. I had sympathy for Kay because she had seen her own mother worn out with pregnancies and looking after children and she didn’t want to experience the same fate. She overlooked the happiness experienced by her sisters in their child filled lives because she associated children with financial struggles and worry. She had to work through her negative perceptions in this regard and I thought it was the right choice not to embark on something as life changing as a baby while she was uncertain. Kay’s character embodied a lot of the conflict I imagine women might feel having grown up in circumstances where keeping food on the table was a daily struggle. This aspect of the story was true to the author’s usual style of unveiling of social issues and I enjoyed it. The paranormal element was above and beyond and, for me as a reader, it elevated this book into a most unique story.

In the beginning, Emily seemed rather needy and devious as she was prepared to steal another woman’s husband to get what she wanted. As the novel progressed she evolved into one of the creepiest ghosts I’ve encountered to date and I found some parts of this book incredibly eerie.

If you enjoy a dark paranormal read with a side-dish of social commentary, then this book will be right up your street.

Purchase Partners in Time by Stevie Turner

Amazon US

Amazon UK

WordCrafter “Once Upon an Ever After” Book Blog Tour, Day 4

Welcome to Day 4 of the WordCrafter “Once Upon an Ever After” Book Blog Tour featuring an interview with compiler and editor, Kaye Lynne Booth.

Tour Schedule

Monday – August 22 – Opening Day Post – Writing to be Read – Intro. & Guest Post – Sarah Lyn Eaton

Tuesday – August 23 – Patty’s World – Review & Guest Post – Robbie Cheadle

Wednesday – August 24 – The Showers of Blessings – Guest Post – Olivia Merchiston

Thursday – August 25 –Roberta Writes – Interview w/ Kaye Lynne Booth

Friday – August 26 – Zigler’s News – Review & Guest Post – Lyndsay Elizabeth Gilbert

Saturday – August 27 – Closing Post – Writing to be Read – Guest Post – A.E. Lanier

Digital Giveaway

For a chance to win a free digital copy of Once Upon an Ever After, just leave a comment to show you were here. Follow the tour and comment at each stop for more chances to win. Three copies will be given away in a random drawing. (Yep. I literally draw the names out of a hat.)

Interview with compiler and editor, Kaye Lynne Booth

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background in writing, editing, and publishing

I’ve been writing since 1996, when I sold my first poem, but I didn’t get really serious about it until after the introduction of the internet in 2008. I started out as the Southern Colorado Literature Examiner for Examiner.com, and from there moved into blogging on Writing to be Read. I was able to get my first book, a western novel, published through Dusty Saddle Publishing, and I even taught a semester of English Composition, before founding Write it Right Editing & WordCrafter Press. I currently hold both an M.F.A. in Creative Writing with a dual emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in Publishing, which I was just awarded last month.

Tell us a bit about your new anthology, Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales & Folklore

While earning my M.A. in Publishing at Western Colorado University, I studied under Kevin J. Anderson, and Draft2Digital offers them a grant each year, which is used to offer professional rates for story submissions so the students can get the hands-on editorial experience of working to compile the annual anthology. My cohort’s anthology attracted over 600 submissions, and not all of them were great, but they did receive enough exceptional stories to make the selection process very difficult. We couldn’t accept them all. My solution was to collect the contact information for the stories I liked that didn’t make it and create my own “By invitation only” anthology.

The only catch was that there were enough to fill three anthologies, so that’s what I did. Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales & Folklore includes stories which carried heavy fairy tale or folklore appeal on my list. While not all of the authors who I reached out to accepted my proposal, which offers royalty split instead of professional rates, I did end up with ten skilled and talented authors, and of course I included a story of my own. It’s available at many book distributors, including Amazon, through the Books2Read UBL link: https://books2read.com/u/mKdWGV

What do you think the benefits to writers are of having short stories included in anthologies?

Anthologies are a great way to add to your book catalog and offer additional projects to add to your resume, but they are more than that. All contributing authors benefit when the book sells, so it is in their best interest to pull together promotional efforts and extend their author reach through their co-author’s audiences. From the publisher’s point of view, I get to meet and work with some terrific authors will I increase the WordCrafter Press catalog of titles. They can be a win-win for all concerned.

Can you tell us a bit about the services WordCrafter Press offers writers and authors?

WordCrafter Press offers publishing services for authors who have a book they want published, (including editing services through Write it Right Editing Services), publication, and book promotion services, (through WordCrafter Book Blog Tours). I also compile and edit an annual writing contest and short fiction anthology, and an annual poetry anthology. WordCrafter Press can assist authors with their publishing needs at every stage.

What are your plans for WordCrafter Press going forward?

For the remainder of this year, WordCrafter Press has two more short fiction anthologies planned for release: Refracted

Reflections next month, and Visions in October. Each anthology will have a book blog tour during the week of release and I’m planning a big Facebook book event to celebrate all three launches for Halloween the end of October.

In the more distant future , I plan to add more of my own titles to the WordCrafter Press catalog, including a western series, which includes the re-release of my first western novel; a science fantasy series; a time travel romance; and continue with the annual anthologies, but I also hope to include more works by other authors as well.

About Once Upon an Ever After

Blurb

This unique and imaginative collection of eleven thought provoking fantasy stories will delight readers who enjoy stories of wishes gone awry.

What happens when…

A woman desires to carry on her family’s legacy, uncovering a long-buried curse?

A not so perfect witch casts a spell to defy age and preserve her relationship with her handsome shapeshifting familiar?

A time traveler longs to be the savior of knowledge lost?

An incompetent delivery boy becomes an unlikely savior of forgotten artifacts?

A magic mirror yearns for a different question?

A tiny story witch desires to share her stories with the world?

Spells are cast, unlikely alliances made, and wishes granted, sometimes with surprising outcomes. You’ll love this anthology of modern myths, lore, and fairy tales. Once you read these twisted tales, you’ll be sure to be careful what you wish for….

If you liked Gilded Glass, you’ll enjoy Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Myths & Fairy Tales, short stories with thought provoking themes, captivating characters and diverse cultures, from humorous to horrifying, from the legendary past to possible futures and back to the here and now.

Once Upon an Ever After is available for pre-order here:

https://books2read.com/u/mKdWGV

Find Kaye Lynne Booth

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

BookBub Author Page

LinkedIn

Facebook

Twitter

Dark Origins, AFrican Myths and Legends: The Spectral Hitchhiker #Ghoststories #Uniondaleghost #southernafricanlegends

I am over at Writing to be Read with this months Dark Origins post which features South Africa’s most famous ghost, the Uniondale ghost. Thanks for hosting, Kaye Lynne Booth.

Writing to be Read

Uniondale is a klein dorpie (small town) in the Little Karoo, Western Cape Province of South Africa. The town was formed in 1856 by the joining of two towns, Hopedale and Lyons. There is nothing remarkable about this agricultural town except its famous ghost story.

On the national road, not far from Uniondale, there is a turn-off that leads to Barendas. It is here that a young women hitchhiker is seen around Easter time. She is dressed in dark slacks and a shirt and has accepted many a lift from unsuspecting motorists. She travels with them for about 17 kilometres until the next turn-off to Barendas, and then she disappears.

The ghost is said to be Maria Charlotte Roux, an administrative clerk, who was travelling with her fiance, Giel Pretorius (some of the articles refer to him as Giel Oberholzer), an army corporal, from Pretoria to Riversdale. The couple were…

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Welcome to the WordCrafter “Once Upon an Ever After” Book Blog Tour featuring Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Patty Fletcher of Patty’s World blog has kindly hosted today’s stop on the “Once Upon an Ever After” Book Blog Tour featuring my short story, The War Babies. This story was inspired by the ‘canary’ girls who worked in the munitions factory in the UK during WW1 and Hans Christian Anderson’s short story, The Storks.

Thank you for hosting, Patty.

Welcome to the WordCrafter “Once Upon an Ever After” Book Blog Tour

Before I begin Day two, Kaye has a word or two to share.

Welcome to the WordCrafter Once Upon an Ever After Book Blog Tour, where we’re launching Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Myths & Folklore with guest posts from contributing authors about their story inspirations, reviews and an interview the anthology and WordCrafter Press with me, Kaye Lynne Booth. So, stick with us by following the schedule below, to learn more about this mystical new anthology and its authors. Check back daily, as I’ll be adding the links as they go live.

Tour Schedule

Monday – August 22 – Opening Day Post – Writing to be Read – Intro. & Guest Post – Sarah Lyn Eaton

Tuesday – August 23 – Patty’s World – Review & Guest Post – Robbie Cheadle

Wednesday – August 24 – The Showers of Blessings – Guest Post – Olivia Merchiston

Thursday – August 25 –Roberta Writes – Interview w/ Kaye Lynne Booth

Friday – August 26 – Zigler’s News – Review & Guest Post – Lyndsay Elizabeth Gilbert

Saturday – August 27 – Closing Post – Writing to be Read – Guest Post – A.E. Lanier

Digital Giveaway

For a chance to win a free digital copy of Once Upon an Ever After, just leave a comment to show you were here. Follow the tour and comment at each stop for more chances to win. Three copies will be given away in a random drawing. (Yep. I literally draw the names out of a hat.)

This anthology was by invitation only, which means I invited the authors because of specific stories, which caught my imagination. The result is a unique collaboration with a wonderful group of authors who have been an absolute pleasure to work with.

My Thoughts…

I must say, Kaye’s words of “A wonderful group of authors” is right on the mark. The stories in this anthology are quite amazing.

Today, I’ll be reviewing Robbie Cheadle’s War Babies. Before I do, here’s a word from Robbie.

A photo of Roberta “Robbie” Cheadle. Robbie has an easy smile on her face, creating dimples on both cheeks. She wears light makeup and a muted opal colored long sleeve top. She is sitting and her shoulder-length blonde hair has streaks of light brown. Her bangs sweep across her forehead to the left. In the background are wooden dining room chairs with rounded tops and a matching brown wooden table. On the table on the right is a white cake with green leaf decorations on the top circumference. Atop the cake is a figurine. On the wall behind the table is a large painting of a young boy crouched on the beach playing in the sand at the water’s edge.

Robbie’s Thoughts in her own words…

The theme for this short story collection was a little daunting for me at the time I received the notification about this anthology, Once Upon an Ever After. I am not a person who can necessarily write to any prompt as I need to be inspired. I have written some modern fairy tales loosely linked to a fairy tale which could be called the inspiration for the story, but the mood must be upon me to do that.

I wanted to write a story about the British women who worked in munitions manufacturing trinitrotoluene shells during the First World War. They were nicknamed ‘Canary Girls’ because exposure to TNT is toxic and repeated expose turns the skin an orange-yellow.

These Canary Girls may not have been fighting in the trenches, but the job they did was fraught with danger. The factories where the munitions were manufactured were targets for enemy fire and were often bombed. In addition, they risked personal injury if they tapped the detonator too hard when they fitted it into the top of the casing.

You can continue reading here: https://pattysworlds.com/wordcrafter-once-upon-an-ever-after-book-blog-tour-day-two-wordcrafter-writingtoberead-bookblogtour/

Mountain and formations #SouthAfrica #nature #mountains

I saw a lovely post over at Marsha Ingrao’s blog Always Write, about Mountains and formations, you can read Marsha’s post here: https://alwayswrite.blog/2022/08/17/wqw-31-mountains-natures-peace/.

I liked this post so much I decided to share a few of my photographs of beautiful mountains with unusual formations and features. All these pictures are from places in South Africa.

The above pictures are of Ghost Mountain in KwaZulu Natal.

These two rock formations are from Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

These two pictures are of the Outeniqua Mountain Pass

These pictures were taken near Fugitives Lodge.

Have a lovely new week!

Roberta Writes – Book reviews: John Samson, Jacquie Biggar, Christine Robinson

These are a few of the wonderful books I’ve read over the past few months.

Reading Lady Chatterley in Africa

What Amazon says

Recently widowed, Mary Merskine heads out to a mountain lodge in Africa hoping to come to terms with the death of her husband, George. However, there are deeper issues surrounding his death that don’t make this easy and her search is hampered by ex-pats and the local staff of the lodge who bring a new set of challenges to her life. Amongst all these problems that arise, she must find some way of dealing with George’s death or else face returning to England and a life of misery.

My review

The book starts with Mary Merskine, an older lady from the United Kingdom, travelling by car to a guest lodge in Africa. The driver, a young man named Caiaphas, stops on the way to the lodge to purchase supplies and Mary is accosted by a scary-looking beggar who gives her a fright. The beggar asks for money and Mary does not give him any. On the driver’s return, he gives the beggar a few coins which are received with thanks. This transaction makes Mary feel uncharitable and serves as the reader’s first insight into the nature of the local people who are generous towards each other and care for their own.

The reader learns that Mary has come to the lodge to manage it while the owner, a good friend from her younger days, is away caring for his critically ill mother. It is revealed that Mary’s husband had recently died, following a long degenerative illness. She has been abused and rejected by her neighbours after his death, but the reason for this negative behaviour is not revealed until near the end of the book. Mary is also estranged from her only son.

Life at the lodge is significantly different to life in a small town in the United Kingdom. There are some wonderful things: the surroundings are beautiful and peaceful although untamed and very natural, and the food, prepared by Solomon the cook, is delicious. Mary is waited on hand and foot by the lodge staff, including a young woman called Esther, who has a young baby. On the negative side, Mary’s closest female neighbour, Joyce, is a selfish, competitive woman, who treats her staff badly and is having an affair with an overbearing boar of a man named Pieter. Mary is introduced to the decadent and immoral lifestyle of Joyce and her compatriots, and it is a shock to her, especially as she is still overwhelmed with grief and loss.

Mary turns to a book, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, for distraction and solace. The book has a strange effect on her, and she starts acting out some of the odd experiences of the main character. These peculiar actions come to the attention of Caiaphas, who becomes attracted to Mary in a way that almost borders on obsession.

Mary needs to learn to deal with the staff at the lodge, her unpleasant neighbour and her acquaintances, as well as manage her on-going grief and fend off sexual advances by Pieter.
The character of Mary was interesting as she professed to love her husband and find it difficult to face life without him, but I didn’t get the impression he’d ever swept her off her feet or that it had been an intensely sexual relationship. In fact, I got the impression that her relationship had been quite staid and suppressive. She carried a lot of guilt and some of that may have been due to the fact that she was not passionate about her deceased husband as well as the circumstances surrounding his illness and death. As time passes and Mary grows from her new experiences at the lodge, she seems able to loosen the bonds of her narrow view on life a little. Mary gets to a point where she is able to appreciate difference and new experiences and look at letting go of what has passed and embracing new opportunities offered in her future.

This book is beautifully written and contains many delightful descriptions, a few of which are as follows:

“She had expected the heat, but not like this. The morning sun, unhindered by clouds, coiled its tentacles around her naked forearms in a clammy embrace, welcoming her to this new, strange clime.”

“Time was a lazy think in their world. It did not adhere to a strict timetable of seconds, minutes and hours. Time would take as long or as short as it needed in their world for things to happen and they all accepted this with ease.”

“A steady rumble of sound leaked through the window of the guest bedroom, a nasal grown from one of the sleeping occupants of the room. Outside the window a dream giggled nervously, wondering whether to risk entering, worried that the snores would wake someone and catch it before it could settle in a sub conscious.”

Purchase Reading Lady Chatterley in Africa

TSL Publications

Lulu.com

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Tidal Falls by Jacquie Biggar

What Amazon says

What readers are saying:

Great book! This is a suspense/romance that will keep you on your toes as well as touch your heart!
Barb

Jacquie Biggar has a wonderful gift for writing hot and extremely likable military men!
by Jacqui Nelson

A woman and child in danger teaches Nick life is worth living.

ALL SHE WANTS IS TO LIVE HER LIFE 

Abused, Sara Sheridan finds the courage to escape her husband. She has no interest in getting mixed up with another alpha, attitude-laden male. Especially with her ex hot on her trail. 

ALL HE CRAVES IS PEACE AND QUIET 

Marine, Nick Kelley prefers solitude, away from the memories haunting him. So what is it about his reticent neighbor and her child that tempts him to give it up? 

UNTIL LOVE GETS IN THE WAY 

Nick and Sara’s growing attraction leads them down a dangerous path as her ex-husband closes in on the new life she’s made for her daughter and threatens to blow it all apart. 

My review

Tidal Falls is a fast paced and relatively short read in the typical Romance/Action style of talented author, Jacquie Bigger.

Sara Sheridon and her daughter are on the run from Sara’s abusive husband, Tom. Before escaping from her prison cum home, Sara manages to break into Tom’s office and computer and download some very interesting files. Files that associate him with some very bad but powerful people. Sara’s simple action, intended to give her some leverage over her husband in order to gain sole custody of her young daughter, backfires when she realises that the information on the memory stick would send Tom to jail and also potentially endanger his life. Sara has landed in the small town of Tidal Falls and has made some very good friends, but she lives her life in fear of discovery.

Nick Kelly has come to Tidal Falls in an effort to relax and unlock the traumatic secrets his mind has blocked out. Break through memories of his turbulent past as a Marine are making his life difficult and Nick is focused on improving his mental state and not on finding love. When he catches sight of Sara, one of his neighbours, he is instantly attracted to her and despite his best intentions not to be distracted, conspires to meet her.

When Sara and Nick’s paths cross it is a case of mutual attraction at first sight, but trouble is on the horizon as Tom has found a way of tracking his wayward wife down. Tom wants Sara and the files back and is willing to do anything to find her.

This is an entertaining book which contains the best elements of both a romance with lots of sexual tension and a little sex, and an exciting and action packed plot.

Purchase Tidal Falls by Jacquie Biggar

Amazon US

Three Years of Her Life by Christine Robinson

What Amazon says

This debut novel is an indelible portrait of family love, trust, commitment, and unrelenting prejudice. A stirring tale that rides the line between historical fiction and romance., inspired by a famous musician’s hidden secret in Germany.

Three Years of Her Life, set in New England and Central Europe, is similar in concern and significant issues to bestselling America epic books of the Great Depression, The Great War and the U.S. South. People and places focused, the novel’s heartwarming and heart wrenching themes mark history in unsettled times.

A mystery woman’s photo, in question, is in famous grandfather’s gold pocket watch for over fifty years. It devastates Elizabeth’s estranged grandmother, and she convinces Elizabeth to find the link. At a loss how, Elizabeth’s on track to be a nurse not a detective, she gets help from Erik, the doctor who captures her heart. He becomes obsessed with uncovering her grandfather’s secret, and discovers more in Germany than the family can take. Now he shares a family heritage. When Elizabeth tries to stand up for Erik and her grandfather, it backfires.

Complicating her own life, Elizabeth falls into an entanglement with her guitar teacher. It’s only a longer-for connection to musicians, her absent father and dead grandfather, but it causes uncertainty. She’s now torn between two very different men. And what happens if and when she lets one of them go? Erik tips the balance for Elizabeth’s decision. He proves his character by risking his life transporting East Berlin hospital patients to the West through the Berlin Wall. But, what if border guards trap him in East Berlin? Unbeknown to Elizabeth, before Erik leaves on the mission, he sets up her future. And, he’s dead serious about the plan.

My review

The title of this book is quite relevant to the storyline as this novel is all about how quickly life can change for either the better or the worse.

The reader first meets Elizabeth as a young girl who has just come out of a failed romance and is quite heartbroken. Despite this emotional setback, Elizabeth is preparing to start training to be a nurse and this is the first indication to the reader of her strength of character. In the first chapter, Elizabeth’s demanding and dictatorial grandmother is also introduced and some of the difficulties Elizabeth faced growing up around this difficult older woman are revealed. It is clear that life hasn’t been plain sailing for Elizabeth. The visit with her grandmother is not a particularly happy or loving one but Elizabeth receives a gift of her grandfather’s pocket watch. The gift comes with a price tag though. Inside the case is a picture of a young woman with a suggestive inscription. Elizabeth’s grandmother is suspicious that her husband, who passed two years after she divorced him, was having an affair. She tasks Elizabeth with finding out who the woman was. This conversation is difficult for Elizabeth who greatly admired her talented musician grandfather.

Elizabeth starts her training and her life progresses. She meets a wonderful Jewish doctor, Erik, whom she becomes romantically involved with, but she never forgets about the unknown woman in the pocket watch and her aim to discover who she was. Erik undertakes to help her with this investigation which leads to Berlin in Germany.

This story intrigued me as it contained a lot of different but complimentary elements that I liked including romance, family drama, and a dollop of interesting history.

Elizabeth’s character is a complex one. She has grown up with a dominant grandmother whose husband was always away on tours for his music career and who felt let down by him and eventually divorced him. Her own musician father and left her and her mother when she was a young girl. Elizabeth lacks trust in men who have always let her down. These trust issues cause an emotional barrier for her when it comes to her own romances and she is not able to entrust her heart and life to a man. This aspect of Elizabeth’s character sets the stage for a great deal of turbulence in her relationship, especially since her boyfriend’s Jewish mother is not accepting of a non-Jewish perspective wife for her son. On the other side, Elizabeth’s grandmother and father are not accepting of her Jewish boyfriend so there are difficulties on both family fronts.

I enjoyed watching Elizabeth’s character grew although some of her decisions and reactions were a bit frustrating. They were not necessarily unrealistic in the situation, but they were so obviously poor decisions that I wanted to give her a good shake a few times.

The investigation of the woman in the picture starts off very slowly while Elizabeth’s romance builds and suffers several highs and lows, but it does take off in the second half of the book and becomes quite exciting.

The format of this book is not standard as the focus shifts from a romance to an exciting adventure. Some people might not like this mixture but I didn’t mind and thought the various elements of the romance led well into the circumstances of the adventure.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy family dramas with a lively adventure included to keep the storyline spicy and move the romance along.

Amazon

Amazon US

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Thursday Doors – Arriving at Tau Game Lodge #Africa #giraffe #wildebeeste #elephants

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2022/08/11/clay-hill-synagogues/

My husband, youngest son, and I went on a four-day adventure from Saturday to Tuesday. It was a long weekend here in South Africa and we decided to make the most of it. Our road trip included a visit to a small town called Groot Marico which is the primary setting for the short stories written by South Africa’s most famous short story writer, Herman Charles Bosman. Groot Marico has a literacy centre in his honour with a replica of the original farm school where he taught. From Groot Marico, we went on to Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve. This proved to be the most amazing place for animal sightings we have visited to date. For those of you who have an interest in such things, there is also a spa you can visit. I spent 7 1/2 hours a day on game drives and 3 hours eating so there wasn’t time for a spa visit.

I am starting backwards with our trip and featuring Tau Game Lodge first. My reason is that I want to record some YT video’s of Bosman’s poetry and a short story to share when I feature Groot Marico and I haven’t started with that project yet.

Entrance to the Tau Game Lodge concession

We arrived to early to check-in to our rooms, so we sat at our table on the platform above the waterhole and watched the animals.

View through the door out to the viewing platform

The watering hole was teaming with animals. The following pictures are my attempt at taking artistic pictures (thank you for the idea, Rebecca Budd).

A giraffe framed by the branches of a tree
An elephant with two giraffe behind it. The giraffe’s long necks are crossing over which I thought was rather interesting.
Elephants drinking and submerging in the water
A herd of Wildebeeste drinking – not as artistic but what an experience!

This is my video of a giraffe drinking. It is a very awkward undertaking for giraffes.

This is a short clip of the Wildebeeste coming to drink at the watering hole:

This is a short video of an elephant bathing. It went right under the water which was pretty amazing to watch:

Thursday Doors – Fantasy Doors and I’m going on an adventure #Thursdaydoors #fantasydoors

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

You can join in the prompt here: https://nofacilities.com/2022/08/04/clay-hill-part-2/

I am going on an adventure from 6 August to 9 August and won’t be around much.

I am leaving you with this picture of some little fantasy houses I took through the window of a shop in the Lake’s District in the UK. I thought they were adorable and love the tiny doors and windows.