Not the life imagined by Anne Pettigrew

Book Blurb:

A darkly humorous, thought-provoking story of Scottish medical students in the sixties, a time of changing social and sexual mores. None of the teenagers starting at Glasgow University in 1967 live the life they imagine.


Beth Slater is shocked at how few female medical students there are and that some people, such as Conor Towmey, think they shouldn’t be there at all. Devastated by a close friend’s suicide, Beth uncovers a revealing diary and vows to find the person responsible for her death. Struggling with the pressure of exams while supporting friends though disasters, Beth charts the students’ changing, often stormy, relationships over two decades in a contemporary backdrop of Free Love, the Ibrox Football Disaster, the emergence of HIV and DNA forensics. In time, indiscretions surface with dire consequences for some.


In Not the Life Imagined, retired medic Anne Pettigrew has written a tale of ambition and prejudice laced with sharp observations, irony and powerful perceptions that provide a humorous and compelling insight into the complex dynamics of the NHS fifty years ago. 

The Author

About Anne Pettigrew:

A graduate of Glasgow (Medicine) and Wolfson College, Oxford (Anthropology), Anne Pettigrew has been a GP, worked in psychiatry, family planning/sexual health, lecturing, patient/women doctors pressure groups, BMA Media relations, Homeopathy, acupuncture, an EEC Committee, book reviewing and journalism (medico-political and humorous articles to The Herald, Doctor newspaper etc: a Channel 4 Despatches). Retiring from practice, she became a wedding planner for a charity theatre, before starting Creative Writing classes and mentoring at Glasgow University. She is now a member of Garnethill critical writer’s forum and has won short story and article trophies in Greenock Writer’s Club. Not the life Imagined was runner up in the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Silver Stag Award 2018. The book was originally called No Sinecure, a title abandoned as no one under 35 in any class or group she joined knew what ‘sinecure’ meant (though some suggested it was apt, the book featuring ‘sin’ in those who ‘cure!’) Two more books are underway. Anne has two grown up children and lives with her husband in North Ayrshire.

 Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pettigrew_anne

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annepettigrewauthor/

Website: https://annepettigrew.co.uk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anne.pettigrew.author/

 Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3iN0LJG

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3iIffuj

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/2Y84oB

The Review

This is a tale full of darkness, yet full of hope. The plot is set in 1960’s Scotland where the themes of sexism and the expected norms, then and now if you scratch the surface, you find things and people aren’t always what they see.

A very realistic set of characters who ring with truth. Full of heart, grit and humour and reflecting the NHS of the 1960’s but more widely the world. An enjoyable book.

You Could Make a Killing by Simon Bewick

You Could Make a Killing is a collection of 14 twist-in-the-tale mystery tales by Simon Bewick, author of Basement Tales. 
Featuring all-new stories that will keep you guessing until the last line, delve into You Could Make a Killing for twisted tales about killers and victims, cops and robbers, the good and the bad and some things in between that might just blur the line… 
Read the new collection from Simon Bewick, and find out why readers have called him, ‘reminiscent of M.R. James’, ‘the new voice in horror’ and ‘one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction’. 

The Author

If you like your fiction gritty, nostalgic tales with very modern twists – creepy, tense, sometimes sentimental, always with a jet black shot of humour running through its’ veins, take a look at ‘You Could Make a Killing’…and keep looking over your shoulder.

He has recently been part of the Noir at the Bar series with Vic Watson which has sparked worldwide interest from fans of Noir.

Simon has also been selected for Pitch Perfect at Bloody Scotland this year.

The Review

This is a fantastic read. It’s like a modern day Tales of the Unexpected as it gives you the creeps and will make you look at those you know in a whole new light!

Simon’s phrasing eases you along and then slaps you hard as he gives a sudden about turn that you don’t expect. Or you know is coming and then, you’re wrong.

An excellent read full of noir to suit all tastes. There’s no sameness to any story and you might just find yourself open mouthed at the twists.

Miriam, Daniel and Me by Euron Griffith

The Blurb

When he smiled it really did feel as if the chilly Caernarfonshire wind had stopped for a few seconds and as if the place had suddenly got warmer.

When Miriam fell in love with Padraig life seemed simple. But soon she discovered that love is a treacherous business. Everything changed when she met Daniel. She was taken down an unexpected path which would dictate and dominate the rest of her life.

Spanning three generations of a North Wales family in a Welsh-speaking community, Miriam, Daniel and Me is an absorbing and compelling story of family discord, political turmoil, poetry, jealousy…and football.

“…a confidently crafted novel about time, change and enduring love…and the seemingly random decisions that are made and borne by the generations who follow…” – Ed Thomas

The Author

Born in Bangor, Euron Griffith has a Creative Writing MA from the University of Glamorgan. Between 2011 and 2016 he published three novels in Welsh – Dyn Pob Un (about a TV researcher who becomes an accidental serial killer), Leni Tiwdor (about a private eye who is also a record collector), Tri Deg Tri (about a hitman who can talk to animals), and a children’s novel Eilian a’r Eryr. His English language short story collection, The Beatles in Tonypandy appeared in 2017 from Dean Street Press. Griffith lives in Cardiff, where he works as a radio and tv producer and plays in a band. His first novel in English, Miriam, Daniel and Me, is forthcoming from Seren in July 2020.

Buy Link 

https://www.serenbooks.com/productdisplay/miriam-daniel-and-me

The Review

This is a skilfully told tale, of unrequited love, heartbreaks day the what ifs we all think of.

It is set in Wales at a time of unrest, and explores the deeper subjects of religion, children born out of wedlock. It oozes with colourful imagery and prose that will keep you turning the pages. A rich, family saga that gives a varied, believable tale that sinks into you like a warm knife through butter.

I really enjoyed this and if you enjoy true to everyday family sagas, you’re bound to enjoy this.

The memories we bury by H.A. Leusch

The Blurb

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood


Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, whose own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control. 


Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her? 


In The Memories We Bury the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

The Author

The Author

Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind. Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first novel, Manipulated Lives, a fictional collection of five novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists. She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

 

 Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HALeuschel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HALeuschel/

Website: https://www.heleneleuschel.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/haleuschel/

 Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/312QmDI

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/310tsN5The Review

A very clever psychological drama from a new perspective. I enjoyed how this unfolded, as in the beginning the plot woven made it look possible that Lizzie was unwell and transferring her previous life onto a new subject.

The main characters of Lizzie and Morag are both credible to start with and it explores how manipulation can be very slowly executed. I know from experience that this is the way very clever abusers work, and this is executed throughout as a believable story.

The final twist is a master stroke from the author and it was an extremely clever novel. If you enjoy domestic noir, this will float your boat.

At the feet of Mothers by Adnan Mahmutovi

The Blurb

Joseph Schneider grows up in a Cherokee-Jewish family in the Smoky mountains of North Carolina. He dreams to be a cook on the biggest ship there is in the world but his attachment to his mother Rachel and his rootedness to the little mountain village keep him from moving on. When his mother falls ill she reveals she stole him from a Palestinian girl Aliya in the 80s when she volunteered at a hospital in Gaza. Joseph refuses to know anything more about his biological mother, but later when Rachel dies, Joseph honors his promise to her and embarks on a painful pilgrimage to the holy land, a walk in the footsteps of his American mother and a search for Aliya.

The Author Adnan Mahmutovic is a Swedish-Bosnian writer. He works at Stockholm University as a lecturer in literature and creative writing. His other major works include a novel Thinner than a Hair (2010), short story collection How to Fare Well and Stay Fair (2012), literary criticism Ways of Being Free (2012) and Future in Comics (2017), and creative writing pedagogy The Craft of Editing (2019).

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/adnanmahmutovic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adnanmahmutovicpage/

Website: http://www.adnanmahmutovic.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mahmutovic.official/

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/30C7joe

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/30FHYti

Cinnamon Press: https://bit.ly/2DQ37Ig

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/2DFZswN

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/3gHnyWr

The Review

A story about secrets, about lies. People and the things they have done and how they tried to put them right. Also it tells the tale of clashing cultures, and how people can casually drop racism into conversation assuming they won’t cause any harm to the people they’re speaking to. The book explores how secrets are kept within families. Some secrets far more far reaching than others in both emotion and distance.

I really don’t want to say more about this as I don’t want to create spoilers. If you enjoy family sagas and learning of peoples journeys you will enjoy this.

 

The Gossips Choice by Sara Read

The Blurb

Call The Midwife for the 17th Century” 

Lucie Smith is a respected midwife who is married to Jacob, the town apothecary. They live happily together at the shop with the sign of the Three Doves. But sixteen-sixty-five proves a troublesome year for the couple. Lucie is called to a birth at the local Manor House and Jacob objects to her involvement with their former opponents in the English Civil Wars. Their only-surviving son Simon flees plague-ridden London for his country hometown, only to argue with his father. Lucie also has to manage her husband’s fury at the news of their loyal housemaid’s unplanned pregnancy and its repercussions.

 The year draws to a close with the first-ever accusation of malpractice against Lucie, which could see her lose her midwifery licence, or even face ex-communication.

The Author

Dr Sara Read is a lecturer in English at Loughborough University. Her research is in the cultural representations of women, bodies and health in the early modern era. 

She has published widely in this area with her first book Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England being published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.

She is a member of the organising committee of the Women’s Studies Group, 1558-1837 and recently co-edited a special collection produced to celebrate the group’s 30th anniversary. 

She is also the co-editor of the popular Early Modern Medicine blog. With founding editor Dr Jennifer Evans, Sara wrote a book about health and disease in this era Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740 (Pen and Sword 2017). 

Sara regularly writes for history magazines such as Discover Your Ancestors and History Today. In 2017 she published an article ‘My Ancestor was a Midwife’ tracing the history of the midwifery profession for Who Do You Think You Are? magazine in 2017. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s Freethinking programme and is often to be heard on BBC Radio Leicester and BBC Radio WM.

Follow Sara on Twitter @saralread

The Review

Call the midwife from 1665.

This was a fascinating read. An incredible insight into the ways and beliefs of not only people in general, but the medicine mixed with folklore and superstition, and yet the church backing there for all to see. I don’t read masses of historical fiction, as I’m a lover of history so it really has to catch my imagination as some books are too fantastical to read. Not in this case!

You are invested in the lives of Lucie, Jasper and their family and workers before you know it. The births have you equally squirming in horror, but reading on in transfixed revulsion, or holding your breath and laughing or whooping when things go better. Highly recommended reading for historical fiction lovers and general fiction lovers alike.

Kissing Daisy Parker by Michael Milton

Daisy is a Sylvia Plath reading, Robert Smith devotee, planning onDaisy is a Sylvia Plath reading, Robert Smith devotee, planning on a summer of Australian beaches with or without her two favourite boys. Obsessed gamer and jealous boyfriend Greg needs the prize money from the Scottish Street Fighter II championships to join Daisy in Oz. She wouldn’t really go without him. Would she? a summer of Australian beaches with or without her two favourite boys. Obsessed gamer and jealous boyfriend Greg needs the prize money from the Scottish Street Fighter II championships to join Daisy in Oz. She wouldn’t really go without him. Would she?

Scottish-born, English-accented Junaid is the couple’s best friend. Haunted by that school dance and terrified of the future, he finds himself falling for his best friend’s girl. When a disastrous event at the video game tournament brings Daisy and J closer together, Greg attempts the ultimate redemption.

Each makes decisions which alter the course of their friendship, and their lives, forever. But do the answers to life’s biggest questions truly lie in kissing Daisy Parker?

The AuthorMichael Milton spent the first 25 years of his life pretending to be other people. After switching drama school for university, he travelled the world as an English teacher and returned home to complete his MA in Creative Writing.

His stories have been long and shortlisted for the Fish Prize, the Bath Short Story Award, the Mogford Prize and the Emerge Impact Creative Writing Prize. Kissing Daisy Parker is his first novel, and yes, he can beat you at Street Fighter.

Twitter/Blog Header Tags

Kissing Daisy Parker by Michael Milton @mikemiltonbooks @lovebooksgroup

Instagram Tags

Kissing Daisy Parker by Michael Milton @mikemiltonbooks @lovebooktours 

The Review

While Kissing Daisy Parker is a coming of age story, it’s certainly no ordinary, run of the mill coming of story. Why? Because it’s characters are so real, so up to date, that it draws you in and you care about all the characters. You want to know if they make it through ok. It will make you gasp with it’s brutal honesty about the changes that we all go through from childhood to adulthood. The scenarios are handled in a sensitive but realistic way, that made me respect the authors intuitive writing of them. I enjoyed this book immensely and I would recommend it not only as an ideal YA read, but as a study of real teenagers now.

A cracking read from Michael Milton.

Little Falls by Elizabeth Lewes

The Blurb

She tried to forget the horrors of war–but her quiet hometown conceals a litany of new evils.

Sergeant Camille Waresch did everything she could to forget Iraq. She went home to Eastern Washington and got a quiet job. She connected with her daughter, Sophie, whom she had left as a baby. She got sober. But the ghosts of her past were never far behind.

While conducting a routine property tax inspection on an isolated ranch, Camille discovers a teenager’s tortured corpse hanging in a dilapidated outbuilding. In a flash, her combat-related PTSD resurges–and in her dreams, the hanging boy merges with a young soldier whose eerily similar death still haunts her. The case hits home when Sophie reveals that the victim was her ex-boyfriend–and as Camille investigates, she uncovers a tangled trail that leads to his jealous younger brother and her own daughter, wild, defiant, and ensnared.

The closer Camille gets to the truth, the closer she is driven to the edge. Her home is broken into. Her truck is blown up. Evidence and witnesses she remembers clearly are erased. And when Sophie disappears, Camille’s hunt for justice becomes a hunt for her child. At a remote compound where the terrifying truth is finally revealed, Camille has one last chance to save her daughter–and redeem her own shattered soul.

The Author

Elizabeth Lewes is a U.S. Navy veteran who served during Operation Enduring Freedom as a linguist. A practicing attorney, she resides in Seattle with her family.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Elizabeth_Lewes @elizabeth_lewes

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elizabeth_lewes/

Purchase Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3jSSe9e

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3fbXr8K

Google Books: https://bit.ly/33d25ke

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/336hnYg

Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/3ghek3i

Publishing Information:

Published by Crooked Lane Books in hardcover, audio and digital formats on 11th August 2020

Review

Little Falls is a rare insight into PTSD trauma, written by a former veteran. It’s a dark, twisty, roller coaster ride of a book. The story goes at a fast and furious pace leaving you almost breathless, waiting for the next event.

It’s also about people and family and coping with things that change, people who have changed and the dark things that are in the world.

This is a great debut novel by Elizabeth Lewes and I imagine there’s more to come from a pen that reads hearts and minds very well indeed!

Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie

The Blurb

A compulsive, literary domestic suspense set to spark debate.

When Becky accidently sees her boss with a woman who isn’t his wife, she’s horrified but keeps her counsel – she owes Matthew so much for all he’s done for her career. But when the same woman accuses him of rape and asks for the witness to come forward, Becky doesn’t know what to do.

Was what she saw rape? Or is this a young actress looking to get ahead? And can Becky separate her own traumatic past from the present?

As Becky attempts to untangle these blurred lines, she must risk everything to find the truth…

Blurred Lines is a brilliantly written novel that explores the effects of #metoo, and questions identity, womanhood, and how trauma is dealt with.

The author

Hannah Begbie studied Art History at Cambridge University. She went on to become a talent agent, representing BAFTA and Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning writers and comedians for fifteen years. She also enrolled in The Novel Studio course at City University, winning that year’s new writing prize. The book she developed there became her debut novel, MOTHER, which later went on to win the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers from the RNA. The TV rights were snapped up by Clerkenwell Films (Lovesick, Misfits) after a heated auction, with screenwriter Tom Edge (The Crown, Judy) attached.

She lives in north London with her husband and their two sons.

The Review

I don’t know where to start with my review.

It’s a well written, totally believable story of one woman who witnesses something, that she thinks might be a crime, but which leads her on a parallel quest to solve events in her own past which haunt her everyday life.

I am blown away by the brutal honesty of this book. There will be so many women who nod, and feel that this could so easily be about their lives.

Hannah Begbie has given so much food for thought to the people who don’t look at consent and how women are generally treated as a serious issue. This is a fantastic book. Disturbing in it’s realism, but not gratuitous in nature.

A novel of empowerment and sisterhood and why we don’t stand shoulder to shoulder sometimes, when we probably should.

The Unravelling by Liz Treacher

The Blurb

For Ella Aldridge, a brilliant Classics student, life was supposed to be exciting. Thirty years on, she’s stuck in the suburbs in a boring job and a failing marriage. Even her daughter, the one she gave it all up for, seems distant.
But a sinister encounter on platform three is about to change everything. Under the watchful eye of a shadowy ticket inspector and his mysterious associate, Ella finds herself spiralling into a murky underworld where portentous signs appear from nowhere, thoughts are stored on memory sticks and speeding express trains may be more than they seem. As she begins to lose her grip on reality, Ella embarks on an extraordinary journey that touches everyone around her, forcing her to confront the biggest question of all.
By turns poignant, chilling and tinged with dark humour, The Unravelling is a novel full of heart and beauty, about the myth and magic of everyday life, and the sacrifices we make for what really matters.

The AuthorLiz Treacher is a writer, an English and Creative Writing teacher and an Art photographer. She lives in the Scottish Highlands.

The Review

This book was sent to me by Liz Treacher for review, and I can only thank her for it.

If you have previously read her work, and think you might know what’s coming you really don’t!

From the off it’s spooky, eerie and edgy. There are undertones of unease, even menace and you keep turning the pages as you need to know exactly what happens to Ella. Her life has taken turns she isn’t happy with. But how will Ella put things right? Who will help her as she struggles to reassess everything in her life? There are lessons to be read in this story and I love how they’re delivered.

It may make you think about your own life.

Published by Skelbo Press

Available at Amazon as paperback and kindle.

Author Twitter @liztreacher @skelbopress

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