Friday, 25 March 2011

Book Recommendation: Jenni Thornley, 'Trust in Matt'

I've previously posted about Jenni's first book, The Sail Turns, and am pleased to recommend her second, Trust in Matt.

Matt Stevens, having completed his history degree, undertakes the investigation of the Tindall family and the history of Netherby Hall, their home since 1458. He discovers how their lives affected those around them and makes a sinister discovery, with the help of his young friend Christopher. The story also follows the ups and downs of the personal relationships of people in Matt's life.

Jenni has a nice relaxed style and it's a pleasure to read her work. She is currently working on her third book which will complete this trilogy.

Her books are available online at Smashwords.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Book Review: The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Not for the squeamish this one by one of Scandinavia's finest. Indeed, on current form Jo Nesbo is seriously challenging Henning Mankell for the title of Scandinavia's king of crime.

Harry Hole is still battling addiction to alcohol and his addiction to the love of his life Rakel, who can't live with Harry but can't live without him. The book is a subtle shocker that does send shivers down the spine. Nesbo has mastered the wonderful art of shocking without being gory or overtly sensationalist. A great skill which adds to the dark atmosphere of a Norwegian autumn/winter.

There are more twists and turns in The Snowman than there are on a mountain pass, but they never seem contrived and keep you wanting to read just one more page before you go to bed, work, out for the night or whatever you have to do. The glue that holds Nesbo's books together, taking them to a level beyond mere crime stories, is the close observation and portrayal of human emotions and the destruction that can come from the deepest emotions of love.

I was never a great lover of crime books, until I started on Mankell a few years ago. Nesbo has merely taken my addiction to another level. I am desperate to read his newest novel (The Leopard), but don't want to run out of Harry Hole books just yet. Do yourself a favour and read The Snowman, but prepare to be chilled.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Book Recommendation: Jenni Thornley, 'The Sail Turns'

One of the great things about the internet is the doors it has opened. Frustrated journalists can start emagazines or blogging, entrepeneurs can find new markets and so on. Publishing has also opened up so that people who have suddenly discovered they can write, or have always secretly dreamt of being published, can get on and do it.
One such writer is a friend of mine Jenni Thornley. Jenni has just e-published two books, the first of which is The Sails Turn. Following is a description of her book and at the end is a link to the website where you can purchase it, which I think you should:
Professor Paul Cork buys the derelict Gatesby Windmill intending to restore it and open it to the public as a working windmill and museum of the past life of the village. With the help of his neighbours the Stephens (Jim, Alice, Matt and David) and the Drabbles (Ted, Sandra and Beth) and a group of students (Tony, Joe and Pat) from his university history class, the story takes place in modern Lincolnshire over a two year period.

During the restoration process, documents; letters, bills and photographs from the 1850’s are discovered and lead Matt and Beth to investigate the lives of the family (Colledge) who once lived at the windmill and their neighbours in the village.
Mr Lawson, an elderly farmer whose ancestors knew the Colledge’s, provides more letters and diary entries to help with the historical research.

As work on the windmill gradually progresses with explanations about the repairs and how the windmill works, the social life of the present day village is explored as relationships between the main characters develop.

During the course of restoring a garden around the windmill, a child’s skeleton is discovered and having been told it is probably from the 1850’s, the investigation moves to finding out whether or not it is one of the children from the windmill. When they discover it is not, the search widens.

Pat secretly knows who the child buried in the grounds is, how he died and why he is buried there; his ancestor witnessed an accident and blackmailed Colledge, profiting for more than fifteen years from his fear of disgrace and loss of social standing.

Meanwhile, Paul looks into Alice’s own family history as their relationship develops. She reads diaries left by Sally Colledge and becomes emotionally close to her and her family. Paul realises Alice is related to the Colledges as well as another family in the modern village (Clarkes).

Certain aspects of Victorian society are explored, questioned and contrasted with modern life. The theme that life repeats itself – the sails turn – is discussed.
 Other villagers look for documents which may prove useful to the investigation and discover other secrets going on in the village – an illegitimate child of a major figure.

The penultimate chapter is set in 1854 from Sally Colledge’s point of view, giving an insight into a day in her life and the sort of social interaction she may have encountered.

I'm looking forward to reading the full book which will eventually become part of a trilogy.

You can get the book here at Smashwords.