I’ve just seen this lovely 4 star review for Magnolia House on Amazon uk
This was a lovely, snuggly novel. And Pauline illustrates how a novel can be a page-turner without having to be action-packed. Magnolia House was, however, absolutely bursting at the seams with emotions--from those that come with the grief of death to those that come with the joy of birth and everything in between. All poignantly and skilfully intertwined in this very enjoyable book.
Having signed over half her house to her son, Ben, widowed Jane Leonard suddenly finds herself with no option but to sell her beloved Magnolia House--her home for many years--when Ben's wife insists on claiming the value of his share. It's a home where Jane has experienced love and happiness and, sadly, more than a human being's fair share of tragedy. Her efforts to put prospective buyers off comes to an abrupt end when Sally and Steve Bingley fall in love with the property and are determined to be undeterred by Jane's tactics in order to pursue their desire to open their very own B&B in this perfect house.
Misunderstandings, coincidences, kindness, and fate all play an important role in the future of the wonderful cast of characters: some pathetic ones, some tragic ones, some infuriating ones, some amusing ones--all varied and very credible. It's said that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person through a chain of six people, and Pauline brings this into play in this book--albeit in the same little village!
I love Pauline's style. This is a delightful book that's wonderfully easy and effortless to read, straightforward, yet expressive and heartfelt. It brings a smile to your face and not just because of the sometimes gentle humour. I liked that the ending was not in the slightest bit predictable; Pauline instils a clever and compelling element of `I wonder how this is going to end' right to the very end.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope the sun is shinning with you!
I am delighted to have the lovely Ali Bacon sitting round my pool sipping bubbly whilst talking about her new novel, A Kettle of Fish and her new publishing contract with Thornberry Publishing. Cheers Ali, the stage is all yours….!
First of all a big thanks Pauline for inviting me to your blog. Like so many others I’ve been enjoying your sun-filled Tweets and I whizzed through Satchfield Hall on a flight to Dubai. A great read. But however much I envy you your climate, I still have a lot of affection for my home town in Fife - grey skies and sea mists make sunny days all the more special, and childhood holidays spent on the coast were a big inspiration for A Kettle of Fish (my second novel – the first is getting very comfy in its drawer!) due to be published in October.
The book has been a while in the writing, first of all I had to decide exactly where the story – and my heroine - were heading (yes, I’m of the ‘pantser’ fraternity!) Then there were the redrafts and changes to satisfy my wonderfully perceptive writing group, but eventually – maybe a year ago? I was pleased enough with it to send it out to agents and publisher. With agents I wasn’t optimistic, because I sensed the omens for a new writer of mainstream fiction were not good! However I did have lots of encouragement, particularly from small publishers who liked it a lot but couldn’t fit it into their current lists.
By this time I had learned a lot about self-publishing and armed with a new Kindle was becoming a devotee of e-books. While I dithered over the decision of whether to go it alone, I gave my MS to a writer friend for proof-reading. She liked it a lot and suggested I submit to Thornberry (her own e-publisher) which I did, and they liked it too - so much that they didn’t ask for any changes! – a great bonus and boost to my confidence. I briefly considered still going it alone, but not for long!
I was already impressed by the Thornberry ethos and the other writers on their books and when we got down to business in a face to face meeting (another bonus) they were very open to discussion. The contract is even quite comprehensible! From now on all I have to do is provide the final MS. They will format it and let me see ‘page proofs’ then deal with everything else, including cover design – and royalties of course. In fact they will also accept cover art from the author if it’s up to standard, so I’m currently having some fun looking at designs with my daughter who is a graphic artist. This is more work (or self-indulgence?!) for me, but it’s nice to feel a hands-on, safe in the knowledge that if it doesn’t work out, Thornberry will do the job. (And Ellie and I will still be friends!)
They are also very supportive of my issuing the book in print (the contract is e-book only) and will provide me with necessary files. However much I love my Kindle I know there are lots of people out there who prefer a ‘tree-book’ and then there’s the whole vanity thing of seeing my book ‘in the flesh’.
Publication is due for October, which seemed a long time ahead but is now whizzing towards me very fast and I’m trying to give some thought to my online launch. Earlier this summer I was recruited into the Love A Happy End team who have already been fantastically supportive. Otherwise expect to see me Tweeting and blogging like mad from now until Christmas!
It’s been a busy week with one thing or another, but I have found enough time to continue with my latest book, The Summer of Sixty Five and I am now writing the last chapter. It’s exciting and exhausting in equal measures, though today, I feel my energy reserves renewed thanks to the wonderful five star review I have just read on Amazon for Sometimes It Happens…
So I apologise in advance for adding this review, but it captures so much of the story and I wanted to share it with you, well to be honest I want to shout from the roof tops how happy I am. It makes all the hard work worth while when you receive lovely words like below. Because for all of us, sometimes it happens!
Sometimes it Happens by Pauline Barclay - reviewed by Francine Howarth
Sometimes it Happens is one of the funniest - and by that I mean hilarious - books I've read in a long while. The protagonist, Doreen Wilkinson, is a down to earth working class mum who has won the lottery, and when you got a whole load of dosh you might just as well enjoy it in style and that's what she does. But when Doreen and her daughter descend on Villas Bonitas, a place where the pretentious middle-classes take their holidays within a luxurious gated villa complex, Doreen feels a tad out of place. A little daunted by her good fortune she can nonetheless smoke and drink herself to oblivion if the fancy takes her, but how can she capture happiness and hold onto it?
Whilst Doreen comes to terms with the reality of...
wealth her daughter is getting down and dirty with local talent, which in turn draws a rather observant nosey character into play. Tensions, snobbery and secret assignations abound as the villas fill with an array of occupants of differing moral standards. As individual cameos and sequences begin to play out a reader quickly gains insight to the lives of Doreen's neighbours. And it's not long before Doreen is faced with the reality that she may be a long way from England but the World is merely a global village, and as blasts from the past step forth she has to face up to a past mistake that needs righting: but how?
Sometimes it Happens is a light fun read but a few of Doreen tears are shed along the way, and each villa has a story to tell all of its own. Ms Barclay plays on the senses as she paints a delightful paradise setting with words, and the characters are bold, sometimes brassy and cheeky with it. A recommended read to brighten any miserable day (meaning English weather).
I admit to shedding a tear or two at this great review... sniff!
As always, thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous day.
I haven’t read a book in nearly two years, when I say I haven’t read a book, I mean a paperback book. Since buying my Kindle I have downloaded more books than I care to count, but I do love my Kindle. One of the reason is that I can make the font large enough to see without needing my reading glasses, ok call me vain, but I think we all are when age creeps on, or races on as it as a tendency to do. So, why am I reading a book again? I hear you ask.
Well, the lovely Carol E Wyer sent me a paperback copy of her latest book, Surfing in Stilettos. The reason for sending me this book, no not to review, I don’t do reviews, well mainly because I’m not really good at them, I know what I enjoy, but that is not about reviewing. Whoops, sorry, I digress. Carol sent me a copy of her book because, to my surprise, she has mentioned me in her acknowledgements and wanted me to see this. I am deeply honoured on both accounts, the wonderful mention and receiving a copy of Surfing in Stilettos.
The book is just my cup of tea, it is filled with laughter, surprises and is beautifully written, which gives me even more reasons to feel honoured to be mentioned! I’m actually reading the book because I just couldn’t wait until the Kindle version comes out in September, but reading a book does present problems. I am trying desperately not to crease the spine, I don’t know about you, but special books I hate to mark, I want them to stay new forever! And as well as trying to keep the spine perfect, I hold the book across my hand, I never hold any book with my thumb in the middle of the pages. This practise harks back to my junior school days when we not allowed too read a book holding it with our thumbs in the middle of the pages. The teachers swore it would ruin the book held this way. I can still hear down the passages of time, one teacher bellowing at a boy who dared to hold his book with his thumb and I still tremble! Of course those teachers could be right, but I will never know, as I still cradle my books the way it was instilled into me. Though I wonder if this rule still applies today for those who read paperback books?
How do you hold your book?
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you’ve had a great week. Wonderful how many medals including Gold medals TeamGB are collecting, it makes you feel proud. It always gives me a feeling of pride when I see such hard work and dedication rewarded.
As always sending sunny rays your way! Phew it is very hot here!