Review of Gone by Leona Deakin

This novel has a strong opening.  It drew me in quickly.  However, the idea of a game that people choose to join abandoning their normal lives is difficult to believe.  I can understand people looking for more information out of curiosity, but to leave their life to play a game is unrealistic.  Maybe if I were a psychopath I would understand it!

Seraphine is an interesting character and the description used in the opening scene of the aftermath of the initial event is well-written.  There is a good misdirection in this novel, which I won’t detail here as I do not want to give any spoilers to people who haven’t read it.

I hadn’t anticipated a twist late on, so that was a thought-provoking surprise and there are some interesting touches.

I have read many books recently that are extremely poorly edited and this, unfortunately, was no exception, which is surprising from a publisher such as Penguin Random House UK. What exactly do editors do for their salaries nowadays, because it isn’t editing?  It is little things like a missing hyphen, huge spaces mid-sentence, an asterisk at the start of a sentence for no fathomable reason – perhaps this is still a draft and the editing is yet to be done?

The chapters jump from one character’s point of view to another with no break to indicate the change.  This made me stumble and have to re-read each time.  In other places there were line spaces where there shouldn’t be, which lead to a stilted read.

There is a profound overuse of the word ‘elegant’ at one point.  If this was intentional, I can see no reason for it and again, it interrupted my reading flow.

Worth a read if you can get past the lack of editing and suspend belief over the storyline.

Review of ‘From the Edge of an English Summer’ by Michael Wynn

From the Edge of an English Summer

What an incredibly well-written novel! The plot is fast-paced with some very amusing scenes, particularly with Lydia. It’s hard to decide who is my favourite character, but she is brilliant! Lydia is the typically lacking-in-understanding wife of Julian, the narrator.  She is horrified at his leap from corporate banker to the depths of society and is appalled by his new acquaintances.

Set in and around Chelmsford, Essex (with a couple of fictional places thrown in) each character is perfectly built and you have empathy with those seeking justice but also with Lydia who is totally bemused by the change in her husband.  Wordsworth is a complex character who has chosen a very unorthodox way of life.  Julian is trying to establish himself as a writer and to find meaning to his life having worked for years making more money than he knows what to do with. 

Julian blunders into a situation he could never have imagined himself in and bumbles his way through, determined to ‘do the right thing.’  The story takes him into some very sticky circumstances, some of which I am sure he will never let Lydia learn of. 

Wordsworth is the local tramp, who has begrudgingly allowed Julian to befriend him.  They realise there is something amiss with a group of young girls they see each morning and determine to put matters right. Their exploits put them in serious danger and the suspense had me on the edge of my seat, breath held.

For anyone wondering whether to buy ‘From the Edge of an English Summer’ I can highly recommend it!