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The West BookFest

Today’s blog is being written by Clive from his room at the lymphedema clinic in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest).

If you’ve been following Damaris’ blog over the last few weeks, you will have seen the release of 5 of our 6 books onto Amazon Kindle. The 6th will shortly follow but it’s just going through its final checking.

However, the other 5 are now there and available for purchase. They aren’t expensive (all $3 to $4 each) and, if you aren’t familiar with the system, you don’t even need a Kindle device to read it. There is free software on the Amazon site which allows a multiple array of gadgets to download and unscramble books in Kindle format.

It’s vital that we get (good) reviews so please find the time to make your feelings known. We’ve got some expensive operations to finance so it’s going to be much appreciated.

Our friends, Keith and Jackie, have very kindly just bought 2 books – hopefully they will get the ball rolling with feedback. We’re both very grateful to them for this act and also for their support.

Here are the 5 books along with a brief summary and link to the relevant page on Amazon. If you’d rather buy from the US site, go to Amazon.com and search using our names.

Damaris’ Books

Wild Goose

Jemima, who never knew her mother, has been brought up in the countryside by her old-fashioned grandparents and has had little contact with the world at large. Her grandfather dies and her father takes over her care just before her teenage years, isolating her still further in a cottage deep in a wood in Oxfordshire. Jemima, denied all the usual activities of teenagers which in any case would not have interested her, is eager to please him and keeps house for him. 

She has a breakdown over her first public exams at school and gains the impression that her father is trying to push her away when he sends her back to her grandmother to recuperate. Confused and despairing, she makes a suicide gesture by swimming out to sea. She is rescued by the Warden of a nearby Bird Observatory.

The grandmother that brought Jemima up has remarried and is also concerned about the quality of care in their rural backwater so she dispatches the girl to stay with her other set of grandparents. It is there that Jemima receives counselling and relives her formative years and experiences.

All seems to be on track, but suddenly Jemima disappears and no-one knows where she has gone. The Counsellor has an inkling, but the successful outcome of the whole situation will depend on whether Jemima’s father can acquire the wisdom to imitate the sea; instead of drowning her,

“The sea had let her go; it had let her choose.”

Skolthan

From the primitive cottage where she lives a hermit-like existence, Hilda can reach a tidal island which gives her access to a beautiful world, a fragment of the one-time Garden of Eden.

She is almost unique in possessing the gift to pass through to this other world, but her gift puts her in danger from sinister forces that wish to use the island’s power to secure their own domination.

In a bid to rescue a mother and her unborn child, the intended victims of a horrific ritual with cosmic implications, Hilda and her friends must outwit a charismatic warlock (Hilda’s former husband) and the arch-witchAlice, embodiment of evil, who masquerades as a midwife.

Their mission culminates in an act which threatens to tip them over the edge into the same evil world which they are so anxious to destroy. Nonetheless, good prevails, but at a terrible price …

Queen Anne’s Lace

The cottage, just near enough to the sea to give a ‘sea feeling’, was more than a holiday home to the McKay family; it was somewhere they all found peace and happiness in their differing ways.

Just widowed and seeking relief from loneliness in the religious life of a convent, Isabel McKay offers the cottage to the nuns in a rush of sentimentality. Her three children, Kate, Angus and Violet, are variously furious, shocked, and intrigued by their mother’s choices. Plots to dissuade her come to nothing,

The children have their own interweaving lives and relationships to pursue. Everything comes to a head at the wedding reception of the pregnant Kate when her father-in-law, an ill-meaning meddler, goads Isabel into announcing, prematurely, that she means to sell the cottage because the nuns have rejected it.

The announcement, although apparently divisive, sows the seeds of an unexpected solution to the family’s dilemma, but it is a solution which will require sacrifice and some drastic changes of allegiance …

Clive’s books

Lymphedema – Living with the disease

How often have you wished you could chat to someone who suffers from the same illness or complaint as you do? That is exactly the experience which this book offers to those afflicted with lymphedema, a common malady which goes unrecognised in a shockingly high proportion of cases.

In clear, accessible language, the author explains the background to the illness, what the specific dangers are, what you can do about it if you have it, and how you can get yourself treated without having to remortgage your home. As a patient who has consulted medical text books but refrained from swallowing them, he provides a refreshingly frank account of just what it is like to live with the disease and also to have it misdiagnosed, misunderstood, and even worse.

This is a collection of stories whose endings you can try to predict, but you will almost always get it wrong. From the lottery-winner who inspires enmity in his neighbour, to the fraudulent fortune-teller discovering that she has a psychic gift after all, to the down-trodden schoolboy whose ‘daydreams’ reveal a crime which he then uses all his ingenuity to expose, a huge range of characters walk through these pages. Some of them are innocent; others, like the greedy property-developer, border on evil; but most of them are human with all the foibles and self-interest inherent in that condition.

To read these stories is to share in the author’s jaundiced view of the world – a world nonetheless illuminated by flashes of humour, pathos and warmth. You will be hugging yourself with glee at the ‘comeuppance’ doled out to some characters, and wishing you could dive into the story to give a timely warning to others. You will certainly be turning the pages rapidly to see what happens …

Clive’s ‘blockbuster’ novel, The Road, will soon follow.

Don’t forget. We need those (good) reviews!!!

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