A Step in the Dark begins in 1914 Colonial India, and tells the tale of a young, newly wed, Elizabeth whose two blissful years of marriage to the dashing, wealth Jack Ravenhart ends after Jack dies in a riding accident. Left alone with her baby son, Frazer, Elizabeth is persuaded by her mother-in-law, Cora Ravenhart to return to war time London on the understand once Elizabeth is settle back in England her son would be returned to her when Cora returns to the Ravenhart’s family home in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Paula's Book Reviews
Date published: 1999
Author: David Mitchell
Publisher: Sceptre www.hodder.co.uk
Ghostwritten is an amazing book and is told in nine distinctive voices. From the first voice that of a terrorist Quasar, in Okinawa on the Japanese underground, with his confused mind about what’s clean and unclean. We are on a journey of understanding as we follow his indoctrination into the Fellowship as he becomes isolated from the world around him by his belief in ‘His Serendipity of the Fellowship’ who told him he’s the chosen one. We begin to understand his breakdown after months of teachings by the cult’s leader. When the Doomsday Cult members are brought to justice and their assets are frozen, Quasar in a blind panic phones a number he’s been given as the last resort for his return to the family of the fellowship when he needs help.
A music shop in Tokyo is on the point of closing up for the night when the phone rings and Satoru takes a strange message:’ the dog needs to be fed’ and so the link between the nine main characters begin.
The author, David Mitchell, won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rys Prize, and was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award for this; his debut novel.
I enjoyed the book both as a writer and as a reader. As a writer, I learnt how important it is to allow your characters to find their voices so they can learn to shout out their differences from the pages of your writing. While as reader, I enjoyed finding the links between the different characters as the stories unfolded within the pages of this book. Though most of Ghostwritten is set in the Far East I found the description of the landscape wonderful, which allowed me to immerse myself easily into the book and to be carried along.Jarmara
A Step in the Dark
Date published: 2006
Author: Judith Lennox
To Elizabeth’s horror she realise Cora had no intention to return her grandson as he was all she had left to replace her own dead son. Penniless Elizabeth unable to return to India to reclaim her child, searches out a rich man to marry in hope to be in the position to take back her son.
The novelist, Judith Lennox, has seventeen historical published novels to her name as well as being shortlisted for the romantic novel award.
I was very disappointed with ‘A Step in the Dark’ as what I felt was to be an intriguing novel left me feeling quite lost at time. As you followed Elizabeth from one failed marriage to another, from pregnancy after pregnancy to another tragedy you begin to wonder just what the book is about as you wait to find out about her lost baby, Frazer.
On the outset of this book, you are lead to believe you will be following Elizabeth’s (Bess) story and I’m not giving too much away by telling you the book ends with her. Though, all the characters are well-rounded, I was at a lost to who the main character was throughout the book as point of view or the person who was telling the story jumped from character to character as well as the plot did. By the time, the missing son made his reappears I was about ready to give up on the book. (Well, I did put it down as I read ‘Uphill all the way,’ which would have been an apt title for this book) but I stuck with it and things do pick up towards the end, though, a little rushed. This book is a great read, if you are into family saga. By great, I mean long and hard going.
Here is a list of some of the books I’ve read since I decided to see if I could become a published writer.
Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar;
Oxford Guide to English Usage
Dictionary of Concise Writing, published by The Writer’s Digest:
. ISBN 0-89879-755-1; a Robert Hartwell Fiske
book, I found extremely helpful in understanding how
to cut out wordiness.
Word Perfect: a dictionary of current English usage by
. John O.E.Clark
Two books in one: The Nuts and Bolts of Writing & Revision
. ISBN 0 70906443 8 Michael Legat
The Grammar Cookbook: by
. ISBN 0 9546105 0 4 Pat Bensky
How to Get Published: by
. ISBN 0 7499 1841 1 Susan Page
The Writer’s Right: Know you rights as a writer:
. ISBN 0 7136 4018 Michael Legat
An Author’s guide to Publishing: by
. ISBN 0 7090 6227 3 Michael Legat
Writing for Pleasure & Profit: by
. ISBN 0 7090 2677 3 Michael Legat
An Author’s Guide to Literary Agents: by
. ISBN 0 7090 5572 2 Michael Legat
Write a Successful Novel: by F E Smith & M Sherrard-Smith ISBN 0 9517623 0 3
Writing for the Teenage Market: by
ISBN 0 7136 37 88 9 Ann de Gale
The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes & how to avoid them:
, ISBN 0 89879 821 3 Jack M. Bickham
Write Tight; How to keep your prose sharp, focused, and concise:
. ISBN 0 87677 548 6 William Brohaugh
Plot: How to build them, by Ansen Dibell ISBN 1 85487 069 6
Voice & Style: How to develop your own voice as a writer:
ISBN 0 89879 693 8 Johnny Payne
Theme & Strategy: How to build a strong, narrative structure:
ISBN 0 89879 392 0 Ronald B. Tobias
How to tell a story: by P Rubie & Gary Provost. ISBN 0 89879 809 4
Creating Characters: by
. ISBN 0 89879 662 8 Dwight V. Swain
Characters & Viewpoint: by Orson
ISBN 1 85487 073 4 Scott Card
Getting the Words Right: How to Revise, Edit & Rewrite
ISBN 0-89879-114-6 Theodore A. Rees Cheney
ISBN 0 89879 398 X Scott Edelstein
Formatting & Submitting your Manuscript
ISBN 1-58297-290-7 Cynthia Laufenberg
Check out your local bookshop, library or ebay and Amazon for these books.
I hope they will be of some help to you if you're new to writing or you feel need to brush up some areas of your writing skills. I read over 250 books on the subject before I felt confident enough to send off my work out in the big wide world.
Good luck with your writing,
Date published: 2006
Author: A.M. Homes
Publisher: Granta www.granta.com
While at a car boot sale, this book caught my eye. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because it has pictured on its front cover six doughnuts or it could have been the Richard & Judy’s book club sticker. Whatever the reason, I’m glad it did. The next thing that surprised me about this book was the fact, Stephen King; Mr Horror himself, reviewed the book saying it would stand up with the other great works such as Catch-22 & Catcher in the Rye.
On opening the book, reading the first line you are off, and running with the main character, Richard. As his world opens up and falls apart before him, he’s set off on a road of discovery where he comes to terms with his life style, which led to the breakdown of his marriage and his separation from his son, Ben. On his way to enlightenment, he meets a band of unlikely characters and situations, which help him to redefine his outlook on life.
A.M. Homes wrote her first book of four as a teenager, since then she has gone on to write two collections of short stories as well.
I enjoyed this book greatly and found myself laughing aloud. The characters are real life, everyday sort of people, but how Richard meets them is amazing. This book certainly makes you look at your life in the same way as Richard questioned his life.
My favourite character was Nic or was it Anhil then again it might have been Cynthia. Oh, well it looks as though you will have to read the book yourselves and make up your own minds about whom you liked best.