My Grandfather’s Eyes

  • MyGrandfathersEyesAuthor: B A Spicer
  • Published: November 2013 by B A Spicer
  • Category: Psychological, Drama
  • four-half-stars

Alex Crane is a protagonist with a difference. Single-minded and, at times, glacial she is intelligent and independent. Her story begins in the past, unfolding into a multilayered plot that weaves its way through a family history peppered with secrets, towards a devastating conclusion. 

Alex’s story is told, in the first person and present tense and draws the reader into her world of extremely well drawn and distinct, albeit not always likeable, characters that surround her. The narrative begins with the death of Alex’s grandfather, his funeral and the first signs that maybe something about this family is slightly skewed. The heated words Alex overhears exchanged between her mother and father later that night unnerve her although she’s not sure why. 

Or perhaps, even before that, my grandfather’s accident had unbalanced me. I felt the loss of him, certainly. He was gone and there was no one to replace him.

And then, back to the present where Alex’s husband, Richard, is in hospital in a critical condition as Alex waits for news. Thereafter the timeline alternates between past and present giving an insight into Alex’s sometimes irrational thoughts and feelings, or rather the lack of them, since she was a young child. 

Alex’s physical appearance, and how it affects herself and others, may have sown the seeds for her heartless, and sometimes callous, behaviour but whatever the reason there are only two people she loves; her grandfather and her best friend since childhood, Lizzy. She selfishly manipulates situations and people, without conscience, to achieve her own desires regardless of any negative effects.

Some things are difficult to remember. Others stay sharp. The trip to London is as clear to me now as it was on that bright November day when, had I understood, I might have had the chance to change the future.

From the beginning of the story it’s apparent Alex has done something appalling but as the story progresses her cold and calculating nature becomes more and more obvious. It’s as though sentiments skim the surface, she does what is expected, and not much actually touches her. She’s always distant and detached and marries Richard with that same mindset, although he loves her deeply. Only her very strong feelings for Lizzy and her grandfather break through the barriers.

It’s an extraordinary novel, given the content, the original take on the main protagonist and making her mostly unlikable and difficult to warm to, as well as the excellent writing leading into ever more complex and multi layered plot lines. The family skeletons are revealed in such a way as to make reading compulsory with the need to know. And, although initially I felt some measure of sympathy for the young Alex, I couldn’t really maintain it. The characters are very well-developed and intertwined in an intensely powerful and dark psychological drama.

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

 Rosie Amber’s book review team

About the author

BevSpicerBev Spicer has a degree in English and French Literature (Keele University) and a PGCE in English methods (Queens’ College, Cambridge).

She has lived in Bridgnorth, Cambridge, Rethymnon (Crete), Mahe (Seychelles), and now lives in Charente Maritime. The next place she wants to explore is probably Spain. Her husband is very tolerant.

She has been a teacher, blackjack dealer for Playboy, examiner, secretary (various sorts – most boringly ‘legal’) and Sunday checkout girl at Tescos.

She loves people, reading, writing, speaking French, astronomy (quantum theory addict), gardening, travelling, and hates housework, cooking, drizzle and honey.

Please take a look at my other books (My Grandfather’s Eyes and Angels) both on Amazon and published under the name B A Spicer.

Author links ~  website, Facebook and Twitter

Angels ~ A Short Story

  • IMG_0762Author: B A Spicer
  • Kindle edition
  • Published: September 2012 by B A Spicer
  • Category: Metaphysical Horror
  • four-half-stars

 ‘Angels’ is a story of loss and the human fascination with the metaphysical world. 

A powerful, psychological story. The structural form of the writing is very cleverly done. It takes place in the present and recent past and focuses on a mother’s tragic loss. Her daughter was the victim of bullying but kept it to herself until it was too late for anyone to help her. 

It was only afterwards that she found out. When it was too late. Flora had hidden the bruises and the damaged books. She said she had dropped her mobile phone and caught her bag on a barbed wire fence. Small things. Small things that added up and became big things. So big that it was impossible to talk about them to anyone…

The result of feeling such an intense sense grief causes the mother to take matters into her own hands and the chosen form of revenge relates to a historical event and a short video clip she and her daughter had watched on the internet. 

Even though this is a short story, a very artful and concise narrative engaged me immediately. The mother’s reaction to the situation she finds herself in is drastic and chilling, but conveys the emotional depth of her pain. I was drawn into her utter sadness and hopelessness and could feel her suffering. A story of terrible loss, feelings of guilt and a surprising ending.

Please click on the book cover for Amazon UK, the book can also be found on Amazon US

About the author

BevSpicerBev Spicer is the author of six ebooks and two paperbacks. She also writes under the pen name B. A. Spicer.

Bev was born in a small market town in the Midlands, daughter to an observer for the Royal Air Force and her mother, a local beauty queen.

She was educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge and became a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in 1997 moving to live in France with her husband and two of her children ten years later, where she writes full-time.

She is widely read and has travelled extensively, living in Crete, where she taught English and learned to speak Greek, and in the Seychelles, where she worked for the government and co-designed materials which were used to teach at secondary school level.

She has recently published ‘Stranded in the Seychelles’, a humorous memoir and sequel to her best-selling ‘Bunny on a Bike’.