Category: Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Book Review
When her loving, free-spirited grandmother Primrose passes away, Victoria is bereft, yet resilient—she has survived tragedy before. But even her strength is tested when a mysterious woman attends Prim’s funeral and claims to be the mother Victoria thought was dead.
The Day She Came Back is a compelling story of three generations of women—Prim, Sarah and Victoria—woven into a tale of secrets uncovered, loss, grief and forgiveness. Victoria has been brought up by her beautiful, glamorous grandmother, Prim. Her parents had been drug addicts and died when she was a baby and her grandfather passed away several years ago. Prim’s daughter Sarah, Victoria’s mother, had been her only child. Now it was just Victoria and Prim living in Rosebank, a large house on the outskirts of Epsom in Surrey. She has no other relatives and hadn’t been a popular girl at school, but she has a lovely best friend in Daksha.
Fresh from a high-profile case in the Paris fashion world, elite forensic psychologist and criminal profiler Dr Alexander Gregory receives a call from the New York State Homicide Squad. The wife of a notorious criminal has been admitted to a private psychiatric hospital and can no longer testify in his upcoming trial. Without her, their case will collapse, but amid reports that the staff are as unpredictable as their patients, who can the police trust?
Dr Alexander Gregory and his friend and mentor, Professor Bill Douglas are visiting Quantico, Virginia. They have been invited to deliver a presentation on criminal profiling at one of the regular international conferences held there. They were met by Special Agent Hawk and Agent Johnson, who later asked for their assistance with a highly classified case involving the Romano crime family.
Throwback Thursday this week showcases the first in an excellent historical fiction series, based on fact. There are prequels which are just as good but not essential to read first.
The Rise of the Aztecs follows on from the pre Aztec series and the story picks up in 1409 with two boys from vastly differing backgrounds. Coyotl, a Lowlander, first son of the Emperor and Kuini, a Highlander and son of the War Leader from Huexotzinco. The boys meet by chance on Coyotl’s favourite hill which overlooks his altepetl, Texcoco, the capital of the Acolhua people. A growing friendship develops, both expressing interest in the other’s customs and culture. The story is told from each of their perspectives as they begin meeting in secret.
Published: February 2020 by Hatchette Books Ireland
Category: Dual Timeline, Historical, Contemporary, Book Review
For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home in the 1960s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets.
The Paper Bracelet is inspired by true events, namely the harsh way unmarried mothers were treated, not only in Ireland where this story is set, but further afield as well. For a long time nothing was known about the injustices and heartbreak women suffered in mother and baby homes, run by nuns for women, and sometimes including young abused girls, whose families didn’t want the shame or stigma of an unmarried and pregnant daughter. Rachael English tells this heartbreaking story extremely well and with empathy.
Today I have a guest post from Ido Kedar, a non speaking autistic young man who has written two books.
This is Ido’s second book, In Two Worlds.
Seven-year-old Anthony has autism. He flaps his hands. He makes strange noises. He can’t speak or otherwise communicate his thoughts. Treatments, therapies, and theories about his condition define his daily existence. Yet Anthony isn’t improving much. Year after year his remedial lessons drone on. Anthony gets older and taller, but his speech remains elusive and his school lessons never advance. Life seems to be passing him by. Until one day, everything changes.
In Two Worlds is a compelling tale, rich with unforgettable characters who are navigating their way through the multitude of theories about autism that for decades have dictated the lives of thousands of children and their families. This debut work of fiction sheds light on the inner and outer lives of children with nonspeaking autism, and on their two worlds. As one of the only works of fiction written by a person with non-speaking autism, it offers readers an unprecedented insider’s point-of-view into autism and life in silence, and it does so with warmth, humor and a wickedly sharp intellect.
Imagine that you can’t speak, handwrite or gesture because your body can’t move the way you want it to due to a breakdown in communication between your thoughts and motor system. You are born this way, so no one knows you are smart. Your body betrays you through erratic or impulsive movementsthat convince theprofessional experts that you lack understanding of language or even awareness of the world around you. You can’t tell anyone the truth about who you are; that you are present, smart but trapped.
This is the experience of Anthony, the hero of In Two Worlds. He is a boy, trapped by autism, unable to communicate, and living in two distinct realities. He lives in his mind, isolated from others, intoxicated by overwhelming sensory experiences, and entertained by jokes he can only share with himself. It is a solitary, sensual life. Nearly hallucinatory visual input at times makes his inner world an escapist wonderland. His other world is less enticing, inundated in therapies and remedial education with specialists who have no idea that the strange boy is a thinking boy. This is monotony and tedium caused by good intentions.
My life has many parallels to Anthony’s, though he is not me. I am real and he is not. But I too can’t speak. I too move erratically. I too was thought to be an empty head when I was young. And I too made a breakthrough when I learned to touch letters to communicate. I lived an escapist life as a boy. My inner autismland offering a reprieve from the pointless boredom of simplistic drills that mocked my intelligence and proved my stupidity.
But once I learned to control my hand to type out my thoughts at the age of seven, my world opened. Gradually I made my way into the world of neurotypical education, my ideas liberated from their prison within my mind. I observed my lonely status in school. I was the only nonspeaking autistic in regular education. My autistic peers stayed in remedial class. No one bothered to inquire if they too might possess the ability of typing out letters with one finger to express ideas. The assumption was that I was an anomaly.
I began a journal to express my feelings at this tough time in my life. I was twelve years old. For three years I wrote and my journal developed into an insider’s view and explanation of nonspeaking autism. This became my memoir and first book, Ido in Autismland. It has had a bigger impact than I could have ever hoped. Parents have used my book as their path to communication with their children. Teachers have rethought theories, and autistic people have read that they are not alone.
In Two Worlds is my second book, but unlike Ido in Autismland, it is fictional. It feels real so people ask me if it is my story. It is the story of autism as seen through my autistic eyes, but it is fiction, nonetheless. I waited a long time to communicate. A long time before my first conversation. But I was seven. Still young. My protagonist, Anthony, waited until he was sixteen! Imagine going all the way to high school age with not one conversation ever, with no one, not even your own family knowing you had a thinking mind.
My experiences made me write true experiences for Anthony. I understand the people who populate his life and the way he is treated. I understand his sorrow, anger and budding hope. I understand the obstacles he faces when most of the professionals dismiss his communication as fantasy and fallacy.
The journey of Anthony tells the truth about autism, and because it is fiction it is all the more powerful. Through fiction you ride the schoolbus with Anthony, seeing streams of light and color with him. Through fiction you hear his thoughts, when no one else knows he has any. Through fiction you overcome the most basic human need with him, to connect with others and to share ideas. Anthony teaches that not talking is not the same as not thinking. He shines a light on the most maligned and misunderstood people, those who have historically been called “dumb,” because words don’t tumble from their mouths.
In Two Worlds is a journey into the life of a person who lives intelligently inside and stupidly outside. It is an insider’s perspective into nonspeaking autism and this is something wholly new to literature.
About the Author
Imagine being diagnosed with a disease that relegates you to the sidelines of life. You are seen as different, maybe even dumb. You are unable to communicate with others and feel trapped in a body that fails you every step of the way. Even those who are with you don’t realize what you are capable of. You could easily grow depressed and remain a silenced outcast.Well, one young man is fighting back. He has found a way to overcome so many obstacles and to share an inspiring story on behalf of those with severe autism — and for all who cannot speak for themselves.
Meet Ido Kedar, a phenomenal 23-year-old Californian who, through the saving grace of technology and perseverance, now has a voice in his life and is using it to lobby for huge changes. Through the use of an iPad and other devices, Ido has learned to communicate with others despite not being able to speak. He has written two books and serves as a board member for a non-profit group that advocates on behalf of all non-speaking humans.
“Ido’s story is one of triumph of the indomitable human spirit,” says Tracy Kedar, his mom, who is also a mental health therapist specializing in helping non-speaking autistic individuals. “He is an inspiration to anyone who has struggled.”
Ido is believed to have written the firstnovel by a non-speaking autistic person, In Two Worlds, which was praised by Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly Booklife Prize. He also is the author of a book at age 15, Ido In Autsimland, a stunning memoir that brings tears of frustration and joy from every reader. Completely silenced for the first seven years of his life – and now still without the ability to speak save for the use of technology – Ido remains quiet no more. His human interest story also provides insights on parenting, education, and how the experts fail to treat those who can’t speak for themselves.
“I hope to have people outside the autism community discover my books,” says Ido. “I believe they have the potential to shed light on the most misunderstood people – non-speakers – who are trapped by their own bodies. In reviews, readers compare my novel to other major works that exposed prejudice and ultimately led to societal change. Perhaps society is ready for a breakthrough.”
Category: Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Book Review
It’s a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.
Two devastating events that happened around the same time, eighteen years previously, had a powerful effect on NYPD Detective Kat Donovan. Her father was murdered and her fiancé broke off their relationship without explanation. She hasn’t had another relationship since that meant anything to her. Kat’s friend Stacy bought her a subscription for a dating website, something she knew Kat would never do on her own. Feeling slightly obligated Kat trawls through the profiles and is stunned to see a picture of her ex fiancé on one of the profiles. Eventually, feeling she has nothing to lose, Kat makes contact.
Category: Historical Fiction, The Great Depression, Book Review
It’s a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm in the throes of the Great Depression. But, when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny blue-black hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly. Narrated by Nellie and her two older sisters, the story follows the girls as they encounter a patchwork of threatening circumstances and take it upon themselves to solve the mystery.
The Great Depression began after the market crashed in late 1929 and drastically affected the world’s economy. Threads tells the story of a farming family in Michigan and is narrated by the three daughters. Flora, the eldest at seventeen. Irene, the middle sister is eleven and Nellie, the youngest, just seven.
Category: Family Saga, Dual Timeline, Fiction, Book Review
Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.
Rose was Irene’s little sister, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.
The Memory tells Irene’s story from her perspective, alternating between then and now. Beginning in the now, the story gives an immediate sense of Irene’s life. It’s not at all what she envisioned for herself all those years ago, as she struggles with her full time role as a carer for her mother, with all that entails when someone is incapable of doing anything for themselves.
Detective Inspector Rowan Jackman leads the team. He’s a private person from an affluent background, well respected and liked, and is good at motivating his team. His passion is horses. Detective Sergeant Marie Evans is a widow who lost her husband in a motorbike accident. She’s able to assess situations and people with accuracy and is nicknamed Super Mario by her colleagues. Marie’s passion is motorbikes.