White Horizon

  • White Horizon Cover LARGE EBOOKAuthor: Jan Ruth
  • Published: November 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Contemporary Fiction
  • four-half-stars

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1

A dramatic story of forgiveness, family and friendship; set in the Welsh Mountains of Snowdonia.

My thanks to Jan Ruth for sending me a copy as part of Rosie Amber’s book review team.

Daniel and Tina decide to cement their on-off relationship of twenty-five years with a marriage ceremony in the town they grew up in, near Snowdonia in North Wales. They start their married life living in the hotel Daniel is renovating but things between the newly weds begin to crumble after just a few months. Tina is keeping an overwhelming secret and doing her best to deal with it in the only way she feels she can. By pushing Daniel away, partly to prove she can cope on her own because she never has had to. Daniel has always been there for her. 

Their old school friends, who haven’t seen each other for years, Victoria and Linda and their respective husbands, Max and Mike, are drawn into the resulting fall out which will affect not only those involved but their families as well.

Linda and Victoria are experiencing their own marital problems and all three couples find themselves in difficult circumstances and with friendships at breaking point. Their lives can never again be the same and each of them will face a future they couldn’t have imagined. The terrible culmination of Victoria and Max’s relationship breakdown is horrifying and dramatic, resulting in destruction and death which devastates everyone in the community.

Outwardly, everything in Victoria’s life was pretty good, but her comfortable life was flawed, so flawed. She stole a quick sideways look at Linda and felt nostalgic for something she’d lost along the way, something honest and ordinary. And it made no sense that Linda actually only lived a couple of miles away, and yet only a wave across the supermarket car park had passed between them for years, separated by their social strata. Did that make her a snob like her mother? Is that how people saw her?

The dynamics between the couples and their interwoven stories are written so well it’s impossible not to have a vivid picture of them, and be drawn in as they are ever more deeply involved in the developing story. Jan Ruth just seems to be able to get right inside the characters and make them totally real and believable, with well-developed and credible personalities. Their problems and emotions are handled sensitively and with honesty during the major life changes that affect them all. Serious issues, including spousal abuse and debilitating illness, are dealt with tactfully.

A really good mix of characters, Daniel stood out for me and Victoria, who was the most damaged by her awful experiences. Great writing and precise attention to details – such an enjoyable read. The scenic descriptions are beautiful and bring the area to life adding an extra element to the story. Mainly, though, this is about how the strength of love and forgiveness, having friends and family win out in the end.  

The Road to Yesterday

  • RoadtoYesterdayAuthor: Randy Mixter
  • Published: June 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Contemporary/Paranormal
  • four-half-stars

Sometimes you can go home again. Dave Burke cannot forget his past. Nor can he forgive himself for the tragedy that cost him everything he ever loved, a tragedy he may have prevented.. Now, two years later, strange things are happening, things that suggest there may be hope for him after all. The power of love. Is it strong enough to conquer time itself?

I received a copy from the author as part of Rosie Amber’s book review team

Dave Burke is going through hell, a recovering alcoholic, guilt and loss his constant companions. His story is a sad and tragic one. But all is not as it appears.

This is a very moving and compelling piece written with much feeling and delicacy and, even though it’s a relatively short novella, I found it very easy to become involved in Dave’s life and feel for the pain he is suffering. His character is skilfully written and believable, as are the secondary characters.

The author’s narrative ‘voice’ is strong and I was swept up in Dave’s story straight away, able to visualise what he saw and appreciate what he felt.

His friends told him it would get better. Time heals, they said. Time is a cosmic bandage that protects the wound beneath it, protects it from further injury, and eventually when the bandage comes off, all that’s left is a ragged pink scar…..

…..He had taken the time but the wounds still bled.

I love the magical aspect, how it’s worked through the book and is an integral part of the unexpected conclusion.

I look forward to reading more from this author.

tt10407952flttAmazon UK Amazon US

 

RMixterRandy Mixter lives in Pasadena, Maryland, with his wife Veronica and their five cats. He writes in a variety of genres including Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Mysteries, and Suspense Thrillers. He currently has several novels and short stories available, with more on the way.

 

Check out his Facebook author’s page at: https://www.facebook.com/RandyMixters…

Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Northwooder1

Read his blog at: http://randy-mixter.blogspot.com/

Hellfire ~ the audiobook

  • 51l71+uiGAL._SL175_Author: John Saul
  • Performed by Luke Daniels
  • Released: March 2014 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Horror/Paranormal
  • four-half-stars

Publisher’s Summary

The day that the iron doors of the old mill in Westover, Massachusetts, closed forever is a day that still haunts the sleepy town’s residents. On that fateful day 100 years ago, 11 people died in a fearsome fire, and since then, no one has dared to revisit the mill or the dark secrets locked inside it.

Now, a member of the once-powerful Sturgess family has aspirations to reopen the mill. Little does Philip Sturgess know that by unlocking the padlock he is also unlocking horrible secrets from the past. There are forces at work that will do their best to see the mill doors stay tightly closed. But as Philip presses forward with his plans, the townspeople will be forced to face the terrible vengeance that waits in the darkest corners of the abandoned mill.

My Review

The old mill has a horrific past, with the exploitation of child labour and the unimaginably shocking and cruel action of one man a century ago. There are unexplained incidents involving the mill, which escalate when plans to develop the building begin in earnest, and turn into something very dark and menacing as the terrible secrets kept locked away for so long are set free. This will be vengeance on a huge scale.

Carolyn Rogers married Philip Sturgess, the owner of the mill, after her divorce and she and her daughter, Beth, are now living at the Sturgess mansion with Philip’s daughter, Tracy, and his mother. Neither of them welcome Carolyn and Beth and make their lives miserable. I like the twist of Carolyn’s ex and current husband being good friends. The characters are easy to like, or not, as the case may be. Beth is lonely and struggling to fit in to her new life and because of this she believes she has made friends with Amy, the ghost of a child about her own age. Tracy is the stuff of nightmares and takes every opportunity to make cruel fun of Beth.

It’s a powerful story, very atmospheric, with emotions running high and wild, accentuated immeasurably by Luke Daniels’ performance.

The way the lives of the characters all seem to be entwined with the mill and what happened all those years ago is quite creepy. As the story unfolds it begs the question whether actions taken in the past could influence the lives of subsequent generations.

This is my first foray into John Saul’s work, but not my last, as his writing drew me in and the supernatural aspect was woven into the story really well. The ending was totally unexpected and horrifying and given the epilogue I’m surprised there hasn’t been a follow-up.  Maybe Mr Saul likes to leave the reader dangling, I’ll have to wait and see.

Buy the book from Amazon US and Amazon UK