Monday, 24 April 2017

Of Human Telling

Of Human Telling is the latest novel from Tanya van Hasselt.

It puts under the microscope several homes, several affluent outwardly successful  homes,  where the family members within them, parents and children, can become strangers.

This is the second novel about Wharton, the first being All Desires Known.

Wharton is a typical English town, famed for its public school and the fact that it attracts people hungering for the middle class values that the town projects.

However, all might not be what it seems. Families within Wharton have their own, hidden problems, desires and fears.

Hidden homosexuality, a mother who is willing to risk everything, her marriage and the future happiness of her own children, people with dark secrets that they feel unable to reveal to anyone, a small boy who can't or won't speak.

There is also a hidden problem of severe bullying. But when a girl who is a victim of such bullying attempts to kill herself, everyone in Wharton is forced to take stock of who they are and what they have become and to explore the possibility that perhaps even they might bear some responsibility for the sad plight that the girl had found herself in.

This is an extremely well-written and utterly compelling and beguiling novel.

It is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought at the That's Books Bookshop

The Road to East India

The Road to East India, a Diary of a Journey of a Lifetime, is a book by Devika A. Rosamund.

It was written during Devika's journey, alone, in 1976, when she was just 22 years of age.

Her journey began in England when she left home and arrived in Amsterdam in 1975. She worked hard for several months and saved her money for the beginning of her epic solo journey.

She boarded the once famed "Magic Bus" to Iran, continuing her journey through Afghanistan and Pakistan until she arrived at her destination, India.

Once in India she travelled extensively.

Devika points out that the journey she took would be utterly impossible today due to the changes that have taken place in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The diary is a very well-written, intelligent and witty account of her travels.

It contains some interesting and illuminating comments on Mother Teresa, how she smuggled cloves into Sri Lanka to make some money, a song that she wrote about Sri Lanka, how she found an Ashram where she was able to learn about meditation at the feet of a spiritual master.

She reports that she met much kindness on her journey and made friends wherever she travelled.

Although the book is well worth buying its sparse images, plus a lack of any colour images is somewhat puzzling.

The book is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought at the That's Books bookshop at

The Keeper of Portals

The Keeper of Portals is a new fantasy novel that uses the concept of a time-slip to provide a highly entertaining story from author V S Nelson.

Martin and his mother are mourning the death of Martin's father and they move inot a gigantic stately home.

Within this stately home they have an encounter with a being who is described as the Keeper of Portals.

He claims that he is the keeper of every portal throughout the entire world. With the exception of one portal, a doorway at the end of Martin's bedroom. A doorway that has been sealed shut for 400 years.

However, when Martin awakes on one subsequent morning he discovers that the door has mysteriously become open and that the Keeper of Portals has vanished.

Marin decides that he will walk through the doorway and immediately meets up with Isabel who is a maid of the house, 400 years ago in the past!

The discover that everything on earth is under the control of a keeper.

They find two keepers who were imprisoned and they find that they now have the ability to travel between different doorways and change their time.

They inadvertently become involved in a fight between two very powerful adversaries, the Keeper of Questions and the master of the house.

But when things from the 21st century begin to intrude into the 17th century, they realise that something has gone wrong with time. And they must confront the Keeper of Questions. Can they defy the Keeper of Questions? Or, like everyone else, will they become prey to his control?

The book takes the reader headfirst into an exciting fantasy world that continues at a breakneck pace right through to the stunning conclusion.

It is published by Matador at £7.99 and although it is aimed at teenage fantasy fans, I feel it is probably going to be a bit of a hit with adults, too.

You can buy it at the That's Books bookshop, here

Samson the Super Dog

Samson the Super Dog, Dogs on Duty, is a remarkable book by life saving expert and author Sarah E. Webster, who is also responsible for the colourful and utterly enchanting illustrations.

It tells the story of Samson who learns all there is to know about water safety. In fact he learns so much that he became a canine lifeguard.

He worked as a lifeguard. keeping a watchful, careful eye on the tourists who visited the Cornish resort where he lived and worked.

But one day the area is beset with a terrible, raging storm. Someone is in trouble! Can Samson save the day? Can he save the day?

Read it and find out!

This book is the first in a new series of stories about "Dogs on Duty" that is published by The Book Guild.

It is aimed at Children and is a great book to help teach children about beach and water safety and costs £7.99. It is available to purchase at the That's Books Bookshop at

Incidentally the character of Samson is based on a real canine rescue hero call Bilbo, who is a genuine Cornish lifeguard dog. You can learn more about Bilbo at

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Family Concerns

Family Concerns is the third book in the An Eccentric in Lucca Books, by Stuart Fifield.

In Family concerns we once again meet the Contessa.

She is working hard to prepare the Group for what is to be their next concert to raise funds.

She is in a nostalgic mood, but is troubled by the behaviour of her maid who is still irascible and her pet dog who is still, unfortunately, of a somewhat vindictive turn of canine mind.

The Contessa is also starting to feel the influences of old age creeping upon her, which does nothing to help her state of mind.

However by way of compensation the concert is a joint enterprise with Banda Inghiltalia and the conductor is to be the incredibly handsome Arthur Crowe.

With he sion Luigi she sets out on a project to improve and expand the premises of the hospice which was created in memory of her late husband.

Somehow, despite all of her commitments the Contessa finds the time to take a young Scottish couple under her wing. They have arrived in Lucca determined to launch a new shop. But the wise old Contessa is not convinced that any good can come of their enterprise. After all, she muses, what is the point of opening a shop if nobody in the vicinity would want to patronise the premises and make purchases from their stocks?

However, all is not well with the group. Brushes with the law, the nuisance of a midlife crisis and unexpected and unpleasant surprises are rife.

To complicate matters there has been yet another murder (the fourth) and Inspector Conti still seems no closer to finding a solution to any of these homicides.

Published by The Book Guild this book (and others in the series) should be available from The That's Books Bookshop, which you will find her

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