Chosen Child by Linda Huber

Chosen Child is Linda Huber’s fourth novel. The previous three, like Chosen Child, are psychological thrillers: The Paradise Trees (2013), The Cold Cold Sea  (2014) and The Attic Room (2015)

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Ella dreams of having a child to love and care for; to do the usual family things that most take for granted.When she and husband Rick become ‘panel-approved to adopt’ they are invited to go to an adoption party which provides an afternoon full of fun and games for the children and a chance for prospective adoptive parents to choose a child.

Ella is enthusiastic but Rick is not so keen. He does not like the idea of picking a child. Any child will do…as long as it is a boy…and as long as he has no disabilities, he says.

As the afternoon progresses, Rick becomes increasingly difficult and Ella is exasperated with him for spoiling the day. When Ella sees six-year-old Soraya she feels an immediate connection. This is the child that she wants.

As Rick becomes ambivalent about the adoption of Soraya, Ella ignores the cracks in her marriage and attempts to keep the peace until the adoption of Soraya is finalised and they become a complete family.

Meanwhile, Amanda, mother of 14-month-old Jaden is caught in a stagnant marriage to Gareth and has a lover, James. Whereas Gareth is often grumpy, James is funny and clever. They meet whenever they can in his small flat and occasionally at her marital home in St. Ives. When Amanda discovers she is pregnant she has no idea whose baby it is – husband Gareth or lover James.

Amanda and James could not have predicted what the future would hold when they embarked on their frivolous affair. Both were in search of some excitement and escapism from the boring humdrum of life rather than meeting because they had fallen in love. One day an unpredictable and devastating event occurs which has far reaching consequences for both Amanda and James changing their lives irrevocably. This, in turn, threatens Ella’s future with Soraya.

I found all the characters realistic, from Ella’s desire to keep the peace with a difficult husband so as not to jeopardise her chances of achieving her dream of adopting a child, to Amanda and James’ desire for some fun to make life a little more interesting. Rick’s uncooperative and moody personality was an authentic portrayal of an unhappy man with a lot of problems on his mind.

This is another page turning novel from Linda Huber. She is excellent at keeping the tension throughout, compelling you to keep reading. Chosen Child is a story which challenges the morality of human nature and how erroneous choices made under pressure determine future outcomes; how sometimes people just get swept away in the wreckage before having a chance to make sensible decisions. 

IMG_0733 Linda, born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland now lives with her family in Arbon, Switzerland. She originally trained as a physiotherapist and came into contact with neurological patients and handicapped children which have given her an insight into the coping mechanisms people use when faced with difficult situations.

You can follow Linda on Twitter: @LindaHuber19

You can read a full review of The Attic Room here

 

Where the River Parts by Radhika Swarup

Set in 1947 during the period of the Partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, Where the River Parts is a story of love and separation; of shattered dreams. It tells of the pain and suffering endured by those who had to escape from their homeland, with very few possessions, and make a new life in unfamiliar territory.

When the British agreed to give India independence the Hindu and Muslim communities could not agree to form a united India and so the country was separated into two states: The Northern part, which was predominantly Muslim became Pakistan and the Southern, Hindu dominated region, became the Republic of India.

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Seventeen year old Asha is Hindu. Firoze, the brother of Asha’s best friend Nargis, is Muslim. They have lived as neighbours, in peace, for many years and the two families are good friends. Asha and Firoze fall in love and embark on a relationship which Asha, in the naivety of youth, believes will be accepted by both families despite their different religious backgrounds. Asha states simply that:

“We like each other. Our families like each other. I don’t see what the problem is.”

As many in their situation have experienced, life is never that straightforward. 

As Partition approaches the violence escalates and, despite the reluctance of Asha’s father, the family is forced to leave their home and go to Delhi when Asha is put at risk. Firoze remains in the newly formed Pakistan. Asha and Firoze say goodbye with the belief that they will be reunited  to marry when the troubles settle. Asha has a secret that even Firoze has no knowledge of when she sets off on her journey to Delhi.

The tension between the two countries continues and Asha and Firoze are forced to rebuild their lives without each other. It is fifty years later when they meet again, in New York. Asha’s granddaughter wishes to marry a Pakistani and through this union Asha and Firoze are reunited. However, underlying prejudices resurface and the horrors of the Partition are remembered, creating challenges for all involved.

The fleeing of refugees is topical due to the crisis in Syria, with thousands upon thousands forced to leave everything behind and seek a new life where there is peace. Although Where the River Parts is set in a different location and time period the essence is the same: That overwhelming sense of survival which forces families to leave everything behind in pursuit of safety.

The first few pages give an indication of what the reader can expect from this moving story.

Was that the sound of gunfire? A boy stepped on a twig, and all turned towards the night – was this them, was this the Muslin butchers?”

Their fear at every noise, their fear of being discovered before crossing to safety, is palpable. The story is told mostly through the eyes of Asha, and Radhika has captured well the challenges and sacrifices the young girl has made through the Partition of India. As a third generation migrant from Pakistan Radhika has personal knowledge of the complex backgrounds of both the Pakistani and Indian cultures and these have been beautifully expressed during the novel.

The story reflects the reality of how prejudices and memories of horrors experienced during such brutal conflicts survive generations, and how the strength of culture and background often override the forces of love. If two people of different religions choose to remain together against their family’s wishes it is not uncommon for parents to disown a child – such is the depth of feeling.

How do Asha’s family deal with her granddaughter’s wish to marry a Muslim? You will need to read the book to find out.  Happy reading!

I wish Radhika lots of success with the book and thank Keara at Sandstone Press for the review copy.

Where the River Parts is published by Sandstone Press 

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Radhika was born in India and spent her childhood in many different countries providing her with plenty of experiences for her writing. She has published many articles and short stories and currently writes for the Huffington Post.

You can follow Radhika on Twitter: @rdswarup

Which camp are you in?

So scientists have finally detected Gravitational Waves. They took their time as Einstein proposed the theory over a hundred years ago – but they got there in the end.

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Einstein knew years ago! Image courtesy of Pixabay

Most of us (I assume – unless I am particularly dense…which is very possible) have no idea what Gravitational Waves are, despite the experts doing their utmost with explanations such as ‘ripples in the fabric of space-time’.  What on earth (or space…or time) does that mean?

The answer I suppose is that we don’t really have to understand the full meaning of scientific discoveries. What they do tell us, however, is that there is a world out there, beyond our comprehension which occasionally leaks little clues to prevent us from becoming complacent about the world we live in.

It gives us food for thought; raises questions about the world around us; encourages to seek explanations for the overarching term ‘nature’.

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Complexity of our bodies – Image courtesy of Pixabay

Take us for example. Science has come a long way in the understanding of how the mind and body work but there is still so much we don’t know. Every second our bodies carry out millions of processes: physical, chemical, mental – many of which are performed by the autonomic nervous system. It keeps us breathing and functioning without us having to do a thing. How amazing is that! As Deepak Chopra voiced in one of his books, if we were left in charge of our bodies we would die very quickly, so complex are the processes taking place.

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We are not alone! Image courtesy of Pixabay

So even when we know and understand that the autonomic nervous system is doing such a wonderful job, we rarely question the driving force behind it. What allows our bodies to work without our input? Nature of course, we reply. So, what is nature? Who or what is controlling our bodies; the planet; the universe? It is natural to question our existence and try to discover ‘what makes the world go round’ but sometimes we think we have the answer only to realise that the answer is incomplete.

Most of us fall into one of two camps when choosing to question our existence and the universe about us: Some take the spiritual path and some take the scientific route.  The goal is the same, whether trying to find Gravitational Waves or discover if reincarnation exists.

The truth revealed by taking the spiritual path is found by personal discovery. It uses techniques such as meditation to give experiential knowledge of things that, in the everyday life, are not evident: Are we the only life forms in our universe? Is there life after death? Can we leave our bodies and perform astral travel? Where is our consciousness while our bodies are being minded so efficiently by the autonomic nervous system?

 The only drawback of this method is that, whatever is discovered, cannot be conveyed to others. It is restricted to ‘your eyes only’. If you were lucky enough to discover one of these answers you may tell your family and friends (many educated, sane and normal people do) in the hope of helping them to understand the nature of their existence.

‘I left my body and visited Aunty Mary in Australia yesterday,’ you say. ‘Learn to meditate and you’ll be able to astral travel too!’

Yeah right! You can image how well that would go down!

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Science, the conventional route – Image courtesy of Pixabay

The scientific route, however, carries credibility. It seeks its truth through using instruments of the physical world. It produces results for all to see. (That said, I believe that Gravitational Waves exist only because a group of scientists say so. They could easily all be in on a scam).

I do understand that scientists have to work with the proven and I also believe that things should not be accepted on blind faith. However, this does not mean that the spiritual path is any less valid just because individual experiences cannot be shared.

There are so many mysteries to our universe and more and more are unfolding all the time and I believe that any investigation into the truth of our existence, whether scientific or spiritual, will lead to the same place.

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Conventional method of transport – Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Unconventional method of transport – Image courtesy of Pixabay


 

 

 

What A Way To Go – By Julia Forster

 

JULIA FORSTER

When Harper was five her parents split up. Dad kept Ivy Cottage in the sleepy village of Hardingstone where ‘people walk without aim, as if the footpaths are covered in treacle’.  Mum got Harper and the Mini. Harper is now on the brink of becoming a teenager. She lives with her mum and spends alternate weekends with her dad.  The two worlds she inhabits are very different.

What a Way to Go is a character driven novel which moves at a good, steady pace. It tells Harper’s story in a moving and sensitive way, packed with humour, wit and insight. References to polka dot clothes, music magazines such as Smash Hits and UCCA forms immerse you in the 1980’s. Julia has done a fantastic job at providing a very entertaining read.

For a full review of What A Way To Go visit the Greenacre Writers site on the link below:

http://greenacrewriters.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/what-way-to-go-by-julia-forster.html

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Image courtesy of Alice Hendy

Julia has been in the publishing industry for many years and has received valuable experience in many fields.  She spent time ploughing through manuscripts at a literary agency in London and was involved in marketing and publicity for the literary magazine New Welsh Review.

You can read more about Julia Forster in Conversation with Greenacre Writers on the link below:

http://greenacrewriters.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/a-conversation-with-julia-forster.html

 

 

 

The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War

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Anna Dahlberg knows little of her early years spent in Germany. Her German mother, Peggy, and American father, Rod, had settled in America after the end of World War 2 while Anna was still very young.

When Anna’s overbearing husband, Lowell, insists she keeps an appointment at the military-history magazine offices that belonged to Lowell’s father she is upset by his insensitivity. It is her deceased mother’s birthday – the first after her death – and Anna wants to spend time looking through her mother’s belongings.  She misses her and feels a heavy burden of guilt that she had not answered her mother’s request to visit just before her death. Her mother rarely asked for anything but Anna had been busy helping Lowell and had put off the visit. Her mother said she had received a visitor and there was something she needed to tell her.

When Anna had arrived that terrible day and found her mother unconscious on the floor there had been a home movie playing on the television. Anna assumed them to be relatives of her German born mother; relatives she had never met. One scene showed three girls picking flowers in a field and Anna had felt it had some connection with her mother’s past.

At the magazine offices Anna meets Hannes Ritter, the new editor, who encourages her to research and write a piece on Eva Braun, the long-time mistress and eventual wife, of Adolf Hitler. As she looks at a photograph of Eva Braun she sees the same face staring at her as the one from a portrait that hung on her parents’ wall for as long as she can remember.

Anna’s journey into the past takes her into the world of Eva Braun and her love for a man who many despised.  It shows a side of Eva Braun that few knew. As secrets are unravelled Anna realises she knows very little about her own mother’s past in Germany under the Third Reich and discovers her mother and Eva shared a special friendship. With the help of Hannes Anna uncovers secrets which have a profound effect on her belief of who she is.

The Munich Girl reflects Phyllis’ interest in people, their relationships and the effects we all have on one another in the decisions we make. Each character reveals different aspects of humanity and gives an insight into the human condition. We see Anna’s distress and sometimes disappointment that her mother had kept secrets from her but also we see through Peggy’s early life in Germany her reasons for making the decisions she did.

Lowell shows that our overwhelming sense of self-preservation leads sometimes to behave in a shameless and thoughtless manner while Hannes displays the good in human nature through his expression of love and kindness. Then there is Eva. A woman who was able to love a man hated by so many.

The Munich Girl is a beautifully written book which weaves history and fiction to give an incredible story. It is an uncomplicated read of a complex situation. It is one of those books that carries you along the journey with the characters while offering an understanding of the intricacies of relationships. A good read and highly recommended.

Phyllis Edgerly Ring has a profound interest in nature and humanity and conveys through writing her intSk20130812-101848erest in the journey we all share on this planet. She gives thoughtful consideration to our evolution through history and the influence others, and the world as a whole, has on each one of us. Her love of inspirational writing has resulted in over 900 articles to prestigious publications such as The World and I, Writer’s Digest and The Christian Science Monitor.

In 2009 Phyllis released a collection of these essays and articles called Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details and in 2015 released her first novel Snow Fence Road.  Inspiration for The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War, released in November 2015, came from a visit to Germany where Phyllis spent some of her childhood years.

I wish Phyllis oodles of success with The Munich Girl and look forward to reading much more of her wonderful writing in the future.

For more information about Phyllis take a look at her website:  http://phyllisedgerlyring.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

Who am I to judge?

“People who judge others tell more about Who They Are, than Who They Judge.”  –  Donald  L. Hicks, Look into the stillness.

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

I decided this year to forego that fruitless tradition of making resolutions as I have a history of breaking them before the Christmas decorations are packed away.  

I chose instead to select an aspect of myself in which I feel ‘needs a bit of working on’. Considering my flaws the choice was not an easy one, trust me, but in the end I plumped for the issue of judgement. I sometimes (well, quite often) have a propensity to make judgements without  understanding the facts.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Over the Christmas period this topic arose in different guises and got me thinking about the subject in general.

Christmas Eve, rushing to get my son to the station and then to the shops before they closed (I’d forgotten the sprouts would you believe!) we were held up in traffic. Everyone was attempting to manoeuvre around a car which had stopped on the main road as though parked. When we eventually passed it I saw that the driver was a young girl on her phone.

‘How inconsiderate,’ I ranted,  ‘she could have at least waited until she reached a side road and pulled in!’ 

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

‘Perhaps she’s broken down mum, and is calling the AA,’ replied my thoughtful son.

Ummm…Oops! Hadn’t thought of that. I saw the telephone and impulsively judged the poor girl. It didn’t really matter on this occasion because the girl had no idea that I had been so accusatory.

the munich girl

Great book – read it and see!

I didn’t give it another thought until a few days later when I was writing a review on The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring (coming soon…watch this space!). The central character,  Anna,  on discovering the truth of her past found it difficult to understand the decisions made by her mother many years before in the aftermath of World War 2.  

Her lack of empathy for the choices her mother made, led me to think about the judgements we make regarding other people’s decisions. We think: How could he/she do this to me? Why wasn’t I told? Why did I get left behind? These thoughts are natural enough when feeling hurt but perhaps we should be asking why those choices were made.  How much suffering did the other person incur from making those choices?

My father, who is 91, was evacuated to Devon from London during the war and was telling our children of his experiences there. I remembered that my mother and her three brothers were kept in London as my grandmother didn’t want to be parted from them. Both choices were made from a place of love.

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

My fathers’ parents loved him and wished him to be safe and my mothers’ parents loved their children and couldn’t be parted from them. As it turned out my father had a reasonably good experience as an evacuee and neither my mother nor her brothers were harmed during the Blitz.

It could have been a very different story. Imagine the anger and resentment that could have been directed towards either set of parents if something dreadful had happened. My father could have been abused in the hands of strangers or a member of my mother’s family killed in the Blitz.

Which prompted me to think again about the subject of judgement. Nobody can anticipate the future. I believe that the majority of people do what they think is best at the time for those they love. We are so wrapped up in our own suffering or well-being that judgement of others without understanding the reasons behind certain actions is all too easy.

So, as well as thinking before I open my mouth assuming the worst of someone,  I will try to respect decisions made by others, even if I don’t agree with them, on the understanding that they are doing the best they can at that time with the information they have.

My Father’s Son by Andy Symonds

 

My Father’s Son

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Nathan is just thirteen when the knock comes at the door which turns his world upside down.  His father, a decorated Navy SEAL has been killed during combat in Afghanistan leaving Nathan, Cheyenne – Nathan’s eight year old sister and their mother Gayle to cope as best they can in the aftermath of his death.

From the first page Nathan captures the attention of the reader:

 “Most people can’t pinpoint an exact moment when their life changed to such an extent that they effectively became a new person. It’s a rare privilege, or great burden, to have cognizant memory of what amounts to a re-birth. For better or worse, I am in that terrifying fraternity.”

Although his father’s team mates, Uncle Spencer, Bull, and LT Hagen do their best to give Nathan (Nate) direction they are absent, away on duty, for long periods of time. Nathan is left to struggle with all the usual problems and distractions of adolescence as well as cope with the loss of the father he usually looked to for guidance.

Because his father died a hero Nathan finds it difficult to live up to the expectations of those around him and feels he is letting everyone down. Living in his father’s shadow puts a lot of pressure on Nate as he moves through adolescence and he is regularly in trouble. He is angry with the world and everyone in it.

Especially when he meets up with the girl he likes,Tammy, who has strong opinions on America’s involvement in the Middle East. She voices the opinions of many who believe the soldiers and sailors should not be in Iraq or Afghanistan. She is against the killing of anyone and so therefore is against war. But as Nate said  “It’s not that simple” as the forces have a job to do in protecting the rights of the country’s citizens. 

Andy Symonds has captured the hopes, disappointments and confusions of a teenage boy dealing with the sudden and violent murder of his father whilst trying to discover his own identity as he matures.

Although a book containing a lot of sadness and pain it is not a depressing read. Throughout, it contains hope; hope that Nathan will pull through the difficult times; hope that he will make his choices, not on what is expected of him, but on what is right for him.  

Beautifully written it gets to the heart of the lives of the families of those working for the Services. It is a book with depth, courageously exploring family relationships in time of terrible tragedy and the long lasting effects it has on the children who are left behind. Frequently angry, Nathan’s relationship with his mother begins to change but he still retains a loving affection and a desire to protect his little sister Chey.

Andy Symonds has also conveyed the additional issues that arise from the death of a family member who is part of the Services. As the lives of Servicemen and their families are intertwined they form a cohesive unit and each time a member of that unit is killed in service it affects all the other families. Death, especially where the Forces are deployed to places like Afghanistan, is a regular occurrence and each new death brings fresh pain to everyone, opening wounds that have yet to heal.

It is a book that needed to be written and should be read, whether you believe in war or not.

 

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Andy Symonds is an award-winning journalist based in the Washington, D.C. area. His father is a thirty-three year veteran of the U.S. Navy, and he grew up on military bases throughout the world.

You can follow Andy on Twitter: @fatherssonbook

 

Ego – Good or Bad?

I recently read an article in a magazine that gave tips on how to “free yourself from your ego” and offered help in “getting rid of the ego” and it struck me that the ego often gets unfair press.

It is often mentioned in a derogatory way, linked to vanity, self-importance and arrogance. One definition I found described it as “an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others”.

There is no doubt that most of us dislike arrogant people who think they are better than others (even when they are crap at what they’re doing but think they’re great at it!) – especially when the arrogant person is trying to make himself feel superior by making another feel inferior. But do these negative qualities reflect the ego accurately or are there positive aspects to the ego?

I came across a lovely little story which I thought contained a lot of truth but still had the ego on the bad side.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one that you feed.”

So I thought I would investigate the much maligned ego before I bashed it over the head with a hammer and obliterate it altogether.

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

In Greek, Ɛƴω (ego) means ‘I’. Simply put, the ego is who we are. All of our experiences, past and present, have an effect on who we are. The ego is our thoughts, emotions, reactions, memories…in fact everything that makes you ‘you’. It is the subconscious mind.

Looking at it like this, if we got rid of ego who would we be?

I discovered that we have a good ego and a bad ego – those two little voices in our head which give us conflicting advice. The one tells us we can’t carry out a particular task because it is afraid of failing while the other tries to encourage us by convincing us we will succeed. Even the most confident of people are beset by doubts when something they are doing is of importance. The little voice in my head is constantly nagging: do this, don’t do that. It drives a me crazy, but without it I probably would not do anything.

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Now in order to feel worthy and have a good self-image and make the best of our life we need encouragement…and that comes from our ego. It’s our ego that drives us to do good things, to achieve our full potential, so it would be counter-productive to kill it without considerable thought.

It seems to me the key to dealing with the ego is to keep it in balance. Respect it. Question it if you feel it is not doing you good service. The ego is not the enemy it is who you are. Just be careful that it doesn’t trick you into thinking that you are either better than you are or worse than you are.

So I thought rather than attempting to slay the ego I would be more careful what I feed it! No more titbits of superiority because I’ve answered a few more questions than everyone else at Quiz night (not usually the case, but it’s an example) or gloating because it only takes me 5 minutes to complete a Sudoku (not true either but you get the gist!!).

 

 

 

The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain

Head over heels in love with the enigmatic Giles Worthington, Lizzie Dixon feels that this year her birthday will be a special one. Giles has sent her for a day of pampering at an exclusive spa and she is expecting a marriage proposal at dinner.

Instead, Giles informs her that he is going to marry Natasha – the woman he jilted prior to meeting Lizzie – and so their relationship is over. While Lizzie was at the spa Giles had sneakily moved out of the penthouse flat they shared.

With her job in the same company as Giles under threat Lizzie resigns and, feeling emotionally vulnerable, returns to her home town of Wynbridge, humiliated and nursing a broken heart.

Best friend Jemma and husband Tom are soon to launch their new venture, The Cherry Tree Café, and offer Lizzie a place to stay in the flat above. Rediscovering her passion for sewing – and herself along the way – Lizzie begins to get her life back on track and realises just how much she had changed to accommodate Giles.

And then there is Ben…

Mystery shrouds the circumstances in which Ben, too, has returned to Wynbridge after a failed relationship. Lizzie finds the crush she had for Ben as a teenager reigniting and there is also another man clamouring for her attention. Lizzie, desperate to find love again, is not sure whether she can she trust either.

Written in first person the story takes you on the journey with Lizzie as she struggles to reclaim her life, on her own terms, after her ill-fated relationship with Giles. Sometimes her capricious nature can be frustrating but there is always that desire to see her fulfil her ambitions and find love.

It is a contemporary love story that has all the heady mix of love and friendship, lies, betrayal and forgiveness. One of the commendable things about Heidi’s writing is the ease with which the story carries you along. It is like a good conversation between friends, flowing seamlessly from one chapter to the next,  and before you realise it you have been reading for much longer than you thought.

For those who enjoy romantic fiction The Cherry Tree Café will not disappoint. Curl up on the sofa – nice and warm with a hot drink – and indulge yourself this winter!

The Cherry Tree Cafe was published by Simon and Schuster in July 2015

You can follow Heidi on Twitter: @Heidi_Swain

You can follow Heidi on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WriterHeidiJoSwain?ref=hl

IMG_20151017_141953_kindlephoto-76121270 (1)Heidi Swain lives with her  family in Norfolk. She has always had a passion for writing and has been scribbling away from a very young age. Heidi has a degree in Literature but it was only when she joined the RNA New Writers’ Scheme and submitted her manuscript for The Cherry Tree Cafe that her debut novel was recognised and published. I wish Heidi every success for The Cherry Tree Cafe and all her future writing – of which I think there will be plenty!

The Law of Reflection

“The more a characteristic in someone else bothers you the more your soul is trying to draw a reflection to your attention.”  - A Little Light on the Spiritual Laws by Diana Cooper.

I have read this Law many times and had always failed to see the logic in this premise. How can a characteristic that annoys me be reflecting back an aspect of my own personality?  The reason it irritates me is because I don’t behave in that way – at least I didn’t think I did.

What is it that piques you most?

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Do grumpy people irritate you? Are you just a little bit more grumpy than you think? Picture courtesy of Pixabay

On reflection (no pun intended) I realise that I am increasingly irritated by those who are so strongly opinionated that they refuse to listen to anyone else’s views. On the radio and TV everyone talks over each other, determined to assert themselves. The ego demanding to be heard because of ’the need to be right‘.

Our opinions are formed by our life experiences and no two people see things in the same way. Some have privileged lives and others have difficult lives. Even those who share common experiences view them differently, so how can our perspective be the same? Yet often this is not taken into consideration. How often do we take the time to listen to others and try to understand why they believe what they do?

The ossification of our ideas leave us as brittle as our old bones; and as inflexible. We can become hard and uncaring, discarding any form of compassion. I heard someone talking in a café the other day about those fleeing Syria. The woman was adamant that ‘those people are just leaving to have a better life on benefits’.  This was her opinion (and that of many) and she would not shift from this view. I’m sure, if asked, many of those fleeing would provide a different perspective.

Many of those escaping war ravaged countries know the risks when they leave but are trying to keep their children and families safe. It is desperation that drives them to take their families on a dodgy boat, or trudge miles across land, leaving behind everything they own. I’m sure some are economic migrants but I’m sure most aren’t (my opinion for what it’s worth!) How does it reach the stage where, after seeing a few programmes on TV about benefit cheats and migrants sponging off the state, that our opinions become so entrenched that we lose our humanity?

I’m ashamed to admit that I can finally see the logic behind the Law of Reflection because –  and I’m reluctant to admit it – I do exactly the same as the people who annoy me. I often have strong views and am not shy to express them. I have even been know to talk over others and interrupt (yes it’s true!).

thoughts-101033_1280We have all been blessed with the gift of thought and our thoughts are free. We have the opportunity to change them at any time. I will use this Law to change my way of thinking by ensuring that my opinions, which can be very forthcoming after a glass or two of wine (culminating in full eruption after three) are not forced on others. I will  shut my mouth and open my ears and ask myself: Do I really believe this or do I need to re-evaluate the judgements I’ve held close for so long?…And then I’ll give my opinion!