RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • David and the Philistine Woman
    Paul Boorstin
    A powerful and inspirational novel that remains faithful to the spirit of the Biblical original, yet reads like a thriller. ~ Jim Calio, The Huffington Post

  • David and the Philistine Woman
    Paul Boorstin
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/author-paul-boorstin-gives-a-startling-new-twist-to_us_59164b81e4b0bd90f8e6a557 ~ Jim Calio, The Huffington Post

  • That They Might Lovely Be
    David Matthews
    David Matthews’ excellent first novel is about love unknown, about sin and its consequences, about grief and even about redemption. Although there is war, suicide, loneliness and despair, it is a deeply hopeful novel.
    The story is romantic but is far more than just a romance. The mute son of the schoolmaster, who may or may not really be the illegitimate son of his spinster daughter, is at the heart of the novel. His character develops as he discovers speech, grows and eventually is able to form a mature relationship; escaping from the claustrophobic family home and seeing his first adopted refuge destroyed by war.
    This is a very good read. The dialogue is particularly well written and realistic, the era is evoked perfectly and without artificial information being used to prop up the action. The perfect material for a film or mini-series, That They Might Lovely Be is a delight to read. ~ Fr Richard Peers, blogger, Director of Education in the Anglican diocese of Liverpool

  • Little Wagons, The
    Crozier Green
    5/5 Stars
    This an excellent story of the mafia in Sicily in the nineteenth century. Taking you from the sulfur mines, to prisons, and the life in the village and the men who control the jobs. There are celebrations, payoffs, back stabbing, knife fights, and prison breaks. There is also a love story but she does not want to marry the man her father picked for her so he sent him to prison. The daughter Gabriela is the cause for much turmoil, but the story really follows the life of young pick-man Tommaso. Through his life you follow his hardships, and defeats. Until a day that he is chosen to kill one of the hogs for the celebration in the village. Then after witnessing a knife fight he must not only defend his life but also Gabriela’s. Both of these happening on the same day you begin to see a change and that is also when his life turns, and the power of the Gabriela’s father has him sent to prison on a lie, not knowing this until after he is at the prison. A very good story and all of the questions you have at the beginning are answered at the end with a few surprises. The characters are well developed and overall this is a very good story with a lot of detail. ~ Pat Lorelli, NetGalley

  • That They Might Lovely Be
    David Matthews
    David Matthews’ That They Might Lovely Be takes its title from the hymn My Song is Love Unknown by the seventeenth century hymn writer Samuel Crossman. But it takes more than just a title because this excellent first novel is also about love unknown, about sin and its consequences, about grief and even about redemption. Although there is war (the novel is set in rural Britain in the twin times of the 1920s and 1940s), suicide, loneliness and despair, it is a deeply hopeful novel. The setting is imbued with that fin de siècle sense of the passing of one age and the dawning of another including a degree of class conflict and the end of old moral certainties as well as the desperate desire to try and continue what has come to an end.
    The story is romantic but is far more than just a romance. The mute son of the schoolmaster - who may or may not really be the illegitimate son of his spinster daughter - is at the heart of the novel. The mystery of his origin and the projection onto that mystery of the hopes and fears of others provide part of the dramatic movement but more crucial is the development of his character as he discovers speech, grows and eventually is able to form a mature relationship; escaping from the claustrophobic family home and seeing his first adopted refuge destroyed by war.
    This is a very good read. The dialogue is particularly well written and realistic, the era is evoked perfectly and without artificial information being used to prop up the action. It might seem unkind to describe the book as perfect material for a film or mini-series because it works so well as a novel. A delight to read. ~ Fr Richard Peers

  • That They Might Lovely Be
    David Matthews
    The action of the book is framed very pleasingly by the two wars. I really liked the reverse structure and the way it gives up the characters' secrets and the central mystery of the vexed parentage of Bertie slowly and gradually. The reader has to work quite hard in the opening chapters to fix the characters and fill in what is unsaid. But that is as it should be and is one of the book's chief pleasures. I thought David Matthews got the women just right and there were so many memorable scenes. He caught the period very convincingly and without any obvious set-dressing. The dialogue felt true to its time but natural - there wasn't a false note anywhere. I'm not sure how David Matthews managed to pull off the unlikeliest romance imaginable and somehow make it joyful and honest but it was a great relief after the dysfunction and repression depicted throughout. He has managed the trickiest of doubles - a literary page-turner with a heart and a brain. ~ Clare Chambers, author of In a Good Light, The Editor's Wife

  • That They Might Lovely Be
    David Matthews
    Although the title is taken from the well known hymn “My Song is Love Unknown”, at first glance, this does not appear to be a love story. Nor does it, or indeed is it, in spite of the title, a particularly religious work. Rather, because of the intrigue and retrospective timeline, it is more of a mystery.

    The story begins dramatically with a World War II plane crashing into and destroying a house with the possibility of the occupants being killed. But that is not the peak of the situation, rather the bland reaction to the news of Delia and her father to the possible loss of Anstace and Bertie.

    Bertie is Delia’s much younger brother, or possibly her own child, raised by her parents to avoid scandal, that is part of the mystery, together with why Bertie, a mute, spontaneously one Easter began to sing the eponymous hymn.

    The story gently takes the reader back through time to gradually reveal the events that led to the present situation and there is very little second guessing as to how these intriguing circumstances came about.

    The writing switches quite seamlessly from the usual third person narrative, to intriguing letters, where one has to read between the lines to follow the story. Then again, we are treated to an eavesdropping style of chatter, where it is necessary to draw conclusions from the local gossip.

    Although the story is surprisingly dark in places, it is nevertheless a sparkling read, with carefully observed situations that fit well their timeline and location. Each of the characters is skilfully drawn and, while at first it would seem hard to understand the motivation of a few of the main protagonist s, all is eventually revealed and no loose ends are left dangling in respect of their behaviour.

    Overall, a satisfying and captivating book, that paints a realistic picture of life during two world wars and the aftermath that such conflicts can cause to any person caught up in hostilities not of their making. ~ Eliza Jones, former editor Newslink Magazine

  • Farmhouse in the Rain, A
    Joe Kilgore
    A Farmhouse in the Rain, by Joe Kilgore, is unquestionably a five star piece of writing. A story about dreams, aspirations, love, war, unbroken romance and the darker side of human vengeance and cowardly and debased criminality. It is a novel that has it all – appealing to the human spirit on every level. The story is character-driven, while thematically holding the reader to the very last page. The quality of the writing is excellent and shows that the author not only commands the English language, but has a flair for metaphors and descriptive allegory. In spite of the fact that the first half of the story takes place during the later-part of World War II, it is not a grim or violent read – but rather, the story of several young men, each from different worlds, who come together under the hand of war, who survive by their wits and who find themselves leaving the war zone with a horrible and haunting secret. From there, the author does a wonderful job of showing how, in the post-war years, they fare in life and love, and how, by the most unpredictable of circumstances, their paths cross once again. A few lines are worthy of mention here, because they show the color and depth of the prose the author uses throughout the story.

    Highly recommended. A taunting and compelling read that will remind you that people are connected in ways which are not entirely explicable – and possibly that love is the most powerful force in the world. ~ International Writers Inspiring Change, https://writersinspiringchange.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/iwic-book-review-of-a-farmhouse-in-the-rain-by-joe-kilgore/

  • Little Wagons, The
    Crozier Green
    "The Little Wagons: The Traumatic Birth of Sicily's Cosa Nostra" is a fictional novel in which author Crozier Green deftly captures the turmoil of late nineteenth-century Sicily, when the reverse alchemy of greed and violence forever changed the emerging Cosa Nostra from benevolent organization dedicated to protecting the popular from foreign invasion and oppression, into corrupted Mafia that enriched its members through extortion, murder, and all manner of crime. The horrors of slavery and oppression forged revolutions and rebels in equal measure, and within this cornucopia of nepotism and brutality, hostility and passion are pitted against endemic hegemony. With protagonists as fiery as Mount Etna itself, and equally unpredictable, "The Little Wagons" shows how poverty and despair become the omnipotent catalysts of vengeful change. With an impressive attention to historical accuracy in detail and background, "The Little Wagons" is a consistently compelling read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Little Wagons" is also available in a Kindle format. ~ Midwest Book Review

  • No Safe Anchorage
    Liz MacRae Shaw
    Liz MacRae Shaw can spin a yarn like few others.'No Safe Anchorage' is the sort of book you look forward to returning to. The historic frame is graphic and memorable. The frightening collapse of the young Robert Louis Stevenson on a remote Hebridean island at the start of the book, Tom's dramatic encounter with the fisher lassies and his quarrel with his fierce but admirable sister Emma set the scene for the sweeping adventure to follow. This adventure takes him from the Hebrides to Canada. Along the way Tom meets and makes relationships, good and bad with a wide span of characters. ~ Jenny Salaman Manson, editor and author

  • No Safe Anchorage
    Liz MacRae Shaw
    'No Safe Anchorage' is a great second novel by Liz MacRae Shaw. Set in the mid-nineteenth century in and around the Isle of Skye, and moving on to Canada, we follow the life of a naval officer, Tom Masters, a square peg in a round hole. His childhood experiences, slowly revealed, loss of a close friend and awakening sexuality make for a very strong central character. Neatly woven in is part of the life of Robert Louis Stevenson who might be described as a similarly round peg within his lighthouse building family. ~ Linda Henderson, author and editor

  • No Safe Anchorage
    Liz MacRae Shaw
    An evocative and fast-moving tale set in Skye and the West Highlands before moving to Canada, 'No Safe Anchorage', like its title, swirls with danger. It invokes the spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson whose childhood it portrays. With its sharp use of dialogue and tight, concise description, it also conjures up that writer in other ways, creating an adventure story that is as breathless and exciting as some of that nineteenth century novelist's work. ~ Donald S Murray

  • Little Wagons, The
    Crozier Green
    5/5Stars

    The Little Wagons is The Traumatic Birth of Sicily's Cosa Nostra in short, the Sicilian Mafia. Little wagons or carusi, mean the children that were sold by their parents to work in the sulphur mines. They collect and carry the sulphur back to the surface. They are the human rock-transporters.

    [The Book] exhaustingly narrated how the what we now know as the infamous Italian mafia started -its very roots. It somehow made me understand the workings of the brotherhood as it was originally purported to be. Supposedly, it was created to promote equality and brotherhood. There is strength in brotherhood but alliances and loyalties could easily change. It is as volatile as burning sulphur. It could easily shift and turn just as fast as emptying a cup of beer. How to put equality in the picture, when you think about the mafia is a totally bizarre idea. This story will tell you what started as a very noble idea became twisted and equality was erased out of the equation. How the brotherhood catered and served only its elite members and how power was abused to its very core.

    This is a very well-written story. It was written in a very convincing and authentic way. Crozier Green is a master story-teller. His words were not flowery or to flamboyant but they carry the weight of their meaning. There was no fear of misunderstanding them. I don't know how else to describe this book but I was taken in and resistance was futile. It took no prisoners.

    ~ Gurlay Garcia, I Am Not A Bookworm!

  • Farmhouse in the Rain, A
    Joe Kilgore
    A Farmhouse in the Rain" by Joe Kilgore is a deftly crafted novel of war and peace, crime and punishment, love and loss, and eventually hope. It's a saga of three American soldiers and the women they love before, during, and after World War II. During the war, the three are given shelter by a French woman. The next morning she is found dead and the trio realize they were the only ones in the house. While the three survive the war, the questions remain: Who will survive the peace? Who will unite with the love they left behind? And who will be unmasked as the murderer on that fateful farmhouse night at. "A Farmhouse In The Rain" is a consistently compelling page-turner of a read and highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections. "A Farmhouse In The Rain" is also available in a Kindle format ($6.15).

    ~ , Midwest Book Review

  • David and the Philistine Woman
    Paul Boorstin
    With vibrant color, Paul Boorstin paints a wholly new portrait of one of the Bible's most enigmatic figures. David and the Philistine Woman is a welcome addition to the rich tradition of Jewish historical fiction. ~ Emily K. Alhadeff, editor of Jewish in Seattle Magazine

  • David and the Philistine Woman
    Paul Boorstin
    King David is revered by more than half the population of the planet, yet he has never been more real and knowable than he is in Boorstin's breathtaking novel. Here the man God called "Beloved" is utterly, unforgettably human. I couldn't put this book down. ~ Reza Aslan, author of #1 New York Times bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and executive producer/host of CNN's Believer

  • David and the Philistine Woman
    Paul Boorstin
    Both a wise reading and a wild reimagining of the Bible's most fascinating personalities and most memorable single clash. Philistines and Israelites, their gods and loves and struggles, spring to dramatic life in David and the Philistine Woman. ~ David Wolpe, America's Most Influential Rabbi, Newsweek Magazine

  • David and the Philistine Woman
    Paul Boorstin
    Paul Boorstin's David and the Philistine Woman is an exciting rendering of the Biblical story with compelling relevance for today. The dialogue sparkles with wit, and the ingeniously constructed plot leads to an unexpected and inspiring climax. ~ Joseph Schraibman, Professor of Jewish Studies, Washington University in St. Louis

  • David and the Philistine Woman
    Paul Boorstin
    A stunning expansion of the Biblical tale of David. Boorstin vividly imagines an archaic world of ritual, intrigue and sacrifice. The writing is so gripping and intense you can smell the ancient cities of Gath and Gibeah. ~ Stephen Kitsakos, author of The Accidental Pilgrim

  • David and the Philistine Woman
    Paul Boorstin
    A page-turning, action-filled novel that is both harrowing and fulfilling. Boorstin's poetic prose reimagines a world so long ago it might as well be mythical, but which resonates with eternal human truths. ~ Mary F. Burns, author of Isaac and Ishmael

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