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Friday, 28 June 2013

Books, and the day I couldn't put one down,...

You know I love reading. Crime, chick lit, historical novels, non fiction, biographies , young adult fiction, picture books.I'm a voracious reader of books and I'm even writing one.

I have my favourite authors of course ...but I'm willing to read anything, which transports me to a different world, which engages me, which makes me laugh, cry or think.

I'm lucky enough to be part of a group of children's writers, which meets every fortnight....once a month we meet for lunch....we all read a children's book and critique it. It's all very's not a bitchfest where we pull a novel apart ...unless it is really dire! No, we begin with a drink (coffee, tea or a cold drink), we all bring a dish for lunch, a salad perhaps , a pasta dish, some chicken ...who's all very ad hoc. We eat, chat, talk about the publishing world in general...and then we discuss the book in question....over coffee.

Last week it was here at my place....and the sun was actually shining, so a very rare event in the garden........

left to right...Alex Gutteridge, Pippa Goodhart, Sue Hague (who's an illustrator and Debbie White I love this photo of the giggles....

The other meeting per month is a workshop. We all bring something we want advice may be the merest germination of an idea, it may be a  chapter or a synopsis we're not sure about...but we all pitch in with our ideas and comments. I have to say this is a lovely, cohesive, supportive group  which means so much to all of us, and it's a prolific group too with well over a hundred novels and picture books published by everyone.

So it's especially good to attend a book launch...when it's one of  "ours". A few weeks ago, it was the launch of "Last Chance Angel" by Alex Gutteridge at the Reading shop in Oadby, and our group were out in force.

Left to right: Rose Griffiths, Debbie White, Alex Gutteridge, Me, Ros Adam and Josephine Feeney

As well a wine and canapé delicious, there was a beautiful, and I mean beautifully stunning cake, which exactly matched the cover of the book.

So, a little break for cake, and then another group photo...but our group is not complete...the outstandingly talented and creative Pippa Goodhart was unable to be with us.

 And yes, we're all holding the copies of the book which we bought...and it was particularly gratifying for  us all to get a mention in Alex's speech...

It's one thing listening to the germ of an idea, to hear a chapter in isolation and comment on what we like, what we don't or make suggestions for another way of expressing something. But to read the finished novel is a completely different matter entirely.

So what did I think to the book?  Honestly? And I am going to be honest's an engaging and gratifying read.

Teenager Jess has an accident and lies in a coma in hospital but Darren, the somewhat tatchy Angel of Death, has accidently given Jess the kiss of death a few days too early.

Jess manages to persuade Darren (after all it was his fault ) to let her live those days back in the real world until she has to go up to heaven...but the thing is, she must remain  invisible to all her friends and family. So dropping in all them all unseen, Jess learns so much more about them all....their lives, how they feel...and how they are all so desperately worried about her in a coma. And it
's at this point of the book  that Jess learns some emotional truths....and I, as  a reader became so emotionally involved in the story. So much so that I as lay reading this book under a tree in the sunshine on a surprisingly hot afternoon, I cried.

But Jess is no angel, she's a teenager, so breaks the rules and does see her family.....but through doing so, she realises how precious life really is...and how she has taken certain things for granted. No more about the storyline, I want you to read the book, and personally think that every teenager should read it. But it's not mawkish or overly sentimental., there's just the right of pathos, energy and humour in this...yes even  humour, especially when it comes to Darren,the Angel of Death.

Today's track has got to be my favourite song about angels, performed by one of my great musical loves. ...I give you...Jimi Hendrix and Angel HQ.



  1. Thanks Bridget for your lovely comments and I meant what I said at the launch - a part of Last Chance Angel belongs to everyone who supported me during the writing process and those who fed me as well! Thanks for a lovely lunch last week. We caught a glimpse of summer sitting in your garden with its stunning views. What inspiration you have from your window.

    1. It was a glimpse of summer...all too short I'm afraid! And congrats to you on such a lovely book!

  2. Woa! That was scary. Reading a blog only to come upon my own face. Yach! It was a great launch evening for Last chance Angel though, wasn't it and I'm so sorry I wasn't able to be at that lovely lunch in your amazing garden.

    1. Sorry if seeing yourself was somewhat of a shock...adn that you couldn't be there for lunch - you were missed!!

  3. What a glamorous and happy bunch you all are. I love the sound of the book and it must be nice for you all to have such a connection with it.

  4. Ah thanks read Alex's's great, and yes , we're all very supportive of each other as a group...