Today I am delighted to open up the #booklove once more to celebrate the launch of Sandra Imrie’s new book, Connectedness. Happy publication dat Sandra and thanks for visiting my blog. Here’s a little more about Sandra and her books.
Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness, Sandra is not adopted.
TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALWAYS HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING
Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.
Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?
This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.
A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.
About the ‘Identity Detective’ series
Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.
Favourite book from childhood
Little Women by Louisa M Alcott. I guess, like so many women writers, I was motivated by Jo March’s determination to write, despite difficulties and opposition. I was quite sweet on Laurie and couldn’t believe he preferred Amy who I thought vain, superficial and spoiled. I still have my old Collins hardback, the sort with fragile thin paper; I love these books which make reading seem so special. Despite all the remakes, I still prefer the 1949 film – with Peter Lawford as Laurie, June Allyson as Jo and Elizabeth Taylor as Amy – I guess because it’s the one I watched as a child.
The first book you fell in love with
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. I still love the series and have all the audio books on my iPod. Actually the first book of the series which I read was Pigeon Post, a present from my parents, and of course after that I collected them all. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read them, always wanting to be a more imaginative John or less flaky Titty. I love their independence, their adventurous spirits, their bravery, their ability to make friends with whoever they meet.
Biggest book crush
The book character you’re totally in love with
Adam Dalgliesh. Long before television detectives had to be emotionally challenged alcoholics or depressives, with more problems than their victims, PD James created this wonderful, sensible, poetry-writing, literature-quoting detective with a vulnerable side. One of the last gentleman detectives, Dalgliesh features in fourteen novels written over a period of 46 years. He seems unsurprisingly ageless, a mentor to his crime team, watching, observing, analysing. His inscrutability has a lot in common with Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot though Dalgliesh lacks the grand flourish, that would simply be too out-going for him.
Weirdest book crush
Researching art and artists for Connectedness, I found myself drawn to Tracey Emin. I had enjoyed reading her weekly column in The Independent newspaper between 2005 and 2009, so was pleased to find these articles collected in My Life in a Column [Rizzoli]. Her anecdotal tales of her working week, her inspirations and frustrations, her victories and mistakes, gave me an insight into the practical world of a modern artist like no formally-written memoir did.
Hardest break up
The book you didn’t want to end
It’s a series, rather than one book. I wish Elizabeth Jane Howard’s ‘Cazalet Chronicles’ would never end. What a master she is of unassuming quiet stories, making you care so much about the three generations of this wealthy family living through the Second World War. The lives of everyone are changed forever but particularly the women in the family; matriarch the Duchy; daughter Rachel and daughters-in-law Sybil, Villy and Zoe; and granddaughters Polly, Louise, Lydia and Clary.
The one that got away
The book in your TBR or wish list that you regret not having started yet.
I could be predictable and say War and Peace, which is still on my bookshelf and on my Kindle. But instead I’m nominating Haruki Murakami’s IQ84. I’ve been a huge Murakami fan since first reading Norwegian Wood but the hardback edition of the trilogy is sitting on my to-read shelf. I’m not sure why I don’t pick it up: its length, perhaps [the trilogy is 1300 pages], or the reviews ranging from 1* to 5*.
Guilty Reading pleasure
Harry Potter. All of them. I listen to the amazing Stephen Fry read the audio books and tend to start with The Philosopher’s Stone and listen to them back-to-back. Why? JK Rowling has created a magical world that feels fingertips away from my own, which I could possibly join if I were Muggle-born. It has everything; good v evil, great fight scenes, wonderful characters to love and hate, and Rowling is so good at the detail and the planning. No fact is included in the early books that does not have relevance in the later books. Stay alert and spot them all!
Love one, love them all
Favourite series or genre
Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and now The Book of Dust. Ostensibly for children but which, like an iceberg, both disguise hidden depths of philosophy, thought and backstory enough to satisfy any adult reader. Pullman is excellent at plotting and character. We root for his people in a world not unlike ours, shaped slightly differently and running in parallel, so it is easy to imagine ourselves there. Like Rowling, Pullman is a master storyteller; many adult novelists would do well to read and study him.
Your latest squeeze
Favourite read of the last 12 months
The best novel I’ve read in 2018 to date is The Heart’s Invisible Furies by Irish writer John Boyne. It is rare for me to give a book a 5* rating [my usual rating is 3] but I knew quite quickly when reading it that this would be a 5. Honest, sad, laugh-out-loud funny, touching, with paragraphs I just had to read out aloud to my husband. It is about being true to yourself, the need for honesty in relationships, and the power of love. It is the life story of one man, Cyril Avery, but also of a country and its attitudes to sexuality. The story starts in Goleen, Ireland, in 1945; a country riven by loyalty to, and hatred of, the British, at the same time in thrall to its Catholic priests whose rules were hypocritical, illogical and cruel. Cyril narrates his story, starting with how his 16-year old mother was denounced in church by the family priest for being single and pregnant.
Blind date for a friend
If you were to set a friend up with a blind date (book) which one would it be?
The two novels I give most often to friends are The Light Years, the first of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s ‘Cazalet Chronicles’ and The Penguin Complete Novels of Nancy Mitford. Both are wonderful books to take you to another world, away from the stress of contemporary life and into the lives of a group of people who you come to care for.
Greatest love of all
Favourite book of all time.
An impossible question to answer so I am going to nominate two [if that is allowed]. Both by Jane Austen. A predictable answer, I know, but I cannot lie and choose something else just because other people have chosen Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I love the wit, the observation, the sumptuous descriptions. And then I remember Austen’s circumstances, moving from place to place, dependant on others, watching, writing quietly, and I wonder even more at her achievement. None of the Bronte experience of group supportive writing around a large table. Jane was on her own, without feedback.. Could you do it?
Thanks Sandra. Some great choices in there. I really just get on a read some more of the classics. I’m a very naughty reader. Hope all goes well with your book launch. Don’t forget folks – order links are at the top of the page.
Have a fab day everyone and keep spreading the #booklove.