Intermittent Book Blog

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For years I have written my own reviews of the books I have read in the course of the year in my desktop diary.  I thought  other people might find  my comments interesting! My taste is catholic and  sometimes dependent on what I find  in service station bookshops on the motorways on my long hacks  to and fro between Essex and Wales, sometimes leant to me by others, sometimes bought via Amazon or after deliciously long  browsing sessions in our local bookshops.  I am not including the piles of books I read in the course of research here.  Their titles will find their way into the bibliography of each new book as it is published.  For The Warrior’s Princess see Research Notes under 'find out more' in the banner at the top of the home page!


Here are the first three titles I have read this autumn!



Redemption Falls by Joseph O’Connor


This is the most extraordinary, messy, uncomfortable, fascinating, compelling book I  have read for a long time. Those words also describe life! And history. And this is what brings such an amazing sense of truth to the book. It purports to be a collection of documents, letters, diary entries, transcripts from the collection of a descendent of one of the protagonists. Set in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War and in the lawless territories of the  north west this is completely compelling. These are the Irish immigrants (one the daughter of two passengers  from  The Star of the Sea so magnificently described in Joseph’s earlier book) and it is full of the lyricism, the beauty and the pain and the ugliness and duplicity which is their life. And there are moments of love too. Equally painful, equally beautiful. Not an easy read, I thought, but so very much worth every moment. It has haunted me ever since I finished it.



The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam


Though very different,  this novel  is in some ways similar to Redemption Falls in that it  is a vivid and at times agonising account of a nation at war, torn within itself into  irreconcilable  pieces. It is told from the point of view of several individuals, getting under the skin of  men and women on every side of  the terrible conflict and agony which is modern day Afghanistan. We see through the eyes of an undercover American agent, a British convert to Islam who married an Afghani woman,  a boy indoctrinated in a madrassa , a Russian woman looking for  her soldier brother  who disappeared when  the USSR invaded the country. We see the terror and the ugliness and the senselessness of war and we see echoes of the beauty and fragrance and the  poetry  that once characterised this violated land.  I enjoyed several other novels set in Afghanistan but this is a bit different.







The Path of the Blue Raven by Mark Townsend

(Non fiction)

The moving and courageous account of a young vicar’s agonising journey away from his chosen career through further spiritual quest towards a new enlightenment. His conclusions and his finding of a safe harbour with a modern druid order have not found universal favour with his former colleagues – though many have supported him – and his journey makes uncomfortable reading at times. But there is joy and an excitement there which is infectious even in the dark times. The second half of the book contains accounts of other people’s  journeys on a similar road (one of them is mine, though my journey took me towards the same goal but from the opposite direction!) I first met Mark while he was writing The Blue Raven  and found him an immensely sincere, kind, and deeply spiritual person – something reflected in this account which I would suggest makes fascinating reading for people on a similar path. It did for me.


Jessica on 18/11/14

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sandra chalmers on 01/08/10

Just finished Times Legacy, took me 4 days to read as I couldnt put it down,well in between all the daily duties.Cant wait for your next book. x x

catherine bennett on 12/02/10

I've posted before about how much I love your books, I'm currently
reading Daughters of Fire..

WP Themes on 17/01/10

Nice fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you on your information.

Acourncrosy on 02/01/10

Many of people write about this topic but you said really true words!

Jivan Parnell on 29/11/09

I love your books and particularly enjoy how you reflect emotion and mood through nature. They have stirred in me a strong desire to visit the places you write about, to personally feel the energy and emotion that would generate there. It has also taught me a great deal about the history of the country, which is brought home more by the personal accounts of your characters. I am cirious to read The Path of the Blue Raven. I love the spirituality in your books. Can't wait 'til the next one!

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