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** my thanks to the author for my copy of this book **

 

Description:

A boy goes missing during a workers’ strike in 1980s Communist Poland. A journalist in Warsaw is looking for her brother, who’s been missing for twenty years. A London financier is struggling with panic attacks. In Chicago, an old man is dying in a nursing home.

What connects them? As the mystery unravels, the protagonists’ worlds are turned upside down.

My Thoughts & Review:

The Walls Came Down is a book that I found almost impossible to put down once I started reading, the characters and the plot became so very real to me and I found that I desperately didn’t want to part with them, not even to refresh the cuppa that had been forgotten about and gone cold.

Following the stories of three people, Joanna a journalist in Poland, Matty a financier in England and Tom, a old man dying in America, the reader is taken on an emotional journey that tugs at the heartstrings.
The book opens in 1988 in Warsaw at a strike march in Communist Poland, and we meet a mother and her two children who plan to watch the events of the strike, like many in the crowd they are there to see what happens, there are flags and banners everywhere and the buzz of excitement is rife in the air.  Unfortunately for that family, one of the children goes missing, young Adam disappears without a trace that day and his family are bereft.
The little girl never gives up on her brother, and continues her search for twenty years.

Meanwhile, an elderly man in America reflects upon his life, the decisions he’s made and the paths he’s taken after finding out that he is dying.  His move to a nursing home prompts friendships and conversations that he might never have imagined but ultimately he is glad of them, for they are the catalyst for change and ultimately closure.
In England, Matty struggles with his anxiety, and feels that he needs to break away from things, taking a weekend break with his girlfriend ends up throwing him into a vortex of confusion and conflicting emotion, leaving him questioning everything.

Initially I wondered where this book would end up, and I don’t think that it’s any surprise once you start reading that you may well guess what lies ahead.  However, for this book, it’s the journey that the reader takes that’s important.  The characters here are so rich and beautifully crafted that you cannot help but become invested in them, their plights become so real and tangible.  I began to share Joanna’s anguish, her desperation and felt so much sympathy for her.  Matty was another character that I felt my heart going out to in sympathy, his confusion and anxieties were so well written that I really was swept away with them.  And Tom, the more I learned about him the more I understood his actions and whilst I perhaps didn’t agree with decisions he had taken over the course of his life, I could see why he took the path he did, and it was clear from the emotions that this character experienced that his decisions haunted him.

I found that this was a very moving read, there were moments whilst reading this my heart was racing because of revelations, there were moments I felt a lump in my throat, I wanted to shout at characters, I wanted to shake characters, such an emotive and thought inspiring book.

I would highly recommend this, it’s one of those undiscovered gems that needs to be shared and appreciated!

You can buy a copy of The Walls Came Down via Amazon UK

 

 

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Hello and happy Friday!
Welcome along to another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing” , this week the book being featured is ‘Hampstead Fever’ by Carol Cooper and she’s kindly taken the time out to join me for a quick author feature too.


Book Feature:

Published: 30 June 2016

Description:

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In a London heatwave, emotions reach boiling point…

Ex-con Dan has it all. The perfect job and a new baby with his dream woman. So why is he still an outsider?

Laure had baby Jack late in life. It’s only natural she’s a little over-protective. Motherhood is terrifying.

After surviving serious illness, Sanjay’s got his life back. Now he wants adventure. Where does that leave girlfriend Harriet?

Karen’s love life is reduced to casual sex with the football coach. As a divorcee with four kids, romance is on her to-do list, just below the laundry.

Doctor Geoff’s relationship with actress Daisy is bound to be a bit dramatic. But why all the mystery?

A slice of contemporary multi-cultural London life to make you laugh, cry, and nod in recognition.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

‘Hampstead Fever’ is the first book by Carol Cooper that I have read, it’s actually the sequel to ‘One Night at the Jacaranda’ but I managed to read it fine without having read the previous novel.  There are mentions to events from ‘One Night at the Jacaranda’ which might be less confusing for readers if they have read the books in order but it certainly didn’t lessen my enjoyment of reading.

The reader meets a varied cast of characters as they struggle their way through a heatwave in London, I won’t go into the who’s who of the book as it’s already clear from the book description who the major players are and what their issue is.  Through these characters the reader is faced with many themes including adultery, life changing illness and it’s aftermath, breakdown of relationships and motherhood.  I should mention there is also a fair bit of sex in this, and a little raunchy at times, so perhaps not the book to buy grandma for her 80th birthday.

The author’s medical background shines through in her writing, which I found interesting and felt it added an ethos of compassion and understanding.  The dark humour that is woven throughout the writing is superb and really appealed to me.

A quick and enjoyable read that was a lovely change of pace to my usual crime and psychological thrillers, and makes a good summer read!

You can buy a copy of “Hampstead Fever” via  Amazon UK | Book Depository


Author Feature:Carol Cooper

 

Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist, and author. She has a string of non-fiction books to her name, all traditionally published, on topics such as child health, twins, and general practice. In 2013, she made her fiction debut with One Night at the Jacaranda, which she self-published under her imprint Hardwick Press. This year, Carol’s latest self-published novel Hampstead Fever was picked for a prestigious promotion in WH Smith travel bookshops around the UK. More fiction is in the pipeline.

 

What is your most favourite thing about being an author?

For me, the best thing is that writing is completely portable. An author can write almost anywhere in the world. There aren’t many occupations you can say that about. I might be in my apartment in Hampstead, North London, or by the river in Cambridge, which is my second home. All I need is a head full of ideas. In fact the plot for my first novel, One Night at the Jacaranda, came to me while I was on a plane heading for my father’ funeral.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Self-promotion! It would be great if all you needed for success to come knocking at the door was to write a good book and wait for people to discover it, but that just isn’t so. These days all authors need to promote themselves and their work, whether they’re self-published or with one of the Big Five. The snag is that it can feel a bit icky to shout about yourself. It’s not terribly British, is it?

If you could have written any book, what would it be and why?

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. This delightful novel is part mystery, part coming-of-age story. It brilliantly evokes growing up in the 1970s. Reading it, I could feel all the confusion of childhood, plus the blistering heat of the summer of 1976. Cannon’s prose is so fresh that, no matter how mundane a situation is, it never feels hackneyed. That’s the mark of great writing, and it’s the reason I love the book.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

There’s rarely an idle moment. I write on health for The Sun newspaper, teach medical students at Imperial College, and still see the occasional patient. I’m also involved with several charities which are close to my heart, like the Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba), Lucy Air Ambulance for Children, and Action on Pre-Eclampsia. When I get some down time, I like to garden, by which I mean pottering around my tiny patio, and of course I love reading novels.

Do you have a set routine for writing, or any rituals you have to observe?

I’m not sure you’d call it a routine, but I always produce my first efforts with pencil and paper. I find the ideas flow more easily that way. Transferring the scribbles onto computer is how a very rough draft gets turned into something marginally more coherent. The pencil must be super sharp, so I have a battery-operated sharpener. I used to write to music, especially anything by The Beatles, but these days I prefer silence. I get distracted more easily than I used to, so sometimes I get up early to finish a piece of writing. But, on the whole, I write whenever there’s time.

 

A huge thank you to Carol for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.
If you would like to know more about Carol and her books, check out the following links:

On Twitter @DrCarolCooper
Blog Pills & Pillow-Talk
Website DrCarolCooper.com

 

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