The Magical Tragical Life of Edward Jarvis Huggins by Stuart Ayris

edward jarvis hugginsHere we have a fine collection of characters: some heroes, some villains, but mainly people doing what we all do – getting through life as best we can. A supernatural element runs through it and we are led to a finish that is signposted at various stages in the book. When the expected end duly arrives there was no sense of anti-climax; instead I nodded with approval and thought, ‘Yes, that’s how it had to be.’

If you haven’t yet read a Stuart Ayris book then I urge you to do so. But you need to set aside any preconceptions about what a novel ought to be, then relax and let the author take you on an adventure where you will laugh, cry and sing – possibly all at the same time.

Both the author’s exuberance and his concern for his fellow man shine through. If the precise word that he needs doesn’t exist, either for meaning or to simply sound right in the context, then he creates a new one – and we know instinctively just what it means. He breaks away from the storyline to have personal chats with the reader. Although this tale is set in 18th century England, lines from 20th century songs appear. This may sound like chaotic literary anarchy, but it’s hugely entertaining. In amongst the humour and pathos are very perceptive comments on what is generally referred to as the human condition.

It’s a unique style and one that really works for this reader. More reviews can be found on Amazon The Magical Tragical Life of Edward Jarvis Huggins

The Glass Guardian by Linda Gillard

Cover imageThe blurb mentions a ghost and so this has to be badged ‘supernatural’, but if that genre isn’t usually your thing, don’t be put off. This is unlike any ‘supernatural’ book I’ve ever read. The ghost doesn’t frighten either the characters or the reader. He’s not there to unnerve, but to be a very clever device that enables the author to create strong personal connections between the characters and events that befell earlier generations of their family.
Once again Linda Gillard’s talents are amply displayed: the atmospheric sense of place; finely drawn characters and the ability to portray convincingly the emotions of flawed characters. I found this an enjoyable book of great charm.

I bought it for Kindle from Amazon. The Glass Guardian

The Angel of Rosetown by Jennifer Hanning

Cover image of The Angel of RosetownI am drawn to books that have a supernatural element and comments on book forums led me to this one. The book begins with the feel of a conventional romance. Molly and Abel are separated as very young children: years later Molly is re-united with the love of her life, but suddenly the tale takes an unexpected turn and it becomes clear that this is a startlingly and refreshingly original book.

We are treated to a delightful, whimsical vision of a multi-level, curiously high-tech hereafter. The book’s impact lies in the contrast between the possible delights of that afterlife and the earthbound existence of characters who are dealt such a poor hand by fate that, no matter how much they regret it and how hard they try to play their cards well, they are doomed to failure.

The book is well-written, the language flowing in a way that carries the reader along without effort.

I only hope that the author’s vision of the hereafter is correct; I’m looking forward to it already – and I’m trying hard to spot my guardian angel.

I bought the book for Kindle from Amazon where print copies are also available. Angel of Rosetown