Armchair BEA Giveaway Day! James Madison By Lynne Cheney

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Armchair BEA

Armchair BEA is for those people who cannot attend Book Expo America in NYC.  It’s a way for them to stay connected and join in. Today is day 4: giveaway day! We’re all giving away great books. After you enter my giveaway, then go have a look at the rest.

I have one finished hard copy of JAMES MADISON by Lynne Cheney for giveaway! How cool is this! The wonderful people at Penguin Publishing are furnishing this amazing biography just in time for Father’s Day giving.  What a great gift.

Lynne Cheney

James Madison

Lynne Cheney, wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author or co-author of twelve books, including six bestsellers about American history for children and their families.  She holds a Ph.D from University of Wisconsin, and  has been studying Madison since 1987.  She is no slouch, as you can see.

Author

Lynne Cheney

In order to be in the running to win this amazing history book, please leave a comment below. And, as usual. no P.O. boxes, please, and only residents of U.S.

This giveaway will end Friday, May 30. I am extending it so that the bloggers at BEA will have a chance for this great giveaway.

Good luck to everyone!

Amy Falls Down By Jincy Willett

Jincy Willett

Amy Falls Down

AMY FALLS DOWN, by Jincy Willett, snuck into my to-be-read pile. That’s a good thing.  It’s my first time reading Jincy Willett but, it won’t be my last.

Amy Gallup is a writer past her prime, or so she thinks. One New Year’s morning she’s padding out to plant a Norfolk Pine in her yard in southern California when her world turns upside down; quite literally. Amy falls down. And knocks herself out on the lip of her birdbath. She wakes sometime later to find her basset hound Alphonse dutifully waiting for her to wake.  All it takes is one moment to change your life. And that is what happens to Amy.

Amy hasn’t been writing for some time. She’s a writing instructor online. So different from having to actually appear in front of real people. She’s become quite the recluse over the thirty years since her divorce and relocation to California from the East coast.  She’s lost touch with her readers. And she had been touted as a writer with much potential.

The interview Amy had scheduled for New Year’s Day will go on. Even though Amy grants it, she does not remember it. But everyone sees the photo ( hideous) of her in the paper and reads it. And now that internet and social media immediately take things viral, you can only guess what happens next. When Amy gets a call from her long lost agent she is flummoxed.  And then everything changes, and Amy has some monumental decisions to make.

The characters we meet as Amy takes on a writers’ retreat, are zany and colorful. Some of the topics they are writing about are unbelievable. It takes all kinds.

This literary satire made me laugh. And that is a good thing. Yes, writers do mostly live quiet, sometimes downright lonely lives. And sometimes they need to be jolted out of their comfort zones. Amy and Alphonse will make you laugh, and give you a quick and satisfying read.

Winner Of Flight Of The Sparrow Is….

Amy Belding Brown

Flight of the Sparrow

So many entries. Fabulous. Thank you all for entering! And thanks to New American Library for supplying my giveaway copy. And, now, without further ado: the winner is Kathy Noonan. Congratulations Kathy! I’m sending you an email right now asking for your mailing info.

I have lots of books to talk about…soon. The Follett book has arrived. And it is HUGE. Even larger than the last two. And I received a gorgeous new cookbook for review. My husband and I have been pouring over the contents for days. Plus, so many great novels for fall. I’ll be back soon with more…

Giveaway: Flight Of The Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown

Amy Belding Brown

Flight of the Sparrow

FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW, by Amy Belding Brown, is a novel of Early America.  I have one copy for giveaway compliments of the generous people at New American Library, a division of Penguin Books. Please leave a comment at  the end of my post to be entered to win. I will choose one winner on Monday, July 28th. Only U.S. addresses, and no P.O. boxes, please. Good luck!

Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676.  Even before Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians on a winter day of violence and terror, she’d been at odds with her strict Puritan Community. With her home destroyed, and her children lost to her, Mary found herself dealing with unbelievable acts of brutality and unending kindness. 

All of her life Mary was taught to fear God, submit to her husband, and abhor Indians. Now, having lived on the “other” side of the forest, she begins to question edicts that have guided her, torn between the life she knew and the wisdom the natives have shown her. 

Based on compelling true narrative of Mary Rowlandson, FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW is an evocative tale that transports the reader to a little-known time in early America and explores the real meaning of freedom, faith, and acceptance. 

We’ll Always Have Paris By Jennifer Coburn

Jennifer Coburn

We’ll Aways Have Paris

WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS,  by Jennifer Coburn, is a real  hoot. She’s traveling alone with her young daughter.  They’re visiting Paris and England on the first leg of their journey. Then on to other major cities in Europe and,  back to Paris.

Jennifer Coburn has a fear. She’s afraid she’s going to die of some dread disease before she gets the chance to travel abroad with her young daughter. No, she’s not sick, she’s just fearful.

Jennifer’s journey begins in Paris when Katie is 8, and ends in Paris in 2013, when Katie is 16.  The mother-daughter team did this tour in month-long snippets over the years.  Jennifer’s husband was tied up with work and not able to get away. But he was there in thought.

When I began this memoir I thought it was only about traveling in Paris. And I like that. However, I quickly learned that the traveling expanded to many areas throughout Europe. Then I became even happier. There’s so many of my favorite spots in Italy. Then Spain. And Amsterdam.  London. Oh my.

Jennifer Coburn and Katie are having the times of their lives in WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS. And they bring us all along to share the fun. They begin their journey tentatively, then each returning visit overseas sees them become more comfortable with the whole travel process.

I could so relate to the unreliability of the Italian transit system.  Buses, trains. At the drop of a hat, they all strike.  Imagine what that does to a tourist destination. Stops everything.  The local train from Solerno to Naples, Italy stops on the track for hours. Been there, done that. We were stuck on the local train from Naples to Sorrento when it stopped suddenly in the middle of a tunnel. We learned afterwards that they had found a bomb left over from WWII, and had to remove it. Yes, this stuff really happens. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their escapades in Positano. One of the most gorgeous places on the face of the earth. Katie’s fascination with the “sand” was not the same experience we had. I found the so-called sand really annoying. In fact, the sand was really oversized pebbles that were extremely painful and difficult to walk on. I actually brought home a handful to show people. Who would believe such a lovely place would have such a  beach.

Pebbles of Positano

Positano Sand

The writing, at times, was downright hilarious. And rather poignant, too.  I found the snippets about Jennifer’s parents grew on me as the story progressed.  So by the time Jennifer and Katie arrived in Amsterdam, I was very aware of the background with Jennifer’s dad and the city.

Even when Jennifer’s agenda kept being compromised, I loved the attitude she kept.  That’s the attitude you have to keep while traveling. And who knows what new and unique experience will come of it.

What a fun book to read this summer. A great book to tuck into your beach bag, or in your tote bag for the plane. Don’t miss it.

I am sending out thanks to the publishing house of Sourcebooks for sending my review copy! Thanks so much.

 

 

Ken Follett Is Coming:)

Ken Follett

EDGE OF ETERNITY, by Ken Follett, is coming.  The pub date is September 16. My review copy is in the mail. I’m sure it’s going to have almost one thousand pages, which means I will have to put all else aside, and get right into it. I can’t wait.

 

The Girls Of August By Anne Rivers Siddons

Anne Rivers Siddons

The Girls Of August

THE GIRLS OF AUGUST, by Anne Rivers Siddons, has a cover to draw you in. And a story to go with it. It’s told in a voice that is almost old fashioned. And that works here.

Four women have been gathering to spend a week at the beach for almost twenty years. They met when their husbands were med students, and they were just girls. But as everything does, their lives changed. And one of them even disappeared. 

This novel of summer takes place on a fictitious island off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, one of  my favorite places.  The women have decided to meet on a private island after many years of “taking a break.” Why a break from this; their summer getaway. Well, things just were not the same after Melinda died suddenly in a car crash. The rest of the girls of summer just did not have their hearts into it.

Along comes Baby, Melinda’s husband’s new wife. And a baby she is. So much younger that the other women find  this little hard-body scandalous! However, she comes from a family with money.  The sprawling summer home sitting right on the beach in the midst of a private island is perfect for their summer retreat. And so they go way out on a limb and decide to stay for two weeks.  Oh my, I can almost hear your groans.

Each woman is dealing with a monumental problem.  And they are each keeping it a secret.  No one wants to spoil this time they have together.

Baby is determined to find a way to infiltrate this group of women. She’s wanted nothing more than to fit in since her husband told her how close the girls had always been. But, as you can imagine, these women are loathe to allow anyone into their tight knit little group, let alone someone who is young enough to be their daughter.  But Baby is smarter than they think. And she perseveres.

Filled with the stuff of summer, and sprinkled with mystery and angst, THE GIRLS OF AUGUST is sure to make you laugh and cry.

I will admit to finding this novel somewhat predictable, however, having said that, I am happy to have had a new Anne Rivers Siddons. Thanks so much Anne!

And thanks to the generosity of Grand Central Publishing for sending me a beautiful finished novel. Lovely!

A Man Called Ove By Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman

A MAN CALLED OVE

I am dedicating my review of A MAN CALLED OVE, by Fredrik Backman,to Victoria Roth. Victoria slapped this book in my hands, looked me square in both eyes,  and told me I had to read it, knowing that I have stacks of books needing to be read.  I am so happy I listened to her. She was so right!

This book could have been titled THE BIG-HEARTED MAN, or..THE MAN WHO LOVED TOO MUCH, however, Backman chose the generic A MAN CALLED OVE, which suits the story.  A MAN CALLED OVE is translated from the Swedish. It takes place mainly in Sweden.  And Fredrik Backman is in his early 30’s; so young to write with such insight. 

I can’t think of any book I’ve ever read that kept me laughing out loud throughout the entire book. And was well-written. Ove became a man I wanted to know more about. I needed to know what made him tick. Backman presents Ove as a curmudgeonly old man who stays to himself and has no need for other humans. That’s at the start of the story, of course. Watching as Backman transforms OVE into the man we suspected was hiding inside, is a thing of wonder and beauty, and laugh out loud humor.

There is a scene where Ove’s new neighbors are moving in across the street. The pregnant wife is standing behind the vehicle as the husband attempts to back the trailer up. As the trailer backs right over Ove’s mailbox, he can’t contain himself and races out the front door yelling contemptable epitaphs.

You’ll find yourself laughing out loud from the first page where Ove is buying a computer. He’s at the Apple store. Then there’s chapter two where Ove meets the “cat” for the first time. And on and on.

We discover that Ove lost his wife, recently. And his job to downsizing.  He’s at lose ends. Still, he makes all his daily  rounds to make sure that everything in his neighborhood is just so.  And we see that his best friend and arch enemy is descending into dementia.

I work in retail and sometimes deal with unfriendly or downright mean people. Recently, I figured something out. Whenever I encounter a person who seems to be unsociable I remind myself that I do not know what is going on in this person’s home-life. I take a deep breath and smile. Usually, it works.  Ove brings this to mind.

I especially love the relationship Ove has with the cat. He calls the cat “Cat Annoyance.” This bedraggled cat has been foisted on him by his neighbor, The Pregnant Woman.

 Now, when it’s gone quarter to six and Ove has got up, the cat is sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor. It sports a disgruntled expression, as if Ove owes it money. Ove stares back at it with a suspicion normally reserved for a cat that has run his doorbell with a Bible in its paws, like a Jehovah’s Witness.

“I suspect you’re expecting food,” mutters Ove at last. The cat doesn’t answer. “But in this house you don’t just lounge about like some kind of consultant and expect fried sparrows to fly into your mouth.”

Fredrik Backman lives in Sweden. He is a blogger and a columnist. And he’s very funny. A MAN CALLED OVE is his first novel, and it’s already sold more than 500,000 copies in its native country and will be published in more than twenty-five languages all over the world.

The Pregnant Woman (that’s what he calls her) is my favorite of the neighbors. Her husband is the Lanky One.  Then there’s Rune, the best friend, and his wife Anita who is struggling to care for her quickly deteriorating husband, at home, by herself.  And the young guy who lives next door.  All sorts of characters are involved in creating this amazing story. And they’re just everyday people.

This story is about the many tiny ways one person can touch so many lives.  It reminds us that we can only begin to heal the pain of great loss by allowing others to get close again.

And by the way, Ove is pronounced OOH-vuh.

This is the book for you if you loved THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY and MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND.  It’s a charming reflection on loss and love and life.

I received a finished hardcopy of A MAN CALLED OVE from Atria Books. They’ve got a real winner here.

The Heist By Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva

The Heist

I have been reading Daniel Silva for as long as he’s been writing novels.  His characters pop and crackle on the page.  His stories seem so realistic that I must remind myself that they are just that: stories.

THE HEIST, by Daniel Silva, is nothing short of phenomenal! It is his best work to date. And that is a huge statement since each novel has been unique and marvelous. But there is something very special about THE HEIST.  Yes, my friends are all back. And that makes my heart swell with happiness.  Silva has managed to bring these people to life, has given them a purpose like no other, and keeps bringing them back each year. And I find I get deeper into who they are with each novel. I love this about Silva’s writing.

The world we live in today is one full of war, fear, terror and terrorists, and monumental problems. THE HEIST has all of this, and then some. Silva is the master at using current events to move his stories along. But what he’s done this time is simply amazing. If I did not know better, I would believe everything he has written is true. Do not miss the Author’s Note at the end of the book!

Silva has us following Gabriel Allon to even more exotic locales than usual, and that is saying a mouthful. The story begins in London, where Julian Isherwood decides to visit Lake Como. It has to do with some very important art work and a very unreliable art associate.  Then Isherwood finds a dead body. This puts Isherwood in a predicament that only one person might be able to help him out of.

We then move to Venice where Gabriel Allon is busy at work restoring an altarpiece in the Church of San Sebastiano: Virgin and Child in Glory with Saints by Paolo Veronese. You see, Gabriel is an amazing art restorer as well as an operative for the Israeli Intelligence.  When Gabriel receives a visit from General Cesare Ferrari who is the head of the Art Squad, he finds that his friend Julian Isherwood has gotten himself in a pot of trouble. So off he goes to help him out.

Of course there is a famous painting to recover. We find that Caravaggio’s Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence has been stolen. And Gabriel is going after it. What we discover is that there is much more to the loss of this art work than initially meets the eye.  This is when this novel begins to climb into another  realm.  This is where the tragedy of  mass proportions in Syria comes into place.  I remember hearing about the massacres in Syria many years ago. I know of the Butcher Boy. But only vaguely, until this novel.

I’ve read quite a bit about World War Two. I know art work played a big part in the war. Stolen art work, I should say. Hitler made sure that any master works of art he could get his hands on were hidden away: stolen.  So, when Gabriel Allon comes across a mass of stolen art work in THE HEIST, I had an aha moment, or two.  This time it’s not Hitler, but it’s someone just as horrific.

When a simplistic woman who is working in a small private bank in Austria gets involved in the story, THE HEIST quickly becomes even more of a page-turner.  Jihan Nawaz was born in Syria. Her entire family was slaughtered in a masacre in Syria in 1982. She immigrated alone to Germany and became a citizen. This masacre actually occurred.

We have entered the underworld of stolen art and money. And the plot thickens and percolates until the pressure is overwhelming.  When you find out what is going on behind the scenes it will be as if the dark side of the moon has finally lightened.  And you will be amazed at how we can live in a world today and have this sort of travesty continue.

Author

Daniel Silva

All the places are richly drawn.  But I was especially drawn to the scenes in Venice. We visited Venice a few years ago. We chose to stay in the Cannaregio area of the city known as the Jewish section. We found it a bit quieter; less touristy.  And lovely.

This is THE thriller to pick up this summer. Do not miss it.  It’s sophisticated, entertaining, and will give you spot-on art history lessons as well as a frightening insight into what is happening around the world.

Daniel Silva is the author of 14 NYT best-selling novels. He serves on the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and lives in Florida with his wife, Jamie Gangel, and their two children.Thanks go out to Leah at Harper Collins for so generously sending me my review copy. I can’t thank you enough. You already know how much I loved THE HEIST!

The photo below was taken about ten years ago at a book signing at the B&N in Naples, Florida.

Jean With Daniel Silva & Barbara

Jean With Daniel Silva & Barbara

Some Previews Of Reviews To Come

Daniel Silva

The Heist

I’m currently reading THE HEIST by Daniel Silva. I am in love with it. A Daniel Silva novel is always a sure thing! Always! I actually put it before two other books that are coming out on Tuesday because I could not help myself. I am not disappointed.

Fredrick Backman

A Man Called Ove

And then there’s A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman. This is an amazing novel translated from the Swedish. It stars a curmudgeon of a man and a raggedy alley cat. I laughed all the way through this one. And will have a review for you later this week.

Egypt

The Visitors

I am so looking forward to reading THE VISITORS by Sally Beauman. I enjoy reading about Egypt and its history. This one is based on fact, and I’ve heard the sense of place is astounding. Stay tuned.

Chris Bohjalian

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLOSE YOUR EYES, HOLD HANDS by Chris Bohjalian will be available on Tuesday. I always look forward to his work. This novel takes place on American soil, in Vermont.  And deals with the aftermath of a nuclear reactor meltdown. Review will appear in the next two weeks.

So as you can see, I am up to my eyeballs in books. It is a good thing!! I am going to have so much to show the book clubs this year at my lectures. It is overwhelming. I truly believed I would have lots of reading time this summer. Silly me!

Interview With Jojo Moyes, Author Of One Plus One

Author

Jojo Moyes

Here’s a little Q&A with Jojo Moyes. Enjoy.

Jojo Moyes, author of 

ONE PLUS ONE

Your characters are fun and quirky and so real. Tell us a little about where your ideas for your characters and their stories come from.

Thank you! Most of my books are inspired by different snippets of things, whether they be news stories or things people have told me. In the case of ONE PLUS ONE I’d wanted to write a road trip for ages—and then when I started thinking about the differences between today’s haves and have-nots, it suddenly seemed like the perfect thing to put some very different people together. Anyone who has sat next to a stranger on a long haul flight knows that there’s no better way to really find out who someone really is than to be shoved together in close confines travelling for any length of time.

ONE PLUS ONE is a novel in a contemporary setting, just like Me Before You and some of your other novels are historical, such as The Girl You Left Behind. Do you prefer writing one over the other? How do you decide where and when to set your books?

I often write one in reaction to the last. So The Girl You Left Behind was a huge, sprawling romantic epic that crossed a century and took all sorts of historical research. After that I just wanted to write a tight little emotional comedy set in the modern day with very little research in it.  It’s entirely possible that in a book or two I’ll be back to doing something on an epic scale again.

Like Me Before You, ONE PLUS ONE has a love story between two people of very different socioeconomic backgrounds. What draws you to explore that disparity? 

Well, Me Before You was basically about class and aspiration. Lou came from a background where you were encouraged to have little of either. ONE PLUS ONE, on the other hand, is simply about money. I’ve been watching the difference between rich and poor in society grow ever wider, and with ONE PLUS ONE I guess I wanted to ask: what happens if you have the aspiration, or the talent, but simply don’t have enough resources to be able to climb up to the next rung of the ladder? We’re always being told you can have anything if you work hard enough. Well what if the deck of cards is really stacked against you? Does that truism still stand?

When you form characters do you ever incorporate aspects from people you know? 

If I do, I do it unconsciously! It’s the fastest way to lose friends or upset people that I know. But I am an inveterate people-watcher (a polite way of saying I’m nosy) and I think I’m always wondering about people I know or know of, and wondering why they do what they do, and what effect it has on those around them. So I think I pick up a lot of characteristics almost by osmosis.

While the stories and circumstances are completely different, Ed in ONE PLUS ONE and  Will in Me Before You are successful men in their fields who have a devastating setback, either professionally or personally and each meets a woman who helps add some color into their lives and helps them figure out their lives. Is this a coincidence?

I suppose in the case of ONE PLUS ONE I very much didn’t want Ed to ‘save’ Jess, even though he was financially able to. I wanted her, in the immortal words of Pretty Woman, ‘to save him right back’. If there is a theme it’s that we all have something to offer each other, if we can bear to open up a little, even if it seems very unlikely initially. I don’t think Ed has any shortage of colorful women (see his ex-wife!) but he is a man with no self-awareness until he meets Jess. She has many more of the traditionally ‘male’ traits—she’s practical, resourceful, fierce and protective—and she’s good at DIY.

Your novels don’t fit a pattern, yet there’s always a love story and often a social issue in play. They are issues many of us face in real life (such as being different and bullying in ONE PLUS ONE and assisted suicide in Me Before You) and you write about them with humor and present them in a palatable manner. What piques this interest? 

I think you’re a pretty blinkered sort of novelist if you can ignore some of the social issues we see around us today. I think it’s possible to write ‘commercial’ fiction (horrible phrase) and still tackle serious issues. But I’ve found over the years that if you leaven it with a little humor, readers are often much happier to tackle the darker subjects, like suicide or bullying or serious disability. That’s how life is, after all—ask any member of the emergency services; they always have the best jokes.

Jess teaches her children to be morally upstanding, but makes one questionable decision, which threatens to ruin her relationship with Ed. Do you think it’s ever okay to do something ethically wrong, if it’s for a “good” reason?

I have no answer to that question! But it’s one that I do find fascinating. I asked the same thing essentially in The Girl You Left Behind, when Sophie has to decide whether to sleep with the German Kommandant in the hope of winning her husband his freedom (and possibly his life), even though she knows that doing so will probably lose her his love. I would argue that most people who do bad things think they’re doing them for a good reason. History is littered with examples.

ONE PLUS ONE has such a cinematic feel, it would translate really well to film. You wrote the screenplay for Me Before You. Did that experience change the way you write novels? Do you imagine how they would work as a movie as you write?

It certainly made me realize how much slack we leave in them! I have always written ‘visually’—i.e. I have to play a scene out in my head, almost as if I’m acting it, before I write it, to see if it works. I don’t think the way I write books has changed, as I still do the same thing, but I do perhaps make every scene work a bit harder—asking myself: does it move the story forward? Does it tell us something about the character?

Your main character, Jess, is a single mom with a blended family. What are some of the challenges this brings her in ONE PLUS ONE?

I think most families today contain some element of blending. I come from one. But I wanted to write something in which this was not necessarily an issue in itself, just an every day reality. Likewise, I wanted to write something where the mother was not either a) dead (check most children’s fairy tales) or b) problematic or c) irritating or interfering in some way. I just wanted to write about a family that might not be made up in a conventional nuclear form, but was loving and close and a bit different. And as a mother, I really wanted to write a mother who might be flawed, but was loving and resourceful and smart and protective—like most of the mothers I know in real life.

Jess’s daughter, Tanzie, is a math prodigy. Girls in the US still struggle against the stereotype that women are inherently worse at math. Is this also true in the UK, and do you hope your book will help to empower girls in overcoming this social obstacle?

Yes! And I say that as someone who is pretty hopeless at math herself. The more books I write, the more I realize I don’t want to write stories in which girls fixate exclusively on how they look or what they buy or who they fall in love with. I try to write female characters that someone like my daughter might ultimately be inspired by—girls who actually do things, or get joy from learning or building or travelling. Tanzie, for all her oddness, is completely comfortable in her own skin, almost more so than anyone else in the book—until circumstances tell her strongly that she shouldn’t be.

There are some steamy scenes in ONE PLUS ONE! How do you approach writing sex (or near) scenes? 

Well, if my editor had got her way, they would have been a fair bit steamier. I do struggle with sex scenes, mostly because of the language. Either you employ biologically accurate terms, which tend to pull the reader up short, and can sound a little startling, or you go with awful euphemisms that make your toes curl. I’m getting a little braver with every book—but it’s hard when you live in a small village. Everyone assumes that you base the scenes on your own life… weirdly. they never do that with anything else I write about.

What do you hope readers will take away from ONE PLUS ONE? 

Firstly, as with all my books, I hope it just gives them a few hours’ escape to somewhere they hadn’t expected to go—that’s certainly what I want from a book. I hope very much it makes them feel something, whether it’s laughter or tears. On a wider note, perhaps they might not judge or dismiss those around them quite so swiftly—I heard a really good saying the other day, along the lines of “be kind, for everyone is battling something you don’t know about.” And I suppose I’d like my books to have a similar message. Although saying my books should have a message makes me sound unbelievably pompous. So maybe just a good read….