Extracts and Reviews
“We decided to bring in a ghostwriter … She’s done a fantastic job.” JL
“It’s absolutely brilliant. You write so beautifully. You’ve written it just as I saw it.” VL
1. From ‘My Secret Sister’ by Helen Edwards and Jenny Lee Smith’, published by Pan Macmillan
“Fear is my earliest memory. The fear of being out there alone. It was one of those dark winter evenings; the sleet slanted, with a wind cold enough to sting my skin. I sat, strapped into my hand-me-down pram. No blankets – just a loose waterproof cover on which a puddle formed, frosting over. I tried to move, to lean forward and look out. The cover slipped and the icy water trickled down onto my bare legs. My damp clothes hung heavy around me. The icy fingers of my fur bonnet clung to my cheeks. I felt numb, abandoned.
I yearned for her to come. I whimpered and cried, as loud as I could, the warm tears sharp as needles on my cheeks. Shadows loomed. A lone tree bent and clattered in the wind, an ogre’s arms stretching out to steal me away. I screamed. I don’t know how long I cried. I stared at the house and willed her to come, to rescue me. I sat forward as far as I could, my eyes fixed on the front door, and the warm glow through the window. But no one looked out. No one came.”
“An enthralling new book” Joanna Moorhead, in the Daily Mail (writing of ‘My Secret Sister’)
“It was just as powerful and moving – and ultimately happy – the second time around.” IC (Editorial Director)
SELECTION OF AMAZON REVIEWS for ‘MY SECRET SISTER’
“Brilliantly written – a fantastic account – read in a day.”
“A touching and moving true story … with so many twists and turns.”
“Excellent read – love the way it was written.”
“I have been gripped from the first page. … a fascinating contrast … recounted vividly and sensitively. I can’t wait to see how the tale unfolds, yet do not want the book to end!”
“Honestly the most interesting book I have ever read … would make an amazing film.”
“A moving story … carefully managed … stayed sharp and fresh all the way through … cleverly written … highly recommended!”
“Beautifully written – could almost taste the coal dust from the pits and salt water from the beach.”
“What a fabulous book – bought it for my Kindle to read on holiday and got told off for never taking my nose out of it until I had finished!”
“What an addictive read! I was intrigued … there is so much more to this story. A 5 star read – would recommend to anyone.”
“An amazing but harrowing story.”
“A brilliantly and sympathetically written account … I could not put this book down.”
“An emotional and thought-provoking read.”
“An amazing, brilliant story … sharp and fresh all the way through. Even though the content was so emotive, it avoided the pitfall of over-sentimentality. Cleverly written. Highly recommended.”
2. From ‘Transforming Prisoners’ Lives’ by Jackie Hewitt-Main, published by Mainspring, 5 June 2013
Extract A – An incident
“There was a hush, almost a stillness, as all the activity slowed to a stop. I looked towards the old metal staircase, now the focus of everyone’s attention.
A giant of a man sat on a step, a few up from the bottom. He opened a large pot of margarine and smeared it all over his head, neck and chest, then his arms and legs. It felt as if the world had missed a breath as we all watched for his next move. Seething with barely controlled rage and unable to contain himself any longer, he stood up on the step and stuck out his chest.
‘Come on,’ he bellowed. ‘Who’s for a fight?’ “
Extract B – from Fred’s story
” ‘I know my alphabet, the whole alphabet. It only took me two days,’ he said, his face shining with pride. ‘I did the things you showed me. I did them every minute I could. I ran out of toothpaste, but I still carried on writing the letters with my fingers everywhere, and my toothbrush, like you said. It never made no sense to me before, but now I get it. I really get it. I couldn’t wait for you to come so I could show you! I’ve waited 67 years for this.’ “
“I loved it. It’s just how I wanted it.” JHM
“I laughed and I cried when reading this book.” KG
3. From a war memoir (privately published for his family only)
“Driving towards Antwerp, an urgent sound punctuated the chugging of my engine. A glance at the mirror reflected the flames of a doodle-bug, flying low, following and closing in … I hurled myself out of the moving truck and landed among brambles in a ditch. The winged bomb blazed past, barely three feet above my head. Two seconds of silence lasted an eon … shattered by the explosion. Starlings screeched as they flew from the sycamore trees.
I picked myself up and fished my cap out of a foetid pool. A donkey brayed from the barn of a farmhouse, bombed and smouldering. As I ran across the grass, past my crashed vehicle, the braying stopped. ‘Poor brute.’
I clambered in through a broken window. My eyes stung and my lungs burned in the choking heat. I held my handkerchief to my face as I raced up the stairs and through all the rooms. ‘Hello. Anyone there?’ No-one. I picked my way out again, stumbling over chunks of masonry to the lawn outside, where I sucked in the cool air.
As I left, I peered over the barn door. There was the gentle grey moke, unharmed, chomping a mouthful of hay. He tilted his head when he saw me, silently asking ‘What was all that about?’”
“It has been great working with you.” DA