Review of ‘Three Reviews’, by Various Authors

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 10th October 2005, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

BLOOD AND STONE

This second locally-published title from Suzanne Downes is set on an archaeological dig in the Peak District. Involving human sacrifice, romance and the supernatural, the story introduces an apparently amazing discovery which real-life archaeologists in this part of the country would give their eye-teeth for.

Fliss Elmsworth, unhappily married to a debt-ridden geophysicist, flees from the marital home with her small daughter after a couple of heavies come calling, only to find herself involved in a murder case against a background of the 'triple death'.

The author carried out research at Manchester University to bring authenticity to Blood and Stone - of which there is plenty of both - as she creates scenes and undercurrents not too far removed from familiar Peakland village life, with its farms, pub and church, but especially a mysterious stone circle which is not all it seems.

The actual foot-and-mouth outbreak of recent times has been borrowed to influence the course of events, while chapter headings inspired by Celtic myths and legends set the mood as the plot thickens to a satisfactory conclusion.

Blood and Stone by Suzanne Downes is published by Ashridge Press/Country Books at £6.95. On sale locally or to order quoting ISBN 1-901214-26-2.

REFLECTIONS IN VERSE

Beth Richards draws on personal, and obviously quite mixed, experiences to compose thoughtful and positive poems, more than 40 now brought together in this slim volume of verse.

Her inspiration comes from both personal experience and events relating to other people in her life, resulting in titles dealing with daydreams, obstacles, friendship, destiny and hope.

Beth explains that her over-riding message is that we should not overlook life's 'many wondrous gifts' while struggling over obstacles that fate places in our path. The closest she gets to sounding a bit exasperated is in Don't Take Me For Granted, a declaration sure to find some sympathy:

'... the one thing in my life now
Is what I've always wanted,
That from now on,
I just won't be taken for granted.'

Relections in Verse by Beth Richards is published by Stockwell, price £3.99. On sale locally or to order quoting ISBN 0-7223-3578-4.

GETTING OUT OF DEBT AND STAYING OUT

This boldly instructive 'How to' title from local writer Tony Palmer could save borrowers a lot of money and a great deal of heartache. Its message aims to keep people out of serious debt as well as offering advice to those already in dire financial straits.

Spending more than we have got has become a part of modern life, from a mortgage to an outstanding credit card balance. The author offers an easily understood approach to borrowing in a way that will not end in tears, particularly for house purchase, household goods and short term emergencies.

He advises on sorting out existing problems, borrowing in a way to minimise potential difficulties and at the lowest cost, and how to extricate oneself from 'a complete financial mess'. Typical case histories are included, showing the ways in which sometimes responsible people can find themselves in eye-watering debt.

Basic questions and answers cover subjects including whether to rent or buy a property, interest rates, council tax arrears, second mortgages, types of loan and 'Why are you borrowing?'

Published by How To Books, price £8.99. Stocked in local outlets, or to order quote ISBN 1-84528-033-4.

Reviews by Julie Bunting


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