Milly Reynolds the Crime and General Fiction Author

Creator of crime sleuths Mike Malone and Jack Sallt and writer of other general fiction

Review – The Afterlife of Stars

The Afterlife of Stars

by Joseph Kertes

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This is the story of two brothers, Robert and Attila Beck, who are escaping from Communist Hungary with their family to travel to the Paris townhouse of their great-aunt Hermina. As they make their way through minefields both real and imagined, the two boys contend with sibling rivalry, family secrets, and unimaginable loss to arrive at a place they thought they’d lost forever: home.

I wanted to like it more than I did but just couldn’t engage with the characters. However, the story itself is beautifully told and is both heartbreaking and funny and all the emotions between, including horror at the cruelty of men towards their fellow men.

I recommend it, it will not leave you unmoved.

Latest review – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

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My son read this book by Michael Chabon and passed it on to me as a must read. I hesitated. It is not my usual read but I have to say I enjoyed it.

It is the story of Josef Kavalier and Sammy Clay – two Jewish cousins in America. It spans the 1930s, WW2 and the early 1950s. The two cousins write comic books and create The Escapist. In fact the two cousins are almost like The Escapist (Joe) and his sidekick (Sammy), although the comic book hero has no sidekick. The theme of escaping is one that encompasses the book, escaping from Prague, escaping from Nazi Germany, escaping from guilt, escaping from themselves.

It is a book of fiction based on fact and Chabon has tried – as he says in his notes – ‘to respect history’. It is also a book about love, loss and heroes. I liked it.

Busy Bank Holiday

Wow! I don’t think that I have had chance to stop since I woke this morning. But – what a morning. Following on from yesterday, we visited another couple of churches and revelled in their floral displays. Our particular favourite today was the little church in Fleet. Charming, beautiful and friendly. The wooden roof is spectacular.

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Although the nave at Holbeach church was also pretty special.

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But that is not all; I can now sit and put my feet up because I have finally got around to putting the Jack Sallt series and the Liv Harris novel onto Smashwords. Time for a coffee!

Mike Malone – No 12 is now finished.

Plotting The Play.

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Finally! This book seems to have been in the work in progress state for a very long time but now – it is finished and available.

I’ve introduced a new face in this book, an old colleague of Mike’s who, I hope, adds a new dimension to the story. As usual, there is some humour and some murder. Also some sadness. I hope you enjoy it.

May in Lincolnshire – Flower Festivals and a riot of colour

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Every year at this time, my own little town is a riot of colour. In years gone by the first weekend in May was always the time of the Spalding Flower Parade. Glorious floats decorated with tulips would parade through the town, interspersed with Brass and Marching Bands. The town used to heave with visitors who would travel from far and wide to watch the wonderful display. In my 20s, I actually sat on one of these floats, not once but twice. It was brilliant, waving and smiling to the crowds who cheered as we passed.

Sadly, two years ago, it was decided that the Parade was no longer a viable proposition. I feel that this was a wrong decision. However – a small part of that glorious weekend is hanging on.

As well as the Flower Parade, all of the local churches would put on their own Flower Festivals. This is what still remains of the legendary Spalding Flower Parade. The floats might have gone, but the churches are still here.

It is my tradition to spend this first weekend travelling to the local churches to marvel in the displays that congregations have given up their time to create. I am never disappointed. The friendliness of those welcoming us as we set foot inside the churches, the beautiful colours, the artistic displays and the creativity is always breath-taking. My photography is, sadly, not first class, but I think that you will be able to get some idea of the wonderful weekend that I have enjoyed.

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Which one do I give my vote to?

Having read all of the books shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, I suppose I must now put my neck on the block and decide which one I think will win.

The books are very different. I adored ‘Tinder’ with its marvellous illustrations. ‘Buffalo Soldier’ was a book that told hard truths, but, I think that the winner will be Patrick Ness’ ‘More Than This’. The story left me with more questions than answers. I wanted it to go on and on. It was great.

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The final Carnegie review

Buffalo Soldier

by Tanya Landman

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Have been a bit slow putting this review up. Sorry.

Buffalo Soldier looks at the meaning of freedom. It is the story of, and told by, Charlotte, a young African-American slave at the end of the Civil War. After witnessing the rape and murder of her adoptive mother, she is left all alone into a world full of terror, full of war. She might be a free slave, but she is still enslaved by the colour of her skin – and – her sex. Therefore, she dresses herself in a dead man’s clothes and joins the US Army as ‘Charley’, a ‘buffalo soldier’ who fights the Indians.

I enjoyed this book. We see the world through Charley’s eyes, we hear her voice and we listen to her opinions not only on the racism that exists even in the Army, but the Indians who are now at the bottom of the pile.

A fascinating read.

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