Book Review – The Finding Of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace

“Martha is lost.

She’s been lost since she was a baby, abandoned in a suitcase on the train from Paris. Ever since, she’s waited in station lost property for someone to claim her. It’s been sixteen years, but she’s still hopeful.

In the meantime, there are mysteries to solve: secret tunnels under the station, a suitcase that may have belonged to the Beatles, the roman soldier who appears at the same time every day with his packed lunch. Not to mention the stuffed monkey that someone keeps misplacing.

But there is one mystery Martha cannot solve. And now the authorities have found out about the girl in lost property. Time is running out – if Martha can’t discover who she really is, she will lose everything…”

Welcome to the charming, quirky world of Martha Lost. A world of lost things, including Martha, set within the confines of Liverpool’s Lime Street Station.

It’s the summer of 1976 and teenage Martha has been at the station since she was a baby, abandoned in the lost property office where she was taken in by the proprietor, the rather unpleasant Mother. Her life is bounded by the station, for, like a modern day Lady of Shalott, she’s been told that if she ever sets foot outside the station it will collapse into the earth, destroying it utterly.

So Martha lives her life under the glass atrium, twirling across the platforms and concourse, interacting with the other residents, some obvious, some not so much. Until a series of events forces her into finding out the secrets of her lost past.

The Finding of Martha Lost is a sweet dream of a book, all cakes and characters and the innocence of youth. Yet there are threads of darkness in Martha’s world. Abuse, loss, death and shame twine with the lighter themes of her story to add a touch of gritty realness and, when the real world intrudes into her life with the arrival of an Australian adventurer carrying a mythical lost case of Beatles memorabilia, events build to breaking point and Martha finds she is no longer lost.

This is a book about the families we build, rather than the ones we are born into, and of how damaged souls can help each other to heal. Martha Lost combines whimsical storytelling with real events and a touch of magic to create a tale that lingers with the reader long after the last page is turned.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

I received my copy of Finding Martha Lost through NetGalley. All reviews and opinions are my own.

Look For The Helpers

I’ve tried to write this post several times today.

Oh, not because I had no words. I had lots of them. Words of sorrow and fury and fear. Words of love and hope and pride. But none of them seemed big enough or strong enough or wise enough to encompass the despair I felt on hearing of yet another cowardly, senseless event.

So in the end, I turned to someone else’s words. Mr Rogers once said:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

And, from the accounts trickling into the news feed, there were many, many helpers last night. And so it goes, when such things happen; love outweighs hate, the selfless acts of many shining as bright threads in the gathering dark.

May it always be so. For I think I speak for many of us when I say, whether a concert or a marketplace or a nightclub, a holiday resort or football match, we are sick and tired of this bullsh*t.

My heart goes out to all those affected by last night’s attack in Manchester. I cannot imagine your pain xx

 

 

#writephoto – When The Water Falls

‘You been here long?’

‘No, not really.’

‘Me either,’ I say, dragging my finger through the water pooling on the sill. ‘Still, it’s weird, isn’t it?’

‘What?’

‘Well, like, I don’t think I’ve been here long. But on the other hand I can’t remember ever not being here… So I don’t know.’

‘I remember singing.’

‘Singing?’ I consider for a moment. Light dawns. ‘Oh yeah, singing. And, like, a lady?’

‘Yeah. In blue? Or was it purple?’

I screw up my face. ‘Purple, I think. I seem to remember purple.’

‘And, were there other people?’

‘Hmmm. You know, I think there might have been. Like, I was here with someone else, and then I heard the singing, and then…’ But I can’t remember anything else except a blur of white light and singing. I definitely remember the singing.

‘It was raining then, too.’

‘It was?’

‘Yeah. My… mum?’ He pauses, as though he’s testing the word. ‘Yeah, my mum, she made me wear wellies that day.’

‘Wellies? What are they?’ But as I think about it I remember, black rubbery boots. And, some sort of uniform. ‘I think maybe, I might have been at… school once.’

‘School? Huh. I think maybe I might have been too.’

‘And there was someone, like, a mister someone. They were shouting…’

‘And then there was the singing. And the water…’

‘A bit like today, I guess.’

There is noise, then. The chatter of voices, the clatter of shoes on old stone floors, and the room feels all at once crowded. I hear someone speaking. ‘And this is the very chamber is where the infamous lady lured…’ His voice disappears,  drowned out by a rushing sound. Through the window I can see water pouring from the mouth of an ancient figure carved into the wall. And as it falls it takes with it all my half-remembered ideas, and all that is left is singing, and a glimpse of purple.

…..

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

‘You been here long?’

‘No. Or, I don’t know, really.’

‘Me either’

‘Okay.’


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

 


 

Thank you!

If you don’t know the story of Sue’s son Nick, head over to Sue’s blog and read more. Suffice it to say, this remarkable young man now has wheels and is ready to head off on more adventures – can’t wait to hear about them!

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

To everyone who helped raise funds towards the cost of Nick’s Mountain Trike, a specially adapted, off-road wheelchair able to take the less able to places otherwise out of reach…

THANK YOU!

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Ups and Downs and Strawberry Fool

Recently I entered a writing comp on Morgen Bailey’s blog – the premise is to write something that is exactly 100 words, based upon the prompt for the month. I entered the April comp, and the prompt was ‘Fool.’

Here is my entry:

Strawberry Fool

She sliced the strawberries, red juices staining her fingers and the wooden chopping board, ruby drops on her blade.

A bowl of whipped cream waited to receive them, peaks like the breasts of another woman, pointing skywards. She lifted the chopping board, using the knife to push the strawberries into the cream. They fell with heavy plops, staining the pure whiteness as she folded them through. From the room beyond she could hear laughter. Her husband’s. And the other woman.

Strawberry fool. Well, she thought, sprinkling sweet sugary cyanide over the bowl, let’s see who the fool is, after all.

And, I’m happy to report, I managed to get a ‘Highly Commended,’ which came with a small prize 🙂 Nothing like a little win to keep a writer going.

Because I also, today, received a not-so-great review for one of my books. Basically, the reader didn’t like the story, and felt it wasn’t for them. I can’t deny it hurt a bit, but at the same time I can’t get mad about it. We all have different tastes, and something I love might not be another person’s cup of tea at all. So the key, I think, is to let it go and move on (unless of course you get reviewers pointing out the same thing over and over – then you might want to revisit your story).

So, ups and downs, highs and lows, light and dark – it’s all part of being a writer, and something we can bring into our writing too.

Plus, it’s almost Friday.

🙂


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

Wednesday Wander – El Peix, Barcelona

I’ve been to Barcelona twice, and both times I visited the beach. Yet, before I visited, I’d never thought of Barcelona as a ‘beach’ city. To me it was a place of dance and food and architecture, home to Gaudi, one of my favourite architects. I knew it was on the coast, but Barceloneta beach was an unexpected delight.

On my second visit we spent half a day or so there, hubby and the gorgeous girl in and out of the water as we looked for shells and soaked up the sunshine, eating fresh paella at one of the many seafront cafes before returning to our hotel sandy and happy. We also took a walk along the wooden boardwalk, heading towards an unusual structure we could see gleaming golden  in the distance.

It turned out to be El Peix, a golden fish sculpture created by renowned Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry for the 1992 Olympics. Built as a canopy to link a hotel, casino and restaurants, it’s now one of Barcelona’s most well-known landmarks.

It’s not the only Gehry we’ve seen – in Seattle we spent a wonderful day at the EMP, marvelling at the colours and curves of the extraordinary building. It seemed fitting to see another piece of his work in Barcelona – Gehry, like Gaudi a century earlier, twists shape and form to challenge what can be done architecturally, creating structures like no other. We’re heading to Bilbao this summer and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Guggenheim there, another of his famous works.

But for now I’ll leave you with Barcelona beach palms against a brilliant blue sky, a memory of a golden day. Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

 

 

Book of the Month… A Thousand Rooms

Well, this is a nice surprise! A Thousand Rooms is Book Of The Month over at KC’s Books And Music – thanks so much, Kev 🙂 *blushing*

And, just a reminder that A Thousand Rooms is currently available to read and review via NetGalley…

KC BOOKS & MUSIC

My latest Book of the Month is A Thousand Rooms by Helen Jones.

Helen was awarded the spotlight for having the most popular book review last month. Helen’s book has also been entered into The Diamond Book Awards this year. A link to find out more and purchase A Thousand Rooms is highlighted in the widget bar where it will stay for a whole month. In case you missed my review of Helen’s book; here’s the link: Book Review.

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