Author: Rebecca Stonehill

Rebecca Stonehill is from London but currently lives in Nairobi with her husband and three young children where she set up Magic Pencil, an initiative to give children greater access to creative writing and poetry. She has had numerous short stories published over the years, for example in Vintage Script, What the Dickens magazine, Ariadne’s Thread and Prole Books but The Poet’s Wife (Bookouture) is her first full-length novel, set in Granada during the Spanish Civil war and Franco’s dictatorship. Her second novel, The Girl and the Sunbird, was published by Bookouture in June 2016.

#BookReview
The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale
by Rebecca Stonehill @bexstonehill

#BookReview The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale by Rebecca Stonehill @bexstonehillTitle: The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale

Author: Rebecca Stonehill

Published by Sunbird Press on October 29, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 298

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Rebecca Stonehill

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A compelling page turner of a buried past resurfacing, set against a backdrop of the 1960’s youth culture and war-torn Crete.

1967. Handsome but troubled, Jim is almost 18 and he lives and breathes girls, trad jazz, Eel Pie Island and his best friend, Charles. One night, he hears rumours of a community of young people living in caves in Matala, Crete. Determined to escape his odious, bully of a father and repressed mother, Jim hitchhikes through Europe down to Matala. At first, it’s the paradise he dreamt it would be. But as things start to go wrong and his very notion of self unravels, the last thing Jim expects is for this journey of hundreds of miles to set in motion a passage of healing which will lead him back to the person he hates most in the world: his father.

Taking in the counter-culture of the 1960’s, the clash of relationships between the WW2 generation and their children, the baby boomers, this is a novel about secrets from the past finally surfacing, the healing of trauma and the power of forgiveness.

A captivating story that will mesmerise fans of Lucinda Riley, Dinah Jefferies and Tracy Rees.


Review:

Atmospheric, insightful, and profoundly moving!

The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale is predominantly set on the island of Crete during both the 1960s and WWII and is told from two perspectives; Jim, a young man who travels to Matala to live for the moment and be free from his stifling home life and strained relationship with his father; and Alfred, a young man embarking on a journey of survival in a time of utter devastation and destruction.

The prose is expressive, vivid, and eloquent. The characters are multi-faceted, genuine, and sympathetic. And the plot is a sweeping saga filled with life, loss, familial dynamics, secrets, determination, self-discovery, loneliness, friendship, war, survival, forgiveness, and love.

The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale is truly a wonderfully written, poignant novel by Stonehill that does an exceptional job of blending historical facts, remarkable characterization, and heartfelt fiction into an incredibly moving story that reminds us that life is very precious and often all too short.

If you haven’t read my review of Stonehill’s previous novel, The Girl and the Sunbird, one of my favourite novels of all time, be sure to check it out here:

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following link.

 

 

Thank you to Rebecca Stonehill for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It’s always an honour!

 

About Rebecca Stonehill

Rebecca Stonehill is from London but currently lives in Nairobi with her husband and three young children where she set up Magic Pencil, an initiative to give children greater access to creative writing and poetry. She has had numerous short stories published over the years, for example in Vintage Script, What the Dickens magazine, Ariadne’s Thread and Prole Books but The Poet’s Wife (Bookouture) is her first full-length novel, set in Granada during the Spanish Civil war and Franco’s dictatorship. Her second novel, The Girl and the Sunbird, was published by Bookouture in June 2016.

 

#BookReview
The Girl and the Sunbird
by Rebecca Stonehill @bexstonehill

#BookReview The Girl and the Sunbird  by Rebecca Stonehill @bexstonehillTitle: The Girl and the Sunbird

Author: Rebecca Stonehill

Published by Bookouture on June 17, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 502

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Bookouture, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A haunting, heartbreaking and unforgettable novel of a woman married to a man she can never love, and drawn to another who will capture her heart forever… 

When eighteen year old Iris Johnson is forced to choose between marrying the frightful Lord Sidcup or a faceless stranger, Jeremy Lawrence, in a far-off land, she bravely decides on the latter. 

Accompanied by her chaperone, Miss Logan, Iris soon discovers a kindred spirit who shares her thirst for knowledge. As they journey from Cambridgeshire to East Africa, Iris’s eyes are opened to a world she never knew existed beyond the comforts of her family home. 

But when Iris meets Jeremy, she realizes in a heartbeat that they will never be compatible. He is cold and cruel, spending long periods of time on hunting expeditions and leaving Iris alone. 

Determined to make the best of her new life, Iris begins to adjust to her surroundings; the windswept plains of Nairobi, and the delightful sunbirds that visit her window every day. And when she meets Kamau, a local school teacher, Iris finds her calling, assisting him to teach the local children English. 

Kamau is everything Jeremy is not. He is passionate, kind and he occupies Iris’s every thought. She must make a choice, but if she follows her heart, the price she must pay will be devastating. 


Review:

This is a poignant, heart-wrenching, impactful story that I won’t soon forget.

It is the story of Iris, a young, naive woman who is sent to British East Africa to marry an arrogant, brutish widower, only to find true love in the arms of a native.

The story is predominantly set in Kenya during the early 1900s, and then again during the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s, and is told by differing perspectives that sweep you along through the highs and lows of Iris’s life effortlessly.

This is, ultimately, a story about loneliness, loss, injustice, determination, strength, solace, happiness, and love.

The prose is poetic, precise, and exquisitely descriptive. And the characters are multi-layered, engaging, and empathetic. 

This is a truly powerful story. It will make you smile. It will make you cry. And it will resonate with you long after the last page is finished.

 

This book is due to be published on June 17, 2016.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Bookouture, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Rebecca Stonehill

Rebecca Stonehill is from London but currently lives in Nairobi with her husband and three young children where she set up Magic Pencil, an initiative to give children greater access to creative writing and poetry. She has had numerous short stories published over the years, for example in Vintage Script, What the Dickens magazine, Ariadne’s Thread and Prole Books but The Poet’s Wife (Bookouture) is her first full-length novel, set in Granada during the Spanish Civil war and Franco’s dictatorship. Her second novel, The Girl and the Sunbird, was published by Bookouture in June 2016.

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