What a way to start the New Year. A fantastic read from a new author to me. I’m getting involved in Blog tours as a way of increasing my presence and providing a bit more than just a weekly tale of what I’ve been up to.
But before we start, I have to mention an interview with me on a fellow authors website that’s just gone live. You can check it out here.
So, without further ado, in conjunction with Rachel’s Random Resources, I’ve read and reviewed Beginnings, the first in the Same Face Different Place series by Helen J Christmas.
They do say that if you can remember the 1960’s you weren’t there. As far as I know, there is no similar saying about the 1970’s. I was there, and I can remember them.
In fact, I was 13 in 1970, and I was growing up on the Seven Sisters Road, in Tottenham, North London. My parents ran an off-license. I went to the local comprehensive School, where being an Arsenal supporter made my life somewhat complicated. A bit later in the decade, I was working in the Docks of the East End, as a Merchant Navy apprentice in 1976.
I digress, I’m telling you this because I was around at the time that this book depicts. I was roughly the same age as the main character, Eleanor (OK, I was a couple of years younger than her and a boy). Importantly though, the world of the novel was my world at the time. Our stories were different, I can’t claim the same family or the same adventures, but I can relate to the atmosphere that the author creates, because it’s just about spot on, authentic and well researched.
Eleanor has a complicated time in this, the first of a series. Without spoiling the plot, there’s a gang war, she is on the wrong side and falls foul of the victor, being caught up in a plot to lure her father out of hiding. If that wasn’t complicated enough, she rescues a boy, Jake, who is a witness to a crime and whose ultimate silence is required, for reasons which become apparent as the story progresses.
So both of them have enough troubles of their own, without the need to share. Yet share they do, in a touching and well-written part of the story, once they are thrown together, they fall for each other. Then things start to get really interesting. No spoilers here, you really need to read this for yourselves to see how the story develops.
The atmosphere that the author creates is electric in places, and so matched to the times that I remember, right down to the little details of clothes, hair and even the restaurants. The action sequences are swift, brutal and gripping.
The advantage of having a series is that there is time to develop the plot. The groundwork has been done in this story, now there’s enough background set up for some excellent adventures in the subsequent volumes. There are plenty of places for the tale to develop.
Which doesn’t mean that nothing much happens apart from scene-setting. Far from it, there is enough going on to keep you turning the pages as one thing leads to another in a plausible sequence. It’s hard to remember sometimes that in the early 1970’s, we didn’t have mobile phones and there was no internet. This lack of knowledge is utilised fully to create the tension that came from not knowing everything. Especially what your enemy was up too! And there are plenty of twists and turns, dubious characters and intentions, all the hallmarks of a well-constructed plot. The ending will leave you wanting to know where more about Eleanor’s story.
So overall it’s a great book and a great start to a series that I will be reading more of, not just because I need to know what happens next. I can’t wait to see if the meticulous research extends into the world of the 1980’s in part 2.
Here’s all the other information that you need,
Purchase on Amazon – http://apn.to/prod/B0078L8858
Author Bio –
Helen J. Christmas lives on the south coast of Sussex with her husband. With a love of writing since childhood, she started her decade spanning thriller series ‘Same Face Different Place’ in 2011. Her first book ‘Beginnings,’ set in 1970s London, combines romantic suspense with a hard-hitting conspiracy thriller. Writing is something she juggles around family and social life. Helen is self employed and enjoys running the web design company, she and her husband set up from home. They have no children but enjoy the company of a faithful border collie and a fluffy white cat. Helen confesses to have got most of her ideas for writing, whilst walking Barney along the beach.
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