#BlogTour: A Country Practice: New Beginnings by Judith Colquhoun @CorazonBooks @NeverlandBT

Today I’m pleased to welcome Judith Colquhoun to BrizzleLass Books as part of the blog tour for the first book in her A Country Practice series. Whether you followed the TV series back in the 80’s or not there is something for everyone in the medical drama.

Description

Brendan and Molly Jones swap city living for a new start in the country. But are they prepared for rural life in Wandin Valley?

A Country Practice follows the dramas, loves, secrets and dilemmas of the people in a small country town in south-eastern Australia. There is romance, humour and tragedy for the medical staff and patients of the Wandin Valley Bush Nursing Hospital, and their friends and neighbours.

Brendan and Molly meet the colourful characters who will change their lives forever.

Terence Elliott is the town’s respected doctor, but can he overcome his demons to save a mother and baby in danger?

Simon Bowen, the newest doctor in town, is frustrated at being seen as an outsider by the tight knit country people. Will he succeed in winning them around ‒ especially young vet Vicky Dean?

Police sergeant Frank Gilroy has his heart set on Vicky’s mum, Sister Shirley Dean. But is he the man for her?

Meanwhile, a teenager in love clashes with her father and a serious car accident reveals a surprising secret about two of the town’s residents.

A heart-warming and engaging tale, based on the award-winning, international hit television serial A Country Practice.

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Review

A Country Practice was a firm favourite in my house, my Mum didn’t let an episode pass without having us sit around our crackly old black & white portable TV to watch (I kid you not!). It’s probably the first TV programme I remember, and I say this seriously as we didn’t watch much TV at all back then so the characters of Wandin Valley were firmly a part of our lives.

When the opportunity to read this came up I jumped at it, the chance to meet these characters again as an adult now, was one I couldn’t turn down.

There are two main storylines in the novel a pregnant woman who goes into labour early and requires surgery and a serious car crash which involves a well liked member of the community. These held up well were strong and introduced members of the community and hospital.

There are also several sub-plots which is where I felt the book got a little lost. On TV the jumping around, multiple people and stories works well, it’s easier to take all of that in. But in a book I found it a little messy and too dry at times. I think a few of the smaller sub-plots and characters would have been better cut for the sake of easier reading.

Overall, I think there is a lot of hope in the storylines containing Simon, the new doctor to the area, and Vicky, the local vet. And Vicky’s mum Shirley, and the local police officer Frank. These storylines have a romantic element but were also funny, involved other characters and you could see how they could work with other dramatic events such as the medical events in this book.

Thanks to Judith Colquhoun and Corazon Books for the eARC to review, this is my honest opinion.

Rating

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About Judith Colquhoun

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Judith Colquhoun was born in Queensland and grew up in Sydney. She studied production at the National Institute of Dramatic Art and soon after graduating, love and a job took her to Melbourne. Later, she lived in London for a time, spent many years in country Victoria and long enough in Italy to fall in love with the Mezzogiorno. She is now back in Melbourne and may even stay there.

She started writing when she was six and from the age of twenty-three has always earned her living from it in one way or another. She was a scriptwriter for far too long, writing countless hours of television for many of Australia’s most popular shows, including Neighbours and Home & Away. Her output included one hundred episodes of A Country Practice.

Judith has worked as an editor and script producer, and in Italy was a script consultant on the serial Un Posto Al Sole. She has won five Awgie Awards and in 2007 was made a Life Member of the Australian Writers’ Guild.

In 2009 she finally gave up scriptwriting to attempt a novel. Thicker Than Water, which is largely set in southern Italy, was published in 2014. It was Highly Commended in the Fellowship of Australian Writers 2014 National Literary Awards.

She has written three novels based on the stories and characters of A Country PracticeNew Beginnings, To Everything a Season and Silver Linings.

Judith is married with two children and three grandchildren.

Book & Buy Links

TitleA Country Practice: New Beginnings
Series: A Country Practice #1
Author: Judith Colquhoun
Genre: Drama | Medical
Publisher: Corazon Books
Publication Date: 12 June 2015
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Paperback
Pages: 220
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon USWaterstones | Foyles | Book Depository

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#BlogTour: The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt @Authoright #GuestPost

Today I’m pleased to welcome Fiona Mordaunt to BrizzleLass Books as part of the blog tour for The Frog Theory, she has written a character spotlight on Clea, one of her main characters from this novel to give you a taste of what to expect when you pick The Frog Theory up, so dive in and check it out.

Description

Tragedy and comedy in perfect proportion.

Kim and Flow are the best of friends, living on a council estate, making money selling drugs.

Just around the corner in a smarter part of Fulham is Clea, a well-heeled young woman coping with a violent home life at the hands of her twisted step-father.

The Principal runs a famous college for problem teens. Fostering guilty secrets which distance her from her own children, she resists the advances of a man she sees on the train every day.

When Kim and Clea meet by chance, Kim is smitten but worried about her. Using the anecdote of the frog theory – that it will jump straight out of boiling water and live, but stay in and die if heated slowly from cold – he wakes her up to the dangerous situation she’s in at home.

Serendipity and a cake-fuelled food fight that goes viral will bring Kim, Clea, Flow and The Principal together in weird and wonderful ways in this frenetic, laugh-out-loud story about love, conscience and lion-hearted nerve.

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Guest Post

Character Spotlight on Clea

All of my main characters are slightly exaggerated – real life super heroes, if you like, intended to inspire, entertain and comfort.

I believe that we have seeds of potential within us all which bloom in certain ways, at certain times, depending on the conditions we are exposed to and the cues in life that we choose to react to.

Clea

Initially, when we meet Clea, she is known by her nickname, Clate, a name imposed on her by Hugo, her stepfather. This is one of the subtle ways in which he keeps her down. He does not feel fatherly towards her and struggles to fight his true emotions, which are sexual, but present themselves as violent. Hugo wants to be in love with his wife and to be a father to Clea and he hates himself because it is not so. He has no one to turn to – everyone is their own best spin doctor – and it is no different for him. He tells himself that the violence is for her own good and is not aware of the base emotions he is constantly keeping at bay within himself; he cannot face up to them nor understand them.

Clea is perhaps a me I longed to be as a younger woman. She is so agile, and I can’t even touch my toes! I remember trying to do various stretches and dance moves as a kid and no matter how much I practised, I could not grab my ankle with my hand and straighten my leg out. Her character is carefully built up, physically and mentally, as a heroine who triumphs. Her mental strength is in learning to trust her instincts in order to walk her path with confidence.

We meet her best friend, Sarah, early in the novel. ‘Sometimes she thought Sarah actually enjoyed hearing the grief Hugo put her through’, and right from the beginning we can see that Sarah’s main objective is finding a dream boyfriend – perfectly normal for many young girls her age, though using Clea the way she does to achieve it is, perhaps, a little mean. ‘You’re always grounded, I’ve thought of a way around that. You can’t spend your whole life cooped up in your bedroom.’ However, she is right about this and is the unwitting catalyst that leads Clea to the party where she meets Kim.

Kim has plenty of emotional intelligence, he has seen it all and immediately correctly interprets Clea’s situation with Hugo: that he fancies her. ‘She let his words sink in. It made sense of all the times she’d felt the need to cover herself…’ Clea cannot understand why she has let things get so bad. Kim tells her the anecdote of The Frog Theory, that is will stay in cold water if it is heated up gently until it dies, in order to help her be kind to herself and to give her confidence.

It is Kim’s influence, and the unexpected kindness she finds in a solicitor who gives her news of an inheritance from her biological father, that ignite her desire to change.

She chooses to listen to the solicitor, trusting her instinct for the first time. ‘…he took Clate’s hand in his own and imagined that she was one of his daughters. It was different from how she felt with Hugo because the solicitor’s touch didn’t give her the creeps. His contact was strong, caring and wise…’

She seizes the opportunity to react to this person who evokes feelings of such hope. She is ready to leap. She drops the awful nickname and becomes Clea: ‘she shed a skin that day.’

It is not until she reconnects with Kim that she revisits her past. ‘This unexpected telescope… put her on edge.’ It is not only cerebral memories that return but an emotional experience, too, which she finds she cannot control or contain, but she does know that she will not welcome it, so she attacks what seems to be causing it – Kim. Her nature is not violent, so she takes the next best option and attacks him with strawberry gateau. It works. It stops the memories and gives her a sense of protecting herself but it has led her into a new and unwelcome situation – she is stuck on a bus covered in pudding!

Her instinct keeps drawing her back to Kim and when she finds him with the Principal, all she can think of is that she must help this woman. She discovers a new ability that she is not ready for, she rejects it but not before it has done some good. She is well on the way to being whole.

About Fiona Mordaunt

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After attending school for model-making, Mordaunt started Image Casting in 1998, specialising in customised body castings. Over the course of 13 years, she worked on such films as Atonement and The Wildest Dream, as well as for personal clients like Lionel Richie. In 2012, she relocated to Botswana with her husband and daughter where she currently resides.

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Book & Buy Links

TitleThe Frog Theory
Series: N/A
Author: Fiona Mordaunt
Genre: Drama | Fiction
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: 14 February 2017
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook
Pages: 276
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#BlogTour: The Good Enough Mother by Anoushka Beazley @AnoushkaBeazley @NeverlandBT #Giveaway

Today I’m pleased to welcome Anoushka Beazley to BrizzleLass Books as part of the blog tour for The Good Enough Mother, she has written a great guest post about how The Cruicible and The Salem Witch Trials inspired her novel. Read on for more and don’t miss out on the fantastic giveaway at the end of the post!

Description

Gatlin – a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However, all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman. Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan…unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin. Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA? A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition.

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Guest Post

Parallels by Anoushka Beazley

The Crucible by Arthur Miller was first published in 1953, based on the Salem witch hunt of 1693. It was the age of McCarthyism; cold war communist paranoia, and Miller used the politics of the day to draw important parallels with the politics of the play. In 2016 I found myself using the names of the characters in The Crucible as callers and host in the three narrative radio segments of my own novel The Good Enough Mother. Later I wondered what had led me to do this.

America was fearing the strength of the growing Soviet Union after they tested the atom bomb. With strong eastern European allies and the Communist army gaining control of mainland China, a virus of suspicion pervaded America. Communism was a huge concern for the government; key state officials and members of the public were discovered as double agents, and the fearful reaction to this espionage was seen most notably in the hearings led by Senator Joseph McCarthy himself where unlawful charges without reason or evidence were made.

In The Crucible, Salem is a religious community under attack by the witches of the forest. False, unsubstantiated claims are made against young girls thought to be witches and their innocence is determined at a trial comprised of men and women already convinced of their guilt.

In The Good Enough Mother, Drea is suspicious of the world around her and has isolated herself like an island in a sea of mothers and motherhood, with a wider distaste of humanity at large. Claims are made against Drea in an investigation led by a police officer who, despite wearing a badge of propriety, is baselessly convinced of her guilt. Her offbeat partner plays the part of McCarthy’s dissident communist (and Salem’s evil witch) who, although the less obvious morally sound choice, is the protagonist’s ‘good cop’ protector. Drea must prove her innocence in this investigation where no evidence exists to rightly accuse her, despite her own indiscretions. She herself is deeply paranoid and it is perhaps as a result of this malignant myopia that she finds herself quickly on a downward and escalating spiral. There are also less obvious machines at work in Drea’s condemnation. Ava’s goodness operates as a constant narrative reflection of Drea’s negation of herself. Papa’s perversion serves as a general depravity which lurks within her home, but also as part of her. She is the daughter of a degenerate, his genes are hers. And the women of the town – the other mothers – are judges uninterested in the facts. They will decide on Drea’s guilt based on social standing, class, marital status, and common principles. Drea is an Asian in a white community, raising a step-child rather than her own child, feeling financial and social atrophy, abandoned by her partner with a frowned upon reliance on alcohol and weed.

It always fascinated me that Miller, the man who wrote a play about society’s fear of the feminine, was at one time married to Marilyn Monroe, one of the original femme fatales who, behind the façade, was so broken – just like Drea.

About Anouska Beazley

anoushka-beazley-author-imageAnoushka Beazley has a film degree, an acting diploma and a masters in creative writing. She is a full time novelist, lives in North London with three little witches, a lawyer and a Maine Coon.

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Giveaway

Head to Rafflecopter to enter this amazing giveaway, there will be 10 winners, each winning a signed copy of The Good Enough Mother!

Book & Buy Links

TitleThe Good Enough Mother
Series: N/A
Author: Anoushka Beazley
Genre: Drama | Fiction
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 9 July 2016
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook | Paperback
Pages: 330
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon USKobo | Foyles | Waterstones