Book Review: The Finding of Martha Lost | Caroline Wallace



Book Blurb:

Martha is lost.

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

In the meantime, there are lost property 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 has never been able to solve - until anonymous letters start to arrive, offering hope that the past and the family she is so desperate to know might not be lost forever after all.

Time is running out, though - the authorities have found out about the girl in lost property, and if Martha can’t discover who she really is, she will lose everything…

A peculiarly charming story of friendship, fairy tales and finding your own sense of identity. Perfect for fans of Amelie, Hugo and Elizabeth is Missing.

My Review:
 
I have never read anything quite like this magical book, what the author calls a love letter to Liverpool is one of those books that stays with you long after you finish reading the last page. From the beginning I was captivated by this wonderful story, the naïve yet charming and endearing nature of Martha is something go wonderful that even before you know it, you feel the magic that shines from her. She is a fountain of optimism that spills out into the people around her and we begin to see how Martha has, without realising it, built herself an oddball family of colourful and wonderful characters.

What she wants to know is why she is lost and she has the desire to find her birth mother. Martha has been led to believe that she was abandoned in a suitcase from Paris to Liverpool, and while it is obvious that such a train line as never existed, Martha still holds on to the fantasy of it all. She spends her days smiling at strangers wondering if they are somehow related, her desperation masked beneath her youthful determination and curiosity.
 
The author Caroline Wallace writes with magical flare, and manages to capture the characters, the story and Liverpool Lime Street station with such wonderful authenticity that you find yourself slipping easily into a thoroughly absorbing and pleasurable story. 

This is the kind of book that I would urge everyone to read, not just those local to Liverpool but everyone who has ever felt even just a little bit lost, then this story will offer you a little bit of self-assuring magic and allow you to see yourself in a better light.

The power of words is something I have always believed in, and this story is a powerful one in such a way that it makes the reader question what they see in themselves and allows a re-evaluation of one’s own self-worth. Martha sees herself in such a way that allows us all to see ourselves with a little bit of magic.

A captivatingly beautiful tale of finding what was never really lost in the first place.

I gave this book a beautifully enchanting 10/10

Buy it here:


About The Author
Caroline Wallace worked as a lecturer for several years before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in Liverpool with her husband and their many children.

Find out more about Caroline here:

Author Interview: Portia MacIntosh

Today is exciting because not only is it publication day for the new book 'Truth or Dare' by the wonderful Portia MacIntosh, but I have been lucky enough to have an interview with the lady herself. So grab yourself a brew, take a seat and happy reading.
 
Hello Portia, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview, I am so very excited to have you here.
Hello! It’s very nice to be here.

So tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from and what do you write?
My name is Portia and, having travelled around a lot during my teens/twenties, I feel like I’m from a bit of everywhere really. Contemporary romance is my thing; my books are kind of funny, kind of dramatic, kind of cheeky – kind of like me really haha.
Your main focus seems to be Romanic fiction, would you ever like to write in any other genre?
Yes! Every time I read/watch an amazing thriller, it makes me want to have a go at something a little darker. Of course, I soon remember my inability to take anything too seriously for too long. One day though!

Where do you find your inspiration for your wonderful books?
Thank you! Oh, from real life. If not what I get up to, then what those around me are going through. I can be like a vulture sometimes, listening to people telling me all about their woes, all the time wondering how subtly I can make notes in my phone… haha. It’s mostly my own adventures that I fictionalise though. Truth or Date was inspired by the few months I spent in the crazy world of online dating.

What can you tell me about your typical writing day and what your process is?
Much to my delight, I don’t really have typical writing days. Very few days play out the same for me. I’m either in a different place, or sometimes I’ll be using my laptop, others I’ll be using an actual pen and paper. I like to listen to music when I write. I also like to write at really antisocial times – I get all my best ideas at 4am.

Do you have your own special Writer's Room?
As much as I fantasise about a huge, corner dress and massive prints of my book covers on the wall… I don’t. I’m like a stray cat of an author, writing wherever I am – or wherever I can. I’ve written on tour buses, in hotel rooms, at boyfriend’s houses, in coffee shops – sometimes, even in my own bed! When I settle, I’ll have the ultimate office.
Can you tell me about your journey to publication? How did that all happen?
It all feels like a blur, like it never really happened haha. I’d been writing books for fun, really. I had two full-length novels and a novelette. I sent them to Carina to ‘see what happened’, fully expecting a rejection, and they said they wanted all three. And I was like: ‘COOL GET ME A PEN SO I CAN SIGN SOMETHING’ before they changed their minds haha.

What can you tell me about your publisher Carina, and what are they like to work with?
I love them. Every single member of the team is amazing, and they all work so hard. They make me a better writer, for sure, and they’re always there to offer support when I need it. They also served the best brownies I’ve ever tasted in my life at their Christmas party, so I’m never leaving them. Ever.
So what’s next for Portia MacIntosh? Can you tell us a little about what you may be working on next?
Truth or Dare is out today (11th April)! I’d like to say I’m taking some time off, but I’ll be straight to work on my sixth book – which just feels unreal. I can’t say too much at this stage…mostly because I’m still undecided on a few aspects.
Maybe it will be a seasonal book… Maybe...

The Fun Stuff:

What is your favourite TV show right now?
Oooh! It’s got to be Girls, I love it. I grew up watching things like Sex and the City, where everyone was rich, and obsessed with shoes, and bachelors were eligible. I just love Girls because it’s nothing like that. It’s cringey, it’s ugly, it’s hilarious – it’s real. We all make bad choices and do stuff we’re not proud of or can’t explain. We’re not all rich. And as for always being able to assemble our group of friends to hang out all the time – come on, that’s the most unbelievable aspect of Sex and the City. Still love it though haha.

Who is your ultimate celebrity crush?
Henry Cavill. My life goal is to become Mrs. Portia Cavill – watch this space.

Who are your favourite authors?
My favourite book in the world is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, she makes my list for that alone. More in line with my genre… I think Paige Toon is awesome. Carole Matthews is another great one, her books never disappoint. I think Scarlett Bailey is brilliant too.

What are you reading right now?
Right now, showing my dark side a little, I’m about to start American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. I love the movie, so someone recommended the book – they did precede it with quite the warning though, so we’ll see how it goes…

Which book from another author do you wish you had written?
Ooh! That’s a wonderful question. I imagine this is a question that I’d answer differently every time it was asked, but right now: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I absolutely love it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Portia.
You’re very welcome. Thanks for having me.

Get the book now:


About The Author

PORTIA MACINTOSH has been 'making stuff up' for as long as she can remember - or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it's really like for women who don't find this life stuff as easy as it seems.  

Book Review: The Art of Being Normal | Lisa Williamson

Winner of the Waterstones Best Older Fiction Children's Book Prize

Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize

Two boys. Two secrets.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in Year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long . . .


I am a fan of Young Adult books but normally I tend to gravitate towards books that have a fantasy or science fiction element to them. This book however is a contemporary YA novel and I must say one of the best books I have read in a long time. I think it is incredibly brave and inspiring of the author to write something that tackles issues that are only really just being brought to the attention of the masses.

What this book does is highlight these issues in such a wonderful way that the story in my opinion isn’t immediately or directly about transgender issues, it is about 2 boys and their friendship and there just happens to be the added dynamic of gender identity.

The subject is tackled wonderful and with sensitivity, and what this book has been doing and will continue to do is to allow teens to feel ok in who they are and who they want to be. I myself am not transgender but what this book gave me was a faith in my own identity and this idea that your life should be lived as your most authentic self.

The writing and the story is just wonderful and it is evocative in its realism and portrayal of the world today. The characters of Leo and David are wonderfully heart-warming and endearing and seeing how their friendship progresses is simply wonderful.

A triumph of a book, and hopefully it will inspire many more like it. 

10/10
 
Buy it Here:



I also had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at an event recently in Waterstones Liverpool, where I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of the book and have a lovely little chat with the lady herself. She is lovely.

About The Author:


Lisa Williamson was born and grew up in Nottingham. She studied drama at Middlesex University and since graduating has worked as an actor on stage and TV. Between acting jobs Lisa temped in offices across London, typing stories when no one was looking, one of which eventually became The Art of Being Normal.

Lisa now lives in North London with her boyfriend.

Find Lisa Here:

Website
Twitter