21 Apr 2021



Sometimes you have to go a long way from home to discover what was right in front of you.

Charlotte Fontaine's dead-end life lacked excitement so she impulsively booked a flight to Cambodia to visit her best friend.

She never imagined that sitting on a plane, struggling with her fear of flying, might lead a chance encounter with Rashid, an old man whose tragic secret would take her on a mystery tour of discovery.

In a land of golden temples, orange-clad monks, and smiling people, Charlotte discovers nothing is as she'd expected. She also never imagined the journey would take her back to the night when her father walked out on the family.

And who was Rashid? Was he just a kindly old man, or was there something deeper sewn into the exquisite fabric of his life?

Charlotte stared along the corridor. {First Sentence, Prologue}

Charlotte shook her head. 'Something's wrong.' She zoomed in on the photo with her fingers. The tuk-tuk driver was visible, as were people on the street and vehicles driving by. In the background, a bicycle leaned against the wall next to restaurant. But no Rashid. 'He was there,' she wailed. 'I know he was.' She flipped through the pictures again. 'Did I delete it? Am I going mad?' {Memorable Moment, Page 287}

MY THOUGHTS ... A wonderfully descriptive journey of a read that took its readers from London to Cambodia ✔️ That I got to immerse myself in a different culture and learn something of the teachings of Buddhism something I relished, that the author explored both sides of Cambodia, its darker sides as well as its beauty something I found refreshing.

Wonderfully memorable characters and oh! the relationships ✔️ Main as well as secondary, the same love was obviously felt for the creation of all the characters and it showed.

I loved seeing the journey Charlotte went on as she bloomed from a fearful, angry young woman. Her relationship with her narcissistic mother, one that I could all too readily relate too, her relationship with her best friend from childhood and her seemingly polar opposite, Roxy, delightful. Then there were all the relationships formed whilst Charlotte was in Cambodia, that with the women rescued from being trafficked, that with Tuk-Tuk driver, SomOn, that with Buddhist monk, Samnang; all of them (and many more) with their own stories waiting to be told. 

Has a mysterious element with twists and turns a plenty ✔️ Just who is Rashid, the elderly man Charlotte encounters on her flight from Heathrow to Cambodia and why is it that every time she thinks she has seen him out of the corner of her eye he simply isn't there ? I think it fair to say that the answer was one I didn't see coming despite the fact that on hindsight the clues were all there.

Featuring pretty much every aspect that makes a book a good read for me, it may well only be April but I'm confident that come the end of the year I'll still be able to say that Whisper of The Lotus is one of my favourite reads discovered in 2021. 

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8 Apr 2021


 Having been entrusted to share my thoughts on their previous books, The Lyons Orphanage and, its sequel, The Lyons Legacy, today its my pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on ...


After the death of her father, Lizzie Barnes’ life takes an interesting turn when her mum brings home a journal.


Lizzie decides to use the journal to write short stories involving her beloved teddy bear Rodford and his arch-enemy Dr Ofdor, a villainous grizzly bear.

She soon notices it is no ordinary journal as people around her begin to have dreams based around her stories.


When Lizzie begins to experience the dreams for herself, she finds that as the creator, the rules of the journal can work against her.


Lizzie, with the help of Rodford and a rat named Ridgeley, must explore the different worlds while facing the dangers she created, including Dr Ofdor, to free herself from the workings of the journal. (Back Cover Blurb)

Lizzie burst through the door without saying a word and ran up to her room, not daring to look back at her mother or brother. (First Sentence, Chapter One)

Lizzie didn't answer him. He entered the room fully. He picked Rodford up and observed him once more. "You know, it's funny. That dream I told you about where I was falling, Rodford was in it. I just wanted to check him out, so I could be sure that it was him."

"Sounds weird," said Lizzie showing little interest.

"Yeah, I suppose it is. Why would I dream about your teddy bear? Something I rarely pay attention to."  (Memorable moment, Page 28)

MY THOUGHTS ... What I'd describe as a story within a story. Lizzie's Dream Journal is the tale of a recently bereaved girl who is given a journal; a journal in which she decides to write stories, however, as she is soon to discover, its a journal like no other. 

An original and exciting middle grade book that deals with some pretty hefty issues and themes (bereavement following the death of a parent, bullying, resilience, what it takes to be a good friend etc).

Cleverly written; as an adult who has vivid dreams I admit to finding myself caught up in the science of dreams which did distract from the story a little. However I'm sure this won't be a problem for the majority of  older/more mature children/more advanced readers who I have little doubt will find themselves caught up in Lizzie's life ... and dreams. 

That there are twists and turns aplenty with plenty held back until the end make for a gripping read. I loved the contrast between the two aspects of the book ... the harshness that was Lizzie's reality and the fantastical dreams in which she, her teddy bear (Rodford) and a rodent by the name of Ridgeley battled the villainous baddy (a grizzly bear  named Dr Ofdor). And then of course there's Lizzie herself ...

All in favour of feisty female characters. Its wonderful to discover a book featuring such an adventurous, courageous and resilient character such as Lizzie. 

Definitely an author to look out for; this is the third of their books I have read and enjoyed ... hopefully it won't be the last.

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