27 May 2015



BACK COVER BLURB: England, 1950s. While out playing in the woods, ten-year-old Mark meets a man living in an old railway carriage. Despite his wild appearance, the stranger, who introduces himself as Aubrey Hillyard, is captivating - an irreverent outsider who is shunned by Mark's fellow villagers, and a writer to boot. Aubrey encourages Mark to tell stories about his own make-believe world, and in return he informs the boy about a novel he is writing - a work of ominous science fiction.

As the meddling villagers plot to drive Aubrey out, Mark finds himself caught between two worlds - yet convinced that he must help Aubrey prevail at any cost. 

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One}: It's as if for years you've had a picture on your wall.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 70}: As they close on her, Peggy Akers suddenly cries out, stumbles, then collapses onto the bank, strewing the ground with buttercups and daisies.  Grimacing with pain, she clutches at her ankle - revealing a pair of lumpy green knickers. To Mark's horror, they're stained with darker patches, and the top of her thigh is wet.

SOURCE: Received for review from Alma Books. (Click here to read an excerpt).

MY THOUGHTS: A story of an outsider (Aubery) who, most of the adults having found his mysterious presence dubious to say the least, is befriended by two children, Mark and, other newcomer to the village, Lou.

A tale of inter-generational friendships, of stories swapped as Marc and Aubery tell their tales. Mark's an innocent childhood tale, Aubery's an altogether darker, more sinister one.

Evoking a bygone era in which children, free to roam as they pleased, had secret dens with which passwords were needed to enter and formed friendships with adults that were free from suspicion in a way they aren't generally today. The Summer Of Broken Stories, told in such a way as to be almost cinematic, is a rich, multi-layered read in which the author subtly plays with our perceptions.

And as for the characters?

Wonderfully quirky, I adored the eccentric, 'awfully British' Murky (an elderly friend of Mark given to giving him the odd glass of home-made blackberry wine - ah times have indeed changed). And as for Mark? A boy poised on the cusp of adolescence, whilst female and a child of the seventies myself, he is the sort of character that I found myself readily relating to.

With its two worlds, that of the real and the imaginary, this was everything I was hoping for ... and more. 


Literary Feline said...

This sounds like a wonderful book, Tracy. I do remember those days--exploring the world on my own without a care in the world. The characters sound like ones I want to get to know.

Kelly said...

This sounds quite good - much like when I was growing up and we were allowed (or more rightly, encouraged) to roam free.

Alexia561 said...

It's a shame that children can't roam freely around like we did when we were young! Sounds like a lovely story!

Suko said...

This does sound terrific, Tracy! Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.

Stephanie Faris said...

I don't know how we survived childhood, the way we were allowed to roam the neighborhood free. It definitely was a more innocent time.

Melliane said...

It's so great to have a book like that! It sounds well done.

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, as a child of the fifties I know I will relate to this. Just reading your review took me back to the days of building dens, climbing trees and befriending all and sundry. It’s hard to think about how much things have changed. I think we were the lucky generations.

Brian Joseph said...

Great commentary on this book.

This sounds really good.

I too grew up in the 1970s and 1980s and dis a lot of roaming through woods and fields, so it sounds nostalgic for me also.

The cinematic aspect that you allude to also sounds very appealing.

Claudine G. said...

This sounds captivating, Tracy. I'll put it on my to-read shelf and watch out for it on Amazon. Want to find out what happens to Aubrey in the end.

Lindsay said...

It's lovely to hear how you enjoyed this one Tracy, Alma books do bring out some really good fiction releases, I can't keep up with them all!

Gina R said...

Sounds enchanting with the two story lines working hand in hand. Have to keep an eye out for this one!