21 Jul 2016



BACK COVER BLURB: The year is 1920 and whilst the war may be over, Maurice and his friends are fighting private battles of their own. L. R. Spickett continues where E. M. Forster left off in his original tale of forbidden love - Maurice'. In Maurice - A New Beginning' the recently heartbroken Maurice has been given another shot at love with the handsome but lower class Alec, but there are still hurdles to overcome - they face obstacles from family, friends, and society. Relationships are never easy and in a time when homosexuality was considered a criminal act they could be almost impossible. However, when a kindly couple step into their lives, things begin to look up and with determination and the support of friends, love looks set to win the day.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One}: Penge, an estate inherited by Clive Durham from his father, is situated in the West Country not far from the sea.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 223}: As he moved across the meadow he talked aloud and determinedly to himself. There was no one else around to distract him or witness the new mood. "I am resolved," he said defiantly and appearing to address the sheep - the only other occupants of the field - "to take the horns of the beast and swing the blasted thing into an orbit of my own choosing for a change. Enough, by God, is enough," he said with renewed defiance, "and hell can have my soul if I deviate from this."

SOURCE: Received for review from the marketing coordinator of Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd. 

MY THOUGHTS: First things first, a confession ... I haven't read Maurice by E.M. Forster, the 'predecessor' of this novel by L.R. Spickett. Arguably not ideal and there are doubtlessly those who would say that in order to get the best out of Maurice: A New Beginning one ought to have read the original novel (or at least be familiar with it) and perhaps they are right. However thanks to a super little introduction by the author in which he gives a comprehensive run-down of the original story A New Beginning proved easy enough to follow.

What struck me first about this book was the style of writing. Capturing beautifully the social milieu of the period - of not only what it was to be homosexual at this time but, as seen through the eyes of Maurice's 'feminist' sister, the struggle for women's rights - the author does a terrific job in putting across the social nuances, of giving the impression that here was a novel actually written in the nineteen twenties, the period in which it is set.

Initially lacking in pace, I felt the plot a bit of a slow burner to begin with but as the novel progressed I found myself more and more engrossed in the lives of certain characters.

With the story of Maurice and his handsome lover, Alec, very much at the heart of the story I'd have expected that if I was going to fall in love with any of the characters it would be one (possibly both) of them. Instead of which I found myself captivated, not by Maurice's sister (and as regulars to Pen and Paper know I love a strong female lead), but by 'new' character, Robert. 

'Outed' to Maurice and his friends in a somewhat horrific manner, as his story unfolded I grew to like Robert more and more to the point that by the end of the book I found myself hoping that if ever L.R. Spickett were to write another book in the series it would feature more of his story both pre and post his meeting Maurice and co.


Brandi Kosiner said...

The style of writing def sounds interesting

Kelly said...

You know me... I'd have to read the first book if at all possible. It sounds like it covers a lot: homosexuality, class, feminism - all touchy topics during that time period.

Probably not one (or a series) I'd seek out, but would certainly read if it were to come across my path.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I think that if I had read 'Maurice', I probably wouldn't have bothered with this sequel, as the charater was brought to life by Forster and is therefore part of him, mind, soul and body.

Perhaps, when like yourself, I had never got to read 'Maurice', then the 'New Beginning' may have a relevance directed at new audience, becoming a stand alone story in its own right, rather than feeding off the back of someone else's idea.

Do you think you might revisit the original, or do you know enough about Maurice not to need to?

Sorry to have such strong opinions, however I am not really a fan of prequels, the re-writing of 'classics', or the continuation of a series after the original author is no longer with us.

I'm sure that some of the above, have been carried off well and gone on to become successful books in their own right, but this is not one for me.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I am pleased you enjoyed the book.


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Thanks for sharing. I've heard of Maurice and seen some of the film, but never read it. Glad you could still enjoy this continuation though!

Brian Joseph said...

I have not read Maurice. I love the E.M. Forster books that I have read so I would like to read it.

I have mixed feelings about sequels to Classics that seem top be popular these days.In the right hands they can work though they are likely to offend some fans of the original.

ClaudineGueh@CarryUsOffBooks said...

Love a good piece of writing more than one that's action-packed. Some stories take time. They stew and stew and flavours only erupt after a while. Glad you enjoyed this, Tracy!

kimbacaffeinate said...

Glad to hear that the slow-pace finally gave way to an engrossing tale. I love the time period for this :)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh I'm glad you ended up enjoying it overall and wanting another book. I have to admit, this made me more curious about the original story and I may have to look up that Foster novel now.

Sherry Ellis said...

What an interesting topic to write about. You'd think of homosexuality as an issue in today's modern world, and seldom consider it in the 1920s.

Melliane said...

I didn't know about this one but it's an interesting topic

Karen said...

At least the author gave you a nice recap. It does sound like a lovely story that captures the time it's set it in.

Karen @For What It's Worth