Archive for November, 2016

CHARLATAN is based on the Affair of the Poisons that scandalized Paris in 1679.

charlatan

In a hovel in the centre of Paris, the fortune-teller La Voisin holds a black mass, summoning the devil to help an unnamed client keep the love of Louis XIV.

Three years later, Athenais, Madame de Montespan, the King’s glamorous mistress, is nearly forty. She has borne Louis seven children but now seethes with rage as he falls for eighteen-year old Angelique de Fontanges.

At the same time, police chief La Reynie and his young assistant Bezons have uncovered a network of fortune-tellers and prisoners operating in the city. Athenais does not know it, but she is about to be named as a favoured client of the infamous La Voisin.

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Charlatan is an enthralling work of historical fiction set in the late 1600s in France. From a black mass held in the centre of Paris to the opulence of the court of Versailles, a story – part intrigue, part drama – unfolds that has the reader turning the pages on the edge of her seat.

What motivates an author to write historical fiction? The telling of stories untold? A revisioning of the past? Retrospective justice? Charlatan is all these and more. Told in richly descriptive and highly engaging prose, the work portrays in vivid details the torture, hangings and burnings of witches and their accomplices, including numerous priests. The author clearly knows her subject, the work as much informative as it is entertaining. Told from three points of view – the King’s mistress, the investigating police officer, the priest – Charlatan provides a fascinating insight into the occult underworld of Paris, its popularity, its secrecy, and the various motivations of those involved.

The premise of the story is the limitations of justice in a system riven by poverty and privilege, and it is a theme that plays out perfectly through masterful storytelling. The dialogue is impeccable and the pace never falters, the various storylines carefully woven into a seamless whole. Charlatan makes for confronting reading at times, but its all the stronger for not shying from the realities of the times. With Charlatan, Braithwaite makes a valuable contribution to raising awareness of a controversial subject.

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I’m delighted to share this thoughtful review of A Perfect Square by Suzanne Diprose.

This book held me captive as I read about the primary relationships between two different mothers and their daughters through time, different countries and challenges. It was intriguing to explore their particular journeys and tensions through life’s stages and the resilience of the relationships during these challenges and responsibilities. I can see shades of so many of us in these descriptive stories within the book.

The rich vignettes provide details that allow the reader to build an understanding of the characters, their backgrounds with its impact on their daily choices and selected lifestyles. The story engages you and the descriptions held so true.

We have visions of earlier inner city Melbourne, Sassafras and Dandenong Ranges, plus locales in rural Britain. When reading from my armchair I was transported to the UK or up the main street in Sassafras and right into the art gallery, garden shop, antiques shop and tea rooms.

As a local of the Hills I appreciated how Isobel depicted the environment, the early evenings and how dusk rolls in over the mountains every evening. Also Isobel’s words describe shades of people we rub shoulders with regularly up here in the hills. There are some great names to be on the lookout for – start collecting them as you read through! I kept diving back to see who would I meet!

The interwoven stories provide an insight into the essence of a creative and quirky soul with deep thinking, rich patterns, and concerns. Isobel is not afraid to outline the uneasy and challenging questions and parts of the mother and daughter relationships that span 30 or 40 years. A great read.

a perfect square can be purchased at the book depository, amazon and through all good bookstores. For a signed copy, contact the author via this site.

Delighted that my piece on creative flow has been published today on the Authors Talk About It website!

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Here’s an extract:

“It was my daughter who put me onto flow. I could attribute the insight to my old hippy boyfriend back in the 1980s, for he was always telling me to ‘go with the flow’, travel along with life unfolding, but what he really meant, as I soon learned, was I had to go with his flow. Whereas my daughter alerted me to another sort of flow altogether.

Elizabeth was pointing to creative flow. Although she didn’t call it flow at first. That came later when she was introduced to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book called Flow. Elizabeth is a pianist and composer and she knew about flow because she’s shaped her life around it. And as a teacher she sees how others struggle with flow. Students who find it hard to reach a point of being at one with the music they are playing. Or when they struggle to sustain it….”

You can read the whole piece here.  http://authorstalkaboutit.com/your-inner-editor-is-waiting-in-the-wings/

I’m honoured to have been given the opportunity to perform one of my short stories in support of Knox PLEDGE for gender equality.

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The high tea serves to launch a series of creative writing workshops I’ll be giving next year for survivors of family violence.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful mediums we have to convey our truths. I’ve laid to rest many inner demons that way. The short story form lends itself to autobiographical reflections. Above all, the effort of writing our truth in a form fit for other’s eyes leads to personal transformation and empowerment.

2017 is set to be an extraordinary year!

 

Super excited to announce a special deal on The Drago Tree for UK only, to help celebrate the completion of its sequel. Yours for just £12.50 incl P&P — that’s a discount of £5!!! Stock limited. Simply leave a comment below to arrange.

drago tree

“The Drago Tree is a beautifully crafted, exquisitely written novel brimming with grief and heartiness, pain and joy. Unputdownable from the get-go. ” – writer Jasmina Brankovich. Read more reviews on https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26222587-the-drago-tree