A stunning review of A Perfect Square by Rachel Nightingale!

You pour your heart and soul into a work, slave away for a year, maybe two, and if you are very lucky, a publisher sees merit in it. Then you hope that readers will as well. Sometimes your book finds its way into the hands of the perfect reader. This is one of those times. I am so grateful to receive this review of A Perfect Square.

A Perfect Square - a dark mystery, literary fiction style. Where art and creativity meets the occult and conspiracy theories. When synaesthesia becomes clairvoyant. A must read for all lovers of rich and complex fiction

“When pianist Ginny Smith moves back to her mother’s house in Sassafras after her breakup with the degenerate Garth, synaesthetic and eccentric artist Harriet Brassington-Smythe is beside herself and contrives a creative collaboration to lift her daughter’s spirits: an exhibition of paintings and songs. Ginny reluctantly agrees.

Mother and daughter struggle to agree on the elements of the collaborative effort, and as Ginny tries to prise the truth of her father’s disappearance from a tight-lipped Harriet, both are launched into their own inner worlds of dreams, speculations and remembering.

Meanwhile, another mother and artist, Judith, alone in a house on the moors, reflects on her own troubled past and that of her wayward daughter, Madeleine.

Set amid the fern glades and towering forests of the Dandenong ranges east of Melbourne, and on England’s Devon moors, A Perfect Square is a work of remarkable depth and insight.”

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Some books haunt you. You rarely know this will happen when you are reading them – the sensation creeps up on you after the last page. With A Perfect Square there was a moment as I read where my heart dropped and I knew this book would stay with me. It is the story of two mother-daughter relationships, one in Australia and one in England. The parallels and connections are unveiled slowly, like a spider’s web slowly but artfully woven. Blackthorn uses words beautifully to create settings and lives so real that I felt I was in the room, a silent and at times uncomfortable observer.

Harriet is a menopausal artist whose daughter, Ginny, returns home after a relationship breakup. Her decision to challenge Ginny to co-create an exhibition of art and music in order to shake her out of her depression has unforeseen consequences for both of them. At the same time Ginny’s quest to find her father unlocks secrets that might have been better left in the shadows. On the other side of the world, Judith struggles with her relationship with her daughter Madeleine, as she faces her own creative demons.

On another level A Perfect Square is an exploration of the truth and meaning of art and the nature of creativity. Blackthorn is an exceptionally skilful writer, not only at the technical level (characterisation, description, structure and so on) but at the thematic level. As she writes about the power of art, she evokes a range of emotional responses in the reader. The beautiful language in the book inspired me to create, while at one point I felt heart pounding anxiety and at the end, when I realised how few pages were left, I felt bereft because I didn’t want to leave the characters whose lives I had become absorbed in. The descriptions of art and the creative process are a reminder that there is much more below the surface than we often notice.

I don’t keep many books any more because I’ve run out of shelf space, but this is one that I will keep and return to. A marvellous work. (you can find Rachel here http://www.rachel-nightingale.info/

Wow!!!!

Read more about A Perfect Square here

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Isobel Blackthorn speaking at Belgrave library – feat. Savannah Rose

What does an audience expect an author talk event will be like? Will there be a powerpoint presentation? A slide show of images of old drafts, with bits of text crossed out and heaps of writing in the margins? Will the author explain her writing process and provide insights into her creative journey?

I’ve never created a power point presentation in my life! And we can forget the slide show of drafts. I do have a writing process and I’ll definitely be talking about that, but what I most want to share are my sources of inspiration.

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I am profoundly inspired by setting. For me, writing a novel is like moving house and relocating somewhere else. I have to enjoy the new space I’m inhabiting. I really have to want to be there.  My most recent novels were inspired by the time I spent living in the Dandenong Ranges and the Yarra Valley east of Melbourne.

Music also inspires me. Both novels have strong musical themes. So I’m delighted that musical duo Savannah Rose have offered to come along and play a few songs. Especially because duo member Suzanne Diprose played a major role in the creation of both stories!

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I’m very pleased to have been invited back by Belgrave library. I’ve decided to make it a special occasion and have a one-off book sale to celebrate. Come along if you’re in the area, and grab a bargain!

Thursday 9th March @ 6pm

entry is free.

A Perfect Square reviewed by Kate Braithwaite

I am delighted to share this warm, 5 star review of my novel, A Perfect Square, from Kate Braithwaite, author of Charlatan.

A perfect square

A Perfect Square is a clever, thoughtful literary novel which also manages to have a cracking plot and complex characters.

This is a book that grew and grew on me. I’ll admit to a false start the first time I picked it up. I felt there was a lot of moving around in the characters’ heads to the recent past, the far past and then back to the present. But when I sat down with a proper amount of time to dig into the story it was an absolute pleasure. Blackthorn has a great plot and lots of writing talent. Her descriptions are wonderful – both of people and places – and there was lots of fabulous language to enjoy. I loved the two parallel mother/daughter stories and was impressed by the way they intersected. It was also great to read so much about the creative process and to consider the challenges of creativity and motherhood.

I will certainly look to read Blackthorn’s other work. A Perfect Square is a clever, thoughtful literary novel which still manages to have a cracking plot and complex characters. It should appeal to lovers of psychological thrillers too – think artistic Gone Girl.” – – quoted from Goodreads

A Perfect Square – review by Suzanne Diprose

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.

Book Review: A Perfect Square

Pleased to share this fine review by author Kathryn Gossow. 🙂

Kathryn Gossow

Purchase A Perfect Square from Odyssey Books 

Two women on either side of the world live almost parallel lives. Both artists with a preference for seclusion, Harriet in the Dandenong Ranges paints abstract scenes of Wessex and Judith in Dartmoor paints and yearns for the Australian landscape she has never seen. Both have daughters, returned home. Both are not sure what to do with their difficult and slightly broken daughters.

A Perfect Square is Isobel Blackthorn’s third novel. The layers within this book stem from her interest in the Western esotericism and conspiracy theories. It is one of those books you read the first time for the story, and then go back to for the second layer, the glittering bits that lift the story.

Harriet has Synaesthesia – she sees colours in music and considers this an inner knowing which she struggles to portray in her art. Ginny, her musically talented daughter in her paisley clothes…

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A pot pourri of bookish things

It’s been a busy weekend of A Perfect Square book promotion. So I thought I’d gather it all together in a single post, for those interested in following my blog tour or finding out more about me and the story behind my story.

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The weekend kicked off with a Q&A on Amanda Howard’s book blog, Killing Time.

Janet Emson of From First to Last Page book blog then features a piece on my writing process, called My Devilish Muse, and includes a short extract of A Perfect Square.

Fictive Dream published my flash fiction piece, Margo’s Slippers, and I’m really proud to find my story amongst those of so many fine writers.

To cap it all off, author Patricia Leslie, posted on her website her stunning review of A Perfect Square. Praise doesn’t come any better than this:

“Reading Isobel Blackthorn’s stories is like engaging in high calibre wordplay. The words wash over you, move through you, and lift you intellectually.”