Peter Yeldham

The Somme, 2001 - A Reflection by Perry Yeldham

This Anzac Day, we pause to remember the tremendous sacrifice of the brave men and women from yesteryear. Here, Perry Yeldham, son of national treasure and For Pity Sake author Peter Yeldham, reflects on visiting Somme in 2001 with his father and family. The rain was bucketing down, a gift from the North Atlantic and the product of heavily laden dark clouds that had followed us all the way from Paris and now stretched for miles in every direction over the pancake flat terrain of Picardie.

The road was treacherous, as the driver of the truck ahead had discovered. Like a slow-motion train wreck, we watched as its wheels sank into the mud and it slowly toppled over.  It now lay on its side slowly sinking into the deep chocolate furrows of the ploughed field alongside.

Turnips and onions were scattered everywhere.  The small irrigation ditches had long since been overrun. The driver and his assistant were exchanging Gallic pleasantries, the fields were flooded and an old lady appeared out of the rain and busied herself scooping up onions into a hessian bag. More shouting, but nobody cared. There was no help coming. We went the long way around to our B and B, Les Alouettes at Hardecourt au Bois.

It was April and The Somme region, known for its heavy falls and flat, low-lying terrain, had lived up to its reputation.

We thought it poignant that for our purposes, Mother Nature would have created a similar landscape to that confronting the soldiers in what the French referred to as La Grande Guerre. 

What was missing, of course, was the full horror of war: the hopelessness, the blood, the stench of death, the screams of the wounded and the mind-numbing terror of being caught up in endless battles where lives were little more than an numerical entry in the chief-of-staff's  notebook.

Our party of eight was in two vehicles and we were here following in the footsteps of a previous patriarch of the family, Lance Corporal  Ainslie Neville McDonald, as he lived through the horror of World War I.

Unlike Lance Corporal McDonald, we travelled in comfort. We slept in comfort. We ate fabulous food and drank superb French wine. But on some subliminal level, we all felt slightly guilty that our lives were so hedonistic in stark contrast to the Australian Diggers whose legend had lured us here.

Lance Corporal McDonald had kept a diary and it was this fragile remnant of his life that had brought us halfway across the world to northern France. The party largely comprised descendants of McDonald, one of whom is my wife, Mary Anne Yeldham (nee McDonald) and my parents, one of whom is the historical novelist, Peter Yeldham.

We called ourselves ‘Dad's Army’ and cut a swathe through the countryside of Picardie. Locals would remember us for our pathetic attempts to speak French and even worse command of the local geography. But we armed our vehicles with little Australian flags and these worked a charm with the locals. The French in this region, particularly the older people, bear an enduring fondness towards Australians which is not feigned, but heart-warmingly genuine. On one occasion, an elderly man drove after our convey tooting and gesticulating. My wife, Mary Anne, returned the favour with some well-known Aussie gestures. I thought he was upset because we had nearly caused an accident at the previous traffic lights. In fact, he knew where we wanted to go and wanted to tell us that we were headed in totally the wrong direction. He was really nice.

There were so many other instances of French kindness to travelling Australians. We were touched. There was little evidence of this warmth being extended to English tourists but then a thousand years of conflict, rivalry and warfare, isn’t that easy to overlook.

On tour we were divided into two camps: Teetotallers and heavy drinkers; religious, a little agnostic and those steeped in atheism … and that was before we got into politics.

However, despite having divergent views on just about everything, we all got on really well, possibly brought together by a common view regarding the conduct of La Grande Guerre and the protagonists’ military strategy, or lack of it.

I think it was the insanity of the tactics that formed the kernel of an idea that became my father’s novel, Barbed Wire and Roses. That and the whispered voices of the dead from the diary of Ainslie Neville McDonald, letters home from so many others, and our discoveries as we made our way through Picardie.

20160405 Peter Yeldham - Barbed Wire and Roses Cover onlyLike so many other callow Aussies, Lance Corporal McDonald (he preferred his second name of Neville) had answered the call for volunteers to help defend the empire against the Hun, to do their duty, or to have an adventure of a lifetime, depending on the recruiters sales' pitch. It would all be over by Christmas, they cajoled, without specifying which Christmas it must be said.

Neville was a Methodist lay preacher: a man steeped in his love of the church and his faith in the Almighty. So, it was sobering to read his diary entry, written after an excursion into no man's land went wrong, where he questioned his faith and expressed doubt in God's plan.

There were other entries too, detailing battles and skirmishes at places like The Windmill, Mouquet Farm,  Fromelles and Pozieres.

Neville, a skilled horseman, volunteered for the cavalry. But of course he, like all the other Aussie adventurers, ended up listed with the infantry as the troop ships headed for the Dardenelles. It's a well-recorded irony that the Aussies celebrated their escape from Anzac Cove and welcomed their posting to northern France.

Our latter day Dad’s Army pilgrimage to the war zone included trips to battlefields and remnants of trenches and the inevitable visits to the immaculately maintained Commonwealth War Grave cemeteries in our area. There are more than 250 such cemeteries in this historic war zone, some huge like Thiepval and Tyne Cot and smaller ones with just a few graves, but all are emotionally shattering in the quiet message conveyed by the inscriptions on the bleached headstones. The German graveyards are, if anything, even more depressing.

Equally sobering were the visits to museums at Peronne, Ypres, Albert, Villers-Bretonneux and the very realistic recreation of trench life at Tommy's Cafe near Pozieres.

At Ypres, we were treated to a wall-sized painting of a war scene, flames and smoke billowing around civilians who were staring at their bombed township. Printed across the foreground was a quote from a British cavalry officer that declared: "I adore war. It's just like a picnic, without the objectlessness of a picnic." That one had my father scrambing for his notebook.

At all of these museums the weapons of war were displayed. From heavy mortars to sabre-like bayonets and clubs or maces, often with nail-studded which carried the description: Mace, for mopping up in the trenches.”

These also had my father making more notes, along with the exhibits detailing the effects of shell-shock on the troops. Shell-shock was a new phenomenon. Never before had humans been subjected to such a brutal and unceasing barrage of bombing. This was not death delivered by an adversary on the battle field, this was a living torture, designed to break men, to devastate their mind and render them shattered. It broke many stout-hearted soldiers’ minds and broke the hearts of their compassionate comrades who had to watch as the descended into “madness”.

Less sympathetic were the generals and officers in command of the conduct of the war. So many of these poor soldiers ended up facing a firing squad at first light, condemned to die a coward’s death, delivered by their friends, for the crime of having a mental illness.

It was this facet of the war in the trenches, above all others, that gave the novel Barbed Wire and Roses its own final push.

We were at the Menin Gate, in Ypres, when the town stopped. It does this every night at 8pm. Police halt the traffic and people gather to hear the town band play the Last Post. Then Laurence Binyon's Ode of Remembrance is read. There's a minute's silence, then Reveille is played. The adage ‘Lest we forget’ never conveyed more meaning.

My father, whose birthday ironically, is on April 25, worries that Anzac Day celebrations tend to glorify war and camouflage the harsh and cruel reality of war. It's an opinion shared by many, particularly when politicians get involved.

I tend to disagree. I think the Anzac Day celebrations honour the fallen and the millions of men and women caught up in what they thought was the war to end all wars.

Our own brief deployment to the European World War One battlefields made a lasting impression, not just on our Dad's Army group, but on all who were paying their own respects.

When you met fellow visitors at a war memorial or cemetery, you might exchange a look, an acknowledgement or just a nod.  Sometimes that's all you need.

This photo was taken in the playground of the Villers-Bretonneus Primary School. Peter is on the far right. Perry, his son and author of this blog, is on the far left.

 

"The Last Double Sunrise" - Review

Dorothy Johnston reviews Peter Yeldham's latest work "The Last Double Sunrise", which is available now. Carlo Minelli must surely be the most engaging – and lucky – prisoner of war in Australian literature.

Minelli is dubbed the POW Artist when he enters a painting in the Francis Greenway award from a prisoner-of-war camp in Cowra, New South Wales. The painting is disqualified, but earns Minelli a fair amount of publicity, much of it sympathetic. He has come to Cowra by a circuitous and dangerous route, having arrived in Rome to take up an artistic scholarship at the Villa Medici on the very day Il Duce declares war. The Villa, run by the French government, is locked and twenty-one-year old Minelli is turned away. Rome is in uproar and it isn’t long before the young man is press-ganged into the army.

The dramatic events of the second world war are much more than a back drop to this skilfully told story. Yeldham is a master at weaving together the personal life of his protagonist with real historical events, such as the Allied attack on Sidi Barrani where Minelli is taken prisoner and, much later in the story, the Japanese prisoners’ breakout at Cowra. Minelli is utterly believable, both as an artist and a reluctant soldier. This is partly because readers first meet him as a child, already displaying his artistic talent, which is encouraged by his mother, herself an art teacher, and scorned by his father, who is determined young Carlo will take over the running of the family vineyard.

Minelli’s character is formed in adversity. Instead of this making him openly angry and rebellious, it teaches him patience. Determined not to give up on his art, he has the kind of open, honest personality that other people, including some of his guards and jailors, warm to, and that makes them want to help him.

Allied officers aboard an overcrowded troop ship carrying prisoners to Australia rescue Minelli from a savage beating, and make a refuge for him in their wireless room. An Australian army officer’s wife suggests he should start a studio in the camp at Cowra, helping the theatrical group by painting sets, teaching, and working on his own paintings at the same time. The suggestion is enthusiastically taken up, and almost immediately becomes a success.

After a few false starts, Minelli is also lucky in love, finding a young Australian woman who is a match for him in every way.

As a protagonist, his trials and dangers, his hopes and feelings and ambitions are a joy to read about. The story of Italian prisoners of war, first in England, then Australia, is fascinating in itself, and told with verve and compassion. The Last Double Sunrise confirms Peter Yeldham’s reputation as an outstanding writer of historical fiction.

"Life with Claude" by Peter Yeldham

One of our most celebrated authors, the legendary Peter Yeldham, has a new book coming soon. In fact, "The Last Double Sunrise" is now available for pre-order! While waiting for your copy to arrive, it's worth visiting some of Peter's memories about one of his more mischievous family members: 'Claude'. Peter spent many years in the United Kingdom, writing celebrated scripts for radio and television, and even working with Spike Milligan.  Peter's story presents plenty of inspirational fodder for the theme 'new beginnings', which is the focus of our very first short story competition. Since we announced last week, our inbox has been filled with exciting entries! We're looking forward to receiving even more and bringing you the winning entry before Christmas. If you're stuck for ideas, we think this post from Peter presents plenty of opportunities for inspiration. 

My wife and children decided it was time for a dog when we moved from a flat in Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, to a house with ten acres, just a half hour from London.  We’d had various pets since Marjorie and I married; first a cat, when we lived in North Sydney, where our daughter Lyn was born.  This was in  the days before computers, when I typed on a portable.  The cat, her name was Cleopatra, found a cosy spot to park herself.  Each day she sat on my desk, inches from me and the typewriter, purring as I wrote radio scripts. When I finished each page I had to lift her, since her chosen  residence was on the typed pages of dialogue which she kept warm. If I got stuck at this point, and paused for thought, she’d start to purr again, as if to say ‘do get on with it.’

We had to leave Cleo with friends when television was about to be imminent,  and our government gave both licenses to media moguls Packer and Fairfax, who then expressed little faith in local actors and writers being able to handle this new attraction.  “I’ll treat Australians the way I’ve always treated them,” promised Packer.

“In that case let’s go to England,” I said to my wife, and three months later we were on a ship with our children, Lyn aged five, and Perry two years old. We were mad, our friends and family said, but they had no idea how mad.   It was our secret, we had no return fare, and not much spare cash for when we arrived in London.

But this is about Claude, so let’s skip the  two hard years when we might have fled home, but couldn’t afford it. Our bank, The Bank of NSW, now Westpac, refused to lend us the fare. We had no collateral they said, and we are still very grateful to them.  If they’d been generous enough to help, I’d have been back home writing radio scripts and listening to Cleopatra purring.

Instead we stayed another eighteen years in England, the kids went to school there, and after twelve years in London, we found the perfect house in Surrey, and decided it needed a dog.  Marge and Lyn went out one day to buy a small sweet doggy.  At least that was their intention; he may have looked small and sweet to them, but it was clear he wouldn’t stay that way, as he had enormous feet. We christened him Claude, and from the day of his arrival he grew. They had clearly been won over by his friendly demeanour, but they’d brought home a bloodhound, a breed who not only grow, they also follow scents. Before long Claude was living up to this status, tracing aromas he’d detected all over most of southern England.

We lived in Surrey, but his nose took him to Hampshire and Sussex, from where we'd get phone calls saying: "We have your gorgeous dog, but we'll keep him safe until you collect him." In vain Marge asked them to turn him loose, just don't feed him and, he'll find his own way home.  The reply was always that he was much too precious to do that.   So off she went, to the next county or the county after that, and Claude would come home in the car, flop down to rest for a brief time, then set off on another journey.  When he did come home our cat who was perched on a kitchen bench, would whack him across the ear as he went past.  It became easier for her to reach him, because this small sweet doggie had grown so large.  For instance, when I was sitting at meal times I could feel his hot breath as he peered over my shoulder to check what was on my plate.

"Sit down, Claude," I'd say.

"Dad, he is sitting down," the kids liked to point out.

There was an invitation from the lady where we’d bought him, we called her “Mrs B-Hound” because she raised them and, looked a bit like some of her merchandise.  She was having a Sunday gathering of the faithful, at least thirty bloodhounds who all looked identical to Claude were meeting in a forest near Chessington Zoo with their owners.  It was a bizarre and hilarious day.  A canine picnic where thirty hounds all chased scents and got lost in the process, where our son and daughter said the owners all looked like their pets, and poor Mrs B-Hound who’d invited us all, had to call an early end to the meet as everyone was having difficulty identifying which bloodhound was theirs.  The humans were becoming terse and the dogs barked and seemed to have trouble working out who owned them.  Claude, as if deciding the whole thing was a debacle, took off in search of somewhere more interesting and, of course, we were the last home, as we had to go in search of him.

After some months, finding the trips to collect him from other counties becoming even more frequent, we sent him to an obedience school who vowed promised to control his roving.   Two weeks later he came back with a new best friend called Jason; the owner had been taken ill and somehow we’d inherited Jason, a peaceful Labrador.  The school told us the two spent all day together and, such a friendship would be a calming influence.  So we adopted Jason and hoped for the best.  The next day Claude disproved the theory by going on his longest exploratory trip, almost reaching Brighton.

Marjorie had to drive there to collect him.  Our son Perry attempted a solution.  He rode his horse to Epsom Downs, with Claude loosely following them. When they reached the Downs Perry rode at a furious gallop to exhaust the hound.  Claude raced alongside them, enjoying it immensely.  When they returned home, the horse and Perry were exhausted.  Claude had a brief rest, but by the time the horse was unsaddled Claude had sniffed the wind and was gone again.   It seemed the British Isles might soon be unable to contain him.

Some weeks later Marge was driving home, when she saw the back view of the village policeman who appeared to have a large animal on a leash.

"Oh, thank you.  That's my dog," she said, pulling up beside him.

"Is it, Madam?" the copper said, turning to face her.  He was covered in slime from the village duck pond and so was Claude, wagging his tail in cheerful recognition.  Seeing him splashing among the ducks, the cop set out to catch him and had fallen in. A bunch of school kids had witnessed this and roared laughing at the sight, leaving the law wet, bedraggled, and seriously displeased.    He stumped off, threatening that Claude could face arrest, and a large fine if his behaviour continued.

That night we held a high level conference on his future.   It seemed there was no way we could confine him to Surrey. Soon he'd be on his way to Devon, after that Cornwall or Wales. A heart-breaking decision was reached after some gin and tonics.  Claude had to go.  We took him back to the breeder, to Mrs B-Hound, who found him a new owner in Kansas.   We never forgot him, and often wondered where he might be now.  We couldn’t help imagining him at full stretch across the prairies, headed for the next state, or perhaps on his way north to Canada.

 

Peace, Pacifism and Peter Yeldham

Peter Yeldham's done a lot in his life. He's shared an office with Spike Milligan. (Yes, that Spike Milligan.) He's written for the BBC, the ABC, for television and radio. He's an award-winning and nationally celebrated Australian story-teller. Across the decades, he's turned to war and its horror as a source of inspiration for his many novels. But unlike so many war narratives of the current age, Peter's work never celebrates violence. In fact, most of the drama in Peter's books is away from the battlefield. It's the human action that dares you to read on. Scandalous romances, international intrigue, or the heart-breaking journey of refugees. It's this, well-researched, human face of his narratives that has made him one of the countries most enduring authors.

Here's what some readers have said:

"...really interesting history, especially about the atomic bombs and bomb testing in Marling I hope to read this book a second time." Robyn on Above The Fold

"The story flows easily with Yeldham’s fluent writing style. I found it to be an entertaining and thought-provoking read. 4★s." Mary on Above The Fold

"Yeldham’s story is a beautiful tribute to the Lost Generation, an intensely moving novel that will haunt the reader long after the final page." Erin on Barbed Wire and Roses

"Yeldham has a strong reputation as a historical novelist as well as a writer for film and television. Dragons in the Forest will no doubt make that reputation stronger still." Dorothy Johnston on Dragons In The Forest

Find more of Peter's work at our store.

Five Rules for Writing Historical Fiction

With the second season of the Outlander series now gripping the world, and with the re-release of not one but two of Peter Yeldham historical fiction novels only days away, it seems fair to say that historical fiction is now very much in vogue. It seems we’ve monkey-swung from sparkly vampires (Twilight) to titillating BDSM (Fifty Shades of Grey) to re-examining our collective past. In truth, historical fiction never really went out of vogue. Technically speaking, the vast majority of Shakespeare’s works were historical fiction. It could be said even our most basic folk lore (Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, etc.) are a kind of proto-historical fiction that harkens back to a generic fairytale time tinged with nostalgia.

Still, there’s never been a better time to be a historical fiction author, and we’re thrilled to publish quite a few. But before you put pen to paper, you might want to consider a few critical tips that we’ve learned from reading our award-winning authors.

Researching and Reading Research is obviously incredibly important when writing historical fiction. There’s no quicker way to alienate a reader than to make them stop believing in the authenticity of the world you’re trying to create. So research and read. A lot. Read historical accounts of the time, and even dig into other historical fiction that’s focussed on similar eras of history.

Researching and Talking If you’re able to actually talk to living survivors of your chosen historical era, don’t be shy in asking to sit down and have a chat. A minute in conversation can illuminate areas that history books simply can’t tell you. The colour of the wallpaper, or the smell of a place, or the daily, mundane routines that shaped their (and your characters) lives.

Researching and other reading An extremely helpful tip comes from Elizabeth Gilbert, award-winning author of Eat, Pray, Love, as well as critically acclaimed historical fiction The Signature of All Things. While it’s valuable to read history books, it can be even more helpful to read documents, novels or journals that were written in the specific time period that you’re setting your work in. This will tell you so much about the lexicon of the age, along with the concerns, dialogue and details of your characters.

Know when to stop researching This is the trickiest bit. Some historical novels feel more historic than novel, and can be too dense a read to be truly pleasurable. Always remember that your novel still has to operate under the same laws as any genre, and needs to create a compelling story with intriguing characters. The research will only take you so far. If you’re on the right track, you’ll usually feel a mounting sense of excitement as you’re researching, and there will simply come a point where you’re desperate to write. So write! The research will be there when you need it, and you can always return to hunt for extra details.

Be Authentic to the Politics of the Time …while not being too offensive to modern sensibilities. This is tricky, and most complicated around gender politics. Times past are often incredibly violent places to write about, and women are often treated abhorrently. It’s important to be authentic to this, and not create a rose-tinted version of the past that readers will find too sickly sweet. On the other hand, every reader has a line, and so much of narrative is frequently about the under-dog becoming a hero. Claire in Outlander is a classic example, who is subject to the subjugation of her time, but constantly subverts the gender norms for wonderfully entertaining results. Peter Yeldham often places an under-dog at the centre of the story, who is able to see with greater moral clarity than most of his peers.

Don’t know where to start reading? Why not try Peter Yeldham’s fantastic historical fiction around World War 2 in Above the Fold . Or if you’re in the mood for more sparkly vampires, you might be interested in Jennifer McDonald’s take on how Edward Cullen brought about a spiritual awakening in her memoir Vegetarian Vampires. Then again, you may be more into the Fifty Shades of Grey trend and want some page-turning romance. In that case, try Winterflood’s Passion by Diana Thompson.

 

Inspiration in Familiar Places

There’s a strange kind of fear around the idea of meeting ones heroes. I think it’s probably because we spend so much time building these people up in our minds that the reality never truly meets with the expectation.  I’ve never really had much time for ‘heroes’. Certainly, there are people whose work I’ve enjoyed, people who I’ve often dreamt of becoming. But my fascination with them never lasts long. When there’s so much out there to be read, watched, listened to and enjoyed, who can waste that precise time focusing on the creator. I’d much rather bask in the glory of their creations. There are occasions where I’ll read a novel or a short story and thought to myself, ‘this is how I want to write’. There are some authors who perfectly capture everything you wish you could, setting a benchmark for your creation. Generally I see these people as more of an inspiration than a hero, I guess some would say that’s the same thing, but I feel that there’s a great divide in using someone’s work as a bench mark and idolizing someone for more than just their work.

I’ve known Peter Yeldham my entire life. I didn’t realise he was an author until I found a copy of Without Warning on my parents bookshelf when I was 13. I read through it quickly, devouring it as fast as I could. I absolutely loved it; to this day I still remember it vividly. I didn’t read another of Peter’s books until I started working at For Pity Sake Publishing. Above the Fold was a beautiful novel. The way it used the Northern Beaches (my home for the first 19 years of my life) as one of its base settings was incredible. I’ve never had the experience of reading a novel set in a place I know so well before, and it really just brought the story to life. However, it was A Bitter Harvest that really changed something for me. This book moved me so profoundly that I doubt I will ever fully recover. It is truly one of the most magnificent and touching books that I have ever read. It’s beautifully tragic, even thinking about it now is bringing a tear to my eye. A Bitter Harvest changed something for me. As I read this novel and fell in love with the characters and embedded myself in the time period, I thought of Peter, this man that I have known my whole life. I thought about how he had been able to weave these unique characters from thin air. Now, I know this sounds like something that every writer does, but I can’t stress how much of a feat A Bitter Harvest is. The book is 578 pages long, and spans over three generations of the Patterson/Muller family. The characters are deep and challenging, you finish the book feeling like you’ve made lifelong friends, their lives affecting you in a way you can’t comprehend.

And here’s where we come back to heroes. For me, it’s almost impossible to really idolize someone that I’ve never met. There are too many variables, questions about their lives that I desperately want answered. And there’s the fear, the fear that one day I will meet said hero and they won’t live up to my expectations. That’s the beautiful thing about Peter Yeldham, a man that I’ve known my whole life, someone that I’ve spoken to and formed a real life connection with. Reading Peter’s work I think, ‘this is it, this is how I want to write’, Peter’s life and his writing is something that I aspire to, something that I will spend the rest of my literary career working towards.

 

Originally posted on The Musings of a Blackie 

A Bitter Harvest- Review

What is a book – to different people I’m sure they represent different things. There are textbooks, educational journals, fiction, non-fiction, biographies; the list is endless. Realistically it is merely a combination of words on a page, jumbled together to make sense out of this big wide world of ours – or to transport you to another one entirely, to create sense in an otherwise muddled reality or to recount the past to educate those in the future. Books are inanimate objects, so how pray-tell do they take me from being euphorically happy to the depths of sadness in the space of a few pages. Like music where the perfect combination of notes equals a beautiful composition; when words are placed into the perfect order, symmetry occurs that has the ability to transport the reader to a place where you feel the complexity of despair, the freedom of flight or the powerlessness of imprisonment.

Never before has a book done this so well than Peter Yeldham’s,  A Bitter Harvest, a thought provoking, emotional roller-coaster of love, despair, triumph and new life. Set in the harbour side city of Sydney at the time of federation to the end of the Gallipoli campaign, Yeldham’s natural affinity for story-telling weaves the reader through a complex set of events, places and times, culminating in a book with a genuine sincerity towards its characters and their surrounding world.

The lives of William Patterson, a career politician with a shady past, his beloved and beautiful daughter Elizabeth and a penniless German, Stefan, collided in a storm of events that left the family all but torn apart. Now, separated by not only distance but opinions and loyalties the family try to rebuild before the strangle of the first world war wraps its hands around the beautiful Barossa Valley and hysteria sweeps the nation.

Yeldham beautifully highlights the effects of the Gallipoli campaign on the German migrant population settled in Australia prior to the war. Following Stefan and Elizabeth’s love, the reader feels the hatred toward the racist police, the love for their growing family and the injustices that were occurring throughout the nation at the time.

Not only did this book send me on a roller-coaster emotional journey, it opened my eyes to the perspective of the down trodden, the power trips of the rich and influential and the despair of those who can’t speak up for themselves.

A book becomes more than just a combination of glued pages with words on each, it becomes more than just a simple book when, after you’ve closed the final page you see the world with a slightly altered lens – one coloured with a touch of the imagination, wit and empathy the author has presented you with.

If you are to read one book this year – make it this one.

 

Buy your copy here.