Books

DAUGHTERS OF THE LAKE

Daughters of the Lake is a contemporary tale of love, betrayal and regret, set amidst Swiss mountains and lakes. Madalena summons her family to celebrate her hotel’s fortieth anniversary, unaware that they are living with devastating secrets. As time passes, tensions rise, and the evening of the celebration turns into a nightmare. Is this the end for the family as they know it?

What reviewers are saying about Daughters of the Lake:

An absorbing and gratifying psychological drama of family relationships

One of the best books I’ve read this year

An intelligent and compelling read

CHERGUI’S CHILD

Olivia has much to cope with. An embittered mother who puts her ambitions for her children before their own needs. A predatory professor who ends their affair when she becomes pregnant.  Giving birth to twins in a Tangier hospital and believing neither has survived. Grief and loss overwhelm her and she abandons her studies. Then from her beloved aunt Dorothy, artistic, eccentric and mysteriously wealthy, she learns that one of the babies did survive and has been adopted.  When her aunt dies she leaves a handsome legacy with the condition that it must be used to find and bring up the lost child. Olivia’s journey takes her from London to the south of France, with startling and painful revelations along the way.

What reviewers are saying about Chergui’s Child

A deeply emotional quest that has film potential

Richly detailed narrative of loss and redemption

Heart wrenching international story

Excellent storytelling – captivating!

WORDS’WORTH: A FICTION WRITER’S GUIDE TO SERIOUS EDITING

Find editing difficult? This compact and concise handbook will be useful to writers looking at a finished manuscript and wondering how to edit it. There are two sections, one for scene-editing, e.g. considerations of consistency, pace and point of view. The second is for line-editing, e.g. pruning back unnecessary words, avoiding repetition or clumsiness, generally polishing the prose until it is strong and readable. Both beginning and more experienced writers should find Words’Worth helpful.

Cover art for Words'worth with the subtitle, "A fiction writer's guide to serious editing" and some text marked up for editing.

What writers are saying about Words’Worth

A little gem

…..There are many books on editing but they can be too in depth and confusing, giving more information than you actually need. You won’t get bogged down with this one. Jane Riddell’s clear lists and explanation of the editing process is great for beginners and a quick refresher for those more experienced. 

Great resource for editing

This straightforward, concise, book contains so much in an accessible way.  As a community education and online creative writing tutor, I find it invaluable. It incorporates all the information/explanations I give my students (and myself) all the time, but in a far more coherent way.  It should become an excellent resource for both beginners and more advanced writers.

Helpful guide to editing your own writing

Jane Riddell’s “Words’Worth—A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Serious Editing” offers for fiction writing what Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style” provides for general writing. In her slim volume, she guides the fiction author (with plentiful examples) in the essential elements of good writing—structure and readability—advocating using a balanced approach.

An easy helpful book for editing

…. I’d highly recommend it, especially for new writers. I’m taking it around to all my writer’s groups and classes and recommending it to them.

Useful Handbook

The subtitle, A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Serious Editing, suggests, rightly, that this is a guide, not a book of rules. This idea is developed throughout the book as Riddell not only provides a useful checklist for fiction writers but also advises them to add to the list themselves, focussing on their own stylistic proclivities. She is always conscious that there are exceptions to the guidelines… For self-publishers who do not employ an editor before sharing their work with the public, the advice in this book is particularly important to help make it as professional as possible.

A Well-Conceived and Useful Tool For Writers

….The sentence-by-sentence spit and polish that results in a tight, fully realized creative work. Jane Riddell’s compact guide to this final-stage editing brings order and method to a process that can overwhelm even experienced writers.

…This not a book to be read and put on a shelf. It’s the one at your elbow as you power through what you believe is IT–the final run-through before your novel steps out of the wings and onto stage.

An excellent companion to editing for both beginners and pros

….This book is especially good for the first-time fiction writer who has never engaged in the process of editing his or her own manuscript, whether for submission to a potential publisher, or a creative writing instructor.  Equally, this guide would be useful to seasoned writers by helping them to organise a daily editing schedule.

Worth its weight in gold

This compact and concise handbook should be a godsend for any writer looking at a finished manuscript and wondering what to do next…

THE BAKHTIN CHRONICLES: ACADEMIA

Bakhtin is a Russian cat who comes to Edinburgh to study creative writing. Early on he finds out that literary theory will be difficult to understand. He’s not the only student who feels this. Cindy, a dachshund, and Fleur, a miniature schnauzer are also struggling. Even Oscar, the scholarly, former circus chimp from Burkina Faso, is baffled at times. Bakhtin’s two feline flatmates and the white mouse Neville offer him support, though this isn’t always helpful. As for Henry, a self-important guinea pig, his antics have a way of hijacking everything. The Bakhtin Chronicles: Academia is a two year diary of Bakhtin’s studying experience: the highs, the lows and the incomprehensibles.

Cover art for The Bakhtin Chronicles, with a mouse, cat and small dog walking down the street beside some terraced houses.

What readers think about Bakhtin

…. This is one of the most unusual books I have read.  The story takes the form of a diary written by a Russian cat who is undertaking a masters degree in Literature at a university in Edinburgh. The characters are a mix of animals with the occasional human. The way literature and creative writing is woven into the story is superb. I loved all the characters who appear almost human. Riddell has a sound grasp of plot development and storytelling. She has used this to weave a story which I could not put down. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I loved it

…. Brilliant, witty story that I read all in one sitting! Fabulous protagonist and very cleverly written. Highly recommend The Bakhtin Chronicles if you’re looking for a funny and also intellectually stimulating read!

… Jane Riddell has masterfully written a satire that will have anyone who has studied Bakhtin and other writers who propounded on the theories of dialogism, polyphony and heteroglossia splitting their sides in laughter. No idea what those fancy words mean? Neither does the Russian feline who is attempting to attain a creative writing degree as an English as a Second Language student in Edinburgh….Add in the comic relief of Bakhtin attempting to discern the antics of his flatmates and fellow students, who include some dogs, a couple more cats and a mouse, and the reader is given the sheer pleasure of romping through a witty spoof. Seems too much? Any reader will enjoy this book! Dare you not to laugh out loud.

… This satirical novel on Academia is uniquely narrated by a Russian cat called Bakhtin. His observances about literary theorists are filled with candour and humour. The epistolary style mimicking Russian English adds to the appeal of a very clever cat. With an ensemble cast of animal characters the author has created a tale that is witty and droll and must be read.

THINGS WE CHOOSE TO HIDE

After ending a long-term relationship, Rachel Grosvenor goes to stay with friends in Florence, where she meets the attractive Sicilian businessman, Tommaso. Despite her friends’ concerns, she marries him weeks later, only to learn at the end of their honeymoon, that he’s been less than honest with her. Gradually she stumbles upon more unpleasant secrets in his life. Set in Italy and India, this is the story of one woman’s experience of deception, jealousy and finding love in unexpected places. 

 

What reviewers are saying about Things We Choose to Hide

A well described journey of senses, mysteries and dilemmas

Compelling

… the story and characters are so engrossing that the depth sneaks up on you