on 7 October 2012
Reading 'Pompomberry House' by Rosen Trevithick has assured me that 'Seesaw' was no one-off. This author can write! When you relax reading a book, it's because you know you are in safe hands. Well, you're in safe hands here.
As an independent author myself, I was delighted and amused by Kindle, forum, and other author references dotted throughout the book. There is much to enjoy here for non-writers too though. The book is funny, very funny in parts. The author has a turn of phrase that is comical and some descriptions are truly laugh-out-loud.
I admit that about a third of the way through the book, I began to worry. How could the idea of a group of writers writing stories that seemed to come true stretch out for a full-length book? It all seemed to become a little predictable. But then, the book takes on the form of a thriller (still laced with humour) and we are following Dee and her husband (in a will they, won't they relationship) as they try to unravel the truth about what went on at Pompomberry House.
By the time I had finished the book, I was struck by something. 'Pompomberry House' is clever. When we follow the characters through to their conclusions, the whole thing comes together nicely and it is hugely satisfying. The book has clearly been well thought out.
Featuring a cast of grotesque comical characters, and a central couple I grew to like, 'Pompomberry House' is a delight. Fun, dark, and very clever.
Firstly, I really hope that I can review this book without making any spelling, grammar or punctuation errors!
This is an absolute corker of a read - based around six writers from an online forum who attend a course in an isolated island house somewhere in Cornwall in order to produce an anthology of stories. Sounds boring, but then the stories they write start to come true and the reader is in for a cracking read as Dee, seemingly the only sane author at the house, tries to solve the mystery of what is going on along with her estranged husband Gareth. We therefore have a book with a touch of murder mystery, comedy, horror (with murderous seagulls) and relationship problems - quite a lot of action for one read!
The book is full of humour, taking the mickey out of online forums, indie writers and amazon reviewers (hence the worry about making spelling mistakes in this review). The characters for the most part are over the top caricatures and completely unlikeable with hardly any redeeming features, but all mixed together and in the context of this book, they just totally work 100%. If it were a "serious" book or in the hands of a less talented writer, then admittedly the plot would also be deemed to be over the top and far-fetched, but in this story, again, it just works.
To sum up, at first glance the plot and characters seem doomed but thanks to the author's storytelling skills it all pulls together wonderfully and the end result is a fantastic unputdownable read. Well written, funny and with an original storyline, it is certainly an example of what a lot of indie authors should be striving to produce, but so often fail at. Highly recommended!
This is a warm, knowing and very funny elbow in the ribs of the epublishing community - writers, readers, forums, reviewers, all get a nudge and a wink in this clever spoof. A group of writers from a kindle forum meet at an Island retreat to produce an anthology. Afterwards, stories from the book begin to happen in real life. Spooky. Scary in fact, since some depict murder. The author has caught the excitement of the new era in publishing, and the desire of budding and experienced authors to establish themselves in that world and be appreciated for their talent. There's also a side-swipe at reviewers! Moreover, she has written it very cleverly. Dee, the first person narrator, tells her tale at times in a slightly self-conscious 'writerly' fashion, as though trying to sell us her story. Rosen Trevithick's own voice sings through though, in some extremely funny lines and memorable phrases.
This book is a truimph. We will all recognise some of the characters but wince in horror at some of the monstrous exaggerations she has turned some of them into. The story itself carries us through to a rollicking ending. So far I have only read a few of Rosen's short stories but enough to tell that whatever her subject, she is a talented writer. This contains that extra spark that has me jumping up and down, waving things in the air and shouting 'Five stars, five stars!'
on 6 October 2012
Pompomberry House is a novel that I found both very enjoyable and very annoying at the same time. The style of writing is very smooth and easy to read, something that is a big plus for me. The story itself works very well and the narrative flows smoothly from start to finish. Rosen weaves a tale that is full of twists and turns, one that keeps you guessing right up until the final few chapters. However, I did find the constant "seagull" motif that repeats itself throughout the novel, particularly the first half, very irritating. That said, there was nothing in this novel that should put anyone off from reading it.
Many of the main characters are meant to be really dislikeable but I also found that I didn't like the main protagonist, Dee, either. Don't get me wrong, she is a well-developed, flawed and believable character, but if I knew her in real life I would not like her much.
Technically speaking, I enjoyed the writing style very much, although I would have liked to have seen some of the longer dialogues broken up a little more as occasionally I found myself having to re-read conversations to follow who said what.
Overall, this is a very good novel from a very good author. I hope she continues to produce high quality work such as this.
on 23 October 2012
After reading yet another, Trevithick masterpiece, I have been left in no doubt, that this author, can write!
Pompomberry House, is the story of a self-published writer, Dee, who has recently separated from her husband. She meets other like minded writers,(so she thinks!)on a writer/reader forum she is using. She gets involved in a writers weekend with these strangers. However, before she even enters Pompomberry House, events begin to take a twist! A mystery/suspense,(perhaps thriller)which is laced with humour.
The style of writing was beautifully vivid, witty, smooth and unique. There was a lot going on in this story. There were a lot of characters, yet every one of them was well developed, believable and absolutely fascinating. The story took many exciting twists and turns, yet it flowed well throughout.
Pompomberry House, is at the cutting edge of writing, in the 21st century.
on 4 August 2012
Self-published authors have gained more public attention in the last couple of years than ever before, as ebooks have reduced the cost of production, and increased the scope for distribution. Now, you can debate the extent to which this is a good thing, but there's an undeniable curiosity about the phenomenon. Rosen Trevithick - already a successful self-published writer, has taken the zeitgeist's pulse, looked at her fellow authors (and, I suspect, at herself), and judged that the time was right to satirise the growing trend of self-published writers.
Pompomberry House, however, has wider aims than just satirising the pompous, deluded arrogant writers who think they're bringing down a centuries old publishing industry with hackneyed romance and thriller novels. Hilariously observed as these parts of the book are, these grotesques are an easy target for mockery, and probably self-indulgent to boot. So Trevithick combines this 300 page satire with a sinister murder mystery, and a dash of chick-lit flustering.
The plot twists and turns, and regular readers of mystery fiction will spot some of the twists, but by no means all of them. There is real humour and heartbreak among the disappearing evidence, sinister clues and huge red herrings. Everyone gets a dig in the ribs, from the deluded authors themselves, to fanatical readers and acerbic reviewers. Whatever the future has in store for books and publishing, Pompomberry House is an entertaining and solidly written snapshot of the 'indie' scene as it exists now, and far more accurate and plausible than some readers (ie, other authors) will like to admit.
Pompomberry House is a great deal of fun to read. I love the work of Rosen Trevithick and have read quite a lot of her books but had not got around to this one until now. It was worth waiting for, it is absolutely hilarious! Main character Dee is an indie writer who publishes her books on Amazon for Kindle, and participates in a Kindle users forum. There she meets an unusual group of writers and ends up being a last minute replacement on a writers retreat, which takes place in the Pompomberry House of the title. The other writers are throroughly unlikeable characters written in a humourous manner, over the top but you can believe there are people out there as pretentious and deluded, in fact although not writers I may have met one or two over the years. Dee also has to deal with her estranged husband, with whom the relationship status "it's complicated" was probably invented for!
Things take a turn for the bizzare when the stories that the group write on their trip start coming true. How is this even possible? Who is behind it and what does it mean? This book is very well written, great fun with more than a little suspense and intrigue. I love Rosen Trevithick's use of language, and shall endeavour to use "Oh Spoons!" as a curse word in the near future. Highly recommended!
on 8 May 2013
This book pleasantly surprised me in several ways. Firstly it was longer than expected (always a bonus!), the plot was more intricate than expected, and best of all, the references to indie books and indie publishing were both intelligent and insightful--and woven deeply into the plot. The satire varied between subtle references and overt slapstick, but it all worked well and had me laughing at many points. The author also has a delightful grasp on using language to comic effect and, as I've come to expect from reading some of her other books, there are many brilliant one-liners.
The plot is very much in the line of a whodunnit, albeit centering on the warped world of indie writers. It genuinely had me guessing almost to the very end. The denouement was surprising and clever, wrapping up every element of the plot with a pleasing sense of resonance.
Yes, the characters are outrageous and overblown, but that's very much the point. However, I can see how a reader unfamiliar with indie publishing might miss some of these references and be left scratching their heads at a few points.
on 7 October 2012
I don't often read murder mysteries, but the premise to this book sounded so intriguing I had to find out more. Loved the storyline, kept me guessing til the end (don't want to give anything away, but I still can't believe a certain someone had nothing to do with the murdering at all). In fact it had so many twists I couldn't put it down, and finished the book in one day. Even as it mocks indie writers it is a great example of what indie/self-published writers can do. Highly recommended.
on 24 December 2012
So this is supposed to be a satire. Sorry Rosen I don't think you pulled it off.
I thought that you tackled the emotional relationship between Dee and her estranged husband with your usual aplomb and managed to create some of the atmosphere of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Nigg... at Pompomberry House but the overall impression of this book is just plain silly.
Satire does require some silly but should be done with subtlety or believability to work.