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Faith Under Fire Paperback – 24 Sep 2015
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About the Author
Annie is the author of a poetry anthology Listen to My Heart. After studying mental health nursing at the University of Southampton, she had to give up after suffering serious illness, including a diagnosis of breast cancer. This led her to spend more time writing as a freelance journalist, and enjoying her family. This is her first novel.
Top Customer Reviews
The opening shift from hazy, darkly disturbing childhood memories to the crisp, sunny and comically melancholy present-day sets the tone for this master-work of contrasts. In this way Watkinson utilises her broad emotional palette to give structure to the interwoven stories of ten key characters. We follow the novel's strands largely through the eyes of Kate, a character whose superficially trivial early troubles are juxtaposed with the more urgent crises of her fellow villagers. As well as relating several comic and tragic vignettes, Kate's initial role is to guide us through her friend Vikki's cancer diagnosis. For the first half of the novel Watkinson uses Kate to modulate our exposure to Vikki's fear, keeping us comfortable, allowing only sharp, sudden glimpses of the horror of mortality.
As the novel progresses, we begin to feel Kate's fragility. Just as she finds personal happiness we learn more about her past and her fears. When Kate's world collapses, so does our own. The veneer of protection she offered the reader is lost but her humanity is starkly revealed. Watkinson uses this tool to tremendous effect to expose the reader to a series of cataclysmic events. The novel's shades of light and dark are intensified just as it challenges us to examine our own boundaries between right and wrong and between faith and emptiness.
I began this book thinking it was just going to centre on Kate, she had given up her 'good life' in the hubbub of the city & moved to a small village into an 'idyllic' house bequeathed by her Aunt & wondered how an entire book could focus on everyday goings on.
The normal day to day village events unfolded & soon I was absorbed into varying story-lines that are all carefully intertwined by the writer. As each new character appears you quickly learn about them & get involved in unravelling their personality. Whether they are somebody you like or not they all have depth & facets of intrigue. The book gathers speed & isn't afraid to include some unsavoury issues .. all dealt with sensitively & articulately.
I found myself really caring about most of the 'villagers' & could feel the emotions both high & low. There are a couple of elements that I identify with on a personal level & it is obvious the author has a deep emotional understanding. Just as I thought I knew which way it was going there would be another turn of events until it got to the point where I couldn't put it down until I had finished it. I was then in a position where I was both grieving & smiling & most certainly missing the people & long for a sequel! It shows how life can change in an instant & how important the depths of friendships can be. For a first novel this is close to perfect & I happily award 5 stars. Thanks Annie .. more please!
The essential story line is one of friendship set in a small village, with all the usual characters you would find in any village, the gossip, the vicar, his wife and family, yummy mummies, the not so well off families and the old inhabitants who feel it’s their village and that’s how things have been done for time in memorial.
The tragedies that affect two of characters are things that can happen to any of us, one day life is travelling along the road we want and planned and next it’s turned upside down and we have no control. Annie’s characters are true to life and react with love humour tears and hope. I loved the book, the characters made you care about them; I found it quite hard to put down. Annie’s style of writing is full of warmth for her characters and this is what makes them so believable. I hope there will be a sequel; you are left after the last page wanting to know what happens next.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was completely hooked from the first few sentences of this book and read it in one morning as I simply couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
This brilliant first novel made me smile and cry - lots of twists and turns in the storyline - with believable characterisation and plot - can't wait for the next offering from... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mrs J L King
I very much enjoyed reading this book. Annie has a good way with words and the story is very believable. Read morePublished 17 months ago by kitkat
Faith under fire explores serious and difficult issues including cancer, child abuse and mental illness within a storyline on the value of friendships. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mitch
A great read - this novel has everything, interesting characters, a busy plot, and both tragedies as well as joyful occasions that occur in the village/community. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Alex Galbraith