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on 26 January 2010
I have to confess that this is not the kind of book I would usually pick up. But upon learning that the story was set in surroundings familiar to me, e.g. West Dorset and East Devon I would give it a try. Besides, the author Sallyann Sheridan is known locally for her encouragment/ teaching the art of story telling/writing. So I knew she had to know something about creating a good story. And upon reading this, her first novel, she has proved just that. The story is unusual as the main character is far from a dashing Shoestring or gorgeous blonde heroine. It is about Mrs J.F. who is just an ordinary person, just like us. She has what is in us all. She is protective of those she loves, she is loving, jealous, revengeful, and has the capacity to hate another who brings pain to her family. But where we might fear to tread in avenging those we love, our character feels she has nothing to lose because she has a terminal illness. She feels she has the wherewithal and the reason to carry out the perfect crime and feels justified in putting her plan into action.

I was hooked by this story and found it hard to put down, even at 3am. I recommend this book to those wanting a cracking good read. I await Sallyann's next novel. This is clever stuff, beautifully written.
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on 8 November 2009
To have an 80 year old woman as the central character is unusual, and in this instant it works; she is a mixture of mischief, toughness, confusion and love. She has the ability to irritate and make you care about her at the same time. Sallyanne manages to capture real family dynamics in this one woman's quest for justice. It is a gentle novel with interesting twists and turns that leaves the reader wanting to know what happens next. This novel was quite special for me as the main action is focused around my local area of Dorset and the detailed descriptions gave me very vivid pictures as the story unfolded.
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This is the first novel by Sallyann Sheridan who is already known for her non fiction writing, the theme of which has been encouraging the rest of us to write more usefully and successfully in our own lives.

I met Sallyann last winter when she was celebrating having finished this book and so naturally I was intrigued to see how her first fiction writing would turn out.

I was delighted with this story, it is wonderfully readable, flowing comfortably, immediately drawing the reader into a situation many would find themselves easily identifying with and understanding. Mrs J.F. who at 80 is now approaching the end of her days in a matter of months through terminal illness, has important family scores to settle...

Getting into the mindset of J.F. (there is a reason for using these initials only in my review) Sallyann anchors her storytelling beautifully with cosy domestic detail that is strangely comforting and reassuring - the reader feels at home with her heroine and anxious that she shouldn't really achieve what she feels she must do - however perfect a crime her plan would seem to be. Geographically the book is set around Lyme Regis, I liked the way we moved around that area, enjoying the sights and sounds of such a beautiful place. Food and drink are described attractively throughout, completing the pictures in a real and interesting way.

Written partly in the present and partly in flashback you always know where you are as each chapter begins with the date, place and time. This is a helpful device and works well.

A family drama that has no delusions about the way parents and children interact, hurt and pains which are carried for years; the lioness wanting to defend her cubs long into their lives. You really feel you recognise these people within a few pages from the start. Her friendships are particularly warm and attractive to read about and so you get to know her more through them. Hearing her thoughts and feelings throughout the book makes it all the more gripping, when she struggles through an experience you find yourself holding your breath for the outcome; exciting stuff.

As Sallyann is new to fiction it might be helpful to compare her to other more well known writers and I think you could enjoy this book especially if you already like Penny Vincenzi, Maeve Binchey, Amanda Brookfield.

I highly recommend this book - I started one evening and carried it around the next day, always the sign of a `thumping good read' .

Keep going Sallyann, you are on your way now and the future looks very bright.

ps, I lent this to my daughter, she is in her thirties, so a different generation - she gave it back the next day - as she'd raced through it and really enjoyed the story too. Brilliant she said!
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on 22 October 2009
I know Sallyann Sheridan very well and when she said she was publishing a novel, I thought to myself I really hope I like it because it would be awful to be put on the spot and either be honest and say I didn't think it was very good and upset her, or lie and say it was absolutely wonderful. I have to do neither of those. I read it and genuinely loved it. A heartwarming story with real characters that I could relate to. I am proud of you. Can't wait for the next one.
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on 12 November 2009
The story reveals how vulnerable we all are and how we want to protect our family long after they have flown the nest. The crime that was committed and the crime that is about to be committed all intermingled with the emotions of the characters is beautifully intertwined. I highly recommend it. I too read it in a few days as I wanted to know what was going to happen. Now I want to know what happens next?
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on 14 June 2013
This is not the sort of book I would normally read. I saw the book displayed at a workshop I attended, and it was the back cover of the book that sold it to me. It gave a hint of the book having a spiritual undertone. After reading the book I came to wish that I would stumble upon more books like this.
Albeit not your typical story, the story and the characters were great, and Sallyann displays a lot of wisdom in the way she carries the characters and the story forward. And yes, the book gives the impression that Sallyann is a person interested in spirituality, which is a good thing in a book for me.
- Karstein Bjastad, author of The Naked Truth: Seven Keys for Experiencing Who You are. A Practical Guide
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on 3 August 2012
I read this book some time back, after it was first released. I have to admit that it's not my usual type of story, and as I know the author personally, and received a signed copy, I felt obliged to read it all the way through. To my utter surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The locations are well described and help bring the story to life. The characters are interesting and often surprising, and the plot, although I thought a little predictable at times, had plenty of depth to keep me awake and finishing off chapters quicker than I had imagined I would. A good read at anytime, by anyone whatever your normal reading tastes are...
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on 23 July 2015
This is a great book. When the book opens and the main character is an 80 year old woman named Jetta, I wondered where on earth the story was going to go, but right from the first chapter I was hooked. The choices Jetta makes to try and seek revenge for something that happened to one of her children was intriguing and it was hard to put the book down. Also the book is based in Dorset and Wiltshire, and as I live in Dorset it was lovely to be able to picture where Sallyann had based the characters. I'm looking forward to Sallyann's second novel.
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on 1 October 2009
A page-turner of a stunning debut novel. Couldn't wait to find out how the plot turned out. Interest and intrigue were kept up throughout.
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on 23 November 2012
I enjoyed this book that was recommended by a friend, BUT it is stuffed with cliches and seemed heavily contrived all the way through. Still, I would say it is a jolly holiday read. I would like to add a few words about the need for international companies trading here to pay UK taxes.
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