Today’s book review of a short story collection is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. If you’d like your book reviewed or to send me a book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.
Synopsis: Henry goes missing, Blosha comes to stay, Oliver rules the roost, Mo has a birthday while Bruiser causes havoc. And doesn’t everyone have a love of Mozart? Six charming and touching, cat-centric stories from popular novelist Jane Wenham-Jones. Curl up with your favourite feline and enjoy…
This collection is available via http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00J2334YU/janewenhamjon-21/026-9443805-3263660 and http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00J2334YU/janewenhamjon-21/026-9443805-3263660.
Review (via audiobook / my Kindle’s text-to-speech function)
There are six stories in this connection, and I have previously enjoyed Jane’s birthday collection which would’ve been more appropriate for today as it is my birthday. 🙂 The stories here are:
‘A Love of Mozart’ shows that you don’t need a high level of conflict in a story, and this story starts with it. From the off I liked both characters, the first-person character (who is far too much like me for comfort!) and her sister Liz. It’s a very relatable story, and I smiled at the part where she remembers shutting in her cat. The ending was unexpected and I liked it.
‘Gone Fishing’ is another first person tale and I liked the fact that I know the narrator’s name from the off, which we didn’t have at all in the previous story. They say that you shouldn’t work with children and animals, and our narrator, Maggie, has to look after both, and she’s not even getting paid for it. It has its challenge and a very amusing story with another ending I wasn’t expecting.
‘Babysitting Blosha’ is another sweet story with challenges, engaging characters and an amusing cat.
‘Bruiser’ lives up to its title. It’s been a long time since I had cats but it is clear that Jane has had many experiences and has included some of them in this collection. Another entertaining tale.
‘Losing Henry’ does what it says on the tin and is a very endearing story, perhaps the saddest of them all… up to a point.
‘Marmalade and Mo’ returned to amusement, and I love the image of Sid in the vegetable rack and Mo in the sink.
And now for writers…
– be careful of changing tense without meaning to during story. In the Mozart story there is a sentence where it slips from past tense to present tense (He must be sitting on some sort of ledge).
– care should also be taken when choosing character names. Judging by Jane’s other collections, I think these stories originally appeared elsewhere so weren’t originally intended as a collection so it is more understandable when we have two stories featuring Liz, albeit a Liz and a Lizzie (and later a Linda), and two neighbouring stories with Jinny and Jill (which would similar enough on the same page to confuse).
A very enjoyable and easy read. Apart from cutting a few adverbs and some ‘began to’s (see my previous reviews for my bugbear of began to / started to), there was very little I would change.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a freelance editor, online tutor, prolific blogger, 2015 Head Judge for the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition, RONE 2015 Judge, and creative writing tutor for her local county council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page) and has created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog.
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has nine others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
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If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.