A couple of weeks ago a marketing bod from Olympia Publishing emailed me with a list of recent books to see if I wanted to read and review any of them. I asked for three that looked interesting. I’ve now read them and present to you, dear readers, the reviews. I’ve also been looking at the Olympia Publishing page, since I’ve never heard of them before I thought I’d also give you my opinion on the quality of the books and anything I’ve gleaned from reading their website.
BlurbThis book is an account of a journey through grief, loss and pain; passing through anger and bewilderment and coming out the other end.It is about the effects of forced adoption and the scars and damage on the people surrounding it.
Aunt Adelaide of Highgate Cemetery
Mary Briggs could remember Aunt Adelaide from her presence at childhood family gatherings, a quiet, solitary lady who seemed to be enveloped by a deep sadness. She knew that when Aunt Adelaide passed away in her fifties, she was buried in London’s famous Highgate Cemetery. As an adult, Mary undertook to find her neglected grave in the cemetery and visit it. Meanwhile, with the help of her aunt’s ghost, the author tells the story of Adelaide’s life, from her happy childhood at the beginning of the twentieth century to her abrupt departure as a love struck young woman from her family home, which led to a life of poverty and loss. Mary Briggs’ latest novel is a tale of love between the two World Wars that ended in tragedy and a deep sorrow that even the eventual reunion with her family cannot heal.
Published: 25th May 2017
This is a novelisation of Mary Briggs’ search for her Aunt Adelaide and a biography of Adelaide herself. I like the conceit of switching between Mary’s perspective and the perspective of the ghost of Adelaide. It’s fairly well written but, again, could have done with some editing work to polish it.
Life Behind The Bars
Virendra V. Vaishnav
Published : 25th May 2017
ISBN : 978-1-84897-823-2
V. Vaishnav was jailed in Lajpore Central Prison, Surat, Gujarat State in India from November 2010 in connection with alleged crime murder charged 302 of Indian Penal Code, as he said which he has not done. He is an under trial prisoner there and waiting for the court trial to end. His is abandoned by his wife and prevented from seeing his daughter, which has a profound effect on this writing and mental state. Despite his anguish at being torn from his loved ones Virendra tries to help fellow prisoners where he can. His deep religious faith enables him to remain strong and survive his incarceration and he uses faith help those around him. Life Behind the Bars is a fascinating yet disturbing insight into the mind of a prisoner who can see no end to the relentless mental torture of his prison sentence.
This one was confusing; the English is idiosyncratic, difficult to parse at times, and the narrative came across as self-serving. I have no idea if V. Vaishnav committed the crime he’s imprisoned for but the story he tells is certainly interesting. There’s some intriguing poetry. Definitely worth a read if you want to learn more about life in Indian prisons.
I’ve been reading Olympia Publshing’s ‘About’ page. I’m not sure about them, mainly because the about page needs work. I feel like, if you can’t be bothered to make sure your spelling and word choice is correct for your own website I’m not sure I trust you to look after my books. The books are of reasonable quality, in terms of cover feel and layout, but some of the covers could do with work. I’ve been browsing their other books. Some don’t have particularly professional looking covers. From the sounds of their contracts, it looks like they are a mix of traditional and vanity publisher. If they think they’ll make money they offer a ‘traditional contract’, if not then they’ll still publish the book with financial input from the author.