Review: ‘Strays and Relations’, by Dizzy Greenfield


Strays and Relations follows the story of Dizzy, whose search for her birth parents is sad, humorous, and in parts bizarre. Dizzy learns that she began life as a surviving twin, then was fostered until a permanent home was found.

Dizzy begins her search for her original identity. Why was she given up for adoption in the 1960s? Following a tenuous lead, she travels to Ireland with her best friend Sugar, but the trail takes a misleading turn. It ends in what they mistakenly believe is Dizzy’s mother’s grave.

Dizzy falls in love with Will, a blacksmith. But something is missing. Dizzy’s life changes when her birth father Tommy makes contact using a private detective. He reveals that her birth mother is alive and married to a man called Vernon. Now the bigger, trickier task lies ahead: working out how to fit the disparate bits of her life together. This is a book which will both amuse and touch readers’ hearts.

Strays and Relations manages sensitive subject matter with engaging wit and sharply-observed dialogue, and includes vivid descriptions of some rather unusual animals and people. It will appeal to readers who have encountered a recycled animal or family.

Purchase Links

My Review

Thanks to Dizzy and Rachel for the tour and sending me a copy of the book

Dizzy Greenfield was born in 1968 to an 18 year old Irish Catholic girl and her ex-fiance, a Yorkshire soldier, in Sheffield. Dizzy had a twin sister, who died a few days after birth. Marie married a man she knew, but found he wasn’t interested in raising her child with her. Under pressure from her family and social service, Dizzy’s birth mother, Marie, gave up her. She went on to have three children with her husband, and then remarried.

Tommy, Dizzy’s birth father was a soldier and an adventurer, with a son already 18 months old when Dizzy was born. He and Marie had been engaged, but a week before their wedding he was posted to South East Asia, so he rang her at his mother’s house and broke it off. His mother immediately put her out on the street.

Dizzy was raised in the West Country, by adoptive parents Paula and Terry, who after having a son, Ellis, had two miscarriages and then found out they couldn’t have more children. Raised by them from the age of 8 months and aware of her adoption from the age of 6, Dizzy had a happy home life.with her nanna, mum, dad and brother. She married and had a daughter. Then at the age of 36, her father reached out to her.

A decade of turmoil followed as she met first Tommy, then Marie, and all of Marie’s family. She heard their stories, their guilt and fears, and realised there was enough love to go around. Dizzy finally, after a decade, reconciles her two families.

I laughed. I cried (it’s always animal deaths that get me). I commiserated. I read 200 pages in one afternoon. This is a very well written book, a moving, gripping, story of finding her roots and going home.The writing is good, I could feel Dizzy’s confusion and anxiety as she makes her journey, and her love for her family and home, shining through in her writing. I love the cover, the texture and weight of the book. Production value is high.

Author Bio – I have lived in the West Country all of my life, but never in such a remote place as I do now –  in the middle of the woods with rooks and bats.  It may be remote but it’s never quiet in Dizzyland! When I’m not looking after the dogs, chickens and a six-toed cat, I help run a blacksmith’s forge with my partner.

My ideas come from humorous incidents in my own life, which I fictionalise. Strays and Relations is my first novel.

Before I began writing I had various jobs, including working in a wildlife park and as a youth worker.

Social Media Links – Website:

Twitter:  @DizzyGreenfield

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