It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the blog tour and sharing my review of Joseph Barnaby by Susan Roebuck – published by Crooked Cat Books, available in paperback and for kindle from Amazon in the UK and US. I’d been wanting to read one of the author’s books since featuring Forest Dancer on Being Anne in March – you’ll find Sue’s lovely guest post and an extract here – and this latest book’s Madeira setting, along with the intriguing story, made it a “must read” for me.
Stand by your beliefs – even if it means going to the end of the Earth
By standing up for his principles to save the life of a prize racehorse, farrier Joseph Barnaby loses everything. Now, a personal vendetta has become too deep to fight and he escapes to the island of Madeira where he finds work on a small farm at the foot of a cliff, only accessible by boat.
The balmy climate and never-ending supply of exotic fruit, vegetables and honey make it sound like paradise but, for Joseph, it’s the ideal place to hide from the world. Can the inhabitants of Quinta da Esperança, who have more grit in them than the pebbled beach that fronts the property, help Joseph find his self-worth again? And can he escape the danger that draws ever nearer?
It’s the vividly described setting of this book that first captured my imagination – the isolated farm beneath the steep escarpment, on the edge of the sea and easily accessible only by boat, the daily struggle to eke out a living from the crops, the vines and animals. The descriptions are quite outstanding. But I also really enjoyed the story – Joseph’s flight from a dramatic incident, slowly revealed, the developing relationships (and the ones you really hope don’t develop any further), the battle against the elements, the intriguing discovery and its resolution, all wrapped up with more than a touch of magic and intrigue.
I particularly enjoyed the central relationship between Joseph and Sofia. She’s such a lovely character, with her passion for her beehives, her love for her family, her deafness handled with empathy and understanding by the author and adding another dimension to learning to trust. The only character who didn’t quite work for me was Dario – I thought his fringe-tossing, winking and cringing at the sound of Sofia’s voice was a tad overplayed – but his actions did drive the story well. The introduction of Lua was a lovely touch – mysterious, wonderfully described, really intriguing, and I loved her interventions. And I really liked the introduction of the riding school for the disabled – a nice “extra” that worked well with the story.
A love story between two damaged characters very well told, some well developed suspense, with a lovely touch of the unexplainable and a drive to the narrative that really drew me in – a really enjoyable read. (And I really must mention the goat – he was just wonderful…!)
With thanks to Susan and tour organiser Rachel’s Random Resources, I’m delighted to offer a very generous giveaway. The first prize is an Amazon book token (£10), the second prizes two signed paperbacks of Joseph Barnaby, the third prizes two ebooks of Joseph Barnaby. Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
Terms and Conditions Worldwide entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the author
I was born and educated in the UK (I am British!) but now live in Portugal. I’ve been an English teacher for many years with the British Council and also the Portuguese civil service where I developed e-learning courses. My first love is, of course, my husband, my second writing, and my third painting. And now I have time to be able to indulge in all three.
My debut novel, Perfect Score was published by Mundania Press on Sept 21, 2010 and the paperback launched on May 11 2011. It was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC e-book Awards in the Mainstream Category.
My second novel is a dark thriller/fantasy called Hewhay Hall. It won an EPPIE award in the 2013 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) e-Book Awards in the Horror Category.
Next comes Rising Tide, published in 2015. Set in Portugal, published by Mundania Press. It is set in a tiny fishing village that the world, and most of Portugal, has forgotten. Read about the wonders of the ocean and see if Piper from Norfolk UK and Leo from Alaska, USA, can find what they’re searching for in the little village of Luminosa.
Forest Dancer was published on 20th February 2018 by CrookedCat Books. This is novel number 2 set in Portugal but this time in the forests outside Lisbon, Portugal. Instead of the sea (as in Rising Tide), now find out about the wonders of the forest and whether classical ballerina, Flora, can find what she’s searching for in the small village of Aurora.
On 5th October 2018 CrookedCat Books published my newest novel, Joseph Barnaby, another romance/suspense which is set on the island of Madeira.