Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair- #Contemporary – #Community Jessica Norrie, #Mental Health Anne Goodwin, #LGBTQ Stevie Turner, #Thriller Alex Craigie

Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair and today contemporary novels exploring the human condition for book lovers everywhere.

The first novel is by Jessica Norrie set in a community of parents and children, and a book I can recommend The Magic Carpet.

About the book

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

One of the reviews for the book

Gail Aldwin5.0 out of 5 stars Stories of a community  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 March 2021

I admire Jessica Norrie’s skill in creating a novel with so many wonderful characters and viewpoints. (I had my favourite, Mr Chan, a widower from Hong Kong.) Using a light touch, Norrie explores issues of racism, domestic violence, belonging, isolation, identity and much more. Her ability to keep the voices distinct allowed me to tune into a range of personal histories and experiences. The Magic Carpet provides the opportunity to celebrate cultural differences and at the same time it draws upon the shared experiences of families from a range of backgrounds. An entertaining, informative and worthy novel.

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Website:Jessica Norrie on WordPressGoodreads: Jessica Norrie – Twitter: @Jessica_Norrie

The next review is for Matilda Windsor is Coming Home a contemporary novel by Anne Goodwin.

About the book

“In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect.

A brother and sister separated for fifty years and the idealistic young social worker who tries to reunite them. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?

Told with compassion and humour, Anne Goodwin’s third novel is a poignant, compelling and brilliantly authentic portrayal of asylum life, with a quirky protagonist you won’t easily forget. Published by Inspired Quill.”

One of the recent reviews for the book

shiftnshake.wordpress 5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and unforgettable characters in a setting that shouldn’t be forgotten  Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2021

“Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home”, by Anne Goodwin, is a story of people coping and adapting to their life situations. It’s also a story of changes in long-stay psychiatric hospital care.

There are three lead characters, though the story revolves around Matty, who has been in an asylum for decades. Why? Matty’s story unfolds layer by layer through the three narratives. Her whereabouts are a mystery to her loyal brother whose life has been an endless search for his older sister. Her young social worker isn’t convinced Matty initially belonged in a psychiatric ward and would also like to unravel the mystery of Matty’s situation. Through Matty’s own valiant attempts to make sense of her present circumstances, clues are revealed to her past. The characters all do their best; engaging and real, they drive a story in which one might conclude that “home” and “crazy” are relative terms. Even as you are reading this fine novel, you will be looking forward to seeing more of Matty Windsor in Ms. Goodwin’s forthcoming novel.  

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And:Amazon US

Also by Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin, Buy:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – follow Anne : Goodreads – blog: Annecdotal – Twitter:@Annecdotist

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Stevie Turner…#Family #LGBTQ His Ladyship

About the book

Norman Wicks is 57, overweight, and has diabetes. He is sick of his life. He has never left home, had a girlfriend, or held down any kind of job. The only friends he has are online, as he prefers to stay in the comfort zone of his bedroom. His devoted 92 year old mother Agnes waits on him hand and foot.

Norman has a secret he has kept hidden from the world for the majority of his life, but now he is desperate to bring it out into the open. He is terrified of how his family will react. However, for his own happiness and peace of mind, Norman must find a way to tell his mother and siblings exactly what they do not want to hear.

HIS LADYSHIP reached the finals and the Longlist of the 2021 Page Turner Awards

A recent review for the book

Beetleypete VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars A journey to gender transition  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 November 2021

This is the story of Norman, growing up feeling he is misgendered as part of a family where such things are neither tolerated, nor discussed. The family dynamic is established early on, with Norman being spoilt as the youngest, and having a difficult relationship with his older siblings. This becomes worse when he starts to openly question his sexual identitiy, which is met with a mixture of disappointment and scorn.

His reaction is to withdraw. He stops going to school, then never bothers to find a job. To the outrage of his brothers and sisters, he is mollycoddled by a widowed mother determined to do everything for him. And he lets her. Growing older, and becoming very fat, he spends all of his time in his bedroom, acting out his fantasy of being a woman. Wanting to become Norma, instead of Norman.

In this book we follow his journey to that transition, right up to date with the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. Despite some detailed medical information, there is nothing overtly sexual or salacious in this book.

From the start, Norman is very much an unsympathetic character. He is hard to like, selfish, uncaring, and shows little regard for his mother as she grows old, wearing herself out caring for him. When his siblings arrive to berate him for his behaviour, their mother defends him, and Norman locks himself away in his room, refusing to face any criticism.

Once he begins to cross-dress, to stick by his determination to be called Norma, and seek gender reassignment surgery, he has to deal with the lack of understanding from his confused mother, and outright hostility and humiliation from some family members. But that very determination changing Norman into Norma also alters his personality, making him kinder, and allowing him to break free of his room into the outside world.

The world he chooses to explore is the London LGBTQ scene, where he is startled to find acceptance, friendship, and eventually, a temporary job. From this point on, Norma begins to finally grow up, despite already being in her late fifties.

This is a story exploring one person’s difficult experience to be accepted for what she has always believed she was. Facing counselling, painful surgery, and long years of waiting.

I finished the book really liking Norma, and rooting for her to find peace and happiness.

A small selection of books by Stevie Turner

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Follow Stevie : Goodreads blog: Stevie Turner on WordPress – Twitter: @StevieTurner6

The next author is Alex Craigie with a novel that feeds to our fears of aging..Someone Close to Home

About the book

Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.

But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.

Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.

And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people.

Just how far will Annie go?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Pete Springer 5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner from start to finish  Reviewed in the United States April 2021

Someone Close to Home is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. The story is told through Megan, who alternates between the young classical pianist to her disturbing time in a care facility. While the story is fiction, I found myself comparing Megan’s experiences with those of my mother.

Megan and her neighbor, Gideon, form a special friendship that blooms into a love story. Unfortunately, Megan’s mother is controlling and manipulative. Her dream is for her daughter to marry the playboy actor, Jordan. He tries to convince Megan he is in love with her, but the attraction seems to be based mostly because he is used to having women throw themselves at him.

If readers like villainous characters, this book has plenty. Some of the workers in the care home abuse the residents. There are moments where I was furious that the owner of the facility was far more concerned with profits and reputation rather than carrying for the residents most basic needs. About the only thing that I found challenging at times was trying to keep track of all of the characters as there are many caregivers and residents. I still have to rate the story five stars because the writing is excellent and the plot moves along at a steady pace. I know after finishing this book that this will not be the last book by Alex Craigie I will read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And:Amazon US

Also by Alex Craigie

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Alex:Goodreads – Alex Craigie : Facebook


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.





60 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair- #Contemporary – #Community Jessica Norrie, #Mental Health Anne Goodwin, #LGBTQ Stevie Turner, #Thriller Alex Craigie

  1. Was thrilled to be in conversation with Anne Goodwin about Matilda Windsor is Coming Home and The Memory, Sally. Anne’s book is wonderful. and, of course, am a great supporter of Alex Craigie and her books – which highlight the problems within the care system. Thank you for highlighting these important issues here. And, as usual, some wonderful reads for the festive season, and other times of the year. Great writers here. xx

    Liked by 6 people

  2. My review of Alex’s excellent book speaks for itself. I’ve also read and reviewed Magic Carpet—a great read that pulls no punches. While I haven’t read His Ladyship, I have read two of Stevie’s books and have two others waiting on my Kindle. That’s a testimonial of her work. The only author I haven’t read is Anne, but her blurb has my attention.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Fabulous books and authors, Sally. Every time I see the cover for Stevie’s book, I am astounded. Just amazing! Teagan did such a great job on it. Thank you for sharing these books, and reviews. Congrats to the authors!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Sally, you’re a wonder! Many, many thanks for showcasing my book along with these other talented authors. I loved Matilda Windsor and am definitely looking into Jessica and Stevie’s books. xx

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up- 28th November – December 4th 2021 – 1980s hits, Wales, Book Reviews, Christmas Book Fair, Blogging and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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