Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Celebration of a legacy – Sue Vincent and Mary Smith.

There have been few families who have not been touched by loss in the last two years with Covid and also other diseases that rob us of those we love.

As a writing community there has also been loss, and today as I near the end of the Meet the Authors 2022, I could not miss the opportunity to pay tribute to two authors in particular, who became friends, were supporters of the blog and also long term members in the Cafe and Bookstore.

As a writer, thanks to today’s technology, the books we write remain part of the worldwide web stretching into the future. It is a legacy we leave, and books, unless deliberately removed from selling sites, are still available to be enjoyed with proceeds passing to the author’s family.

This is the case for the two authors today whose blogs, support and books I was privileged  to enjoy. Sue Vincent died at the end of March 2021 and Mary Smith late December, both far too soon… I hope that if you have not read their books you will consider doing so, and enjoy the legacy they have left us.

Sue Vincent was one of the first to follow my blog ten years ago, and over the years continued to support with invitations to write guest posts on her popular blog and share her reviews for my books.I was lucky enough to meet her in 2017 at the Bloggers Bash in London. I particularly enjoyed her collections starring her small black dog who won the hearts of so many and I am sharing one of my reviews for those collections today.

Sue chose to share her lung cancer battle with us in a moving and courageous series of posts. It is hard to believe it is a year since she died.

Sue lived in France for several years, sharing a Bohemian lifestyle and writing songs before returning to England where the youngest of her two sons was born. She began writing and teaching online several years ago, and was invited to collaborate with Dr G. Michael Vasey on their book, “The Mystical Hexagram: The Seven Inner Stars of Power”.

Since then she has published a number of books, beginning with “Swords of Destiny”, a magical tale set in the ancient landscape of Yorkshire. Her retelling of the Egyptian myths, “The Osiriad”, came shortly afterwards along with “Life Lines” and her latest book, “Midnight Haiku”

.Sue has had a longstanding collaboration with Stuart France. Together they have written the “Triad of Albion”, the “Doomsday” trilogy and the “Lands of Exiles” series, as well as creating and presenting residential and landscape workshops.

These books tell a true adventure in a fictional manner. They are at once a journey into the ancient and sacred landscape of Albion and the story of a growing and rather oddball friendship as their adventures stray down the paths of fiction… or do they? These books are accompanied by three volumes of correspondence between ‘Don’ and ‘Wen’ that explores their magical world in greater depth.

France and Vincent have also published a number of graphic works together exploring folklore and legend, as well as writing independently. France and Vincent

Sue, along with Steve Tanham and Stuart France, was a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, an international modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being.

A small  selection of Sue’s books and those written with Stuart France

My review for Doggerel: Life with the small dog

I opened this charming little book whilst waiting for the power to come back on following an outage and became so enchanted that I read in one sitting; even after the electricity was restored!

I am a long time fan of Ani, the small black dog and her observations on life, from bath time (not her favourite activity) to cows and lost yellow balls. She also reflects on her two-legged human and her behaviour, and clearly has a great deal of empathy and compassion for her shortcomings. Usually these involve a tardiness when serving dinner, and being rather stingy with treats. What does come across very clearly is that their match is one made in heaven.

If you currently have a four legged companion or have in the past, you will recognise the situations and the shenanigans that make this particular relationship so entertaining and rewarding.

A lovely reminder of that special bond we have with our pets and I can recommend that you buy for any other dog lovers in the family too.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK and: Amazon US Blog: S.C. VincentGoodreads:Sue Vincent – Twitter:@SCVincent – Ani’s Blog: The Small Dog’s Blog – Blog: France And Vincent
Mary Smith was also at that particular Bloggers Bash in 2017, and after several years of following each other it was wonderful to meet in person. I particularly enjoyed reading about her adventures in Afghanistan and Pakistan where she worked for ten years.
A regular and welcome visitor to the blog, it was such a shock when Mary too was diagnosed with lung cancer. Another amazingly courageous woman who shared her treatment and progress of the disease with incredible honesty.
One year Mary sent me a tin of soda crackers and whilst they have long been eaten with some Scottish cheddar as fitting, the tin they came in, is used to store far more mundane biscuits today.
Today I am sharing one of my reviews for Mary’s book, the stunning novel set in Afghanistan… No More Mulberries.

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She wanted others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.

Books by Mary Smith

My review for No More Mulberries

First let me say that this book should be made into a film as it has all the ingredients of a action packed love story.

It is visually stunning and I found myself completely involved in the people and locations such as the village of Sang-i- Sia that Mary Smith uses as the backdrop to the unfolding story. Combined with the increasing conflict between the various factions in the region it has an element of danger that brings even more tension to the central theme.

All the characters had wonderful depth and some of the minor personalities stood out for me as well. Including Ismail an old and trusted friend from her previous life in Zardgul and his gentle and wise wife Usma.

There is a love triangle between midwife Miriam, Iqbal her second husband and Jawad her charismatic first husband who died tragically, and whose death she has not fully come to terms with. Through flashbacks, Mary Smith masterfully takes us through each of their lives, revealing the secrets and events that have brought them to a crisis point in Miriam and Iqbal’s marriage.

I came to admire Miriam who felt out of place in her native Scotland and embraced the cultural differences of living in a small Afghan village with enthusiasm and humour. She does everything she can to be accepted by learning the language and adopting the role of a traditional wife and mother. Relationships can be daunting at the best of time, but add in the inability to communicate,no running water, basic cooking facilities and harsh extremes of weather in an isolated environment, and fortitude is required.

I did sympathise with Iqbal who clearly loves Miriam but finds it very difficult to deal with the ghosts of his past, and the ghost of Jawad who he feels is the third person in their marriage. He wants to be a good father to Farid who was just a toddler when his father died, but Miriam has also been trying to keep the memory of Jawad alive for her son, who is now confused. The light in their marriage however is provided by the delightful little girl, Ruckshana who is unaware of the tension and shines her love on all of them.

This is a complex relationship but the story is written in such a way that you come to understand and empathise with all the players in the drama. Mary Smith brings her extensive experience of living and working in Afghanistan and Pakistan into this story, creating a wonderful tapestry of life, love, danger and redemption.

I highly recommend you read the book.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Blog: Mary Smith’s PlaceGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @marysmithwriter


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books… and will spend a few minutes remembering the authors within your own close writing community, who have left their legacy for us to enjoy. thanks Sally.


97 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Celebration of a legacy – Sue Vincent and Mary Smith.

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful tribute to two beautiful souls, Sally! I miss them so much, and yes, they were gone all too soon! They both lived their lives to the fullest and left behind some treasures for us to enjoy for years to come! 💖💖💖

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  2. Thank you for a beautiful tribute to two women who had souls that drew me (us) in. They were wonderful writers, and gave me far more treasures than I imagined. It isn’t often that someone makes a lasting mark. Sue and Mary did.

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  3. A beautifully written tribute to Sue and Mary…Both have left me with wonderful memories..It was Sue who I remember every time I eat Xmas cake (with) cheese dear Sue…Mary even though she had her own trials with cancer kept me sane with emails and advice for my girls I miss her dearly xx

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  4. Both amazing women. I feel blessed to have had both their influences in my life, and to have read books by them.
    We met at the ABBAs, too.
    Special women. Never forgotten 💜💜💜

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  5. What a totally splendid way to end your year, Sally. They are so missed and worthy recipients of your bookcasing at any time. I loved Mary’s Afghanistan stories in particular while Sue’s poetry was so like my father’s it makes it doubly poignant to remember them. Thank you.

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  6. I know Sue, and her books, Sally. What a wonderful and inspiring person she was. How lucky you were to have met her in the flesh. And, like you, I loved her tales of her small dog, Ani.
    I haven’t come across Mary Smith, though. She sounds to be another wonderful person. I must read some of her books.

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  7. I so wish I’d managed to make it to the Bash in 17. It was a horribly busy spring for me… but I didn’t get there till 18 and 19. Still met Willowdot and Mary, though 🙂
    Thanks for remembering them today 🙂 Ani’s last post on how he raised the alarm is still up on the site.

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  8. Having suffered prolonged illness and loss over the past several years, I have recently come back to the blogging community I had just begun to know to find these two lovely ladies gone. Mary Smith was always so friendly and encouraging. I have No More Mulberries in my library. I didn’t get to know Sue at all but her popularity amongst the community was plain to see. Both will be sadly missed by many, myself included.

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  9. What a delightful and thoughtful tribute, Sally – I only knew Sue ‘by sight’ on Twitter, but I used to talk to Mary and we read each other’s books! How pleased they would be to read this, and know that their bookish friends are still thinking of them.

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  10. Also from me many thanks for the tribute to wonderful persons and great writers, i had the chance to meet online. May they rest in peace, and may Ani get anyone putting the roses back into the soil, after she had digged them out. xx Michael

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  12. This is a beautiful tribute, Sally, to two wonderful women who I first came across on your blog. I loved Sue’s poetry. Since she died, I’ve had one book permanently on my desk – her Midnight Haiku waiting for me to write a review. The weekly posting on here of Mary’s adventures in Afghanistan were so brilliant I bought her books, too. She emailed me nine days before she died to say she was in hospital and heading for the finishing line. I’m weeping again as I write this but, as you say, they have both left beautiful legacies that will keep their memories bright. ♥♥

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  13. What gracious and wonderful tributes, Sally. I was privileged to be an email correspondent with Sue for many months – she exchanged recipes and she would talk about things that did not get into her blog. I was broken-hearted when she died – a real hole in my life. Both were extremely talented women who left us far too soon.

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  14. How wonderful for you to feature our mutual friends here. I miss both Sue and Mary and think of them often. I was lucky to have met Mary last year and I always felt I had met Sue, even though I hadn’t met her in person. Your reviews are excellent, I loved both of these books. Thanks.

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  15. A beautiful tribute and rememberance, Sally. Both Sue and Mary were talented authors whose books I enjoyed. I loved No More Mulberries, and I read many of Sue’s books. I enjoyed playing on her site, responding to her prompts and reading her beautiful posts. Those ladies were both wonderful human beings and huge losses for our community. Hugs.

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  16. A beautiful tribute to these two fine writers and beautiful souls Sal. Thank you for keeping their books and spirits alive through your words. ❤ xx

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  17. A beautiful tribute to two very special women Sally, both of whom I have met at bloggers bash events too. It seems hard to believe they are no longer with us but their wonderful legacy remains. Sadly, I wish I had spent more time with both of them. But I have fond memories of them and their wonderful writings.

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  18. I loved ‘No More Mulberries’, ‘Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni’ and ‘Donkey Boy’. The books were complemented by Mary’s quite recent series of blogs about her life in Afghanistan with its wonderful photos, precious, as Mary could not take the thousands of digital images we take for granted now.

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  19. HI Sally, thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to Mary and Sue. I was going to write one for Sue but then I had Covid and didn’t have the emotional strength. I still miss her a lot, I used to correspond with her fairly often.

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  21. Loving tributes to two wonderful women, Sally. Sue and Mary are sorely missed and we are grateful for the special books they have left for us. ❤ ❤

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