Welcome to my no 2 blog

My main blog is Susie Vereker - writer. It's about books I've read, films, gardens esp mine, travel and the English countryside, that sort of thing.
Do leave your comments there.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

New Review of Paris Imperfect

New review on Amazon. 'I was attracted by the witty cover, and the inside certainly didn't disappoint. Susie Vereker has the gift of creating really amusing characters, who are so convincing one feels they must be people she actually knows. I enjoyed the gentle pace of the book,with the tension of Clio not quite getting together with gorgeous Joe and not quite having the courage to cut loose from domineering Philippe, - until the satisfactory end. Greatly looking forward to Susie's next book now.'

Thursday, 10 September 2009

US Journal review of Tropical Connections

From the US Journal Booklist. 'Claire Downing leaves her comfortable job at Sotheby’s in London to move to the Asian island of Maising after breaking up with her boyfriend. Her new venture? To catalog an art collection of a possibly shady millionaire. The work is fascinating, but her boss is mysterious with his whims and secretive air. Island society is a new experience for the reclusive Englishwoman. One of her new friends is trying to match her with the very stable, stalwart Englishman Howard. But Claire’s body reacts to Drew, the exciting Australian. Getting involved with the wrong man seems to be Claire’s specialty, as Drew keeps disappearing, and safe, thoughtful Howard keeps pressing his suit without winning her over. Gradually, the seamy side of the beautiful tropical island is exposed during the course of Claire’s work, putting her in danger, and possibly her new friends as well. As in her previous books, Vereker expertly explores a world of tight-knit British expatriates as well as the hazards and joys of a single woman abroad.'

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Tropical Connections

'Entertaining and a page-turner' Romantic Novelists Assocation

Love, art and intrigue in the Far East
Art historian Claire suddenly decides to leave England to take a job in Maising, a tropical island state in the South-China Sea, where she finds her new exotic surroundings both fascinating and challenging. Her personal life is equally confusing – ex-pat banker Howard loves her, but she falls for elusive Drew, an Australian aid adviser.
Two friends she meets have different problems. Young American mother Deborah, unhappily married to a lecherous husband, has a poignant affair with a teenage boy. Lucy, an unsophisticated bride, is trying to adjust to her intimidating role at the British Embassy. The girls’ lives become intertwined and Claire, employed to catalogue a collection of Buddhist art, accidentally finds herself in danger when she becomes involved with the darker side of the paradise islands.
This is a novel about love and adjustment, independence and interdependence; about ordinary women who have – or achieve – a certain courage in a different world.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

More reviews Paris Imperfect

Many thanks to Edinburgh book-blogger Cornflower for her review -
"Here's a novel that's a lovely bright and breezy read. Clio, the main character of Susie Vereker's Paris Imperfect is described by someone as having 'bounce', and that quality typifies both her and the book.
Clio .... is anxious to create a secure future with her French lover, Philippe, chiefly for the sake of her young son, Alex. But Philippe is endlessly critical and demanding, his family difficult, and Clio's not as smitten as she thought she was. Enter Joe, "large and classic and lived in", just the thoroughly nice type to sweep the susceptible Clio off her feet, except that she does what she thinks is the right thing and resists temptation. What happens then I can't reveal, but it all adds up to a feel-good love story, the sort of book you sink back into like a comfy cushion whenever you pick it up. Susie's portrait of Paris and the Parisians is a recognisable one, and she clearly knows the city well; add that to her good mix of characters and her sure way with the story and you have a book which is light and crisp and very enjoyable."
Many thanks too to Ex Libris blogger in the US. She found Paris Imperfect "an entertaining romance that has realistic characters with whom readers can relate." She added "While reading I found myself becoming irritated with Clio and her tendency to procrastinate. Then I realized that if it were me, I would probably react the same way."

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Review from Booklist, US journal

"Twice married Englishwoman Clio Forrester is living what she thinks is the perfect life in Paris, working as a private tour guide. She and her son Alex, when home from boarding school, live with her boyfriend Philippe in his pristine flat. Philippe is everything a woman wants in a man—cultured, handsome, well-off. So what if he constantly wants her to lose weight or if his mother does not bother to hide her disdain? Everything starts to change, however, after she conducts one of many tours of the French battlefields. She is escorting an American couple, who gives her grief, and a handsome Canadian, who gives her goose bumps....Vereker delivers a triumphant tale of a modern Englishwoman living abroad that will appeal to American readers looking for a sophisticated romance."

Monday, 26 January 2009

Review, Paris Imperfect

Many thanks to Bookcrosser/librarian LizzyBee for this encouraging review which she’s posted on Amazon. “The front cover of this book, the Eiffel Tower in a knot, is delightful and promises quirky charms that are delivered by the bucketful. The author's deft ways with an approachable, identifiable-with heroine and a cast of supporting characters are well demonstrated in this charming novel. A familiar setting - Paris - comes to life as do the environs, as we struggle alongside Clio….. A lovely setting, marvellous characters (her women are as usual a delight, from the porcine boss to the frosty mother-in-law and the all-too-perfect third-wife-of-the-first-husband). My only wish would be that this could come out in paperback”
Bookcrossing (swapping) stretches far and wide. Sometimes Bookcrossers post books to each other and sometimes they leave them around town to be picked up by a passing stranger. One of my books has recently turned up in Ontario, Canada, and another has made it to Australia and just been left “in the unisex toilets outside the cafĂ© at Strawberry Fields, Palmwood, Queensland.” Crikey, as Boris would say.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Paris Imperfect

A sharp-witted story about life and love in France.

Clio, twice-married and unlucky in love, has become a realist. What she craves above all is stability for her son, Alex. This means she should marry her lover, Philippe, a cultured Frenchman with a large and conventional family. However difficult it is to cope with his perfectionist ways, not to mention his terrifying mother, Clio must not rock the boat. She's a tour guide and when she takes rugged Canadian Joe around the battlefields of France, her tidy life begins to unravel again.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

An Old-Fashioned Arrangement - reading group questions

I see that other writers list discussion ideas for book groups so, tentatively, I've suggested a few possibilities:

Some readers have enjoyed this book as an amusing escapist romantic thriller. Others consider it is about the precarious position of the trailing spouse. What do you think?

Kim makes some morally ambiguous decisions. But she redeems herself in the end. What do you think of her second major moral choice?

Even if few would go as far as Kim, do some widowed or divorced mothers still re-marry for security as much as love? Even today, is the need for security still a basic female instinct?

A mother will do anything for her child - do you agree? Would it be more difficult for a young single woman back home to understand Kim's position?

Is Kim’s initial isolation due to the effect of constant travel or her lack of family, or both? Can you empathise when she says she carries her shell around with her?

One reader thought Mark should have done more to help. Why can’t he?

The book is also about a man who adores women. We women instantly recognise these charming, warm-hearted but unfaithful men. What would you do if you were married to a man like Henri?

Saturday, 27 September 2008

An Old-Fashioned Arrangement

Henri smiled mischievously. 'Of course one admires a serious woman, but so much good responsible behaviour must be rather depressing.'
Set in Geneva, a rich and gripping story of love and relationships, nicely seasoned with a touch of suspense.
Kim is suddenly adrift in an expensive foreign city with a child to support. She's been trailing dutifully around the world with her unreliable husband Richard, ex army officer turned international businessman, but early one morning he is reported killed in a plane crash in the Indonesian jungle. His shady employers insist she must leave the company-rented house within a month and, with no home in England, she finds herself destitute.
Then wicked old Henri makes a practical proposition. What would you do if you were Kim? How would you cope with the extraordinary dilemmas she faces?

Read the first chapter here

Katie Fforde. 'An intriguing story of how circumstances can cause the most respectable women to go against type.'

Bella magazine. 'We were hooked by this intriguing suspense novel.'

Derbyshire Libraries 'This book has it all: Good writing and characters, suspense, romance and humour; all combined to ensure it is difficult to put down.'

Post Gazette The novel follows the heroine through her unique trials and tribulations……You are quickly and smoothly swept along with her story. She may have started off gullible, but she soon prove she’s made of stern stuff after all.... Susie Vereker writes easily and simply and her books are difficult to put down. There is no violence, no steamy sex scenes, well, almost none (and sex does play a large part in this 'old-fashioned arrangement') But her characters are real. Here you have a heroine who could live next door….penniless in a foreign country, what are her options?

Courier magazine
A great page-turning read, full of character, romance, culture shock and humour that will appeal of all of us.

An Oxford reader (see Amazon)
This has all the elements a good book needs. Kim, the strong and likeable main character, has to cope .... But this is only the first of the problems she faces, and bravely finds ways of dealing with. The plot is full of surprising developments, making the book very hard to put down. Not only is it exciting, but also very funny. Susie Vereker has a real talent for characterisation.... had me laughing out loud on the bus. The relationships portrayed in the book, both romantic and otherwise, are those of mature adults, with realistic issues. It's a satisfactory novel in every way, and I highly recommend it as a Good Read.

Elaine of Random Jottings wrote a long post ending 'How the tangle is resolved and brought to a conclusion makes for an interesting and thoughtful read. Susie Vereker's style is elegant and flows along nicely, but I feel that the fact that there is a real moral dilemma here could be overlooked, precisely because it is such an interesting story.'

New Books magazine
'As a reading-group read, Kim's moral dilemmas would provide an interesting discussion point. The main characters are both entirely believable and wholly likeable, making this an enjoyable novel which is, despite the serious nature of some of its themes, very entertaining.'

Liz Fenwick put An Old-Fashioned Arrangement among her top five books in 2006. Her eclectic list reads 1. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield 2. Life Skills by Katie Fforde 3. An Old Fashioned Arrangement by Susie Vereker 4. The Kite Runner by Kalid Hosseini 5. Any Human Heart by William Boyd.

Here is her review: 'Yesterday I finished An Old-Fashioned Arrangement. I enjoyed the book start to finish. It appealed to me as at its heart is the vulnerable existence of the ex-pat spouse. Having led a global organization of expat spouses this book hit home. Despite many people's preconceptions its not all gin swilling and shopping. Quite the opposite in most cases. The heroine, Kim, is so very much like many of us who have trailed. It highlighted the problems that can arise if you have don't have a plan for the future, left your career behind, or have a spouse who leaves a lot to be desired... I loved the humour in the book. It wasn't in your face but underlined the whole work. The pace of the story never let me down and I was kept glued until the satisfying last page. Even if you haven't lived an expat life I think its an interesting question posed in the book about how far from your "normal" will you push yourself to survive.'
Bluestalking Reader in the USA writes: 'Once upstairs I saw Susie Vereker's book sitting on my beside table, looking all lavender and inviting, so I grabbed it up and began reading. Surfacing an hour or so later, when the clarion call of dinner rudely pulled me out of my reverie, I knew I'd have to make sure to get back to this book later that evening or I'd simply burst.It took getting through dinner and subsequent clean up, doing one load of laundry and plodding through a workout at the health club before I was again able to take up this book, but, dear reader, pick it up I did! And with relish.'

photos by Nick & restaurant La Perle du Lac (where Kim and Mark have lunch)

Pond Lane and Paris

Jack smiled. "Maybe you had better change out of your wellies before you go to Paris."

After faithfully nursing her invalid husband for eight years, widow Laura Brooke is re-emerging into the world. She finds a job with Oliver Farringdon, ambassador to an international organisation in Paris. He's divorced and needs someone to supervise his teenage daughter.
But can Laura cope with her demanding employer and with Paris after her solitary celibate life? Can she trade in her Wellington boots and Hampshire mud for the chic lifestyle of Paris and the sophisticated world of an ambassadorial household there?

Jane Eyre meets Nancy Mitford in this story of love and culture shock.

Nominated for the RNA/Foster Grant Award 2006

France Magazine
‘A story of relationships and finding love, with convincing and very likeable characters. Vereker writes in an easy-to-read humorous style’

Carousel Magazine
When recently widowed Laura Brooke is offered a job in Paris as “a sort of lady-watchdog”, looking the teenage daughter of senior British diplomat, Oliver Farringdon, the scene is clearly set for a love match. We recognise an echo of Jane Eyre: Oliver is handsome and austere, and Laura has never aspired to Parisian chic. But even after the distinguished ambassador comes to appreciate Laura’s quiet competence, taste and good sense – as we knew he must – this is no fairytale.

Susie Vereker has assembled a cast of engaging characters and writes with an assured touch. ….
This is a hugely entertaining book by a gifted storyteller with exceptional perception. An absolute must!

Courier Magazine
Culture shock, romance, character studies, humour – it’s all here in this novel. ...A story of contrasts, in which the newly widowed heroine moves between two countries and two very different cultures: the small village in Hampshire and the smart diplomatic world of Paris.
The story unfolds as a modern Jane Austen might have written it: tracing the ups and downs of the heart, of course, but also as a sharp-eyed observance of character and customs. The alcoholic friend, the uncommunicative teenager, the chic Parisiennes are all there, while the stiff diplomatic circles in which Laura finds herself are a complete contrast to her previous hand-to-mouth existence in a run-down English country cottage – all described with a fine eye for detail.

Post Gazette
The captivating story unfold not only in Laura's beloved Pond Lane, somewhere in Hampshire, but flits between there and the chic diplomatic life in Paris .......a charming and entertaining read

Linda of Ordo Paginarum Susie V is incredibly successful at showing how perceptions, romantic or otherwise, can be totally misplaced. She takes the standard 'types' of romance and plays with their failings when they are shifted into reality. This gives the novel a great deal of pace. It also tackles the ambiguity of moral positions, enacting for the reader the disparity between what we know is right for a character whom we have grown to love and what our standard ethical code would encourage us to believe.
Thanks, too, to numerous Bookcrossers for their encouraging reviews of my novels and/or help in circulating - LizzyBee, Mallory, LindyLouMac, Caff-Caff, Scotsbookie, Helen Palmer/NiceCupofTea, Pammykn, AngelChild and Molyneux (sorry if I have forgotten someone)
Susie Vereker has lived the diplomatic life and uses this to great effect in both her books. Diplomatic wives seems to have very little life of their own and appear to be there to serve as an adjunct to their other half, smiling sweetly at cocktail parties, organising functions and always, but always being on show... I have enjoyed both Susie's books enormously and am looking forward to the third.

Ex-Libris in the USA. The author's writing was light enough for the story to move quickly and yet keep the plot interesting with lots of twists and turns. (It certainly kept me going back and forth right along with Laura.) I found Pond Lane and Paris to be an enjoyable, satisfying read.
Sablonneuse in France. 'Yesterday the package from Amazon was delivered and I was hooked. In the first couple of pages I was immediately drawn to the heroine, Laura, and couldn’t put the book down till it was finished. If you like Joanna Trollope you’ll like Susie Vereker...'