Sunday, 21 September 2014

Read in 2014 - 34: The Headland

„The Headland“ was a truly enjoyable read, and I am not only saying that because its author, Neil Theasby, is known to (and highly appreciated by) me and some of my fellow bloggers as „Yorkshire Pudding“ (click here if you want to have a look at his blog).
The story is well plotted and well written, gripping, and with a few surprises thrown in so that you just want to read on and on while at the same time you don’t want the book to end.

14-year-old James and his best friend Corry are on holiday in a small town at the seaside with James’ relatives. The headland, jutting out into the Sea and topped by an ancient lighthouse, is a most prominent landmark and point of attraction for James, Corry and their cousin. They find a path leading not only to the headland’s bottom and an otherwise inaccessible beach, but to much more exciting discoveries. Those discoveries will influence their lives in more ways they could imagine, and as events unfold, the reader can’t wait to read on and find out what happens next.

I felt at home with the characters nearly instantly, although I have never been a 14-year-old boy myself. The way everybody acts and speaks is completely credible (except maybe for the fact that, for 14-year-olds, the boys seem to be drinking a lot of coffee – something I certainly didn’t do at that age; coffee was a drink I started with only when I began work at the library at 18 and it was a social thing to have coffee with the colleagues during breaks). When James is at school, the days are described in a manner that reminded me of the way I felt about school often enough; when he is with his family or his friends, he comes across as a perfectly normal boy – sometimes he gets on with them, sometimes they irritate him by their behaviour.

There were some bits I enjoyed even more than the rest, for instance the chapter about Bonfire Night. I almost felt as if I was there with James (or as James) myself. That the author is very observant is obvious to anyone who has been reading his blog for a while. This also shines through in the book; for instance, he remarks about the strange habit people have in seaside places: they just sit in their parked cars and look out at the sea. When my husband was still alive, we spent most of our holidays in Scarborough. I remember very well that I thought how strange it was to see so many people just sitting in their cars when for us, the experience of being near the Sea was only complete if you heard the sound of the seagulls and the waves and smelled the salty scent and felt the wind (and sometimes the sun) on your face.

Towards the end of the book, a supernatural element is introduced, but it only plays a significant role in one instant. Therefore, the story is not really one that could be classified as “Fantasy”; most of the time, it is more a mixture of James’ life between his home, school and the Headland, where what he and his friends find turns into something of a detective story, and how the subtle (and some less subtle) changes in their lives affect their relationships – or the other way round, the changes in their relationships affect their lives.

Had the book been twice as long, I wouldn’t have minded. If there was a sequel, I’d buy it for my kindle instantly!

17 comments:

  1. Sounds like a winner. I bought it for my kindle and will read it soon. I have a stack of books from the library, too...I do enjoy reading!

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    1. My TBR-stack keeps growing - but I also keep reading from it, so it is constantly changing. It is good that I can't see "stacks" as such on my kindle; there are still about 70 books on it which I have not yet read (and I keep adding to them, too).

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  2. Sounds interesting. Is it a children's book?

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    1. I wouldn't say a children's book, but probably aimed at a teenage audience - and equally interesting to people who, like myself, have been teenagers many years ago :-)

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    1. You won't be disappointed, Jenny, I hope.

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  4. That is a great review and it sounds like just the book I'd like! I will definitely put in on my list of books to read!! I hope you are doing well!! xoxo Silke

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    1. Glad you found it interesting enough to put it on your TBR least :-)
      Thank you for asking; I am doing well, just extremely busy. This will be going on for another week or so and then things are supposed to quieten down a bit.

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  5. Meike - Thank you for your positive and thoughtful review. Much appreciated. I know that there are a few typos and editorial errors. On reflection, I should have asked a friend - or maybe my daughter to proofread it but once a book is up on Kindle I believe it is rather difficult to make alterations. Why don't you write your own e-book? Maybe fiction or maybe a reflective account of your lovely years with Steve?

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    1. You are welcome, and now that I have your seal of approval, I shall post my review on Amazon, too (on all three sites: .de, .co.uk and .com).
      None of the few typos and (even fewer) ed-errors take away the pleasure of reading The Headland, so don't worry about them. I just thought maybe another edition is planned, or the errors are easy to correct, and you'd want to know.

      Oh dear, I completely lack the stamina for writing an entire book! But I love writing, and that is why blogging is THE literary format for me - I can write as long or short as I like, about whatever topic I want, without having to keep in mind a plot or putting in several hours a day.

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  6. I just finished reading The Headland and enjoyed it very much, though the end surprised me more than it should have! I don't know about a sequel, but I hope this author will write more!

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    1. Same here, Kristi! Maybe together we can talk Neil into writing more :-)

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  7. Oh well I'm not going to be left out. I suppose I'll have to discover what it's all about as well. Yet another TBR. I hope I live long enough!

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    1. This one is a quick read, Graham; I made it last longer artificially by strictly limiting my reading to the train rides.

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  8. This sounds wonderful. I hadn't heard of the author or his blog. I'm going to go visit now. Thanks.

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    1. It was wonderful, Nan. I enjoyed reading it very much, and it always adds something good to my morning coffee when I see his blog on my dashboard with a new post.

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    2. I will be adding him to my blog list.

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