Sunday, 18 January 2009



I’m going to do something now that I’ve never done before – I am going to review a book on my blog. So what’s prompted this you ask? Well keen eyed readers of my blog may have noticed a rather odd comment by “Rosy” on my 7 favourite foods posting a week or so ago. Her comment went like this:-

Troy, why don't you have an e-mail contact address anywhere? I regularly read this blog, and your ITFC one (Chelsea, here we come) and I wanted to send you something - a book, actually - but there's no way to get in touch.

(I am not a lunatic stalker.)

Well I was a bit surprised to say the least. I clicked on her name which gave a link to her website and her University of Cambridge webpage which between them gave quite a lot of background on Dr Rosy Thornton. As well as being a senior academic with perhaps a brain the size of a small planet she was also an author with three published novels and an Ipswich Town supporter. I was intrigued. I went onto Amazon to see if they sold her books. And there they were – all three – and each one had rave reviews. One in particular interested me as it is set in Ipswich (my recently adopted town) as well as London and – get this (and I’ll explain more soon) – the story is apparently told just through letters, e-mails etc rather than using normal prose.

So I discussed the situation with Mrs Troy. If I was in fact going to be encouraging a lunatic stalker (and if you were one, would you admit or rather deny it?) then I wanted Mrs Troy to share the decision (by which I mean of course, the responsibility). I sent “Rosy” an e-mail. She responded by saying she wanted to send me a free copy of her book. I gave her my wife’s maiden name and works address. I told “Rosy” that if I really liked the book then I would review it on my blog and also buy her other two books. That was on a Friday – by the start of the next week I had in my hand a signed copy of “More Than Love Letters” by Rosy Thornton.
Now the fact that you are about to read my review of her book means that I did “really like” it. In fact I thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps like me you are thinking that you just can’t write a whole book using only letters (as in correspondence), e-mails etc. Surely they must be linked by normal prose. I mean surely! No, the entire book comprises just letters and e-mails between friends, relatives, colleagues as well as minutes of meetings, and extracts from newspaper articles with no prose. And Dr Rosy pulls it off brilliantly! Just to see this writing style tour de force would be a recommendation for buying the book. However a much better reason is because the book is a most wonderful read. At the heart of the book is a developing love story between an idealistic young single female primary teacher, (Margaret), and her local MP (Richard) to whom she originally writes several letters about issues that concern her. Her MP is New Labour (I still don’t know what possesses an intelligent person to become a Labour MP???) and he initially ignores her, but then later arranges to meet her at one of his local MP surgeries. The two main characters discuss the developing “relationship” by e-mail with their best friends in a truly believable set of dialogues. There are several interesting sub-plots involving a homeless women’s hostel, Margaret’s elderly grandmother, Margaret’s landlady and Richard’s developing career. There are some wonderful twists in the tale including a particularly brilliant one near the end which I was annoyed my sixth sense didn’t pick up.

Now as a book reviewer perhaps you think I would make a good plumber. But trust me – I’m confident that you will thoroughly enjoy this book whatever your sex, age, or political persuasion. So if you enjoy a good read – BUY IT. You’ll see it on Amazon along with some much better written reviews of it than this one. It is probably also available “in WH Smiths and all good bookshops” (although I don’t know why WH Smiths isn’t included in the latter category). Don’t wait for Rosy to e-mail YOU – you’ll be missing an excellent read in the meantime.

That just leaves my other promise – to buy her other two books. They have real girly covers although her reviewers say they too are not “chick-lit”. I could mince up to the bookshop counter and say "Mmm, what pretty covers" but maybe on second thoughts I’d be better off getting them from Amazon.

(If [surely when] you buy the book do let me know – leave a comment here even if its weeks/months later and I’ll see it and so too will my delightful “stalker” and fellow ITFC supporter, Rosy)


DJ Kirkby said...

Oooh I want to buy this now. Chopper will not be pleased to hear that yet another book is going onto my TBR pile. I'll blame you of course.

Kitty said...

Blimey - there are two of you? (Supporters, I mean ;-) )

I read a book by Cecilia Ahern a few years ago. I think it was called 'Where Rainbows End'. That too features emails and IM as a good part of the book. I couldn't put it down.

Thanks for this recommendation. I'll look out for it.


Lane Mathias said...

I read this last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I meant to go hear her speak at the library last summer but in the end couldn't make it. I regret that now.

Great review Troy. Must put those other two books on my TBR pile.

Troy said...

DJ - I would blame the slow reader. If you lived nearer you could have a TBLTT pile.

Kitty - there are over 20,000. At the last home game I counted over 14,000 but then lost count and had to start all over again but then the match finished. Do return and let us know how you liked the book.

If I'm buying on Amazon and say its £10.99 + postage. I would add a second book to take the total over £15 and then its all post free. This makes the second book seem a real bargain. If the first book is being bought as a present then the second (your own) can sometimes feel like an almost free present for yourself.

Troy said...

Lane - you snuck in there as I was responding to DJ and Kitty. If I'd known she talked in the library I wouldn't have reviewed her book. I do like a quiet library.

Anonymous said...

Wow - thanks so much for the great write-up, Troy! And for not minding being stalked...

You have rather blown my cover, now, though. Everyone will know that the only people who have read my books are those whom I've tracked down on the internet and inveigled into giving me an address to post one to.

Anyway - I think you shold run regular book reviews now. Clearly a natural!

Ladybird World Mother said...

As the third Ipswich supporter...i will go and buy this book forthwith... sounds wonderful and a good one to read after rather a lot of Very Important Books I have had to read in my book club.
(excellent idea to do book review... its good fun to hear about books you wouldnt otherwise get to know..)

Troy said...

Rosy - not any more, I can already hear those tills ringing. We are up to seven including my two. I know my readers are people who keep their word.

LWM - I will happily do book reviews of any books which authors send me in future. Although I suspect most won't be as good as Rosy's.

Unknown said...

Well you ITFC supporters need to stick together ;-)

Thanks for the review, sounds very interesting, I am heading over to amazon post haste

Catharine Withenay said...

Excellent review - thanks for the intro to something I otherwise wouldn't have (a) heard of or (b) read (rather as a result of (a)).

I'll add it to my list of books to buy from Amazon when the credit crunch ends... Or to order at the library (that way it's free!)

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

Thanks for the great review, I'll definately have to add this to my tbr pile of books. Love the cover too, gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

If it's a well written book, it's always worth a good review.

CJ xx

Troy said...

Sarah - if you do get it then do come back here and let us know how you find it.

Catharine - you'll wait a long time for this credit crunch to end. If you time your visit to the library correctly then Rosy may sign it for you. She'll be the one talking apparently.

Debs - I think you'll like the book as much as its cover. But do see my response to CJ below.

CJ - absolutely agree. I only trust I haven't over hyped it. "One man's meat etc. etc." (I trust you know the expression - I'm not being vulgar, honest!).

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Trish said...

I found it!

You're very good at book reviewing, Troy. You must be an excellent plumber ;-)