Like most people, I am delighted to say goodbye to 2020, although I’ve been exceedingly lucky compared to some folk. Neither me or hubs have had Covid-19, and neither have our immediate families. Of course, this could change, although hubs being a nurse, is tested weekly, so we would know swiftly.
It was a quiet NYE, obviously, although there were a lot of fireworks at midnight, much to Alfie’s chagrin, so he hid in his ‘safety’ cupboard where I’d already placed a blanket in readiness.
I was – and still am – kept sane by The Novelry, honing my writing, attending classes on Zoom, and listening to some amazing authors such as Joanna Canon and later this year, Mike Gayle. This Sunday is the first Team Chat of the year, and I’m so looking forward to seeing a host of familiar faces after the Christmas break.
I no longer make New Year’s Resolutions. I do, however, have some things I hope for this year, but I’m not putting unnecessary pressure upon myself to achieve them. 2020 has taught me to take one day at a time and to appreciate the smaller things in life, such as a delicious piece of cake, the spring bulbs pushing through the hardened soil, or a quiet stroll along the seashore. It is, of course, impossible to make plans for the year, seeing as Covid-19 is ever-present, so another reason not to add undue pressure on what I can or cannot achieve this coming year. I received plenty of books as gifts this Christmas, so when I’m not writing, I have a wonderful selection of novels to choose from. I hope you were lucky, too.
Let’s hope 2021 is a brighter and healthier year, where we can see our families and friends, eat out, attend food and literary festivals, and listen to live bands in pubs. But let’s look forward one day at a time, with the hope the infection rates and death rates fall dramatically, ushering in the life we used to know – or near enough.
Hope the words flow for you, and stay safe One & All.
Well, we’ve had a rather trying year, but we’ve made to Christmas, whatever it may look like in your home. Normally, we take the decorations down the day after Boxing Day now our daughters no longer live at home. However, seeing as this year we find ourselves in tier 4 on Boxing Day, we’ve decided to keep the lights up to add some cheer to our home. I will also look at the background next time I photograph Alfie – the wires and plugs rather spoil the image!
I know there are several books from my wishlist waiting for me under the tree – I’m excited to see what they are! I will post a photo or two on Twitter @HemmieMM and Instagram hemmiemm at some point.
I hope you find some comfort, cheer, fun, love, and a cocktail or two over this festive period. I have a new cocktail glass so it would be rude not to use it.
Thank you for reading this – I appreciate your company.
Well here we are again, folks, in our second lockdown, in an attempt to lower the infection rate of covid-19. I am so glad we managed to see our daughters when the rules allowed, as it had been well over six months since we had last been together. I noticed how long their hair had grown, and they were kind enough not to mention how much my lockdown belly had grown!
I had given up my gym membership last lockdown and have joined an online one – although this does require an element of self-motivation, which is not always forthcoming. I finished writing a novel, which is awaiting feedback before I complete yet another round of edits , and I have started writing a chapter plan for the next one. I have been buying far too many books, and desperately need some shelves putting up as I am now just piling them up in my office. I also fiddled with my website, which was a spur of the moment decision, and one I regretted for a few minutes until I finally worked it out.
A quirky new café had just opened in town, and I had enjoyed several trips there to savour their coffee and cakes, with a book to read for company. It was also the perfect setting to work on my novel when I needed a change of scenery. This is one thing I am missing right now, but it’s somewhere I am looking forward to visiting again.
Yesterday, hubs and I went to a local beach, which was almost deserted and so invigorating. Barely a breeze, so the sound of the waves filled our ears, soothing our souls, and although the canopy was cloudy, it was a dry day. We walked quite a distance, coming across the occasional dog walker from a safe distance, obviously. The walk energised me and cleared my head of clutter that can dampen my creativity.
During the first lockdown we had glorious sunshine, which allowed us to picnic in the garden and pretend we were on holiday. This time, the weather has not been on our side – the endless days of rain were rather soul-destroying. Having said that, I am totally aware that for some people, the weather is the least of their worries. These are troubling times in so many ways, that we need to show kindness to one another, and reach out to those who may be struggling. We got to know two elderly women in our road during the first lockdown, who now have our telephone number in case they need anything.
I hope that you are coping during this difficult time, and have found ways to alleviate any anxiety or stress it might be causing you. Miranda Hart is doing a sterling job on Instagram if you’re in need of some inspiration.
Let’s hope 2021 is brighter and healthier for one and all in so many ways.
Someone once asked me why I was doing yet another writing course when I already have numerous published books – via Winter Goose Publishing – plus an audiobook, as though being a published author is the pinnacle of my desires. My short answer was, there is always something new to learn, always the need to improve, and a desire to hone my skill with every novel I write.
On reflection, this has been a way of life for me. As a qualified nurse, I was always undertaking short courses to learn the latest techniques or understand a medical condition in more depth. I even studied for a degree in child and adolescent mental health whilst working. The desire to learn never stops as knowledge isn’t static, it evolves, and I want to evolve with it.
This current course at The Novelry – A Book in a Year course – has taught me to embrace Grammarly, which I wouldn’t want to be without now, but I have eschewed Scrivener for now as it’s one tech step too far for me. I am a notebook – the beloved Moleskine – notecards, sticky notes, and mind map kind of gal. That’s not to say I won’t try it at some point – I’m just not ready right now.
A downside of studying the art of writing in depth is that it tends to make me doubtful of my ability to write. I am an avid reader, and each time I start a new book, I can’t help comparing my work to the one I am reading. It can sometimes take the pleasure of reading away briefly. There are also so many conflicting views on the rules of writing. Louise Dean at The Novelry prefers to say ‘tools not rules’ which is something I am trying to embrace as I navigate the sea of knowledge to find my own way to the island of literary bliss.
Well, what can i say about me? I’m a 32 year old married woman and mum to 3 crazy boys, aged 12,5 and 3. My eldest has a genetic condition that causes a visual impairment so as you can imagine life can be very chaotic and provides many challenges along the way but I would 100% never change any of them. They fulfil my life beyond measure.
I Adore Books – I adore shouting about books! I’m a reviewer of all genres, whether that be Epic Fantasy, Gothic Horror, a historical romance or a race-to-the-end thriller. I will read them all.
Thank you, Yvonne, for taking the time to listen and review this novel. Hope you all enjoy reading her in-depth review.
Postnatal psychosis strips Colette of her early time with her baby, shreds her sanity, and almost destroys her marriage. When suicide seems the only option, Colette must face her limitations and move forward with demons clinging to every aspect of her life, whilst desperately trying to hold on to what she dearly loves.
The Reluctant Mother. How many times is this a glaring foghorn in many women’s lives? This story was a bit of a throwback for me personally. I didn’t suffer with Post-Partum Psychosis but quite severe PND with my first child. I was a brand-new mother at the tender age of nineteen and was now faced with the reality of a disabled son. It was raw and grieving to a point and unfortunately the bonding wasn’t as immediate as I had hoped. The story is raw and slow – paced but it is everything that it needs to be. It’s 369 pages of pain and misguided mistakes.
A mother. The image instantly sparks a scene of an ethereal being that juggles an amazing amount of tasks each day while caring for children. Society has painted a picture of motherhood that should come naturally, bonding being an instantaneous thing. The truth is it’s more common than not to feel sensations of the “blues.” Society has a large portion of the blame for unnatural expectations placed upon new mothers. The words an unwanted echo in their psyche….They must lose weight. They must be a good mother and wife. You must breastfeed.
The Reluctant Mother is multi-layered and parallel, and the reader was able to recognise situations, characters and pain contained within the pages. The author created a narrative that will resonate with many women.
The story is told in two different viewpoints, Collette and her husband, Finn. The birth of their baby, Dylan has brought a massive change to the dynamics of their family life. Collette is admitting to a psyche ward after giving birth to their baby – a diagnosis of Post-partum Psychosis is quickly discussed. Her pain and suffering is like a cold knife at the back of your neck. It changes her husband too; his actions are at time extremely painful and would make me angry the more I read but I suppose people deal with difficult situations in different ways. It’s a difficult topic to read about and I had to read this story in smaller segments because it emitted strong emotional responses in me.
The Reluctant Mother is tackles extremely difficult topics…Motherhood. Infidelity. Depression. It’s a stark reminder that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Life is going to throw you a curveball and it’s all about keeping your head above water and to just keep swimming. Throw in the deviousness of an apparent best friend who always seems to have an ulterior motive.
The issue that really sticks out in this story is the vow – “in sickness and in health.” Are these words just spoken without any thought of what that actually means in reality. People get sick and sometimes they get struck down with chronic illness. How many people will actually stay and look after them, without looking elsewhere for things there partner can no longer give them. It’s sad and upsetting.
The Reluctant Mother was intricately plotted and beautifully written. A must-read novel about motherhood and depression and most of all about love. Hemmie Martin can bring a scene to life with a mere sentence.
I made great use of the total lockdown period by listening to each chapter of The Reluctant Mother, recorded by the talented Marie-Pierre Voice. This was a new experience for me. I had to read the novel at the same time to ensure the recording followed the print version, and my publisher had to do the same, too.
I must admit, that occasionally, it felt like I was listening to a Radio 4 play – Marie’s voice is so beautiful to hear. As I wrote the book a few years ago, I had forgotten certain aspects of the story, which made me drift into being a listener instead of the author checking for required corrections! The hours of work which goes into recording a book is immense, and I am in admiration of narrators everywhere.
The book blurb: Postnatal psychosis strips Colette of her early time with her baby, shreds her sanity, and almost destroys her marriage. When suicide seems the only option, Colette must face her limitations and move forward with demons clinging to every aspect of her life, whilst desperately trying to hold on to what she dearly loves.
The chapters are narrated by Colette and Finn – wife and husband. Marie manages to read both with individual voices and uses the perfect voice for Finn’s mother – reminiscent of Margaret Rutherford, in my mind. Fun fact – I am hopeless at impressions, and Margaret Rutherford is the only voice I can do – ‘A handbag?’ from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.
Audiobooks are wonderful to listen to when travelling, doing household chores, lying in bed or lying in the garden. My hubs enjoys listening to them while doing the washing up. I must say that I listened to Hard Times by Charles Dickens, when I wasn’t enjoying reading the book – shame on me, I know.
Here are a couple of reviews of The Reluctant Mother to hopefully wet your appetite.
Masterfully written, this book draws the reader into the stigmatising and life changing world of mental illness. Each main character has their own narrative and their own way of coping. Realistic, powerful & highly recommended.
Have you ever read a book that is so painful to read and yet is so beautifully written that you find you can’t put it down? This book is that for me. Colette’s story is the hardest thing in the world to read if you have ever suffered with postnatal issue, but do you know what I would say even if you haven’t it is a book I would really recommend as it is a beautifully written insight into what is the one of the darkest time in a woman’s life. I am struggling to put into words just how much this story touched me so please bear with me. This is a book that will forever have a place in my heart, a book that broke my heart in someways and yet fixed it in others. If you want to know just what I mean I would have to say read it as it really is a more than five star read in my opinion.