#Review By Lou of Seeds of Memories – BlackHoundProductions @bphoundp – Reflective, Poignant, Hopeful #SeedsOfMemories #Theatre #Drama #EdFringe #EdFringe2022

Seeds of Memories
By Patrick Withey

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A warm thanks to Cordelia for the invitation to review the poignant, hopeful, reflective play Seeds of Memories at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Find out more in the pics and my review below…



Ethereal Poignant

Sad Joyful

Exuberant. Peaceful

Creative Imaginative


The music, just before the cast were on stage had an air of sadness with something hopeful and positive reaching through, which captured the play very well.
Seeds of Memories is about grief, but not how you my suppose it would be. This is far from depressing. The story is told through the actors and puppets. Grandad and blackbirds in the garden are represented by puppets, which adds to the creativity and poignancy.

Grandad had a passion for his garden and he would tell his son, stories and poems; a recurring one throughout is one about seeing magpies – “One For Sorrow, Two For Joy”.

The seamless flashbacks, taken by grandad’s son – A, played by Ollie J. Edwards are exuberant and full of childlike joy and energy, each time he is there, in the garden with him. Then, in the present, he conveys, further, his love of his grandad, through peaceful reflections. A takes the audience through grandad’s life, of what he knew and through his own life, growing up. He gives his grandad life again and real imagery, yes, aided by the puppet, but also enough for the imagination to takeover. Grandad is given real personality and life experiences, that most people will relate to. Ollie, playing A had great comic timing. He could make you almost feel your eyes watery and then, suddenly, he will have you smiling or laughing as he demonstrates that grief isn’t always sad 24/7. All the way through, holding the audience and making his character be empathised and sympathised with.

Another dimension is given to aid this telling of this family’s story along. If ivy-clad walls could talk…. Well, this one could. Lisha Allen put in an ethereal performance, owning the stage as she moved around, everywhere on the stage, speaking with an almost haunting voice, as she looked unflinchingly and almost directly into your soul, as she ensured the audience, observing, were captured in the garden. The character was clever, just as nature has wisdom within it, so does the character of Nature, on stage, as more thought provoking points and reflection was created.

Mum/Nan, played by Lesley Hayes brought humour and matter of factness and got it spot on.

The play is written very well by Patrick Withey, and thoughtfully. In some parts, although, very contemporary, it has an almost Shakespearean feel and it also feels timeless and authentic.

The play, perhaps, surprisingly, has a had many bursts of positivity and shown how, even in the darkest of times, life can still be lived. If you’ve experienced grief or want to know an angle of what it may be like to, then if you ever get to see this play, which I reckon should be funded to tour, it is that good, then I highly recommend it. It might even have you thinking of your grandad and about how he sown seeds of memories within you to spread and tell, to keep an essence of him alive and how we, who are alive are expanding our seeds of memories by those passed onto us and as we create new ones, that we share.

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#Review By Lou of The Tail of Mum, Dad and A Dog Called Rupert By Helen Morrish @helenmbooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #RupertsBook #ChildrensBook #Kidslit #Dogs #Grief

The Tail of Mum, Dad and A Dog Called Rupert
By Helen Morrish

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for the delightful book – The Tail of Mum, Dad and a Dog Called Rupert. It is an entertaining story for children aged 5 plus then also then has a serious side of grief, giving opportunities for discussion in either preparation for this or if someone has died in the family or just to give pause for thought. Kids will love to see what Rupert gets up to and what he becomes through some resillience too. Thanks to Random T Tours and Helen Morrish for the review invite and for a copy of the book. Find out more below in my review.

Rupert COVER

  Ruper Back Cover

Review

Rupert 3D Book CoverRupert is a a mixed breed Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He has a bit of Maltese Terrier and Cocker Spaniel mixed in. He’s a rescue dog and it’s about him settling into his new home and loving his new owners. Readers get to know about the dog’s likes and how he has fun, much in the way Rupert is discovering as he grows more confident in his new home and feels comfortable, and much like owners would discover too. There is much humour. The story then twists to a sad note as it also deals with grief, which can be looked upon as how pets and owners handle it. One of his owners dies and this is a subject matter that can be discussed with children whilst reading the book or just to quietly contemplate and empathise and sympathise with. Fear not though, it also has an uplifting ending.
There are illustrations throughout that are often entertaining.

About the Author

After the sudden death of her husband, realising with a jolt that life really was too short, Helen
left her job as an art director to pursue a long-held dream of becoming an artist. To help her
through her grief, she spent five minutes every day drawing their beloved dog, Rupert, and these
are the illustrations that have evolved into her debut book.
When she’s not working on her next book, Helen freelances as a designer and illustrator and runs
her vintage clothes shop Lady Crimplene. Having a passion for all things retro, she has a huge
collection of Sindy dolls and kitsch collectibles. She’s a film buff and her favourite genre is horror,
she also dabbles in stand up comedy, and dancing to the ‘80s makes her feel very happy indeed!
To find out more about Helen, her book and general musings visit helenmorrish.co.uk
All photographs http://www.urszula-soltys.com

Rupert BT Poster

Discover a little of #NonFiction #Book Twentyone Olive Trees By Laura Formentini @FormentiniLove @igbooks @lovebookstours #BlogTour #BlogBlitz #TwentyoneOliveTrees

Twentyone Olive Trees
By Laura Formentini

Today I have an interesting and perhaps rather different book called Twentyone Olive Trees to share the blurb with you all. The author has something to tell you about some rather shocking news she received and how she coped with the tragedy of what happened… Disover the blurb below…

Twentyone Olive Trees

Nothing could have prepared Laura Formentini for the shocking news of her son’s death by suicide. Seeking solace during her time of grief, Laura turned inward to transform her pain and shock into healing and peace. She accomplished this by writing letters, poems, and fables to her son, Blaise, in the year after his untimely death. This became the beautiful tribute Twentyone Olive Trees: A Mother’s Walk through the Grief of Suicide to Hope and Healing. This book traces the author’s path from grief to understanding and healing. Laura shares the important message that it is in your power to overcome even the most traumatic events by creating something beautiful in the wake of death, divorce, disease, and destruction from natural and man-made disasters. Inspired by teachers like Deepak Chopra, Laura achieved her own healing transformation through creatively writing the morals and wisdom she gained in the twenty-one years with her son. The fables, accompanied by beautiful illustrations, have a playful, childlike way of helping the reader cope with loss and embrace acceptance and healing. It is Laura’s hope that these stories will act as a balm for those going through their grief and dark moments, while encouraging them to embrace their new beginnings. This is the perfect book to help those seeking to heal and transform in the wake of a traumatic loss.

About the Author

Laura Formentini is a nonprofit photographer, activist, and fundraiser. A member of Photographers Without Borders, she lives nomadically with her family.

#Review by Lou – Lost In The Clouds By Tom Tinn-Disbury #DKChildrens @penguinrandom #ChildrensBook – A sensitive #Story dealing with #Bereavement #Families

Lost In The Clouds
By Tom Tinn Disbury

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A sensitive, hopeful story with beautiful illustrations that deals with the topic of grief. Thanks to publisher – DK Children/Penguin Random House for gifting me the book to review.
Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review (plus some useful links) below, as well as a bit about the author and a therapist who also had input in this book in a consultant capacity. There is also a very nice dedication given by the author.

Lost In The Clouds

Blurb

Children find grief difficult, and understanding where a loved one has gone can be a tricky topic to explain…
Billy misses his mummy very much. She lives in the clouds. Some days the sun is shining and Mummy’s clouds are nowhere to be seen. Those are Billy’s favourite days. He and Daddy would play in the garden all day long, and Billy knows that Mummy is letting the sun shine for them. But not all days are like that. Sometimes Mummy’s clouds are dark, and Billy feels sad and alone.

This moving and sensitively-written picture book gently explores grief and teaches children how to deal with their emotions surrounding the death of a loved one. With beautiful and colourful illustrations to accompany the touching narrative, this children’s book is perfect for adults to share with their little ones and to help them understand what they are going through.

You don’t have to weather the storm alone! The loss of a loved one can be a difficult topic to discuss with little ones, and this heart-warming book can help you support them through their stages of grief.

Follow Billy and his father as they navigate the loss of his mother through beautifully emotive illustrations and text:

– A large format book that adults and children can easily read together
– A sensitively-written narrative that helps children to process their grief and emotions
– Gentle full-page illustrations that allow children to become immersed in the story
– A non-fiction page that shows children and their families some of the ways to open the conversation about grief and loss

Written in collaboration with an experienced grief professional, Lost in the Clouds gently explores the topic of grief and teaches children and their family members how to understand and deal with their emotions surrounding the death of a loved one.

Review

The story about Billy losing his mum is sensitively handled. It tells a story using familiar things like the weather, especially focusing on the sky and playing in the garden. It’s overall a positive story that can lift the heart. It also shows children how Billy finds comfort in clouds and sunny days. It therefore also gives children ideas for discovering hope and comfort, especially on sunnier days. These are Billy’s happy days. The harder days are painted as more gloomy, stormy weather. So, this book cleverly shows different emotions through these weather changes, which can in turn help with some understanding of emotions experienced when grieving.
The book shows, not just Billy coping on some days and grief hitting hard on other days, but also how dad is going through this too and also missing his wife. It also shows father and son coming together in a positive way to help each other.
The book is beautifully illustrated throughout, which enhances the story, which in turn provides a relaxed opening for children and adults to discuss their feelings together. It essentially would do what it says it will in the blurb in helping children process and understand grief, as well as finding out that there is still lightness in life, even though some days can be hard.

At the end there is a useful “Guide for Grown-Ups” page with hints and tips how to help your child, how to approach the subject of someone dying and how to help them through their grief. There is also a section of resources so that extra support can be gained.
Here are some websites to some of those here:

Young Minds     Child Bereavement UK         Hope Again – Cruse Bereavement Care

About the Author

Tom Tinn Disbury is an author and illustrator living in Warwickshire, England. He lives with his wife and two children, and he is helped by his dog Wilma and cat Sparky.

Tom tries to give his characters rich, full lives, making sure they have a real range of feelings and emotions. That was particularly important in creating this book.

Tom would like to dedicate this book to all the keyworkers who help us in our day to day lives.

For Tracy, may you now be in peace.

About Stacey Hart

Stacey Hart is a therapist, trainer, university lecturer, and group facilitator. An expert on childhood bereavement and family breakdown. Stacey works as a trauma specialist in schools and corporations. She has also won a Family Law Award for best support services.

Stacey has appeared a number of times on television and radio as a leading voice on children’s bereavement.

Bereaved children like Billy have taught her to hold hope, laugh lots, and live every day to the fullest.

#BookReview by Lou of This Shining Life by Harriet Kline @HareandHarriet @tabithapelly @DoubledayUK @RandomTTours

This Shining Life
By Harriet Kline

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This Shining Life is beautifully written. It’s timely, poignant and warm. If you like Rachel Joyce’s books, you’re sure to like This Shining Life. I highly recommend it!
Discover more in the blurb and my full review and a bit about the author. That is when you can take your eyes off the gorgeous cover.
Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour for reviewing and for them and for publisher – Double Day for gifting the physical proof of the  book.

This Shining Life Cover

Blurb

For Rich, life is golden.

He fizzes with happiness and love.

But Rich has an incurable brain tumour.

When Rich dies, he leaves behind a family without a father, a husband, a son and a best friend. His wife, Ruth, can’t imagine living without him and finds herself faced with a grief she’s not sure she can find her way through.

At the same time, their young son Ollie becomes intent on working out the meaning of life. Because everything happens for a reason. Doesn’t it?

But when they discover a mismatched collection of presents left by Rich for his loved ones, it provides a puzzle for them to solve, one that will help Ruth navigate her sorrow and help Ollie come to terms with what’s happened. Together, they will learn to lay the ghosts of the past to rest, and treasure the true gift that Rich has left them: the ability to embrace life and love every moment.

Wonderfully funny and achingly beautiful, this is a story about love in all its forms: absent, lost and, ultimately, regained.

Review

This Shining Life CoverMeet Ollie, Nessa, Angran, Rich, Ruth and Marjorie, the main characters who take a few chapters or so at a time to create this beautiful book. What hits and made me take a sharp intake of breath, was the first line of the first chapter, after the prologue. What is said is insumountable and very matter of fact. It’s a strong opening! Every so often, one line punctuates the opening to a chapter, that is stark and true and just fabulous. No beating about the bush, it tells of a life event how it is and for what it is. In this instance, I like that and it fits the book so well. You’ll have to read the book to find out what it is…

This book will tug at anyone’s heartstrings, like the saddest tune from a solo violin at the very least, and certain short, sharp sentence (I won’t say what or it will spoil it), may pierce hard through your very being and reverberate round. It’s terrific and matter of fact! The book is also full of love and the warmth that brings.

Grief is inescapable at the moment and that’s what makes this book, perhaps even more timely and poignant. It beautifully portrays grief and being surrounded by it within a family very well and truthfully. It shows how people have different ideas for what to do when someone dies and how grief isn’t the same for everyone. It’s also about the love of dead loved ones and the comfort from the living.

There is also the mismatched presents that Rich had left, which further shows his love of life and the people around him. It also keeps people busy as they try to fix them out.

The book, although emotional, is far from depressing. It has that warmth and some pockets of humour. There’s other parts of life being shown as having being lived, such as a a well stocked up picnic. The nature provides a layer of peacefulness along with the layer of  anguish of death, love and life that converges together.

The peacefulness of nature is conveyed exquisitely against the forefront of the sting and in Ruth’s case, especially, the almost suffocation, sometimes claustrophobic feeling of grief closing in and confusion of grief, that all of the characters feel in one way or another. It is all brought with tenderness, but an absolute realism, right to the very end and with the comfort and love of the supporting characters.

About the Author

HARRIET KLINE works part time registering births, deaths and marriages and writes for the rest of the week. Her story Ghost won the Hissac Short Story Competition and Chest of Drawers won The London Magazine Short Story Competition. Other short stories have been published online with LitroFor Books’ Sake, and ShortStorySunday, and on BBC Radio 4. 

 

#Review by Lou – To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre by Victoria Bennett @VikBeeWyld @kenyon_isabelle #Poetry

To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre
By Victoria Bennett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Poems that are surprisingly uplifting, thought provokingly honest and that evoke peace can be found in ‘To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre’.
Thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for gifting me the PDF copy of the book and for the blog tour invite.
Meander down to the blurb and review to discover more.

frontcoverTSTY

Blurb

These poems are an intimate meditation on love and loss, told by a daughter as she cares for her mother through terminal mesothelioma. The poet invites the reader to be witness to the private moments of dying, from the physical reality of caregiving through to the alchemy of death, telling the story of a relationship between women that is transformed through grief.

Honest, unsentimental, and quietly uplifting.

Review

Telling it how it is when you’ve lost a loved one, is a thread that runs through these poems. They are contemplative and reflective in the quietness that someone dying brings. There is a strength of character that ebbs through the grief that brings an air of honesty, warmth and uplifting peace in the poems. 

All the poems, unsentimentally, tell of how watching and knowing someone is going to die can be. How the medics gather round and how the void begins to materialise. There’s a poem “How To Watch Someone Die,” which gives excellent and sound advice on preparing yourself. These poems are wise and full of experience. This is however not devoid of compassion, there is that in spades.

The weight of loss and watching someone (in this case, a mother) deteriorating in illness is framed well. There is a poem of how bulbs are planted, that is uplifting and also one called “After The War, The Battle Comes” about how your loved one never 100% leaves you as elements are within you. There are others, eluding to something simlar and how they are always on your mind, even though you go and explore somewhere new.

The poems evoke many emotions and many people will be able to relate to something within them and some may also find some comfort. All emotion is stripped back to an honesty of how watching someone dying can be. It shows another side, which is intellegently done, that isn’t all about crying as such or being angry etc. I think for some people. they may find this thought-provoking as each poem cascades from one to another, bound by the threads of watching a loved one die and the aftermath. 

About The Author

VictoriaBennett_HeadshotVictoria Bennett founded Wild Women Press in 1999 and has spent the last 21 years facilitating creative experiences and curating platforms for women to share ideas, stories, inspirations and actions for positive change, including the global #WildWomanWeb movement and #WildWomanGamer.  She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University (2002). Previous awards include the Northern Debut Award for non-fiction (2020), the Mother’s Milk Writing Prize (2017), The Writing Platform Digital Literature Bursary (2015), Northern Promise Award for Poetry  (2002), and the Waterhouse Award for Poetry (2002).

Her work-in-progress memoir, ‘All My Wild Mothers’, was long-listed for the Nan Shepherd Nature Writing Prize 2019 and the Penguin #WriteNow2020 programme.

            Victoria is currently undertaking her MRes in Creative Practice at the University of Highlands and Islands (Shetland), exploring narratives of absence within landscapes of personal and ecological loss. She is a director of The Wizard and The Wyld Ltd, creating immersive playable poetry within video-game platforms. A frequent digital collaborator, she interested in how poetry and new technologies can be used to create meaningful and authentic narratives. http://beewyld.co.uk/

To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre Blog Tour (2)