Friday, 23 September 2016

"Charlie Smithers: Adventures in India" - A Review - d.arcadian

A simply lovely review of "Charlie Smithers: Adventures in India."
Thank you, d.arcadian!

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I did not think that it would be possible to follow Charlie Smithers first adventure with anything that was as totally all engrossing and engaging, but CW Lovatt has not only succeeded in bringing us a second book that was as enjoyable, but has actually surpassed the first book in range, scope and utter brilliance.

When authors seek to maintain stability within an established series, there is sometimes a danger that stories can become diluted, but this is not the case with the Charlie Smithers books, which, although we are only on book two of a three part series, seems to go from strength to strength. Maintaining continuity, whilst at the same time giving readers something new to discover is what makes reading Lovatt's work so appealing.

This quote is from Lovatt's exceptional book of short stories, 'And then It Rained' but I feel it is relevant to my comments here :
''But writers aren’t about straight lines; they love to amble along, twisting and turning through life’s pathways, making sure that nothing is left behind...''
Charlie Smithers is as loyal and faithful to his master and to the British Empire as ever and his sense of fair play and decency has not been diminished by the tragic death of his wife in the first book, although her shadow stretches long over his soul throughout his adventure to Bhutan.
Her loss and the pain that Charlie feels is handled with great skill and sensitivity and the reader can really feel his loss without it getting in the way of the story. The plot is a complex story of the Raj versus the local people, which in less expert hands could perhaps have been rather tedious, but here it shines with life and dark humour and real living breathing people. I can never think of the people in this author's books as characters; they are living breathing people who we know and love. Mostly love.

Smithers is a complicated man with very deep emotions that he rarely shows (he is British after all and must maintain that stiff upper lip!) and this quote, relevant perhaps to so many people, sums up his deep and thoughtful nature for me: "Once, in an ill-starred moment, I had trusted a man, and as a result had lost everything. Was it wrong ever to trust again, or should I cling to the safety of caution so much that I would sacrifice happiness to maintain it? With the question placed thus, there could only be one answer, and I saw that a part of me had known this all along."

Conversation is lively and natural:
"Then, “D’you mean to tell me,” milord began, scandalized (reflecting all of our sentiments, I’m sure), “that when he…that is to say…when he approaches his…what I mean is when he’s about to…to…”
“Achieve orgasm?” she supplied helpfully."
Now even milord fell silent. Instead he ended lamely with a half-hearted interrogative tug at an imaginary cord around his throat.
“Quite so,” madam confirmed, with what I thought was a note of relief. A relief, I might add, that was not shared by any of us, and even less so with my master.
After a great deal of effort, he managed to stammer, “But…but…” before finally coming out with it, “but what the deuce for?” To which the widow replied,
“I am told that it greatly enhances the experience during the act of…”
“Yes…quite,” my lord managed to interrupt her just in time, and attempted to cover his embarrassment by clearing his throat, over and over again, quite volubly, I thought."

I cannot praise the book highly enough and can only look forward to having the time to read 'Charlie Smithers: Adventures Downunder'.

Josiah Stubb - A Review - Superb!

With the second book of the Josiah Stubb trilogy well under way (look for its release, hopefully early in 2017) it's extremely gratifying that the first book is still doing so well.

Thank you Helen!

on 15 September 2016
If you are a lover of historical fiction, or if like me you've never read this genre before, then this really is the book for you. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Packed full of historical fact and absolutely crammed full of truly believable characters I have to say I am very much looking forward to the next book. I think I have felt every emotion going through this amazing story, but what I felt most of all was the sympathetic way in which Chuck described the lives of some of the less fortunate in the tale, with Josiah's mum being a prime example. I also roared with laughter at some bits and welled up at others. I don't want to say too much about what happens in the book as the description given on Amazon is ample enough. I would happily read this book again. It would also make a superb film. Where is Peter Weir? Must give him the nod on this Josiah chap ! Maybe Josiah Stubb could be the new 'Sharpe' ? Just a thought.


Just returned from my latest adventure in the beautiful Canadian province of Quebec, gathering research for my next two novels (books two and three of the Josiah Stubb Trilogy) and I thought I might share just a few of the gazillions of photos I took along the way.

 First stop was Quebec City and the Old Town, of which a visit is never complete without taking a picture of the most photographed hotel in the world - Chateau Frontenac.

The streets in Old Town are narrow, and chock full of old world charm. Many of these houses were present during the siege of 1758-59, the time of the novels.

Just a very small part of the fortifications of the Citadel. Built by the British after the American Revolution, they have no part to play in the novels, but are impressive, nevertheless.

For the history buffs out there, I purchased a miniature of a cannon at the museum of the Royal 22nd Regiment - the famous Van Doos - and mounted it on a piece of slate I picked up at L'Anse au Foulon, where the British landed in the dark of night, on September 13, 1759, just six hours prior to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. As a footnote I'll add that I walked over the site on September 13th, exactly 257 years after the famous battle.

Prior to that, General Wolfe had tried to pierce the French defences at Monmorency Falls, and got his nose bloodied for him. As you can see, I was able to get quite close (and got soaked for my pains.) 

 With Quebec in my rearview mirror, I followed scenic Highway 320 out to the city of Gaspe, out on the eastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula.


While there, I stayed at William Wakeham House. Very old and quaint by our standards out here on the prairies, my room was the one in the middle with the large dormer. Joking, I asked the desk clerk if it was haunted. After some hesitation, he assured me that my room was safe....

 Part of my research included viewing the shoreline from the sea. What better way of doing that than in a whale watching tour...?

 And with that it was a six hour drive back to the airport, overnighting in beautiful Riviere de Loup, and the sun setting on my most excellent adventure.



Monday, 29 August 2016

"And Then It Rained" - A Review From 'The Review' - Enter To Win!!

Enter to win your own copy of "And Then It Rained;" just follow the link and leave a comment at the end of this really rather marvellous summation by 'The Review's Diana Milne. Draw takes place September 6th.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

"The Adventures of Charlie Smithers" - A Review - "Five Stars"

Don't get me wrong, I love any and all reviews (trolls excepted) and thank each and every one of you for posting them, but a review for "The Adventures of Charlie Smithers" puts me in that 'feel good' place, because he's been discovered by a new reader, and I share their excitement of all the adventures waiting for them in the other books of the collection. Kinda goofy, I know, but that's me to a 'T.'
Cheers Malcolm, I hope you continue to enjoy Charlie's adventures.

on 12 August 2016
Amusing and entertaining. Unusual style of writing. Looking forward to the next instalment of his adventures.

Click here to purchase your own copy of "Thae Adventures of Charlie Smithers."

"And Then It Rained" - A Review - "A Lovely Collection of Short Stories"

It's very humbling when a reviewer takes the time to comment on each and every story. Truly far above and beyond what anyone has a right to ask for. Thanks very much, Monique!

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sean's Lament

Poor delusional Sean,he had high hopes for the girl of his dreams, only to be bludgeoned with reality. A down on his luck student with two jobs,can barely make ends meat,as a matter of fact,he spends his measly pittance on chocolate bars instead of meat.Suddenly all of that changes and trust me when I tell you, the spots he finds himself in are priceless. Oh ,how I laughed!!! You might think that's a horrible thing to say when clearly ,Sean had a massively tough time of it. Well I'm sorry,but the way C.W. Lovatt has with words just tickles me pink.This author has a way of forcing a belly laugh right out of you.I've laughed so hard I can barely see straight,but I must clear my vision because there are more short stories in this delectable book to read.

Tin Whistle

This story was about losing a loved one and the impossibility of moving on.The heart has a hard time letting go. A sad but lovely tale.

Fear Of Flying
I love this story,it shows that anything is possible if you but try.

Highway Driving
What should have been a happy occasion ended up being a pointless tragedy.

Angus Breaks Free
Crotchety old Angus thought he was done with his wife of 50 years. She, according to him, was the bane of his existence. Turns out,you'll have to read this awesome short to find out. A gem of a tale,this is.

Dealing with loss is something we all have to learn to do,sooner or later,and I think this story shows that we must still go on,because that is what our lost loved one would want.

A glimpse into the life of an author. Most people think that authors sit at their desks all day,writing til their hearts content.But the truth is,most authors have day jobs to earn ends meat,that however does not mean the stories are kept at bay,to the contrary,they do battle inside the authors head,begging to be let out.This is a very eye opening tale.

Drafting the Dodge
Two escaped convicts deciding that Canada is the best place for them,being that the people are so nice,the entire country is ripe for the picking. This was so funny,one mishap after another made me constantly,laugh out loud.

And Then It Rained
A typical day turns tragic,a sad story. It's true when they say, "When it rains it pours".

Sometimes love breeds desperation and man oh man ,the consequences were brutal.

The Thing About Pantyhose
The logic of children is something to behold. I must admit,this story got a giggle out of me.

The Mathematics of Fate
We all have to learn not to jump to conclusions,because often,things are not as they appear to be.

A cheeky little tale about the differences between,males and females. And I must say,I have to agree with the statements.

Roll of Honour
War is never pretty,and the brave men and women who fight for their country do it for many reasons.Staring out,it's for glory and quickly becomes for the honour of protecting those they hold dear. They are true heroes. A touching tale.

Strange Love
How this couple reacts to the end of the world is,hilarious!!!

A Word
I loved this!!! The alphabet is a wonderful thing,without it,gloriously beautiful words could not be formed.

All in all,I loved every single story in this collection. They are all uniquely different and each left a mark on my heart.I invite you all to read these short stories,you will be left with a feeling of fullness in your heart. Thank you,C.W. Lovatt.
I shall cherish these always.

Click here to purchase your own copy of "And Then It Rained."