Tag-Archive for ◊ vulnerable teenager ◊

Author:
• Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Josephine Cox was born in 1941 in a cotton-mill house in Blackburn, Lancashire in the north of England. Her family was very large and poor. She was the sixth out of ten children and married her husband, Ken, when she was sixteen years old and had two sons.

When her sons started school, she went to college and after completing her studies was accepted at Cambridge University but couldn’t go because of having to leave her family, living away from home. Instead she worked as a teacher.

Josephine Cox wrote her first novel while working as a teacher, before dedicating herself full-time to writing. She has also written novels under the pseudonym, Jane Brindle.

In 2011 she won the “Superwoman of Great Britain” award and was number seven on the official UK best-sellers top fifty and was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Romantic Novelist Association. She has written nearly forty novels to date. Her first, Let Loose The Tigers was published in 1988, The Loner in 2007 and her latest novel, Three Letters was published in February 2012.

She lives in a small village in Woburn Sands, Buckinghamshire, near her two sons and their families.

Josephine Cox is a good story teller and her novels are always best sellers. She once said: “I could never imagine a single day without writing and it’s been that way since as far back as I can remember”.

Afflicted by the worst nightmarish night in his life, Davie Adams, the main character of The Loner, is a vulnerable teenager who decides to escape from the family home in Blackburn. His decision is taken after the sudden departure of his father, Don, that same night in great anger and despair and the tragic and unexpected death of his alcoholic, uncontrollably loose, young mother, Rita, also the same night. Davie leaves his beloved maternal grandfather, Joseph, behind.

Davie makes the firm decision to find his father but without success. Weary, disillusioned and far from home, he is determined to earn his living like an adult by accepting whatever job he can find along the way.

Despite what the title of the novel suggests, Davie is not aloof or a loner and can get along and make friends easily. He is very fond of Judy, his childhood friend and finds her a pillar of support. Later in the story he is attracted to Lucy, the daughter of his respected employer, Frank. Lucy is madly in love with Davie. She is impatient and starts making plans for their marriage. Davie is also a faithful friend and keeps in touch with his dear old friend, Eli, who reminds him of his grandfather. He opens-up to Lucy’s housekeeper and cook, Maggie, and takes her into his confidence by telling her about his long friendship with Judy back home in Blackburn. Davie, throughout the novel, has family, friends and acquaintances.

The story moves very slowly for no reason. The setting of the story takes too long and could have been made shorter. On the other hand, the ending is accelerated. It’s an unpretentious romantic, dramatic story with a happy ending. An easy read.

If you enjoyed reading this article or found it useful, please consider donating the cost of a cup of coffee to help maintain the site...
Category: Book Reviews  | One Comment
Author:
• Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Jenni Mills was born in Birmingham, England, in 1952 and was educated at Edgbaston High School for girls. From 1970 to 1973 Mills studied at Sussex University, followed by an MA with distinction in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University where she is at present tutoring part-time. Jenni Mills wrote most of Crow Stone while preparing for her Creative Writing MA. .

Jenni Mills worked in broadcasting for nearly thirty years before writing her first novel. She has presented and produced programmes for BBC radio, four of which won her an award and has worked as a director for both BBC-TV and ITV. She also works as a freelance television director and has written articles for newspapers and magazines.

Jenni Mills, like her character Katie, has been very fond of archeology since her childhood and the fact that the limestone quarries around where she was brought-up have been mined since Roman times, influenced Mills to write Crow Stone without too much effort.

In one of her interviews, Jenni Mills says she found a quarry near Corsham and went underground there in order to be able to describe in detail what goes on in the mines. She found the experience “thrilling rather than scary”. She conversed with a female mining engineer after Crow Stone was published and realised that she described Kit’s job well, when the woman mining engineer told her: “I believe you were writing about me”. She now lives in Wiltshire, in the West of England.

Jenni Mills has written two novels to date: Crow Stone published in 2007 and The Buried Circle published in 2009.

Crow Stone intertwines the past and present story of Katie, an introverted, vulnerable teenager who lives a difficult, under-pressure life, with her austerely temperamental and violent father since her mother left them when she was small. Katie is a bright student who realises her childhood dream and becomes the successful mining engineer Kit Parry, despite her difficult relationship with her father and her uncovering his atrocious deed in the summer of her fourteenth year which changes her life for ever. The novel follows the evolution of Katie and her interaction with the various occurrences and people that she comes across in life.

After several years of hard work, Kit accepts an interesting project for stabilising the dangerously unstable quarries that run under Bath, her home town that she had left in a big black car when she was fourteen and decided then to change her name to Kit as a new start in life. She has never returned to Bath since then, nor ever seen her father again. All the painful memories that Katie has tried to bury all these years are going to resurface and haunt her on her return, twenty years later. Her father now dead, the adult Katie who becomes Kit is still susceptible on the inside but offensive on the outside. Some wounds are difficult to get rid of, they stay implanted in the psyche for ever.

In her new assignment, Kit has to withstand the hostility of the other male workers in a field dominated by men and where workers believe that a female engineer brings bad luck to the mine shafts. Not everything is negative though – the long sleeping flame is rekindled when Kit finds out that the site manager happens to be the same Gary Bennett that her superficial, foolish, unreliable, friends, Trish and Poppy and herself used to be infatuated with from afar when they were all teenagers.

The author describes masterfully and in an amusing way, the psychology and behaviour of teenage girls portrayed by Katie, Trish and Poppy, whether at school or outside it, underlining Trish’s strong character which contrasts with Poppy’s and Katie’s.

Katie is very enthusiastically passionate about archaeology and geology and ironically the two big events in her life take place while she is in the quarries. Her first disturbingly macabre discovery was at Crow Stone quarry during the summer of her fourteenth birthday and the second fantastically thrilling event of the decade was the uncovering of the lost Roman Mithraic temple with the help of her colleague and friend Martin Ekwall, the senior lecturer in archaeology at Sussex University.

The story takes place in Bath, one of the oldest and most charming cities in England, full of historic relics above and below ground. The author embarks with her readers on a journey of concealed underground labyrinths of quarries and the historic, touristic attractions of Bath, like the famous Royal Crescent built by the eighteenth century Freemason, John Wood. There is also some information about the Mithraic mysterious religion which was practised in the Roman Empire, a cult with a saviour, sacrifice and rebirth.

Crow Stone as the author puts it, is about “fear and survival” and the setting turns out to be perfect on “all levels: mythical, metaphorical and emotional”. A captivating psychological thriller with a well constructed plot.

Category: Book Reviews  | One Comment