Hampshire County Libraries are buying a copy of COUNTING THE WAYS to be allocated to Winchester Discovery Centre lending library.
How did I feel about this book? Let me count the ways. First and foremost, I couldn't stop reading it. I cared about the characters and what happened to them. This book made me think. It made me feel. In other words it has everything that a good book should have. It's a book about love, love found and love lost, dissected and teased out with agonising precision, pared down to the bone with a delicacy and lightness of touch that belies its serious treatment of serious themes. I've read this author before, greatly enjoying her first book, Truth to Tell, and she seems to get better and better with each book. She has a wonderful style that makes her writing an absolute joy to read. I'm always pausing to reread felicitous phrases that delight me, so apt are they at delineating character or conjuring up powerful imagery that stays in the mind long after the book is put down. For instance, she compares Hester, whose marriage has been in limbo for over 30 years, to Penelope awaiting Ulysses, "Another infuriating man who really had taken an excessively long and circuitous route home." Or take this pithy comment upon growing older: "Advancing years for a single woman bear the taint of desperation as if she gives off pheromones of decay." There are many such phrases scattered throughout the novel, making it a rich and entertaining read. Like Shakespeare in The Tempest or Fowles in The Magus, Ms Hayland takes her characters and puts them on a magical island, a place of sun and warmth and fecundity. In their homes in Wales and England they suffer under rain and wind and snow and a general all-enveloping drab bleakness but, one way or another, they find Kronos, the home they choose, as one character explains, not the one they were born into, and, not to give away the well-wrought plot, a series of ends are tied up in a very satisfying way. There are so many layers to peel away in this book, it would indeed need a book club to do it justice. I loved it and can't wait for the next one. Jude Hayland is a very fine writer indeed.
by Linda Anderson
I have just started reading this book and absolutely love it! I am not usually a huge fan of novels but this one has restored my faith in the genre! I love the character observations and reflections on society as a whole - this in itself makes me want to read on. It's some time since I've put aside time to read (being a writer myself, I always feel guilty if reading isn't 'research background') but this book was good enough to justify me indulging myself for once! So thank you to the writer, Jude. Love your style, love the content. Will definitely spread the word on your behalf - very well deserved! Sue Russell
by Sue Russell
There are no fireworks in this carefully plotted and character driven novel of a family bit it's well worth a read. Grace and Hester and Fergus have long standing issues which seem insurmountable initially but which they work through as they assist Grace with the disappearance of Grace's husband Archie. The switch from the UK to Kronos is well handled; loved the details of the island setting. Archie's not evil but he was surely over his head; hiding things and then running away never solves a problem, it only turns up new ones. This is book in some ways about quiet desperation. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Two thumbs up.
by Kathleen Gray
This is the story of Grace whose husband, Archie suddenly disappears on their holiday in the Greek Island of Kronos and trying to find him, leads Grace to secrets and debts. It also gives her an understanding about the relationship about her parents and the fortitude her mother, Fergus showed when her father left the humdrum of their suburban life.
The author Jude Hyland has written well-developed characters seeped in emotions and strength. The descriptions are vivid and they work well with the story.
The story talks about the problems which sometimes appear so big that running away seems to be the only option, but that leaves behind devastation. A good read in the contemporary category depicting today's desperate times in society.
by Shalini Gopal
I have been writing women's fiction for many years - publishing short stories both here in the UK and internationally in commercial magazines. Completing an M.A. in Creative Writing changed my focus and I started writing longer fiction, completing my first novel, Truth to Tell in 2013. 2017 sees the publication of my second novel, Counting the Ways, and I am now working on my third novel. I also teach creative writing classes and combine this with tutoring drama and English Literature.