Friday, 16 February 2018

The Last Day by Claire Dyer @ClaireDyer1 #BlogTour @DomePress #MyLifeInBooks #TheLastDay

They say three's a crowd but when Boyd moves back into the family home with his now amicably estranged wife, Vita, accompanied by his impossibly beautiful twenty-seven-year-old girlfriend, Honey, it seems the perfect solution: Boyd can get his finances back on track while he deals with his difficult, ailing mother; Honey can keep herself safe from her secret, troubled past; and Vita can carry on painting portraits of the pets she dislikes and telling herself she no longer minds her marriage is over.

But the house in Albert Terrace is small and full of memories, and living together is unsettling.

For Vita, Boyd and Honey love proves to be a surprising, dangerous thing and, one year on, their lives are changed forever.

The Last Day by Claire Dyer was published by The Dome Press on 15 February 2018. My thanks to the publisher who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

I'm delighted to welcome the author, Claire Dyer to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are special to her, in My Life In Books.

My Life In Books - Claire Dyer

Bracken Had A Secret – Ann Castleton
My copy of this book has stayed with me since childhood; it has been through a number of relationships and survived many house moves. It’s the story of a young girl taken in by Romany gypsies. She leads a charmed childhood with them but eventually they send her to a boarding school where she meets the Matron, who turns out to be her mother. It is special to me because, having lost my mother at a young age, I wanted to believe that lost children and lost mothers could, in stories anyway, be reunited.

Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
Again, my illustrated copy of this book has been part of my life since I was a girl. Although terrified of real horses, I loved reading about them and this book seemed infinitely romantic. When I did my MA in Victorian Literature, however, I learned more about the subtext of the book and referenced it in my dissertation on the economic and socio-political role of the horse in nineteenth-century literature. Despite looking at it through academic eyes, nothing can take away from me the magic of Black Beauty’s voice in my ears.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
I first read this when I was sixteen and, like for many others I’m sure, it has become part of the fabric of my life, mainly because Elizabeth was the first heroine whose story I’d read who was flawed yet perfect, patient yet impatient, honest yet self-delusional. On my first reading I was more interested in her than in Darcy – Colin Firth’s wet shirt scene in the BBC1 adaptation may have influenced me since though!

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
I could have renamed this blog, ‘My Life in One Book’ because it is this novel which has become the cornerstone of my life. Like with Pride and Prejudice, I first read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was sixteen and I have re-read it every ten years since. And, over the decades it has become to mean something different to me each time. On first reading, my main wish was for a romantic happy ever after; I understood so little of its cultural background. On second and subsequent readings, I’ve seen it through the eyes of a child whose mother has also died, through the eyes of a mother when I became one myself, through a writer’s eyes, and lately through those of a parent whose son shared traits with Boo Radley for a while. I read it now knowing so much more about its political and social
setting and marvel at how Harper Lee teaches us these things through a child’s voice. I have read Go Set a Watchman, but to me the two books are totally different things. Suffice to say I won’t be re-reading the latter every ten years!

Bleak House – Charles Dickens
This was a set text on my MA course and I approached it with some trepidation. It’s massive, it had tiny print, the first paragraph lasts for pages and yet it has become one of my all-time favourites. For a book of so many moving parts, not one word is wasted. For me this is Dickens at the height of his story-telling powers. A real page-turner.

The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry
For me, this book is a 21st Century George Eliot. Like with Bleak House, I approached Middlemarch with caution and, like with the Dickens, soon I was hooked. What Sarah Perry does in this novel, I believe, is translate the fears and superstitions of Victorian times and make them understandable to a contemporary audience. She has also crafted a heroine who, like Elizabeth Bennet, is flawed, nonconformist and outspoken and whilst she takes a risk with her ending, I believe it totally works.

The Keeper of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan
To bring me bang up to date, this was my favourite book of 2017. I loved its structure: how the beginning and end tie up so wonderfully; I love the prose and the beauty of its language but, most of all, I like the fact it’s about nice people doing nice things for one another!

Claire Dyer - February 2018 

Claire Dyer’s novels, The Moment and The Perfect Affair and her short story, Falling For Gatsby are published by Quercus. 
Her poetry collections, Interference Effects and Eleven Rooms, are published by Two Rivers Press. 
She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London and teaches creative writing for Bracknell & Wokingham College. 
She also runs Fresh Eyes, an editorial and critiquing service. 

In 2016, Claire penned and performed a poem for National Poetry Day, called The Oracle, for BBC Radio Berkshire. 
Claire’s new book, The Last Day, will be published by The Dome Press in February 2018

Find out more at
Follow her on Twitter @ClaireDyer1

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