Sunday 25 March 2018

A Forsaken Friend by Sue Featherstone & Susan Pape @SueF_Writer @wordfocus #BlogTour #AForsakenFriend

No-one said friendship was easy. 

Things can’t get much worse for Teri Meyer. If losing her job at the university and the regular allowance from her dad’s factory isn’t bad enough, now her ex-best friend has gone and stolen her ex-husband! Well, to hell with them all. A few weeks in the countryside at her brother’s smallholding should do the trick – and the gorgeous and god-like neighbour might help. 

But then there’s Declan, not to mention Duck’s Arse back in Yorkshire... 

It’s not as if Lee Harper set out to fall in love with her best friend’s ex-husband. But, for once, her love life is looking up – except for all the elephants in the room, not to mention Mammy’s opinion on her dating a twice-divorced man. Perhaps things aren’t as rosy as she first thought. And now with one family crisis after another, Lee’s juggling more roles – and emotions – than she ever imagined. 

Maybe sharing her life with a man wasn’t such a grand idea. 

The FRIENDS trilogy continues in this heart-warming and hilarious hoot as two best friends navigate men, careers, family and rock bottom in this brilliant sequel to A FALLING FRIEND. 

A Forsaken Friend by Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape was published by Lakewater Press on 21 March 2018 and is the second book in the Friends trilogy.

I'm delighted to welcome author Sue Featherstone here to Random Things today as part of the Blog Tour, they are talking about the books that are special to them in My Life In Books

My Life in Books - Sue Featherstone 

My life in books began a few weeks shy of my fifth birthday when I started school and was introduced to the Janet and John series, which were the standard learn-to-read texts in the 50s and 60s.
They were not riveting: ‘This is Janet. This is John. Janet can see a car. John can see a car.’
It’s a wonder I persevered.

Like most families we didn’t have stacks and stacks of books at home – there was no need because the public library service was well-funded and opening hours were reasonably flexible – but I do remember a Bobalink and Bunty annual, which featured an elf and a teddy bear having lots of exciting adventures.

And, of course, like most children of my generation, I adored Enid Blyton: in particular, Malory Towers, The Famous Five and the Five Find-Outers and Dog.
In retrospect they were terribly middle-class and politically incorrect and certainly didn’t reflect the reality of my life one little bit. But that was part of the magic – Blyton took her readers into worlds were children frequently outwitted adults, drank fizzy ginger beer and practically every other meal was a midnight feast.
But I’d never have dared talk as rudely to a grown-up as Fatty, leader of the Five Find-Outers, did to Mr Goon, the village policeman.

When I was nine we moved from the Midlands to live near Leeds. I love Yorkshire now and can’t imagine living anywhere else but, at that time, it felt and sounded like a different country. I’d never heard a Yorkshire accent before and the other kids had never heard someone who spoke like an extra from Crossroads, the new ATV television soap, which was set in a Birmingham motel.

It took a long time to make new school friends and, whilst I wasn’t actively unhappy, Story time was the best bit of the school day because it meant it was nearly time to go home. It also meant another instalment of King Solomon’s Mines by Rider Haggard.
Written in 1885, the book introduces Durban-based adventurer and white hunter Allan Quartermain, who agrees to lead an expedition into the African interior to find the lost brother of Sir Henry Curtis, an English gentleman.
The brother was last seen travelling north in search of the fabled treasures of King Solomon’s mines.
Quartermain and Curtis are joined by a retired seaman Captain Good and a native porter, Umbopa, who has a distinctive regal bearing.
They have a number of mishaps and dangerous encounters with wild animals en route, as well as a near fatal desert trek, but eventually reach Kukuanaland, an ancient and previously undiscovered kingdom ruled by the vicious King Twala.
Without wanting to give away too much of the plot, it soon becomes clear Twala is a usurper and Curtis and co take it upon themselves to restore the rightful heir to his throne.
Stirring stuff – especially when declaimed by our teacher, Mr O’Hara, who could have made a good living on the stage.

By the time I reached high school, I’d become a proper bookworm, spending as much free time as I could in the school library. I also started dipping into my dad’s bookshelves. It wasn’t an extensive collection but he was a crime fiction fan and I discovered Erle Stanley Gardener (the Perry Mason courtroom dramas) and Agatha Christie – specifically Sad Cypress and The Man in a Brown Suit.
I still love them both but Sad Cypress possibly has the edge. It was first published in 1933 (according to my ancient William Collins edition) and was the first in the Poirot series to be set partially in a courtroom.
It’s more than a crime thriller though, it’s also a story of thwarted love and unrequited love and Poirot and his little grey cells, who don’t put in an appearance until almost halfway through, take a back seat.
But the big mystery is not whodunit but whether wealthy heiress Elinor Carlisle, who is accused of murdering her love rival, can forgive former fiancé Roddy for the brief infatuation which ended their engagement?
Or will she find happiness with the local doctor, who, unlike Roddy, has believed in her innocence throughout?

The next book to make a big impression was The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, who was famous in her day for breaking all the rules of classic crime fiction. I was introduced to her by Mrs Urquhart, my rather eccentric sixth form English teacher. She once came into the classroom enthusing about a poet called John Donne, making him seem so vital and alive that I wondered why we’d never seen him on the TV?
He died in 1631 – almost three centuries before John Logie Baird invented television.
First published in 1951, The Daughter of Time introduces policeman Alan Grant, who is confined to hospital after falling through a trap door in hot pursuit of a petty crook. He’s thoroughly bored - until an actress friend brings along a collection of photographs of historically famous criminals.
Grant, who has made a study of faces, becomes intrigued by one of them – King Richard III. He doesn’t, decides Grant, have the look of a murderer. And so, with the help of an enthusiastic American researcher, Grant attempts to prove Richard’s innocence.
It’s an enthralling detective mystery – Grant eventually reaches the conclusion Richard III is innocent – and sparked a love affair with Tey’s other crime novels.

Fast forward a decade and the next book to become a read-again story was Dogger by Shirley Hughes. Both my daughters had cuddly toys they loved and they empathised with the sadness of the little boy who loses his favourite furry dog and his joy when they are finally reunited.
It’s such a lovely, heart-warming tale and so well-written that I never tired of reading it with them – which is not something I can say about some of their other bedtime books.

When my youngest daughter was five, life changed tacked completely: I became an English Literature student at Bretton Hall College, part of the University of Leeds. The college, which closed some years ago, was set in the grounds of Yorkshire Sculpture Park and it was a joy to study there.
The curriculum was a mix of traditional English literature – Dickens, Defoe and Woolf – as well as newer post colonial writers – Toni Morrison, Margaret Attwood, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Sembene Ouseman.
Just like Blyton, they opened up new worlds.

Two particular favourites were Morrison’s Beloved, which won the Pulitzer prize in 1988, and Ousemane’s God’s Bits of Wood, published in 1960, the year Senegal gained independence.
Beloved is both shocking and heart-rending – not least because the inspiration for the novel is the true story of Margaret Garner, a runaway slave, who, faced with recapture, kills her baby daughter rather than see her endure a life of slavery.
Margaret and her husband were arrested and their subsequent trial lasted for two weeks – typically a fugitive slave hearing would last less than a day. But the key issue in the case of the Garners was whether they should be tried as ‘persons’ and charged with the murder of their daughter, or tried as property under the Fugitive Slave Law.
It’s one thing knowing about the physical evils of the American slave trade, but it’s another thing altogether to live it from the inside as the reader does in Beloved.
More importantly, Morrison also explores the psychological impact of slavery and the way it haunts the African-American psyche even after the civil war frees them.
Definitely not an easy read, but highly recommended.
Ditto Sembene Ousemane’s God’s Bits of Wood, which follows the lives of the people caught up in the 1947-48 Dakar-to-Niger railway strike.
They include the strikers, their colonial masters and the other workers whose livelihoods depend on the railway, as well as the wives and ‘concubines’ and other women whose lives are changed forever by the strike.
And, while the main focus of God’s Bits of Wood is about the struggle of the black railway workers to be treated fairly, it also addresses issues of class and gender prejudice.
Again, not an easy read but well worth the effort.

Finally, two books that I’ve enjoyed more recently: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows and The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society doesn’t include a recipe for potato peel pie – how indigestible would that be? But it doesn’t need one: this is a gourmet book about an extraordinary group of people surviving – just about – the German Occupation of the Channel Islands.It’s also a wonderful testament to Shaffer, who died before the final edits were complete, leaving her niece to finish the book. She writes with wit and warmth: a delightful, magical, tragic-comic novel.
The jury is still out on The Book Thief because I’m only a third of the way through it – but so far it’s wonderful and I’m loving it.

Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers and magazines, and in public relations.
More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity University.
The pair, who have been friends for 25 years, wrote two successful journalism text books together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage).
Their debut novel, A Falling Friend, published by Lakewater Press, has been followed by a second book, A Failing Friend, in their Friends trilogy.
Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, loves reading, writing and Nordic walking in the beautiful countryside near her Yorkshire home.
Susan is married and lives in a village near Leeds, and, when not writing, loves walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. She is also a member of a local ukulele orchestra. They blog about books at
You can find both Sue and Susan on Twitter: @SueF_Writer and @wordfocus

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting us today. Really enjoyed writing this post.