Monday 31 August 2020

Escaping The Whale by Ruth Rotkowitz @RotkowitzRuth BLOG TOUR @AmsterdamPB @RandomTTours #EscapingTheWhale

To everyone who knows her, 28-year-old Marcia Gold leads the perfect life.  A high school guidance counselor in 1980 Brooklyn, New York who specializes in helping pregnant teens, Marcia thrives in her work. She also has a handsome, successful boyfriend who has won the approval of her Jewish, Holocaust-survivor family - no easy feat.
However, beneath the shiny surface lurks another reality. Plagued by frightening and debilitating panic attacks brought on by her family's wartime legacy and exacerbated by the Iranian hostage crisis in the news, Marcia becomes convinced that "demons" are occupying her closet and her mind. Determined to keep her terrifying secret life a secret, Marcia is pushed closer and closer to a breaking point.
A series of crises finally forces the explosion Marcia can no longer contain. Desperate to rid herself of her "demons," she concocts a plan, hoping to be reborn as a new person. Unfortunately, she discovers that her plan creates its own problems. Can she find another path out of her psychic pain, one that will lead her to true normalcy?

Escaping the Whale by Ruth Rotkowitz was published on 10 May 2020 by Amsterdam Publishers. As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour today, I'm delighted to welcome the author with a special Question and Answer post.

Escaping the Whale - Q&A with Ruth Rotkowitz

What inspired you to write this book?
As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, I was always aware of being different from my American friends and classmates. I could not pinpoint the reasons until I was a young adult, and that is why the protagonist of my novel is a young adult, a 28-year old New Yorker named Marcia Gold. As I learned more about the impact my family’s Holocaust experiences had on me, I became interested in researching the effects of inherited trauma on children of survivors. I saw a means to show, through my protagonist’s inner suffering, how this legacy hampers the attempt to lead a “normal” life.
Who inspired you to write this book?
My own experience inspired me. As I became more involved in the research, the experiences and reactions of other children of survivors inspired me. I was amazed and fascinated by the variety of reactions and coping mechanisms I discovered. When I joined the Phoenix Holocaust Association, I met many other children of survivors, who inspired me with their openness about their lives and their parents’ experiences, and with their dedication to Holocaust education. These influences all played a part in igniting my passion for my story.
Your protagonist is a guidance counselor at a large high school. Why?
This choice enabled me to address other issues that concern me. One is the challenge in education today. Marcia had originally been a social studies teacher in this high school and faced the problems involved in teaching history. She then became a guidance counselor, specializing in helping pregnant students, an ever-growing population. Not only must she deal with the stereotypes about pregnant teens among the teachers, she faces the bewilderment of her colleagues’ to her presence in the guidance office as the only female counselor.

What is the significance of the date – spring and summer 1980?
At that time, the national obsession with the Iranian hostage situation permeated the atmosphere. I vividly recall the overpowering effect of the news reports from Iran then. Marcia’s educated friends and colleagues discuss it constantly. Even the students are affected. Ironically, it reinforces in Marcia the fears she has harbored her entire life. Because of her background, her fragile psyche cannot deal with the horror playing out in the news every day.
What other messages do you want readers to gain from your novel?
The novel shows readers a well-meaning individual leading a double life. Things are not what they seem. To the outside world, everything in Marcia’s professional and personal life is great; her inner life, however, is in shambles. Plagued by fears, delusions, and high levels of anxiety, Marcia’s attempts to conceal her inner torment become more and more difficult. When pushed to the breaking point by events in the outer and inner world, she comes dangerously close to a mental breakdown and feels driven to escape – her family, her boyfriend, her job, her friends, her life. She ultimately discovers that escape is not possible, since she cannot escape from herself. It is my hope that readers will see that the price for leading a double life is too high. One must face one’s fears and problems in order to take control of one’s life.
Is the target audience for your book mainly children of Holocaust survivors?
Absolutely not. I have heard from a wide range of readers who relate to my story and my protagonist. Some have experienced inherited trauma from various life situations. Some have not personally experienced anything like it but are fascinated by the phenomenon. It helps readers understand and have compassion for others. People who have dealt with high levels of stress in relationships and in work situations, and who have experienced or been involved with someone dealing with mental illness express their appreciation for my portrayal of Marcia. As a woman, as a Jew, as a first-generation American in her immigrant family, Marcia Gold seems to have universal appeal.

Ruth Rotkowitz is a second-generation child – the daughter of Holocaust survivors from Austria. 
This has informed much of her research and writing. 
She has published fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in a variety of anthologies and literary journals, and was a staff writer and member of the editorial board of the (now-defunct) Woman’s Newspaper of Princeton, winning awards for many of her feature articles. 
She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English and has taught English on both the college and high school levels. 
She currently leads book talks in the Phoenix, Arizona area, where she lives with her husband.

Friday 28 August 2020

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver @will_carver @OrendaBooks #HintonHollowDeathTrip #BookReview #DSPace

It's a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.

Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.

Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.

Because something was coming.

Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.

Making them cheat.
Making them steal.
Making them kill.

Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone.

Evil had a plan.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 13 August 2020, and is the third in the Detective Sergeant Pace series. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Did you know that evil smells like cinnamon?  According to Will Carver's Hinton Hollow Death Trip's narrator it does, and let's face it, that narrator should know,  because he is Evil.  I'm not talking about a person who does evil things, I'm talking about Evil as a character. I'm going to make Evil a male character, for ease, but you know, Evil comes in all forms. Evil is all around us, just waiting to brush by and leave its mark upon us ... we see it every day.

Whilst this is the third book in the DS Pace series, it's also a stand-alone story. Sure, if you've read the previous books, you'll know a little bit more about Pace, but honestly, Carver is clever, he makes sure that the reader know what sort of guy Pace is, and some of the things he's running from.

Running ... that's what Pace is doing. He's running away from the effects of the last traumatic case that he worked on, in London. He has run as far as Hinton Hollow, a small town with a population of 5120, for now ...
Hinton Hollow is a familiar place for Pace, and he's a well known figure there. It's the place in which he grew up, he's remembered by older residents as 'young Pace'. Returning home hasn't been an easy choice as he's also returning to memories that he's pushed away for many years, and he's going to be reminded of what happened years ago .. oh yes.

Pace hasn't returned alone. Evil has followed him and the ingenious and unique way of having Evil narrate this story is the ultimate catch here. This is not a story for the faint-hearted by any stretch of the imagination. If you like your novels with a bit of feel-good, with jolly characters who warm the cockles, then it's probably best that you look away, and Evil agrees with me. He tells his readers throughout that this is not going to be a nice story.

Murdered children, tortured animals, misogyny, greed, power and adultery haunt the pages of this book, but as Evil reminds us, it is not him that does this. No, Evil just gives humans a little hint, a small taste of what they are capable of, it is the characters who take it upon themselves to act upon it.
Throughout the story Evil reminds us of what the world has become; how humans pretend that they don't have the time to look after themselves, that stuffing junk food into their faces is easier than taking the time to care properly for their bodies. How we can spend hours online, liking things that make no sense, yet our elderly neighbour can be left alone, for weeks because we 'don't have the time' to make sure that they are OK.

Evil has come to Hinton Hollow and the town will never be the same again. Pace cannot escape Evil, he is followed constantly, tormented by the visions of black flames, and by memories that he cannot erase. It's an uncomfortable read at times, and that's not just because of the themes, it is the not-so-subtle narration by Evil that will make the reader think about themselves, and how they react to situations, how, even though they may consider themselves to be a good person, evil often flutters into their mind.

Hinton Hollow is not a place I'd ever want to visit, although my home town is probably very similar when I look closely. I guess I choose not to see it.

Will Carver's writing is superbly addictive. He is clever and different and honest. I doubt that you will have ever read anything like this before. He is original and he is experimental in a book world that can often be bland and stereotypical. We need more stories like this, we need more publishers to take a chance and publish ground-breaking material.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip ends with a bang. Totally unexpected, but on reflection, fitting.
All I can say is read it now, and then bring on the next book from this unorthodox and skilled writer.

Praise for Will Carver

'Cements Carver as one of the most exciting authors in Britain. After this, he'll have his own cult following' Daily Express

'Will Carver is an exhilarating and audacious new voice in literary crime fiction' Sarah Pinborough

'A new Will Carver novel is always something to look forward to, and this is no exception. Striking and unusual, and dark as ever' S J Watson

'Gobsmacking, beyond dark, and so much fun. I would join Will Carver's cult. He's the most original writer around ' Helen FitzGerald

'A novel so dark and creepy Stephen King will be jealous he didn't think of it first' Michael Wood

'One of the most compelling and original voices in crime fiction The whole thing feels like a shot of adrenaline' Alex North

'Twisty-turny and oh-so provocative, this is the type of book that will stick a sneaky foot out to trip you up' Liz Robinson, LoveReading

'Deliciously fresh and malevolent story-telling a laminate-you-to-your-chair, page-whirring dive into a small British town that is turned on its head over the course of a few days. If you like something fresh and unusual, grab this book' Craig Sisterson

'It's going to take something special to top this as my book of 2020. Original, thought provoking and highly recommended' Mark Tilbury

'Weirdly page-turning' Sunday Times

'Laying bare our 21st-century weaknesses and dilemmas, Carver has created a highly original state-of-the-nation novel' Literary Review

'Arguably the most original crime novel published this year' Independent

'At once fantastical and appallingly plausible this mesmeric novel paints a thought-provoking if depressing picture of modern life' Guardian

'This book is most memorable for its unrepentant darkness ' Telegraph

'Unlike anything else you'll read this year' Heat

'Utterly mesmerising ' Crime Monthly

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. 
He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. 
He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. 
He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. 

Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year

Twitter @will_carver

Thursday 27 August 2020

The Museum Makers by Rachel Morris @MoMarcoPolo BLOG TOUR @diana_riley @septemberbooks #TheMuseumMakers #MyLifeInBooks

Museum expert Rachel Morris had been ignoring the boxes under her bed for decades. When she finally opened them, an entire bohemian family history was laid bare. The experience was revelatory – searching for her absent father in the archives of the Tate; understanding the loss and longings of the grandmother who raised her – and transported her back to the museums that had enriched her lonely childhood.
By teasing out the stories of those early museum makers, and the unsung daughters and wives behind them, and seeing the same passions and mistakes reflected in her own family, Morris digs deep into the human instinct for collection and curation.

The Museum Makers by Rachel Morris is published today, 27 August 2020 by September Publishing.

As part of the Blog Tour organised by Diana Riley Marketing, I'm delighted to welcome the author to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books, I also have a wonderful link to a reading from the book, by the author.

My Life in Books - Rachel Morris

1.  It was the books in Saffron Walden library that made me.  I read The Once and Future King by T. H. White when I was about ten and thought it really smart and funny.  I was entranced by how you could mix up different time periods and didn’t have to write realistically about the past.  In other words – though it took me about another thirty years to find the word for it – you are allowed to be delightfully and deliciously meta.

2.  I discovered Mary Renault’s novels when I was about fourteen.  They were so vividly written it was like having a film unfold before my eyes.   I sat moodily in a corner reading them and wishing I had been born in some other time.  Her books changed my life; it was partly down to them that I did classics at university.

3.  As a teenager I liked my fiction really miserable and so I borrowed all Thomas Hardy’s novels from Saffron Walden library.  I particularly liked the gloomy fatalism of Jude the Obscure, and didn’t balk at all at the plot device of having three small children hang themselves.

4.  Move on fifteen years or so and I am reading Angela Carter’s Wise Children.  My tastes have changed and I love her wit and exuberance.  She makes me want to write, shows me that I have something to write about – about women, about myself.

5.  When I had children I really struggled to find novels that expressed what it was like to be a mother.  The closest I came was when I read Margaret Drabble’s The Millstone.  It is written with great simplicity and its poignancy still tugs at me.

6.  I discovered Marilynne Robinson’s novels quite late.  They had a great effect on me, especially her novel Home (which is about exactly that)When the book reaches its inevitable conclusion you want to cry out in protest at the sadness of it all, but you don’t because you know there couldn’t be any other ending.  The search for home is one of the great subjects for a novel.

7.    White Houses by Amy Bloom is a recent novel. I think it will become a classic.  It has a great voice at the heart of it – the raspy, cynical voice of the 1930’s reporter Hicks – who loves helplessly and despite herself until the day she dies. 

8.  And lastly, there is Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Blue Flower.  I love parts of her other novels but this one I love from end to end, every word of it.  It was published when she was in her seventies and with it she has achieved what every writer hopes for, to write a spectacularly good last novel, as a culmination of everything that has come before.

Rachel Morris - August 2020 

Listen to Rachel Morris read from The Museum Makers

A director of the museum-making company Metaphor, Rachel Morris has been part of the creation, design and delivery of some of the most exciting displays, renovations and museums of the last few decades, from the new Cast Courts at the V&A and the Ashmolean, Oxford to the Terracotta Warriors at the British Museum and Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo. 

Rachel is also the author of two novels. 

Twitter @MoMarcoPolo

Wednesday 26 August 2020

The Diver and the Lover by Jeremy Vine @theJeremyVine BLOG TOUR @CoronetBooks @hodderbooks #Win #Competition #Giveaway @JennyPlatt90

Soaked in sunlight, love and the mysteries surrounding a famous artist The Diver and the Lover is a novel inspired by true events.It is 1951 and sisters Ginny and Meredith have travelled from England to Spain in search of distraction and respite. The two wars have wreaked loss and deprivation upon the family and the spectre of Meredith's troubled childhood continues to haunt them. Their journey to the rugged peninsula of Catalonia promises hope and renewal.

While there they discover the artist Salvador Dali is staying in nearby Port Lligat. Meredith is fascinated by modern art and longs to meet the famous surrealist.

Dali is embarking on an ambitious new work, but his headstrong male model has refused to pose. A replacement is found, a young American waiter with whom Ginny has struck up a tentative acquaintance.

The lives of the characters become entangled as family secrets, ego and the dangerous politics of Franco's Spain threaten to undo the fragile bonds that have been forged.

A powerful story of love, sacrifice and the lengths we will go to for who - or what - we love.

The Diver and the Lover by Jeremy Vine is published in hardback on 3 September 2020 by Coronet / Hodder. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

I am not publishing my full review of The Diver and the Lover here on the blog today. I've read it and I've loved it and my review will be published in the Daily Express around publication date.

However, I will say that I absolutely adored this story. I was transfixed by the writing, by the characters and by the plot line. It's more than a love story, it is an intriguing and wonderfully created tale immersed in history and based upon real life characters. I can heartily recommend it.

I'm delighted to be able to offer two readers the chance to read this book too. I have two hardback copies to give away.
Entry is simple; please just fill out the competition widget in this post.
UK Entries only please.


Two Hardback copies of The Diver and the Lover by Jeremy Vine

Jeremy Vine is one of the UK’s best-known broadcasters. 

He presents a weekday show on Radio 2, radio’s most popular news programme. 
He also presents Jeremy Vine on Channel 5, a daily current affairs programme, and he fronts Eggheads, one of the longest-running quiz shows in British TV history. 

Jeremy is an accomplished journalist and writer and has previously published two works of non-fiction. 
He lives in Chiswick with his wife and their two daughters.

Twitter @theJeremyVine


'A pacy, gripping tale of secrets, love and betrayal in 1950s Catalonia, written with skill and colour. It gave me enormous pleasure to read such a satisfying novel.' SANTA MONTEFIORE

'As colourful, rich and mesmerising as one of Dali's paintings, this absorbing, poignant rollercoaster of a read is utterly satisfying and will stay with you long after you've put it down.' PATRICIA SCANLAN

'a tale of intrigue, love, politics and scandal. Mixing fact and fiction The Diver and The Lover keeps up the pace and excitement to the very end.' JOAN BAKEWELL

'This tale intrigued me and captured my imagination in equal measure. I loved being whisked back to the 1950s and felt the heat of the Spanish sun as I fell in love with the sisters' unique relationship. Be prepared to be taken on a dramatic journey confronting pain, tragedy and passion along the way ' SARA COX

'We'll never look at one of the world's best known paintings in the same way again. [Jeremy Vine] has managed to weave truth and fiction together to bring us a most unexpected love story.' FIONA BRUCE

Monday 24 August 2020

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh @SSCav BLOG TOUR #FiftyFifty @orionbooks @orion_crime #BookReview

Two sisters on trial for murder. They accuse each other. 
Who do YOU believe?

'911 what's your emergency?'

'My dad's dead. My sister Sofia killed him. She's still in the house. Please send help.'

'My dad's dead. My sister Alexandra killed him. She's still in the house. Please send help.'

One of them is a liar and a killer.

But which one?

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh is published on 3 September 2020 by Orion Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part on this blog tour.

Welcome back Eddie Flynn! Fifty Fifty is the newest instalment in the fabulous Eddie Flynn series from Steve Cavanagh. His last book; Twisted, was a standalone story, so it's been a while since we've heard from Eddie .... he is back with a BANG!

Ex NYC Mayor and well-known public figure Frank Avellino has been brutally murdered. Stabbed over fifty times in a frenzied knife attack that took place in his own bedroom

911 received two desperate emergency calls within minutes of each other on the night that Frank died. Those calls were made by Frank's daughters; Sofia and Alexandra, and both claim that Frank was killed by their sister.

Sofia and Alexandra hate each other. They cannot bear to be in the same room and never speak to one another. Both of them were in Frank's house that night, both of them would gain from Frank's death, and both of them claim that they are innocent.

Ex con-man, now lawyer Eddie Flint refuses to represent anyone who he thinks is guilty. It goes against everything that he believes in, and past experience has taught him that he just doesn't have it in him. He is sure that Sofia is innocent, and so agrees to represent her. All he has to do now is convince the jury and the public prosecutor.

Once more, Steve Cavanagh has produced a story that is totally and utterly unpredictable. The reader is led on a path made up of twists and turns that could leave you feeling dizzy. This is not only the complex and incredibly cleverly woven tale of a murder, this is also Eddie's own journey. This is a case that has him doubting himself many times, and as he and his team get caught up further and further in the case, they will face their own tragedies and heartbreak too.

It's incredibly difficult to say anything about the plot and where it goes. Suffice to say that it's gripping, deeply satisfying and very ambitious. The author deals with some dark and serious issues within his story; there are hints of white supremacy and corruption of power; of cruelty to children and how mental health issues can sometimes jeopardise perceptions.

An intense and powerful crime thriller, populated by characters who are totally believable and who the reader will invest in. Yet another tense and inventive story from one of the most talented crime authors around. Highly recommended by me.

Steve Cavanagh is a critically acclaimed, best-selling, award-winning author of the Eddie Flynn series. His third novel, The Liar, won the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the year 2018. He is also one half of the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. His latest novel, Twisted, is out now and is a Sunday Times Bestseller.

The Eddie Flynn series can be read in any order, but the list in full in order of publication is as follows:
The Defence
The Cross (ebook exclusive novella)
The Plea
The Liar

Standalone books - Twisted.

Find out more at or follow Steve on Twitter @SSCav


A terrific writer. He has talent to burn., Don Winslow

Unpredictable, daring and completely compelling. Top notch writing. If you thought Thirteen was good - and it really was - this is somehow even better., Alex North, author of The Whisper Man

Very clever, darkly funny, moving, fast-paced, and Eddie Flynn is a terrific character., Jane Casey

Eddie's back! Steve Cavanagh writes the best hooks in the business., Mick Herron

A great read., Martina Cole

What a great read - an absolute page turner., Shari Lapena

Cavanagh/Flynn is the best legal tag-team since Connelly/Haller., Craig Sisterson

Brilliant - a characteristically twisty courtroom puzzle with some thrilling setpieces., Mason Cross

Absolutely brilliant. Addictive, clever, pacy. Eddie Flynn is one of my heroes., Jo Spain

Steve Cavanagh's writing is intelligent, sophisticated and tense, his plots executed with forensic attention to detail. I can't get enough of Eddie Flynn., Mari Hannah

Sunday 23 August 2020

Under The Camelthorn Tree by Kate Nicholls @FrankieFurbo BLOG TOUR @wnbooks @RKbookpublicist #Giveaway #Win #Competition @RandomTTours

Kate Nicholls left England to raise her five children in Botswana: an experience that would change each of their lives. Living on a shoestring in a lion conservation camp, Kate home-schools her family under a camelthorn tree while they also learn at first hand about the individual lives of wild lions. Their deep attachment to these magnificent animals is palpable.

This contemporary, gritty and humorous memoir explores the shocking impact of PTSD on a close-knit family, and their eventual recovery. It is a timely book that shines a light on an aspect of sexual crime that is often shrouded in shame: children of parents with PTSD can suffer collateral damage. The character-driven narrative moves effectively across time and place, revealing the gradual fragmentation of a strong woman. Kate Nicholls pulls no punches and her passion to act as advocate for the secondary victims of trauma is expressed in raw, unsentimental prose. She skilfully counterbalances this with amusing insight into family life. She explores the universal challenges of child-rearing with wit and engaging honesty, offering an unsanitised insight into raising a family in the African bush.

Kate Nicholls' tightly constructed narrative has received widespread praise and she made a much-acclaimed appearance at the Hay Festival with Jane Garvey in May 2019.

Under The Camelthorn Tree by Kate Nicholls was published in paperback on 6 August 2020 by W&N.

As part of this #RandomThingsTours in association with Ruth Killick Book Publicity, I am delighted to have one copy to giveaway.

Entry is simple. Just fill out the competition widget at the end of this post.


One copy of Under The Camelthorn Tree by Kate Nicholls

Born in London, into a theatrical family in 1954, Kate Nicholls has lived her life energised by her favourite quote.“An unexamined life is not worth living.”
She is insatiably curious and self-educated. She left home, and school, age sixteen to pursue a successful career in the theatre. Age twenty-one she had her first of six children. Now, she has five children, and three grandchildren: with another on the way. She gave up her acting career age thirty-nine to study biology.
In 1996 she moved to Botswana with her children and worked for an NGO Women Against Rape. Later she became co-principal researcher at the Okavango Lion Conservation Project– where for eleven years she studied lions–raising and home-schooling her children under a tree.
In 2010 she returned to the UK where she continued educating her youngest son and started her home-school business. Her children all graduated into top Universities in the USA and the UK.
She moved to Rome, Italy in 2015 where she wrote her first book Under the Camelthorn Tree. Passionate about educational reform, and integrated learning, she continues her business devising bespoke programmes for individual students.
She is writing her second book.

Twitter @FrankieFurbo

Critical acclaim for Under the Camelthorn Tree
‘An astonishing story ... Nicholls carries us through her experiences with a searing honesty that for me was hugely educational and deeply moving.  A life lived beyond the dreams of most of us. It's a real page-turner' - Jeremy Irons

Bursting with humour, intelligence and fierce humanity, Under the Camelthorn Tree takes you on a breathtaking journey: anthropological and personal. It is an unflinchingly brave, generous book filled with the wisdom of one who has seen both the beauty and the darkness the world has to give’ - Sophie Dahl

‘A sort of Life Force personified, a whirlwind of love and motherhood and science; beautiful woman, brutally true, impossibly brave, impossibly stylish, just plain bloody impossible. Self-taught in science, this poet of the Okavango home-schooled - right through to good universities - four remarkable children in a remote camp surrounded by individually known, radio-tracked lions. After tirelessly working to rehabilitate Botswana's rape victims, her own horrific rape and its aftermath threatened to destroy her life and the family idyll but . . . well, read the whole beautiful book to the end. You'll never see another memoir like this’ -- Richard Dawkins

‘A wonderfully rich and honest memoir of an extraordinary life by an extraordinary person. A book that somehow manages to be both charming and challenging, a bit like Africa herself. The writing is as light as a sonnet but it is the honesty that anchors it to reality - a special book’ - Tim Butcher

Under the Camelthorn Tree is remarkable, wild as a pride of lions -- heartbreaking, relentlessly truthful, funny. Kate Nicholls steps into life's beauties and hardships with a rare and extraordinary courage: you will love this book, and love Kate too’ - Erica Wagner, Harper's Bazaar

'Under The Camelthorn Tree is a breathtaking memoir written with an abundance of wit, honesty and love. Over the course of a page I found myself weeping, giggling, inspired, challenged, but never lectured to. Kate's humour is infectious, her honesty and vulnerability emboldening and her language precise in conjuring the sights, sounds and smells of her unique journey' - Harry Michell