Welcome to Sunday Book Review. Although it’s me who usually reviews a book here on Sundays, once again, I haven’t finished one of the two almost 400 page books I’m reading so I’m going to share a couple of book reviews today by other authors for two of my own books – Twenty Years: After “I Do” and P.S. I Forgive you, plus reviews for Robbie and Michael Cheadle’s – Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees, and Frank Prem’s – Small Town Kid. Thank you to Sally Cronin and to Marjorie Mallon for reading and reviewing and for sharing on your blogs 💕
First up are Sally Cronin’s reviews for both, P.S. I Forgive You and Sir Chocolate, followed by her review for Twenty Years and Small Town Kid, shared from Sally’s Smorgasbord Book Reviews.
Welcome to a new series where I will be sharing book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.
“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”
Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.
After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.
By Sally Cronin
The first author today is D. G. Kaye and I was honoured to be asked to write the editorial review in 2016 for P.S. I Forgive You.
My Five star review for the book in 2016
It is challenging to write about emotional pain and to revisit events, times when you felt powerless. Not everyone is courageous enough to undertake such a task. D.G. Kaye bravely faces her childhood and her relationship with her mother, sharing this complex experience with us in her memoir P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy. Kaye writes from a place of maturity and strength, bringing hope to others who need to find forgiveness to heal.
The book will resonate with those who have experienced a childhood marred by a narcissistic parent with its long term repercussions on self-esteem and the ability to develop a trust in relationships.
It is also a testament to the strength of character of the author to distance herself from this harmful relationship and thrive on her own terms.
The next review was for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook by Robbie and Michael Cheadle.
A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.
My review for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook. 2017
This book will be a delightful read for a child, and their adult companions for that matter. A brightly coloured cast of characters, with Sir Chocolate himself created from one of the most favourite treats of all time. Ten year old Michael Cheadle came up with the idea of this charasmatic character and also his lovely Lady Sweet. Robbie not only creates these characters from fondant icing, but composes the story in verse that takes us on this current adventure.
From a conservation perspective it is wonderful to see a children’s story that gently introduces the subject of creatures who are at risk, and whilst the villain of this piece is a greedy snail, there are parallels with our own encroachment into nature. However, the colourful fondant snail with long fangs is monster enough for this fairy story. The other characters include sweet pink and apricot sugar mice, a cluster of endearing yellow and black sugar dough bees and very elegant fruit drop fairies.
In between the verses and illustrations are other gems in the form of recipes which are easy for both children (and some of us less proficient bakers) to make. Terrific Cheese Bread, Delightful Butter Biscuits, Jammy Scones, Rainbow Cupcakes, and one that will be made very shortly Bold Banana Bread.
This book may do little to reduce your waistline, but for children it will stimulate their imaginations and lead to some wonderful baking sessions with parents and grandparents.
Source and complete post: Originally posted on Sally’s Smorgasbord Invitation
If you are a frequent visitor to the blog you will have seen D.G. Kaye… Debby Gies here many times as a contributor, and supporter. It is no secret that we are friends. This however, does not influence my views on her books, and this applies to her memoir. Twenty Years: After “I Do” : Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging.
In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.
Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.
My review for Twenty Years After “I Do”
The emphasis on partnership is present throughout D.G. Kaye’s story of her 20 year marriage to Gordon. Whilst it is clear, that theirs was a wonderful love affair from the beginning, she does not flinch from describing the various aspects of their relationship in a very forthright and honest way.
Their relationship is a May/September love affair that was put to the test from very shortly after their marriage. Despite the nearly 20 years age difference, it was Kaye who suffered a near fatal medical emergency, which brought home the fact, it is not necessarily the older partner, who will be the first to suffer ill health.
The book does highlight that in a relationship where there is a significant age difference, issues arise that might not for a couple the same age. Having children for example, or the dynamics in a relationship after retirement and natural aging; reversing the traditional roles, as one becomes more dependent on the other.
D.G. Kaye allows us an intimate view into her marriage, encouraging us to look at our own relationships, appreciate how they have triumphed over challenges over the years, and to celebrate the love that endures.
I certainly recommend the book for those who are about to embark on a relationship, whatever the age difference. In this modern day and age, when the pressures on couples and families are ever present, it is very useful to be offered the experience and guidance from someone who has successfully navigated their way through those same obstacles.
Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.
It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.
A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.
It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.
This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.
My review for the collection
I have read many poetry collections over the years, but Small Town Kid is unusual and intriguingly different. It flows through the different ages of the author from a very small boy to fatherhood, sharing the highs and lows of childhood and the coming of age years.
You are invited in by ‘I can Hardly Wait to Show You‘… that sets the scene of this town where singing waters and scrubby creeks beckon and land supported sheep and gold prospectors tried their luck.
Having accepted that invitation you become a spectator as Oma rocks the cradle of the young child whilst his mother works and makes poppy cakes, and Opa comforts a crying toddler as he contemplates the labour that has gone into cultivating the land around them. We are introduced to other members of this extended family and share in their celebrations, including a wedding in the fire house. This background is important as it highlights the sense of disconnection felt by many immigrant families who settle in a new land and are torn between adapting and still holding on to their old traditions and customs.
We enjoy picnics, and a detailed description of the view from the inside of the outhouse, and its maintenance by the stoic Nightman, and the profitable recycling of newspapers to the butcher. We join in rabbit hunts, school days, drag races, anti-tourist activities, and miscalculations when dispatching rubbish. Easter and the annual fete offer entertainment as does a rather interesting firework distribution method. The teen years bring jostling for status and the discovery that girls have some interesting attributes.
We also share in the lives of members of the group that the author grew up with, including its tragedies. It serves to remind us that however idyllic it might seem to be part of a small town community, it cannot protect you from all of life’s dangers.
I enjoyed all the memories and felt engaged with the young Frank as he navigated through these years. It was brought to life by the storytelling and there was a smooth flow from one story to the next. One of the many personal favourites is ‘Mcalpine’s Cherries’ which mirrored my experience with picking strawberries.
Overall a delightful read that will resonate with readers whose childhood and teen years were considerably simpler than today. I can highly recommend.
Source and complete post: Originally posted reviews at Sally’s Smorgasbord
Marjorie Mallon’s review for my book P.S. I Forgive You
This is a very personal account of the author’s experiences of coping and coming to terms with the emotions experienced after the death of a narcissistic mother. D. G Kaye’s mother is herself a product of the terrible parenting she experienced as a child. My own mother struggled with many heartbreaking problems as she grew up. She overcame these and was and continues to be a wonderfully caring mother. I have a deep, unbreakable bond with her which I also have with my daughters.
As I continued to read further into this memoir I kept on comparing our circumstances. How sad and damaging such an uncaring, selfish parent is to her children. How can a mother behave in such a way? P.S. I Forgive You is an important read for all of us. This memoir is about letting go, releasing the emotional turmoil which began in childhood.
It is a compelling read. It courageously deals with the extremes of family relationships. Relationships are complex and difficult, even in what I would deem to be ‘normal’ families. There are many who struggle to understand or relate to their son or daughter, sister, brother, wife or husband.
But this memoir takes those problems to a whole new level that no one should have to experience. After such a damaging upbringing, D. G. Kaye has suffered but has learnt to forgive. She lives a happy, fulfilled life. That is a wonderful testament to her strength of character and her can do attitude.
My recommendation: Read this. 5 stars. I’d highly recommend this memoir to us all whatever our circumstances. Also read the first book in the series: Conflicted Hearts.