Welcome to my stop on the Gilding the Lily blog tour. Today, I’m delighted to share my five star review of this fantastic book with you all; I’ve also got a really great guest post from the author herself, Justine John, on her Transition to Authorship. So let’s kick things off with my review…
From the back cover:
A gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies.
An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.
Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…
When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits’ end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…
Sometimes books that are not as well-known/mainstream are the best ones! When I finished reading this book, I just stared at its lovely matt-finish cover and smiled, thinking, I enjoyed every single thing about this book and I’m so happy I had the chance to read it.
Do you ever start reading a book, and from as early as the prologue, you get that ‘reader feeling’, you read a sentence or paragraph and just get excited for the rest of the book, that happened here, on the second page of the prologue when I read the following paragraph:
“She now understood how others could do it. This criminal act. How other people could get away with it. If she could do it, anyone could. How many people could be getting away with it right now? Thousands, millions? Was the city beleaguered with people crawling around, getting away with their sins?”
And as any reader wishes, that feeling was accurate. This book is a gem that I’m glad I have on my shelf as I will definitely be re-reading it. As the reader, you follow the story of Jack and Amelia as they travel back and forth between London and New York; what I really liked is that each chapter is told from a different characters viewpoint (mainly Jack and Amelia’s) but it’s written in third person so it’s easy to follow the events as they unfold.
Amelia and Jack, one of the most likeable couples in fiction, particularly Jack – in my notes I made throughout my read of this book, I wrote ‘Jack is The Best.’ He was so supportive of Amelia and the theory he came up with about what was going on in New York was so entertaining, possibly because I’d have thought the same thing!
Not only does John know how to write likable characters, she also knows how to write unlikable ones, namely Evelyn – urgh, what a cold and calculating women but it made for thoroughly entertaining reading.
I don’t want to give anything away regarding the ending so I’ll just say, I loved it, it was as it should have been and put a smile on my face. I highly recommend this book, it’s not too long, at 232 pages I urge you to find the time and fit it into your reading schedule. I look forward to reading Justine John’s next book!
This book is available to buy now from: Amazon UK
*My thanks to Justine John for providing me with a copy of this book, & Rachel at Authoright for inviting me to participate in this blog tour*
About the Author:
After over thirty years of working in the corporate sector in London Justine John left the rat-race for the stunning countryside of the Surrey Hills where she lives with her husband, horses and two dalmatians.
Website – http://www.justinejohn.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JustineCJohn
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/justinejohnauthor/
Now I’m going to hand you over to Justine for her amazing guest post:
TRANSITION TO AUTHORSHIP
The transition from corporate life was a lengthy process and happened over many years. When I was starting out in my corporate career, at the tender age of eighteen – to write a novel was always a dream, and a goal which I knew I would always work towards achieving ‘at some point in my life’. But in the 1980s, it was hard to leave school and do creative things. I actually wanted to work with horses, but my parents and my school career-councillor persuaded me to become a secretary (it was secure). And I wasn’t appalled at the idea. I went on to study PA skills and business – but I hated college. I dropped out before the end of the first year, and ran off to be a stable-girl. I loved this for a while, but the winters were harsh, the pay was paltry and the bright lights of the city called. I eventually gave in and got a job as a receptionist, for a central London company. The nice warm office, the fashion and the social life surged over me like a big wave and dragged me under its spell. Within the next year, I had rented a flat with a girlfriend in leafy Hampstead, and that practically changed my life overnight.
I had many jobs and many flats over twenty two years, but the most fun was running my own events company – it enabled me to travel, stay in some very nice hotels, meet some wonderful people and experience running a great team – we achieved some high ranking business results together and the company won several awards. It remains so ironic that I’d snubbed this whole process at college.
Over all these years, I never gave up writing, or the idea that one day I could write full time; but it was always just that – an idea. I kept journals, attended classes, wrote short stories and poems; all of them scribbled on notepaper and stuffed in dark boxes kept in dusty attics or cupboards over the decades. In 2007, things got tough for small business owners and I sadly had to make half of my team redundant. Companies were just not spending money on events, and we lost important clients overnight. I eventually reduced the team completely and gave up my office in South London to the back bedroom of my small house. I turned over a profit that year and paid back some debts. I continued to work all the hours, but it was never the same. Eventually, I began to question whether what I was achieving was enough return for me. Eventually I decided that it wasn’t and I sold the company to bigger agency. I made back all the money I’d invested over the years, but it was disappointing that it didn’t come to more than that.
By this time, we had left London and had found a house in Surrey. I continued to work part-time, from home, on a consultancy contract for another events company, that I was enjoying, and simultaneously, I was playing more often with my writing. Somehow, I banged out the first chapter of my novel, but I didn’t know where it went after that. I put it aside and left it alone, in the knowledge that it would come.
In 2010, my father passed away suddenly. During the process of his illness and death, I found myself in a set of circumstances that challenged me greatly. Organising a funeral in a foreign country is challenging, but because I wasn’t expecting it, I felt as though I was in a dream and the things that happened around me were almost fictional. I came out of that process with a story.
But it took another three years to be brave enough to put it on paper. Finally, in 2013, a health issue took over, and a major operation loomed. I was advised that I would not be able to work for a minimum of eight weeks – probably more like sixteen. I had begun to hate work and resent some of my work projects (life was too short), and I felt almost shackled; only a sense of duty, not ‘earning’ a living stopped me from giving up. But now I was being forced to stop for a while – so stop I did. In my tracks. Here it was – my chance. So the day I was home from hospital, I began Chapter 2. And I never looked back.
A massive thank you to Justine for sharing her journey with us and for not giving up on writing this novel – it’s amazing! I urge you all to get a copy of Gilding the Lily, you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you check out all the stops on the blog tour!