Taking my turn on the blog tour today for Joseph Barnaby by Susan Roebuck. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on the tour and to the author for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Make sure you scroll down for a great giveaway after the review.
“Stand by your beliefs – even if it means going to the end of the Earth
By standing up for his principles to save the life of a prize racehorse, farrier Joseph Barnaby loses everything. Now, a personal vendetta has become too deep to fight and he escapes to the island of Madeira where he finds work on a small farm at the foot of a cliff, only accessible by boat. The balmy climate and never-ending supply of exotic fruit, vegetables and honey make it sound like paradise but, for Joseph, it’s the ideal place to hide from the world. Can the inhabitants of Quinta da Esperança, who have more grit in them than the pebbled beach that fronts the property, help Joseph find his self-worth again? And can he escape the danger that draws ever nearer?”
This is a very interesting book that confounded my expectations in a number of ways and made me feel very different than I anticipated.
It is quite a difficult book to judge by its cover and blurb, as neither really give a huge amount away in terms of the plot or feel of the book so I went in to it with a fairly open mind. Even a few chapters in, I was finding it hard to gauge exactly what kind of book it was, as it started off when way, then jumped to a different perspective and then worked its way back through the plot, gradually revealing what had happened, so it worked very well as a mystery from that perspective and the author did a wonderful job of building the tension throughout as we are drip fed details about Joseph’s story.
Equally, the second strand of the story is a romance, and watching things develop between Sofia and Joseph was a delightful and welcome contrast to the tension of the thriller aspect of the book. I thought the dimension added by Sofia’s disability and the fact that Joseph is an outsider and how they come to understand one another was deftly and beautifully done and really enhanced the story.
All the characters were fascinating and beautifully drawn, particularly Sofia, whom I was really drawn to, and the mysterious Lua. Great characterisation is always the make or break for me in a book – you can have the best plot in the world but if the characters aren’t alive, it will leave me cold – and Susan absolutely nails this aspect of the writing. In addition, I loved the setting which was the island of Madeira, but not the touristy parts that many people will recognise, but a quiet town and a remote faja where a family are ekeing out a living on a small farm. I thought this gave a enticing insight into an aspect of Madeiran life about which I knew nothing and would probably have never become aware of otherwise. I love it when a book, along with giving me a great story, teaches me something new. This is the way books enrich your life.
One thing I did find curious about my experience of reading this book was how it seemed oddly set out of time. To begin with, I could not place the setting at all, as there did not seem to be anything to anchor it in a particular period. I did start off thinking it was a historical novel, until certain things happened later which gave it a periodical context, and it was oddly disorienting. I am not sure if this was deliberate by the author to illustrate how backward and unchanging life on the faja was, but I’ve never read anything quite like it, it gave the book a slightly surreal feel, although this was just my perception, of course.
I really enjoyed this book, it gave me a lot more than I expected and I came away feeling enriched by the experience of reading it, which is all one can ask.
Joseph Barnaby is out now and you can buy a copy here.
1st prize an Amazon book token (£10) ,
2nd prize – 2 x signed paperbacks of Joseph Barnaby
3rd prize – 2 x ebooks of Joseph Barnaby
To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below:
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
To follow the rest of the tour, check out the dates here:
About the Author
I was born and educated in the UK (I am British!) but now live in Portugal. I’ve been an English teacher for many years with the British Council and also the Portuguese civil service where I developed e-learning courses.
My first love is, of course, my husband, my second writing, and my third painting. And now I have time to be able to indulge in all three.
My debut novel, “Perfect Score” was published by Mundania Press on Sept 21, 2010 and the paperback launched on May 11 2011. It was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC e-book Awards in the Mainstream Category.
My second novel is a dark thriller/fantasy called “Hewhay Hall”. It won an EPPIE award in the 2013 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) e-Book Awards in the Horror Category.
Next comes “Rising Tide”, published in 2015. Set in Portugal, published by Mundania Press. It is set in a tiny fishing village that the world, and most of Portugal, has forgotten. Read about the wonders of the ocean and see if Piper from Norfolk UK and Leo from Alaska, USA, can find what they’re searching for in the little village of Luminosa.
“Forest Dancer” was published on 20th February 2018 by CrookedCat Books. This is novel number 2 set in Portugal but this time in the forests outside Lisbon, Portugal. Instead of the sea (as in Rising Tide), now find out about the wonders of the forest and whether classical ballerina, Flora, can find what she’s searching for in the small village of Aurora.
On 5th October 2018 CrookedCat Books published my newest novel, “Joseph Barnaby”, another romance/suspense which is set on the island of Madeira.
Connect with Susan:
Facebook: Susan Roebuck Author