A review for 'So Now Go Tell', by NH (Amazon Review 1/9/23
I liked this book because it had a real focus using Shakespeare as a basis, with the inerwoven glimpse into the life of the main character, and plenty of drama and relationship interest. It would be good for readers of crime dramas, as well as people interested in theatre. It was an 'easy' read, with many twists and turns, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
A review for 'So Now Go Tell', by Bionic Sarah (Amazon Four Star Review, 30/7/23)
I enjoyed this novel which is the story of a woman who takes on an unusual job to bring back a failing old village pub and revive a Shakespeare festival that had taken place there in the past. It's a complex multilayered story, which comes out slowly during the book as we learn more about the narrator's life and why she suffers from intermittent stress related neurological symptoms. There is a tense story of her feeling harassed and stalked by a male stranger and near death episode by drowning.
I review a lot of novels every year for my book and I'm always a bit apprehensive when I read a book by somebody who I know personally. I have met Sue and her husband as part of our local Amateur Dramatics group and knew of her love and knowledge of Shakespeare, having watched two of her productions that she has directed for the group. I didn't know that she was a novelist as well. It was therefore with some trepidation that I picked up the novel and I was delighted when I found myself enjoying it considerably.
This first novel is an accomplished piece of writing, the book is perfectly crafted and has multiple layers to it. I read it in one sitting having bene caught by the story right from the start. The book did take a while to get going, but once it was flowing, and the Shakespeare auditions were in process, the story progressed at a fast rate and had me wanting to know more.
The scenes that I will remember most after reading the novel and that resonated most with me were those where the lead character, Jenny, is directing performances of a scene from Hamlet during the audition process. The necessity of actors understanding that their performance is more than just the words written on the page, as each character has an internal monologue continuously going on in their heads, was described as being a vital process the actor needs to go through to develop their performance. It was beautifully described.
As well as the background story of the pub and the Shakespeare festival, there were other elements covered in the story as part of the main characters difficult past, some of which were quite traumatic. the author manages to do this with subtlety and skill. The scene with the young child and the mother with the bedwetting, for example, is very traumatic but felt very real. The historical rape scene is also covered very sensitively.
The author's characters are well developed, and I definitely recognised character traits of people that I know within the characters of the novel.
The novel is set in and around Northampton and descriptions, particularly of the old pub where most of the action is set, were highly visual, and I could imagine the novel being brought to life as a TV series in the future.
I enjoyed the Shakespeare element to the story, the Shakespeare quotes at the beginning of each chapter were some I've not seen before, it was not always easy to see how they were linked to the chapter. I know that the author has a special interest and knowledge of Shakespeare's writings. However, I wondered how much the general readership would understand.
The author has a clear and easily read prose style, making the book an enjoyable experience to read. There are several lines in the novel that I personally resonated with, including 'Theatre fed and washed my soul as nothing else ever had', which the narrator Jenny uses to describe how theatre enriches her life; and another quote regarding Shakespeare's writing: 'an extraordinary playwright, whose iridescent words had brought a roar to my heart that would never be silenced' was rather beautiful.
I do hope that there will be more books about the characters in this novel as it seems to me, it would make a brilliant series of books. I also think it would make a great TV series, it would be lovely if the TV rights were taken up. I for one would also like to see the play that Jenny writes in the novel produced on stage.
I would recommend this novel for those who enjoy domestic thrillers or msteries which are both character and story led. Of the novels I've read recently, I think the one that is most similar is Jance Hallett, The Appeal, a who done it set in the background of an Amateur dramatics society.
This review will appear on Goodreads, Amazon UK, and on my book blog bionicsarahsbooks.wordpress.com.
A review for 'So Now Go Tell', by Amazon Customer, 10/8/23
. . . was totally hooked before the end of chapter one. The rest of the book certainly did not disappoint. Every character was so believable; Susan's descriptive attentiveness bringing them all to life The plot with all its twists and turns kept my intrigued and on the edge of my seat, to the very end. I love a good book and this is one of the best I have read in a long time.
A review for 'So Now Go Tell', by Michael P Ward 11/08/23
The book is a cracking read and the story grabs one's attention in the first couple of pages and doesn't let it go. The powerful start sets the tenor of the book and the various changes of direction really pulls the reader into the narrative. the author's descriptions are wonderful e.g. the car moving 'like a tortoise with a hip replacement', and perhaps the best of them all, a character's fingers being 'as knobbly as fresh root ginger'.
All this is coupled with how Shakespeare writes and explains the power of the Bard's words and how these can create wonderful pictures in the mind. Who says Shakespeare is boring?! The author's characters are gently and skilfully introduced as we grow to know them, whilst the plot moves intriguingly along.
The reveal of an attack on one of the characters, which has been an elephant in the room throughout, is skilfully and powerfully written and involves great emotional reaction in all the participants, again beautifully bringing a satisfactory denouement to the novel.
A wonderful, absorbing few hours reading . . . a triumph! Here's to the next one!
A review for 'So Now Go Tell', by Emma Stone (Amazon Review 8/08/23
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book to review and it had me gripped early on. the story unfolds slowly at first as you meet the characters and foundations are laid for the intrigue that follows, but the pace accelerates as teh story builds, with the odd twist and turn to keep you on your toes!
The writing is so beautifully descriptive, the scenes come alive and you feel as if you can see the surroundings. The characters are believable and likeable so you really care what happens to them, especially the main character Jenny. The emotions throughout the book are tangible; sometimes I swear I could feel my heart rate rising with Jenny's!
I'm very impressed that this is the author's debut novel, her talen is obvious and her passion shines through, especially with the links to Shakespeare (which are beautifully threaded through the story without any need to understand or be a fan of Shakespeare to enjoy!). I can't wait to see what she brings out next.
A review for 'So Now Go Tell', by Dee Denehan (Amazon Review, 13/8/23)
As a lover of Shakespeare and mystery this was the ideal book for me. A page turner from start to finish and beautifully written. Kept me hooked until the very end.
A review for 'So Now Go Tell', by Amanda-Jane Savage (Amazon Review 4/8/23)
Having received an advance copy of this bok to review, I found once I had started this book I couldn't put it down and finished it in one sitting. This book is about Jenny Watson who has recently lost her job and who has a love of Shakespeare her new job appeaers to be everything that Jenny has always wanted, a chance to direct a Shakespeare play by holding a Shakespeare festival and to bring an old pub and village back to life with the help of her new friends. But what appears to be the chance of a lifetime soon turns out to be a nightmare, with a lot of mysterious things happening around the pub and also having to use a play which resembles Jenny's past. She is then brought face to face with a man from the past who she wishes had remained in the past.
The story had me gripped from the start, with the mystery of what had happened in Jenny's past, and also has me believing that if you have good people around you that no matter what happens, when you need help they will be there for you. I would totally recommend this book if you like a mystery which deals with the past and has twists and turns but makes you realise that you can't hide from your past, no matter how hard you try.
A review for 'So Now Go Tell', by Debz Hobbs-Wyatt: author, editor and publisher
A page-turning thriller with elements of cosy crime but with darker undertones . . .
This is a mystery thriller with a difference. We meet Jenny, who is a strong female protagonist with a secret lurking in her past, one she has tried to leave behind. A magical opportunity is presented to her: a new job in an old pub, though restoring the pub to its former glory is only part of the story. She is asked to resurrect a festival and direct a Shakespeare play, something she relishes. However, as the reader, we are wondering if she can really pull it off. Haunted by events from her past, and with health issues related to her rising anxieties, has she bitten off more than she can chew?
Though her best friend is reluctant to help at first, she soon lends her skills to the task. And pretty soon locals, including actors from the local am dram groups, all come forward to help Jenny. But we are left to wonder if everything is really what it seems. Why is the new owner of the pub, who has created this job, only available online and not in person? And why is he so adamant about what play he wants produced - one that she and the am dram group are resistant to? Add to that the mysterious skull in the cellar and a series of strange events that make Jenny think she is being watched, and the tension slowly builds.
This is a mystery thriller with a difference. What I loved about this novel was the underlying element of dramatic tension, so it is indeed a thriller, but there is more depth of character to this than a simple thriller. There's a sense of friendship and community, so it doesn't all feel dark . . . Jenny feels relatable as do all the characters . . . but soon we feel the unease, for Jenny and for the others as Jenny's secret creeps closer to the surface, alongside the strange events happening around her. We wonder is she indeed being manipulated in some way - and is she in danger? As the stakes rise and it gets closer to producing the play, we start to wonder who we can trust - the handsome stranger and possible love interest (whom Jenny resists), some of the people involved in the play . . . even her best friend? Who do you trust? And why is there a skull in the cellar, and how is his story, the history of the pub and the people of the village related to the choice of play?
The tension holds throughout and we are left guessing and wondering. The use of the past and the author's clear and wonderful insights into Shakespeare, along with the little butterflies at the start of each chapter (from the voice of the Bard himself) makes this a unique and interesting mystery. The writing is sharp, compelling and intrigues you to keep reading.
Highly recommended, an established debut with the feeling that the story is not yet over . . . there is more to come from Jenny and better, more to come from this fabulous author.