One Year Later – Dante

I did not die and yet I lost life’s breath…

I always like to have a theme or a leitmotif running through my novels and in this one, One Year Later, it’s Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

There’s the obvious aspects – it’s set in Italy, it’s hot as hell, but it’s about a young man’s journey through nine circles of hell; it’s about salvation and redemption, as one lovely, astute reviewer pointed out.

Above all, when one is grieving, it really can feel that you are alive, but you have lost life’s breath and found yourself within ‘a forest dark’.

Good Reads 2013

category_icons03GOOD READS 2013 – When I was the TV reviewer for BBC Wildlife magazine, the editor would not let me write a review about a bad programme. It was less than honest and made for duller copy. However, I am taking a leaf out of her book as I’d love you to spend the Christmas period being transported by wonderful books and giving them as gifts to others. Here is my selection of the books I’ve liked best this year.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey has to be the perfect winter present with its hauntingly snow-childbeautiful descriptions – ‘She could not fathom the hexagonal miracle of snowflakes formed from clouds, crystallized fern and feather that tumble down to light on a coat sleeve, white stars melting…’ – and its poignant relationship between Jack, Mabel and the child they believe they have created out of grief and longing and snow.

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