Book Jacket

 

rank 5940
word count 94627
date submitted 30.03.2010
date updated 06.05.2010
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance
classification: universal
complete

A Formative Year

Kate Hamlyn

Meeting an old love brings flashbacks, an understanding of how the past has created the present, and how memory deceives us.

 

As a teenager in the 1970s Lucy has an intense love affair with her cousin Leo - it ends unhappily, and she feels marked by its failure and the rejection she felt as well as the politics and feminism of the time.

Meeting him again after many years, she is shocked and delighted at how she feels about him. Somehow her feelings won't leave her alone and they nag away at her while she tries to uncover the truth about her love for him, and how to deal with her sense of 'unfinished business'.

Humorous, allusive and thoughtful - it has something to say to anyone who has ever loved and lost.

- o - o - o -

NB I have had many helpful comments on the first part of the book - if you can bear to, please look at later sections, which are rather different, and may need more input.

 
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tags

, deception, divorce, feminism, friends, friendship, literature, love, lovers, marriage, memory, politics, psychotherapy, romance, self-knowledge, tee...

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63 comments

 

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Steve Jensen wrote 1544 days ago

Some of the finest writing at Authonomy. Beautiful, in fact. Wonderful work, Kate. :)

Darugh wrote 1380 days ago

I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. and arose to finish this book, this marvelous work. I think I have backed it months ago mainly due to your passage about fingers entwining. I am backing it again now and hope it counts again. You write beautifully. You have "nailed" so many things - romantic love, Jungian images and thoughts, women pretending to be satisfied and doing things to please the "beloved", and - last of all - the twisted way our minds can hide something from us for many years then spill it out in a moment's thought. There are no words to match what you have written - nothing I can say will be as fitting. Thank you for this wonderful work - a masterpiece from start to finish. I will purchase this when it becomes available. I will underline your beautiful prose and your insights as they flow across the page. I will recommend this book to every woman I know.

Patricia West Hays
The Witness Tree

rab14 wrote 1482 days ago

Stampman Group Review.
HI Kate. The content of this story is one women in particular will like, as it describes emotions such as the first kiss in way that is appealing. I found the narrative very poetic in places and parts of it very well written.
nit pics
THe overly long paragraphs in the first chapter might be broken up with dialogue to improve the flow. For instance when Leo introduces his wife I would have prefered to have heard what he had to say. ALso during the social exchanges I would like to know how he conducted them. It would give a little more insight into his character early on so that the reader could engage with him.
The part of the chapter headed October 1972 was a better example of nicely spaced paragraphs interspersed with dialogue which I felt helped the story to move along.
Backed Rab14

plip wrote 1486 days ago

Read ch 10 - Far too much exposition for my taste, I'm afraid. Both characters in this chapter give each other information which both already know, purely to fill the reader in. There is a need for each to remind the other of long-past events and circumstances certainly, but the effect to me is a high degree of info-dump. Well written and with a great deal of analysis of feelings and relationships, but unrealistic and stilted dialogue.
Your first paragraph has mixed tenses - Norah said cheerfully (past) ------- she has had a haircut (present) If this is intentional it doesn't work, it jars. The rest is told in past tense, as the narrator looks back at this conversation.
Of course her own present-time reflections are not in past tense, and this works.
Strange, but true to life of course, in that a friend is privy to deep and true reflections and analysis of her feelings while the object of all this is not.
phil

M. A. McRae. wrote 1490 days ago

Stampman Group Review.
It was interesting that you used 1st person to speak of the present, and then Lucy refers to herself as 'Lucy' when she thinks or or remembers the past.
I found this book a mixture. Opening with a bible reference irritated me slightly, and then there was a truly wonderful turn of phrase, 'encrusted with the barnacles of dead consequences.'
This is quite definitely 'literary fiction,' which means that I am the wrong person to try and assess it in any meaningful way. It is not a book that I would buy, and yet I suspect that many will regard it as true quality fiction, the sort of novel that wins prestigious prizes.
You should organise a unique book-cover, - even if it's no more than a photograph of a landscape.
I wish you luck with your novel. Marj.

SusieGulick wrote 1493 days ago

Dear Kate, I love how you put me right in your story to feel what your heroine is feeling - great job. :) Your pitch is excellent, so set the hook for me to read your book. :) When you use short paragraphs & lots of dialogue, it makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm backing your book. :)
Could you please take a moment to back my TWO memoir books? Thanks, Susie :)

This is information from authonomy (so beware of any other untrue information you may receive that is spam & not quotes of authonomy):
"When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved"...authonomy quote.
"Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs.

Acorok wrote 1504 days ago

Critiqued as part of the Stampman Group

Hello, Kate! I like your book title, but I have to say the generic cover is a bit of a turn-off. I don’t have an official cover, just uploaded an image to represent the book, so I’d advise this to make it stand out a little more. It like your short pitch, except for the word “brings;” it doesn’t sit right. The synopsis reads well until you hit “as well as the politics and feminism of the time.” just feels added on the end of a perfectly fine sentence, even though it's critical to the story.

I read very briefly through the first 3 chapters to get the back-story and then looked more closely at chapters 4-6. This is extremely well written, educated, informative (wow for the amount of years and countries you cover!), effortlessly descriptive (love your quince blossom metaphor in chapter 1), acutely observational, with an endearing MC, beautiful narrative and, my favourite, humorous. I can’t fault the writing and grammar, which is incredible considering how ornate this is; at least I couldn’t see anything previous eagle-eyed reviewers haven’t already picked up on.

Chapter 4: “She had failed 3, got only one grade 1…overall they contributed to her sense of failure.” This is a really long sentence and didn’t make sense towards the end.

Chapter 5: “You are (a) little bit podgy, my love.”

Chapter 6: “She pinned the badger to her coat…hearts and minds were divided as usual.” This is another sentence that needs to either be broken up or use a semi-colon.

There does seem to be an inconsistency with the use of numbers – you spell them out in some places and number them in others.

You do pack a lot in per chapter, so I would suggest breaking it up a little by event. Although it’s literary fiction and Lucy is educated, some of her thoughts and dialogue aren’t particularly natural, so I’d be careful of grandiosity whilst trying to convey this woman/girl’s feelings, especially when using media references. I do think some editing, particularly around how it’s first presented, POVs and sentence structure, would attract more readers, which it deserves. I would also reconsider its universal classification considering some parts can prove graphic.

Congratulations on a beautiful, thoughtful story deep in emotion. I enjoyed it. Shelved for its potential.

Kind regards

Billie
xx

Sly80 wrote 1515 days ago

This is one of those subjects that awakens memories in almost all of us. The 'what ifs' of old romances, especially first love. What an extremely clever trick of using the Latin poem to express Lucy's feelings, and then have her counterpoint it with 'so bleeding obvious'. Lucy is ... well ... intelligent but a bit scatterbrained and not exactly honest with herself, 'It's over thank God'. The younger Lucy is precocious and fanciful, and ripe to fall, hard.

Some wonderful, even audacious phrases, 'the high-ceilinged calm of the O-level Latin class', 'who's probably seen quite a few bees, tits and flies in her time', 'Is it possible to drive sarcastically?' 'a border beyond which the rules of life were different'. 'Don't trust a relationship that doesn't start between your finger'.

You do something strange with the past and present tense, mixing them together, e.g. 'we broke off and moved around (past) ... he reaches out for me (present)'. Added to this, you also mix the past and present of the character, e.g. in the flashback to 1972 , 'he asks me to dance (present is 1972)' ... 'I can't remember (from the future). And sometimes, a complete detachment from herself, 'and Lucy's response to him'. I do like the overall effect, but it perhaps needs more consistency in the tenses.

A very unique novel with unique writing but on a universal theme ... backed.

Possible nits: 'The sun illuminated the blossom...' this is quite a complex sentence to grasp and is thus distracting rather than enhancing. In places there's a slight tendency to overstress a point ... few things need saying more than once. E.g. 'we talk about the environment and politics', 'topics of interest to us both, environmental and social matters', which can make it sound repetitive.

Innumerate wrote 1515 days ago

This is very sensitively written and of high literary quality. I am not sure about the time changes, I'd have to read it properly and at length. Backed and enjoyed.
Rick

Lara wrote 1519 days ago

Chapters 8 and 11
I think it's fine for her to analyse her romantic feelings and struggle to determine who and how she should be. 8 does read disjointedly and this may be cured by following one incident and the accompanying thoughts more thoroughly before moving to another scene. Btw, better to refer to Freud's theory by saying 'slip of the tongue, bound to happen now, according to Freud' or something like that, rather than quote the title which rather takes it out of the novel genre. Similar feelings about the Donne poem - and the reader isn't convinced by the end that the rest of the journey will be different. But that's another tale!
Rosalind
Good for Him
Fair Critter

William Holt wrote 1521 days ago

NB: NOT MY COMMENT. LOOK AT THE END.

Congratulations.
You have the vocabulary, the insight, the imagination, and powers of expression to compose beautiful Literary Fiction with much depth, offset by a nice, light touch of humour.

I know you want remarks on your later chapters (which, by Authonomy standards, I'm assuming is Chapter 3+)
but a line I did notice on the first page "He is short, bearded with a slightly shambolic appearance which masks his intellectual acuity", might be an error in observation. On the contrary, the description a very typical one for men of 'intellectual acuity'. It's what I've observed of intelligent men all over the world. You want tall, clean-shaven and dapper appearance? In the main, you'll be describing lawyers, realtors, property-developers and other such paragons of the opposite of intellectuals. (Well, maybe some can be 'intellectuals' - with the intelligence distilled to 'cunning'. I'm not putting those professions down - I just think that in a novel, they'd be the ones more likely to be dapper; it's rhetoric for a novel review, so, chill out.)

So - hop over to Chapter 4:
Long paragraphs of character history, analysis and 'what-if' digressions. The quotes from popular culture helping remind us that the artists of the popular music world could often sum up a human situation with as much insight/artistry as the Penguin Classics stable of talent could. You might get criticized for the narrative moving very slowly here - just tell them to go hire a DVD, if they want to see fast moving narrative. This is novel writing in the deepest sense of the word; you are creating a world, an inner world of psychology, desire, love, and experience of much more value than the shallow distractions of worlds created by Tolkien wannabes and George Lucases et alia.

Cut to Apr 2009 - interesting experiments with tense, and POV. (This is going to put off a lot of people, but, who cares? If they can't handle that, they wouldn't be buying the book anyway.)

"liquify my generative organs" - that one made me stop me in my tracks. You're asking for trouble round these here parts. At first I though, 'lubricate my generative organs' might be better - but that's more ordinary. It's a touch and go phrase, but it's interesting enough to keep.

Reading on, this is all quite interesting - I often wonder if the middle-aged can ever feel 'in love' again - the sort of 'in love' that one feels in their late teens/twenties. My guess is that it can't happen - so, it's interesting to read your analysis of the topic. Anyway, I relished the rest of this chapter. (On my list of favourite books I've listed "The Girls" by Henry Montherlant - I adore that book, and your writing sometimes gives me the feeling that I'm reading his work - so, high marks from me. He's even better though - a great genius. Check him out - and don't believe the vacuous/inane PC remarks which have crucified him as a misogynist - judged by his writing, nothing could be further from the truth. I don't know about his personal life.)

Chapter 5: surprised to see "3 girls" not spelt out. --- also, it's MIles DAVIS - he invented 'cool' and it's very uncool to misspell his name. This suggests me that the rest of your book will have small typo and errors issues.

Chapter 5: surprised to see "3 girls" not spelt out. --- also, it's MIles DAVIS - he invented 'cool' and it's very uncool to misspell his name. This suggests me that the rest of your book will have small typo and errors issues.

The rest of this chapter is excellent.

Wonderful stuff - why aren't you published? (I'm also a big Martin Amis fan - his latest book, "The Pregnant Widow" is built on themes and events remarkably similar to yours. Guess what? Wherever I've dipped into your book, it's better than his.)
Backed with much enthusiasm and admiration.

From StampMan, who couldn't get the site to respond.

StampMan wrote 1523 days ago

I've browsed your book - and was sure very quickly that I would be backing it. I might have stumbled into an intelligent and highly competent writer here.
Late night. More comments to come on the weekend.

eloraine wrote 1524 days ago

Beautifully written, I loved it, good luck. E.Loraine Royal Blood Chronicles book one

mongoose wrote 1528 days ago

Kate, hi.....I jumped to Chapter Eight which, of course, did leave me slightly in limbo. But I found myself getting massively hacked off with the ghastly Bill - hackles rose from the moment he pushed the sex issue. So you're doing something very right - I believed in the characters totally. Interesting as there is a slight distancing in the way you write the sections in the past - natural in some ways, as it is remembered, but nonetheless I felt myself sometimes craving a little more immediacy.
Just one very tiny nit at the beginning of that chapter. 'He stood outside my door, nervous...' as we're in her POV how can she know? 'looking nervous' maybe?
I'm horribly aware I haven't given this the time it deserves but I've done the whole desk thing once and can't allow myself to get sucked into spending hours here again!!
So I do apologise for that but am very happy to back you with this...

Gail_M wrote 1530 days ago

I've only read the first chapter, but I love this! Your narrative style is delightful, and you describe Lucy's world very convincingly. I'm backing it now, but plan to read the rest as time allows.
All the best
Gail
NEW BEGINNINGS

Author apart from the rest wrote 1531 days ago

Kate,

My first reaction to your plug and introduction: WOW! The idea of Lucy having, as you put it, "an intense love affair with her cousin Leo" is very seductive and draws the reader in. I believe your idea is working because the 60's and 70's were the years, in my opinion, of breaking free of the old traditions. I am very excited for you and believe this book has great potentianl.

Regards,

Rob

A Knight wrote 1531 days ago

Lucy is a gorgeous main character, and the reflective, gentle nature of this piece is beautiful to see.

Backed with pleasure.
Abi xxx

Amylovesbooks wrote 1532 days ago

Beautifully written prose, and overall a reflective piece that causes the reader to think about love and what it all means. Backed with pleasure.

Amy
Love Match

crazy mama wrote 1534 days ago

This is beautifully written. What woman could not relate to Lucy? perfect and backed.

A. Zoomer wrote 1534 days ago

***A STAMPMAN GROUP REVIEW OF A FORMATIVE YEAR***

This is the kind of hindsight story I get excited to read when the author knows what she wants to tell me and how she wants to tell me. Having read the first three chapters, you clearly know what you want to tell me.

Now the hard bit how?

The writing has clarity of characters, great setting and dialogue. I could use more action but that is me.
What I'd want to read is a piece that uses your writing skills to focus my attention.
For example (and this is only one reader speaking) I would like for you to start with paragraph 2 and you can follow with paragraph 1. I love 'the barnacles of dead consequences'.

Take a look through the chapters for those unnecessary adverbs- really, desultorily, immediately- can you use more powerful verbs instead?

Some of your writing sings. para 4 his face.
I like the blossom description but make it work for you.
The chronology works but not to draw me into a chapter.
The distinction between early thinking/feeling and later is important to your book. Take a look at Juiia Blackburn's Three Of Us for her solution in this memoir.

I will read more over time.
A Zoomer
GOING OUT OF STYLE


Roger Thurling wrote 1535 days ago

Kate
I admire; surely this is one of the best educated pieces of fiction on Authonomy.
And it reads like the truth.
Very sustaining - the reading equivalent of lunch at The Ritz.
Roger

mvw888 wrote 1536 days ago

To say that this is right up my alley is an understatement. I am a bit speechless in deciding what to say but I guess the simplest praise might be best. I love your writing. It has a rhythm that speaks to me on another level; you notice things that I would notice and say things in a way that I might think them or wish to say them. I've only looked at a few chapters, but I'm even guessing that some of your deeper concerns or topics for exploration mirror some of mine. When your character walks past Leo without recognizing him, the novel as a life richer than the one she's living--these are pieces of contemplation straight from my own mind. This is probably not a style for all. Many will find it too "literary," too introspective, lacking in action. But I love your Lucy and all of her deliberate ruminations, sort of a female Woody Allen, in the way that she examines and reexamines. Honestly the first book I've read here that I would consider reading in its entirety. You're working on so many levels here, and it is exactly the kind of book I love most. Brilliant.
---Mary
The Qualities of Wood

Cherry G. wrote 1536 days ago

Sorry I've sent this in two parts...my PC is playing up! This is Part 2
THe backdrop of feminism, socialism, the commune and the squat are all appropriate to the era and help give the story credibility. I lived in Sheffield during the miners' strike, so saw many man standing with their buckets asking for help. And like your MC, I saw Arthur Scargel (sort of saw him, he was standing behind me in a canteen queue!). Therefore it felt very authentic to me and her friends and boyfriends were convincing..
THere are just 2 very minor nitpics that I noticed.
Typo 2nd paragraph of Chapter 4. Franc (e) and in Chapter 5 Stuart is spelt Stewart at least once.
The only other comment I have is that sometimes I found the rapid change in the POV confusing. I think it changed within a paragraph on at least one occasion. A few times I had to reread to check who was "talking."
Also, I appreciate that the young Lucy was so different from the older (post therapy) Lucy, she might see her younger self as a separate person. However, just occasionally it jarred a little when the older Lucy reported what happened as if she was someonelse. It wasn't anything serious, but it was enough to make me stop and reread.. She isn't that different a person: she still loves Leo. Also (IMO!) perhaps the chapters are too long? Not sure, it's just an impression I had.
Apart from that, I thought it was a powerful story that captures the struggles of an intelligent young woman trying to find love and purpose in the insecure decade between the idealistic sixties and the cynical eighties.
I enjoyed this and valued the literary references. I will BACK A Formative Year.
Cherrry G.
The Girl From Ithaca

Cherry G. wrote 1536 days ago

A FORMATIVE YEAR ( REVIEW CONTINUED )

Cherry G. wrote 1536 days ago

A FORMATIVE YEAR (concentrating on Chapters 4 to 9) A Stampman's Group Review
I'm concentrating on middle part of story, but read chapters 1, 2 and 3 so I knew what was happening. I enjoyed the 1970s scenes; you got it so right! Bob Dylan, The Stones, Leonard Cohen and Roxy Music etc, along with Radio Luxemburg and Laura Ashley. Excellent.
Also enjoyed Leo's and Lucy's trip to the British Museum. I never visited in the 1970s (I didn't know such a place existed) but I've been in adult life and you describe the Assyrian so well. I felt I was almost there with Lucy and Leo.
On to Chapter 4, when Lucy's mother has stopped their relationship. Lucy is increasingly depresserd and her O'level exams suffer because of her misery. You describe the way she doubts herself with some wonderful imagery: "...on and on and round and round went the whirling ball of negativity." As a reader I can imagine what Lucy is feeling like. I especially like the way Lucy compares herself with Kai, the child stolen by the Snow Queen. Lucy is an avid book reader and it feels just the way she would think of her numbness.
No boyfriend can compare with Leo and once she gets to university, she begins to drink and try too hard to be "lovable". THere are several years of drink and boyfriends, trying to fill the empty space that is Leo. Through your writing the reader is able to follow Lucy's thoughts and feel her emptiness and sense of failure.
.

Billiegirl wrote 1538 days ago

Hi Kate, at your request I started in at chapter 7.
I kept trying to get pulled into the story, and her unyielding love for Leo is certainly intriguing, but the jumps in tense and POV kept pulling me out of it. The chapter starts off in first person then abruptly switches to 3rd. Further down you are telling the story in present tense then switch to past tense. This is obviously intentional as I went back to 6 and 5 and they were the same, but for me it is a little jarring.
I wish you all the best though, and am backing based on your ability to paint a picture with words :-) Good luck

S Richard Betterton wrote 1538 days ago

As you suggested reading a later part, I've gone for chap 9.
You got me with the second sentence, about the hats - wonderful!
And having read the pitch, when Leo sits in the pew behind - gripping!
'I don't believe in lots of inter-pew chat' is also a brilliant line, deepening our understanding of Lucy.
typo: per cent
'service' comes up quite a bit, maybe change one or two to 'ceremony'?
I really like the dialogue, minimal, and what is not said, the little nod, - great interraction.
'wedged a foot in the door of my unconscious' - excellent
The last five chaps before April 1973 - my mind drifted a bit here. Seemed a lot of reflection, but then I'm not your target audience. You've certainly kept this average bloke under your spell until that point.
In short, really, really good. Backed.

Shakespeare's Talking Head wrote 1538 days ago

The narrative voice was truly excellent, Kate. You capture so much of the character essence through your ability to describe things so well. The Metaphor was definitely not lost on me, and I think it was marvelous. I've lived and breathed that meeting she had at the party. All the feelings resurfacing, remembering small things, private details.
I've never said 'I love you' first either. Well, nearly ever. Best of luck with this wonderful piece, Kate.
Gerry
Dropcloth Angels.

Splinker wrote 1538 days ago

Backed
Splinker
B.D.S.T.

JMCornwell wrote 1538 days ago

12 years ago -- twelve years ago.
500 year old -- 500-year-old
"I was not enjoying this, if it wasn't for..." Either a semi-colon or make "...if it wasn't for..." a separate sentence.
"The train comes in, he gets in and slams the door." The train comes. He gets in and slams the door OR The train comes; he gets in and slams the door. Comes in and gets in are redundant and awkward.
"It is sad, but not too sad, and we will see each other again..." It is sad, but not too sad. We will see each other... Either a period of a semi-colon. Sentences like these should be revised. In fact that whole paragraph, especially the first sentence, is awkward. "...his arms around me, me in the place..." ...arms around me, and I am in he place I most want to be.

It would be interesting to see his thoughts during this. I know it's not the way it is written, but still...
This is poignant and sad and a little like being a fly on the wall. The intimate moments, the sense of fear and elation, and the obvious attention to detail is very well done. The MC is sympathetic and the situation one many could relate to easily. The sentences flow with a calmness that adds distance, like being hypnotized and told to remember without becoming emotionally engaged, and yet there is an undercurrent of emotion just beneath the surface that belies the the calm. There is a tendency toward run-on sentences, like the one referenced above, and reading aloud would clear it up. Could also use some proofreading and minor editing as long as it doesn't disturb the pacing.

alison woodward wrote 1538 days ago

really enjoyed this , well done, backed

alison ( who wants to diet anyway? and legal lies)

Splinker wrote 1539 days ago

Backed.
Splinker
B.D.S.T.

eloraine wrote 1539 days ago

Really, really good, I wish you the best of luck with. Backed with pleasure. E.Loraine Royal Blood Chronicles book one

CarolinaAl wrote 1540 days ago

Lucy is likable and well-rounded. Your descriptions are vivid. For example, Leo's hug of Lucy at the end of the party. You illuminate your brilliant narrative with apt similies such as 'I grabbed Alice like a lifebelt.' Your dialogue is realistic and relevant. Your pacing suits my tastes. This is well-crafted, endearing romance. Backed.

Bocri wrote 1540 days ago

04 May 2010
10:16

Part of A Formative Year 's strength lies in the power of observation and sensitive transposition by the narrator into memorable prose. The logicality and commonsense inherent in the views expressed lend credibility and substance to the MC making her a fully rounded human. Paradoxically, her vulnerability and desires, serve only to confirm the reality. Subtly crafted prose and developed character studies make A Formative Year a fulfilling read.

For me, definitely a walk on the perceptive side. BACKED. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run.

Andrew Burans wrote 1544 days ago

The quote from the bible sets the tonre for your book perfectly. This is a well constructed,well written and moving story. Your character development is strong and your use of imagery is excellent. Backed with pleasure.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

Beval wrote 1544 days ago

A moving and insightful piece of writing.
Beautiful and polished prose.

Steve Jensen wrote 1544 days ago

Some of the finest writing at Authonomy. Beautiful, in fact. Wonderful work, Kate. :)

mindrose wrote 1544 days ago

I started on your book this afternoon because a comment by you on somebody else's book leapt out at me as the voice of sense and objectivity in among a torrent of gush and hyperbole. Having now spent the better part of 2 hours dipping in and out of your own book, I can't even remember whose it was now but my view of it was much like yours. And I've been generously rewarded by your slow, leisurely, literate, thoughtul and very very readable examination of the nature of love. (My sole quibble: I can see that "I" was looking back at the"Lucy" she used to be, but I found the separation distracting and unnecessary. It was clear enough from context.)
What a wonderful journey it's been, ending with a safe calm arrival into harbour. A story for grown ups.
Backed, of course.

DP Walker wrote 1546 days ago

Hi Kate
OK so romance is not my normal cup of tea but the beauty of this site is that you get to read so many things that you wouldn't normally. This is a classic love story but with an original idea behind it and we are left to empathise with Lucy and feel her pain. This will appeal to a wide audience, especially given the level of the quality of the writing. Best of luck
DP Walker
Five Dares

Sheila Belshaw wrote 1546 days ago

A FORMATIVE YEAR:

Kate,

A beautifully crafted story, with some atmospheric touches that made me think back to similar memories of my own. Very emotional with searching introspection from Lucy which delves deep into her psyche and tells us much about her character.

A charming novel that I would read if I found it in a bookshop.

Backed, with much pleasure.

Sheila Mary Taylor (Pinpoint)

Ramsgatered wrote 1549 days ago

Thanks very much for that Sue - It's helpful - the bra thing is just to establish her relationship with her mother - only a line or two. Don't recall anything about texting in the book at all!
Hope it didn't give you a migraine!
Kate

Ben Hardy wrote 1555 days ago

When reading this, particularly your first section, I imagined it being spoken. A monologue that might appear on a Radio 4 Afternoon Play. It is your writing style that does it - written as if spoken. Ordinarily I bristle a little at sentences or phrases ended with prepositions, or abbreviations (hasn't, it's, won't) in descriptions, but here it really works. And I loved the digressions into Catullus and the quince flower. (For the latter, please, please remove the 'metaphor' sign post - as a passage, it is so much stronger without that paragraph.) The 'first dance' and then 'first kiss' is perfect: many memories come flooding back, reading about someone else's experience. Two things (other than the 'this is a metaphor' para) which you may want to watch. One is formatting, and the other is style. The formatting is that, certainly for the purposes of Authonomy, it may be worth splitting the sections into separate chapters. I made it to the point where Lucy confesses to Helen that she kissed Leo, but saw there was tons more to read, and this put me off a little. By splitting the chapters, there is more chance someone will read your later chapters. The style point is that you changed from first person narrative to third person on occasion, and this was jarring. It is stronger if you stick in first person. Ben

klouholmes wrote 1556 days ago

Hi Kate, Interesting and effective technique, the first person narrator looking back at the Lucy she was. Her husband and kids seem to evaporate when she encounters Leo again and the first kiss is a scene before her. I liked how it is written in her third person narrative then, showing the intense picture that is within her memory. It seems to be an inner story perspective on her present and then the present of seeing Leo promises impact. Immersing! Shelved – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

Colin Normanshaw wrote 1563 days ago

There is much good work on this site, and then occasionally I come across a work of brilliance. This is such a work. Breathless inner dialogue and a wonderful pace. I cannot really find words that do this justice so I won't try, other than to say this is backed with pleasure. The only possible improvement I can think of is to split your chapters as they are currently too long. Good luck with this. Colin

Aimee Fry wrote 1563 days ago

Your writing is good and you've obviousley put a lot of work into this. I read the first chapter and thought the story was very well crafted. I just wish I had more time to read more.
The only thing I think worth mentioning would be to perhaps read the work aloud. I found some sentances awkward to read, but this is nothing a good edit wouldn't pick out.

Aimee xxx
His Pride, Her Prejudice

Rob Malagola wrote 1567 days ago

Something intelligent (and intelligible) for once, erudite at least, measured, clear as a glass bell, and maybe more. Mind you, a classics scholar…
I don’t know yet if it’s a novel, but it shows signs (so many things here start out as good fiction, but end up with a contrived twist (de rigueur), a ghost, a vampire, an angel, or some such); and I remain hopeful.
I’m not one for quoting other people’s lines back at them, but ‘…a hyper-real brilliance for my nostalgia to play against.’ is rather good.
So, it’s the language, rather than the ‘romance’, that keeps me reading at the moment, but so it goes, and no hardship at all.

Bradpete wrote 1569 days ago

My only criticism of the first chapter would be the length and having to read on screen is never easy at the best of times. That said, what a gloriously written opening.
I feel that being a gruff hardened lad I shouldnt really enjoy this - but I am and I did. Backed.

Pete

gillyflower wrote 1570 days ago

This is a beautifully written romance which is laced with the sadness impossible to separate from first love, and which goes alongside its immense happiness. When Lucy meets Leo again after twelve years separation, she is so affected by his presence that she can't talk, like Catullus having a similar experience and remembering Sappho's poem about when she felt just the same thing. This amazing interlayering of emotions and experiences is key to your book. You take us into the complex depths of Lucy's feelings, and show us that they are not just hers, but are common to humankind. The party where they first met, and danced, and kissed, is described in a way which again evokes the feelings we share with her. You write fluently, beautifully, and with a smooth professionalism, and your book deals with universal and important subjects. Backed.
Gerry McCullough,
Belfast Girls.

soutexmex wrote 1570 days ago

'Meeting an old love brings flashbacks' <-- this is where I would leave the short pitch at. The long pitch I guess I can live with.

Being Authonomy's #1 commentator and amateur pitch doctor, trust me, spend some time on your pitches; I cannot overemphasize how you need to master this basic sales technique to grab the casual reader. That's how you climb in ranking to gather more exposure and comments to better your novel. SHELVED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key
Authonomy's #1 rated commentator

Melcom wrote 1572 days ago

Ah Romance, what is that? Bloomin' thing must have passed me by on several occassions me thinks!! LOL

This is a really good read though, you succeeded in engaging the reader and holding their interest. An emotional read covering all the bases.

And your writing flowed wonderfully, yes it needs a little tweaking but then who's doesn't.

Happily shelved

Melxx

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