I was writing my July blog yesterday when out of the blue two reviews arrived about my first book Whispers of the Past.
But before I tell you about them, I wanted to mention for you to keep reading this blog as I'll tell you how to win one of my books.
Now about those reviews. One was from the UK and the other from Canada. I find it hard to believe that both reviewers live so far from New Zealand, and yet their reviews had me smiling for days.
When you receive a review any review, it's a highlight of an author's day, but to get two glowing reviews from a couple of readers on the other side of the world, it meant so much to me. It's confirmation that my book is being accepted not just in New Zealand, but in places where I never thought the book would even be available.
Of course, these are not the only reviews I have had from overseas, just the latest. These last two now make up the 99 that I have collected on my web page. To all the people who have reviewed my book from America, Australia, New Zealand and now the UK and Canada, go my sincere thanks.
So my first thought was to heck with it, the blog can wait I just have to tell the world about my latest reviews. I am allowed to brag a little I hope.
Here are the reviews.
By Sashadooon, England, July 13, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
New Zealand author Owen Clough has created a historical fiction that kind of straddles the border between thriller and fantasy as three friends set out to carry out a cull of feral pigs in present day New Zealand, only to find themselves thrust back in time over a hundred years after encountering a strange golden mist within a dense fog bank. Unsure if they will ever be able to find their way back to their own time and their families, their confusion is confounded when among the people they meet in the past turn out to be their own ancestors, complicating things greatly as they ponder on whether their actions in this past century will affect their lives in what is now the future. The author concentrates greatly on historical facts, especially the land wars that affected 19th century New Zealand and there is plenty of opportunity for the northern hemisphere reader to become lost in some of the language and localised dialect of the time and of the Maori people, though help is at hand as the author thoughtfully provides an extensive glossary at the back of the book that helps everything make sense.
I loved the descriptions Clough provided of the land of his birth, which helped to bring this book to life. I was also greatly interested in the interactions between the Maori and Europeans who had settled in the country. There are some terrific characters in the book, and I was especially taken with the Maori, brought up and schooled by upper crust English settlers, who speaks with an accent more Sandhurst than Outback.
There is plenty of action in the book, which also manages to include a large dose of romance, plenty of pathos and a more than a hint of tragedy. Told in a very easy, colloquial style, very much of the antipodean Southern Hemisphere, I found myself caught up in the three men's quest to find their way back to their own time. Whether they succeeded or not, I must leave for other readers to discover for themselves, as I have no wish to spoil the enjoyment of reading this very good debut novel by Mr Clough.
Here's the other one.
Dear Mr Clough
I sat down pushing myself into the cushions on the couch, a cup of coffee in hand as I picked up your paperback edition of Whispers of the Past. I had bought it online through Amazon.
A gloomy day which was ideal for me to give your book my full attention. I did not know what to expect as this is the first time I have read any novel by a New Zealand author.
I read your book in one sitting, I could not put it down, I even missed lunch. What a wonderful story you have written Mr Clough for a first-time novelist you are to be congratulated. I know nothing about New Zealand's past, but your book has made me think it's time to look at your part of the world. I loved the way you described your bush the strength of your characters. Your story just flowed and for those of us who do not live in your country the glossary and map in the back of the book was a help to understand the Maori words making it easier to grasp the meaning of the story.
You built up your story from the beginning and then bang the mist arrives, and the men are back in their past, crossing in turn long dead relations and hoping that they will not change their futures. All the time trying to work out how the heck do they get back to their time and home, also to stay out of the conflict. The start of the New Zealand Wars, to Maori education and the way they spoke some with British accents. We just don't think about that side of history
The end brought a few tears, and it was with reluctance I put the book down it was finished. I read the beginning of the second book of the trilogy, the teaser at the back of the novel. I cannot wait to read the continuing story of Bob, Shane and Sam.
Before I sign off, I should mention I have a couple of my books Whispers of the Past as free giveaways up on Goodreads. They are available from the 21st of July to the 29th of July to a lucky winner. So take a look, put your name down, you never know you may be one of the successful winners.