Book Review: The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

“It is 1911, and Jean is about to join the mass strike at the Singer factory. For her, nothing will be the same again.

Decades later, in Edinburgh, Connie sews coded moments of her life into a notebook, as her mother did before her.

More than 100 years after his grandmother’s sewing machine was made, Fred discovers a treasure trove of documents.  His family history is laid out before him in a patchwork of unfamiliar handwriting and colourful seams. 

He starts to unpick the secrets of four generations, one stitch at a time.”

I came across this book through a Facebook writers/arts group of which I am a member, and am I glad that I did?! I read this book in a couple of days – it hooked me so completely. This novel brings together the stories of Jean and Donald, Connie and Alf, and Fred, all taking place across different periods of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but all connected by one thing – A Singer Sewing Machine.

Fergie is a skillful storyteller, weaving the story together through chapters which deal with snapshots of these characters’ lives without the plot becoming heavy or confusing. The characters are engaging and sympathetic, especially Fred, for whom I had an enormous soft spot by the end of the novel. I loved the novel’s unique telling-point, the way that it is an object rather than a person which acts as a sort of inanimate protagonist, grounding the story and cementing the history which brings these characters together. The pacing of the plot is nice and steady, and the links and secrets are revealed in a timely and interesting fashion which spurs the reader on to find out more – in short, I couldn’t put this down.

A highly enjoyable read. Five stars.

Available at:Amazon UK

A Woman Named Sellers reviewed by The Historical Novel Society

I am so delighted that the Historical Novel Society has reviewed my second novel, A Woman Named Sellers.

If you’d like to read the review, follow the link below:
Historical Novel Society – A Woman Named Sellers Review

A Woman Named SellersA Woman Named Sellers
Released: 31st May 2016

Twenty years after the first witch trials, is history about to repeat itself in Pendle?

Following the sudden death of her father, Jennet Sellers arrives in Barley to live with the Holgates, her relatives whom she barely knows. Grieving, and thrown into the turmoil of her new, cramped household, she finds solace in new friendships and in her attraction to the handsome, charismatic stonemason from Cumberland, William Braithwaite.

However, Jennet has a secret; a terrible, guilt-ridden secret which has haunted her since childhood. As Jennet finds herself falling in love with William, her life also begins to unravel, threatening to remove her thin veil of anonymity and reveal who she really is. Then, when a little boy starts telling tales about witches, suddenly Jennet finds that she is in the middle of a painfully familiar situation which puts not only her life at risk, but also threatens the lives and happiness of those she loves the most.

A Woman Named Sellers is a novel about love, forgiveness and atonement which asks, is it ever possible to escape your identity and your past?

Pitch/Blurb for Ethersay Revealed

I’m pleased to reveal my pitch/blurb for my forthcoming novel, Ethersay. Currently pitching my novel to literary agents, fingers crossed!

The day after the referendum, my life fell apart…

The day after the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, Glaswegian Yes activist Rebecca Owen decides to run away. After being involved in a car accident she is knocked unconscious and when she wakes, she finds herself inexplicably marooned on an isolated Scottish island, Ethersay.

Suffering from memory loss, Rebecca finds herself drawn into the island’s mysteries, particularly those surrounding the strange disappearance of a young woman, Delilah Berry, whose fate seems to be inextricably intertwined with her own. As Rebecca draws closer to the truth about Delilah, she is forced to confront what happened to her in Glasgow, and everything she lost, with devastating consequences.

Woven across two timelines which draw together one woman’s experiences of remote island life and the climax of the Scottish referendum in Glasgow, Ethersay is a contemporary, literary novel about the search for truth, but also the pain of remembering.

Book Review: Click Date Repeat Again by K J Farnham

Click Date Repeat Again Cover

Click Date Repeat Again is the second novel in the series by K J Farnham. It can be read and enjoyed as a novel in its own right; however, as a huge fan of Click Date Repeat I would recommend reading that one first as it hugely enhances the reader’s enjoyment of the second story.

In Click Date Repeat Again we meet Jess Mason, a twenty-something who has just come out of a bad relationship and who has a pretty poor track record with the opposite sex. Her friend, Chloe, who we met and got to know in the first book, has bought Jess a subscription to a dating website. Sceptical but nonetheless keen to break the habit of a lifetime and find a nice guy, Jess jumps feet first into the world of online dating, with some unexpected and amusing results!

In short, I absolutely adored this book. Stylistically it is flawless, and the story flows at a perfect pace. I found myself completely absorbed and unable to put it down, desperate to know whether Jess was going to get her happy ending. Farnham does an amazing job in creating some memorable characters: Jess is complex, a little vulnerable and hugely sympathetic, and I found myself really cheering her on towards the end, hoping that she was going to end up in the arms of one guy in particular. If you want to know which guy and whether she does….well, you’ll just have to read it to find out.

Five stars. An amazing read; highly recommended for fans of women’s fiction, contemporary fiction and romance.

Available at: Amazon / Createspace

First Post of the New Year

Happy new year, folks! I hope you had a peaceful and enjoyable festive season with family and friends. With 2016 firmly behind us, it’s time to look forward to this new year and, as is traditional, consider our aims and goals for the twelve months ahead. This time last year I put up a post listing all my new year’s resolutions – I’m not going to do that this year, mainly because I struggle to keep them! Instead all I’m going to say is that this year I will continue to work diligently on my books and I am aiming to publish my new novel, Ethersay, and one novella. I’m also going to diversify – there are many literary forms with which I haven’t dabbled for a lot of years, and I’d like to rediscover some of these. Short stories and poetry are foremost in my mind but, who knows, there may be other things! The name of the game this year will be going with the flow, and seeing where it leads.

With that in mind, I was quite excited to find a tempting short story competition on Mslexia. Mslexia, for those who haven’t come across it, is an online and magazine platform for female writers. So, I’ve penned an entry, tentatively called The Ticket. The story focuses on an encounter between a Czech-born shop worker and a distressed young woman one winter’s night in a corner shop in Blackpool. In the woman’s hand is a winning lottery ticket, but everything is not as it seems…

So, wish me luck! You never know, my story may feature in a future edition of Mslexia magazine and if it doesn’t, I’ll be sure to post it up here!

Witches of Pendle Giveaway

I’m pleased to announce that I’m hosting a giveaway via Goodreads. One lucky entrant will win a paperback copy of each of the books in the Witches of Pendle Series. This includes a copy of my debut novel, The Gisburn Witch, along with a copy of the second book in the series, A Woman Named Sellers. You have to be in it to win it, so click on the link below…

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Woman Named Sellers by Sarah L. King

A Woman Named Sellers

by Sarah L. King

Giveaway ends December 18, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

The art of poetry, and the musings of a teenage goth

For some time now, my husband and I have been having a debate. Unlike most of the debates we have (of which there are many – we are naturally argumentative souls), we have not yet managed to find a middle ground on this one.

The debate concerns the discovery of a teeny, innocent-looking book around eighteen months ago. Let me give you the scene: I’m sorting through my considerable book collection when I stumble upon a notebook, hard cover and adorned with the artwork of Paul Cezanne. Instantly, I remember it and it is one of those moments where the heart leaps when you realise that, contrary to what you thought, this little memento of your youth has survived. I open it and peruse the contents. In amongst Cezanne’s fine paintings of fruit and trees are my words, written between 1999 and 2001. This little book contains some of my teenage poetry.

Immediately I show the book to my husband. Looking back on that action alone, I realise now how incredible it was, and how teenage me would have cringed at showing her words to ANYONE. Mind you, teenage me cringed at a lot of things. My husband reads with interest, and afterwards he says something which still astounds – and terrifies – me. “Sarah,” he says, “you should publish this.” Straight away, I protest. “No,” I say, “who would want to read the angst-ridden ramblings of a teenager?” He laughs. “You should do it anyway,” he says, “and you could call it ‘the musings of a teenage goth’.”

Hmm. That was a lot of months ago, and no such poetry collection has been forthcoming from me as yet. I will admit that I like the proposed title, but I still find the idea of putting my poetry out there a bit excruciating. It’s weird; after writing a couple of books I am reasonably comfortable with my stories being scrutinised. My poetry, however, is another matter, perhaps because it’s so personal, such a window on my soul. And my teenage soul at that.

Tonight I re-read some of the works in my little collection and an idea occurred to me. I don’t think I’m ready to put it all out there but I might test the water a little and put a few of my favourites on my blog, one per post for a series of posts, and see what my lovely readers think.

Now, I will admit that with this first offering I am cheating a little; the following poem is one of the few to ever make it into the public domain, as it was published in the schools’ poetry collection, ‘2001: A Poetry Odyssey.’ At the time I was sixteen and studying war poetry in English literature. I had also not long returned from a visit to Ypres in Belgium as part of my history studies and my poetry at the time was greatly influenced by what I saw there.  So, without any further ado, this is “Ypres”:

Ypres

The flat green landscape once scarred by shells,

Was the setting for where the last man fell.

Corrupted by war, by murder and hate,

His name is now on a wall of the Menin Gate.

 

The soldier’s body was never found,

And buried by war, it remained on the ground.

But his friend John, he would have like what he got,

“Known unto God” in the cemetery of Tyne Cot.

 

Those two young soldiers, they’d had some fun,

In the back trenches, away from the Hun.

But when the wood became the front line,

The boys couldn’t escape the enemy in time.

 

It was he who fell first, and John soon after,

In the face of despair, all tears and no laughter.

Their souls were devoured by the appetite of war,

Just like all the brave soldiers who had gone before.

 

You can visit the memorials to those who fell,

Unable to comprehend their time in hell.

Please remember today those who met their fate,

And understand their warning; no good comes of hate.

Readers, reviews and a short update

I was really pleased to learn that the Historical Novel Society has reviewed my first novel, The Gisburn Witch. If you’d like to read their review, please follow the link:

https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/the-gisburn-witch/

It’s been an encouraging couple of months, with the readership of both The Gisburn Witch and its successor, A Woman Named Sellers, growing steadily. It’s been lovely to get feedback and reviews from readers concerning both novels. I love how so many people can read the same story but take so many different things from it. And of course, getting a review from the Historical Novel Society is the icing on the cake!

I’m conscious that since I released A Woman Named Sellers at the end of May, I have been pretty quiet. It has, of course, been the holiday time of year and I have been spending some time with my family. I’ve also been working hard on a couple of new writing projects, mainly focusing on a contemporary novel which I have called Ethersay, set in 2014 in the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum.

Ethersay is a real challenge for me, a complete departure from anything I have done previously, both in terms of style and subject matter. It has been quite liberating to get to work on something which doesn’t require an incredible amount of academic research, but at the same time, it has been quite a daunting experience to write something conjured completely in my own imagination, characters who are entirely fictional, and an ending which is not at all guided by the constraints of historical fact. I’ve still a long way to go, but I am really enjoying writing this and excited to see the end result – when I get there!

For those who enjoy my historical writing – fear not, there will be more! I spent my holidays this year in the Cotswolds in England and passed the time doing one of my absolute favourite activities – visiting castles and stately homes. As it turns out, it wasn’t all just for good fun – some of these visits have lit a few sparks in my mind in terms of story ideas for historical novels to come, so watch this space!

A Woman Named Sellers Released a Day Early

I had originally planned to released A Woman Named Sellers exactly a year after the release of my first novel, The Gisburn Witch. However, it appears that a mistake by my husband, who helped set up the publishing on Amazon for me, has resulted in the book being released a day early.

I will just have to roll with this slight change to my plans as thankfully the book was ready to be published anyway. It has been an enjoyable 12 months of writing and editing, and I am very pleased with the final result.

Anyway, I had better spend the rest of the post plugging my book so that everyone will go out and buy it!

A Woman Named SellersA Woman Named Sellers
Released: 31st May 2016

Twenty years after the first witch trials, is history about to repeat itself in Pendle?

Following the sudden death of her father, Jennet Sellers arrives in Barley to live with the Holgates, her relatives whom she barely knows. Grieving, and thrown into the turmoil of her new, cramped household, she finds solace in new friendships and in her attraction to the handsome, charismatic stonemason from Cumberland, William Braithwaite.

However, Jennet has a secret; a terrible, guilt-ridden secret which has haunted her since childhood. As Jennet finds herself falling in love with William, her life also begins to unravel, threatening to remove her thin veil of anonymity and reveal who she really is. Then, when a little boy starts telling tales about witches, suddenly Jennet finds that she is in the middle of a painfully familiar situation which puts not only her life at risk, but also threatens the lives and happiness of those she loves the most.

A Woman Named Sellers is a novel about love, forgiveness and atonement which asks, is it ever possible to escape your identity and your past?

Available at: Amazon / iTunes / iTunes UK / Smashwords / Kobo

The Gisburn Witch – $0.99/£0.99 Sale

In honour of the fact that we are now only 10 days away from the release of A Woman Named Sellers on the 1st June 2016, I am pleased to announce that the ebook version of my debut novel, The Gisburn Witch will be on sale for only $0.99/£0.99 over the next month and can be bought via the links below.

The Gisburn Witch currently holds an average rating of 4.13/5.00 on Goodreads as well as having attracted numerous positive reviews and comments.

Praise for The Gisburn Witch:

It is beautifully written and a must-read for lovers of historical fiction.
  - K.J. Farnham, Author of Don’t Call me Kit Kat

Jennet, the protagonist, is a complex, well-constructed character: her very human mix of need, desires, confusion, yearning, loving and sadness is potent and makes her a character that lingers in my mind.
  - Deborah Lincoln, Author of Agnes Canon’s War


Gisburn CoverThe Gisburn Witch
Released: 1st June 2015

A tragic tale of friendship, passion and betrayal set against the backdrop of the Pendle witch trials of 1612, one of the most famous witch trials in English history.

Scandalised as a young woman after being accused of seducing Tom Lister, a gentleman’s son, Jennet Preston’s life is filled with shame and hardship. An outcast in her own village, she befriends the Device family in Blacko, and she is quickly embroiled in their world of folk magic and superstition, of old family feuds and dangerous reputations.

When fate intervenes to reunite her with Tom, Jennet risks everything for love and happiness, but when tragedy strikes Jennet finds that she is vulnerable to accusations for which she could pay the ultimate price. The Gisburn Witch is a novel about falling in love with the wrong person, making the wrong friends, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Available at: Amazon UK / Amazon / iTunes / iTunes UK / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Kobo