Book Reviews

A lifetime of impossible days

I held my breath. And didn’t let it out until the final page. Immersed in the words, the beauty of a tragedy which came to a triumphant and satisfying end, I became the three Willas of the story – a character of selves – as an eight-year-old, 33-year-old and 93 year old. It was redemption, introspection, laughter, life and a lot of heart gripping moments of the soul.

A Lifetime of Impossible Days involves an ocean in a box, jam drops, and a childhood filled with memories no child should remember.

Willa time slips, with the help of the ocean that she collects in a jar, which allows her to interact with each of her selves at the ages of 8, 33 and a delightful 93.

It’s a Lifetime of Impossible Days and impossible to break the story up into mundane thoughts like a storyline – it’s a book meant to be read, loved and cried over.

I couldn’t, initially, read it in one sitting as it overwhelmed me, but then suddenly, I couldn’t put it down.

The book I ended 2021 with – such a great choice – a book to remember always.

Tabitha Bird is brilliant and I’m about to start on her next – The Emporium of Imagination.

A Lifetime of Impossible Days

By Tabitha Bird

Penguin Books

The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood

I came to this party a bit late. This dystopian classic was first published in 1985 and bears all the classic Atwood traits in its narrative. Like many of the author's books it isn't in any way joyful, but it is compelling. It made my heart beat. I've had my version of the novel (republished in 2017, with an updated introduction by the author) sitting on my shelf for a while, but I haven't been game to read it. I've read reviews, seen some ads for the TV series and just couldn't bring myself to get immersed in a book I knew would make me both sad and angry.

Anyhow, I picked it up last week, determined to get it behind me and finished it quickly - mainly because it was hard to put down. Yes, I was angry. Yes, I was sad. Yes, it made me depressed. It did all these things to my emotions because I could so easily see how the Republic of Gilead could be translated into our modern lives.

While women across the globe are fighting to be heard, calling for equality in all things and protesting for our right to be safe in a mainly mail dominated society, I can see how easily we can lose ground and end up as Marthas or Handmaidens or worse.

𝗠𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 - read it - it's one of our modern classics and needs to be read. It also needs to stand as a warning that change can happen in a heartbeat and that it isn't always for the welfare of all, despite how many claim it is for the greater 'good'.

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘥'𝘴 𝘛𝘢𝘭𝘦

𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘨𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘵 𝘈𝘵𝘸𝘰𝘰𝘥

𝘍𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘥: 1985

Encountering The Dark Goddess

Frances Billinghurst

The Dark Goddess is often associated with the Underworld where she leads the uninitiated through a transformative journey of self-discovery, change and soul renewal. She is connected with the unwanted, the forgotten, the ignored or even ashamed parts of our psyche. However there is more to her than that.

Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms guides you through what this challenging facet of the Divine Feminine, the Dark Goddess, is truly about, and encourages you to step through the veils into her hidden realm to explore 13 aspects of herself.

Whether you seek healing from past trauma, release from fears or acceptance of the “unacceptable” aspects of your self, Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms offers ways for you to transform and heal your life through the power of meditation, ritual and inner journeying with the Dark Goddess into her shadowy realms. Use the 13 goddess myths as a guide to discover how to remove the stagnant and unwanted and embrace the ever changing aspects of life that can drag us into the pits of despair.

When we connect the Dark Goddess, we are able to find the light within the darkness and our lives are enriched through the integration of all aspects of our soul as a perfect whole.

Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realm

Frances Billinghurst

Moon Books


The Other Side of Beautiful

Kim Lock

I am really glad I read this book without reading the blurb, as this pretty much gives you a snapshot of the whole book, giving just about everything away. I enjoyed having the story unfurl in front of my eyes.

If you can, ignore the back cover and also don’t get too hung up on the title, as this doesn’t give a good representation of the content either.

What you shouldn’t ignore is the book itself. I had trouble putting it down as I was so engaged with the central character, the flawed Mercy Blain and her little sausage dog Wasabi. I was in her corner, cheering her on and holding my breath as she faced each new challenge.

This is a story of courage and strength, persistence, and resilience – a woman who faced her challenges even when she didn’t want to and the outcomes for her along the way.

We go on a journey with Mercy, which starts out in the leafy suburbs of Adelaide and takes us all the way to the top end of Australia.

What made it even more enjoyable for me was that in the early part of the book I travelled with Mercy through Adelaide and towards the Flinders Ranges, an area I know pretty well. I live in South Australia’s Clare Valley and it’s always lovely to read impressions of where you live.

I have also been, to a lesser extent, in the same emotional black hole which Mercy experiences, so this was another reason to keep cheering her on.

I loved this book and would recommend it – even if the cover looks a bit like a self-help manual – but then again, perhaps it is!

Mercy and her travels take us on a journey which has the ability to make us think about our lives, what’s important and how coping mechanisms can often turn on us.

Author Kim Lock gives us hope in a sometimes poignant, quirky, funny and ultimately enlightening story of a woman, her dog and her salvation.

Now I’m going to hunt up her backlist!

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a review copy.

The Other Side of Beautiful

Kim Lock

ISBN: 9781867214908

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release date: 7 July 2021