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The Fascination by Essie Fox #Review #Giveaway

   Today be prepared for a dark, Victorian gothic novel! The Fascination by Essie Fox is published on June 22nd by Orenda . For the chance to win a print copy of The Fascination see the foot of this post for details. Victorian England. A world of rural fairgrounds and glamorous London theatres. A world of dark secrets and deadly obsessions… Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are identical in every way, except that Tilly hasn't grown a single inch since she was five. Coerced into promoting their father's quack elixir as they tour the country fairgrounds, at the age of fifteen the girls are sold to a mysterious Italian known as ‘Captain’. Theo is an orphan, raised by his grandfather, Lord Seabrook, a man who has a dark interest in anatomical freaks and other curiosities … particularly the human kind. Resenting his grandson for his mother’s death in childbirth, when Seabrook remarries and a new heir is produced, Theo is forced to leave home without a penny to his

No Honour by Awais Khan #Review #Giveaway


 Today we have a complete change of tone with Awais Khan's searing novel, No Honour. which was published by Orenda Books on 19th August. I also have a great giveaway with the chance to win a print copy of the book. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post. 

In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves. 

When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.

Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.

 My Thoughts

This novel takes an uncompromising look at the practice of honour killing and at times makes for uncomfortable reading. It is such a stark portrayal of the powerlessness of women in society in some parts of Pakistan where age-old beliefs are predominant. Through Abida's story, you are shown how violence is used to subdue women and there is real misogyny present in the relations between men and women. Fearful of going against this culture, terrible crimes are perpetuated against young girls and women who it seems have no voice. Denied education and kept apart, they are expected to live in subjugation to their male family members.

    The opening sequences are shocking and certainly shows you the cruelty that these beliefs demand. As the story moves from rural Pakistan to the city of Lahore, you see a different way of life but one in which women are still punished and used. The story is told through the alternating perspectives of Abida and her father, Jamil. Despite the misery which is inflicted on vulnerable people, there is also a hopeful message where some family ties are shown to be able to move away from old practices and love cements a better way of life. Dark and upsetting at times, the story nevertheless shows us the resilience of the human spirit.

In short: a challenging read

About the Author

Awais Khan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Durham University, and studied creative writing with Faber Academy. His debut novel, In the Company of Strangers, was published to much critical acclaim, and he now regularly appears on TV and radio. Awais also teaches a popular online creative writing course to aspiring writers around the world. He lives in Lahore and is currently working on his third novel. 

You can follow Awais here: Twitter 

Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Awais Khan, Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

 Check out these great bloggers!

Giveaway (UK only)

To win a print copy of No Honour, just Follow and Retweet the pinned Tweet at @bookslifethings and good luck!

Closing date is August 13th 2021 and there is one winner.

*Terms and Conditions –UK only.  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.





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