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A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village by Michelle Vernal #Review

  Michelle Vernal's A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village was published on September 27th by Bookoutre . Ava Kelly loves returning to Emerald Bay for Christmas. Snowflakes fall on the green rolling hills and mulled wine fills The Shamrock Inn with the smell of winter spice. But this year, the Kelly family is hoping for a miracle… When twenty-four-year-old Ava Kelly and her adventurous twin Grace return home to The Shamrock Inn, their Ma’s favourite baubles bring back so many memories of Christmases past. They have always done everything together, even leaving their little Irish village for the excitement of London. But with the locket her handsome ex Shane gave her hanging just above her heart, Ava has just one wish this festive season… After a year stuck in a job she can’t stand and going on dreadful dates, Ava longs to be back with Shane. Curling up in front of the fire with him, the brooding fisherman everyone else sees melts away as his blue eyes meet hers.

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters #CheltenhamLiteraryFestival #Review



I am thrilled to be taking part in the celebrations for the Cheltenham Literary Festival which is running from October 4-17.This International Festival is showcasing a wide variety of genres and the programme spans history, food, travel, poetry and spoken word, art, sport, faith, philosophy, fashion, psychology, science, nature, business and much more. You can find more information about the festival here.

I am lucky to have received a copy of Torrey Peters' Detransition, Baby which has been longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2021. Torrey Peters is appearing alongside Elizabeth Day at the Festival on Saturday 9th October at 8.30pm. Their session is called Detransition, Divorce And Starting Anew: Torrey will be talking via live link from the US to Elizabeth Day,and they will discuss divorce, de-transition and the pains and pleasures of reinventing yourself.

'Irresistible ... Detransition, Baby is the first great trans realist novel' Grace Lavery, Guardian

 Reese nearly had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York, a job she didn't hate. She'd scraped together a life previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child. Then everything fell apart and three years on Reese is still in self-destruct mode, avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

When her ex calls to ask if she wants to be a mother, Reese finds herself intrigued. After being attacked in the street, Amy de-transitioned to become Ames, changed jobs and, thinking he was infertile, started an affair with his boss Katrina. Now Katrina's pregnant. Could the three of them form an unconventional family - and raise the baby together?

My Thoughts

As I read this book with its focus on three women, trans and cis, I was struck at how they seemed to be continually reassessing their self -identity and re-evaluating how they fitted into the world they found themselves in. I thought that particularly Reece seemed to alter herself according to who she was with and at times wanted nothing more than to be not noticed- at other times, she seemed to want the opposite! Starting over again and re-inventing yourself after trauma runs through the book. The author dedicates the book to divorced women and draws a parallel between the experience of trans women and those going through divorce as they have to start again, putting the past aside.

    Motherhood dominates the book with different views shown by the characters. What makes a family and how co-parenting can work are ideas which are looked at by the different women. You feel the pain of the characters, especially Reece, as she agonises over her desire to be a parent. This is a raw look at three women's lives with some violence and trauma which shows how some people cannot face up to how their behaviour will affect others.

About the Author

Torrey Peters is the author of the novel Detransition, Baby, published by One World/Random House, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She is also the authors of the novellas Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones and The Masker. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa and a Masters in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth. Torrey rides a pink motorcycle and splits her time between Brooklyn and an off-grid cabin in Vermont.

You can follow Torrey here: Website  |  Twitter 

Book link: Amazon UK

 Thanks to Torrey Peters and Sofia Saghir of midaspr for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

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