A Word Glittering with Spikes by Nigel McClea
|A Word Glittering with Spikes by Nigel McClea|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A long, indulgent, romantic read from an author who knows his background and develops realistic characters. Nigel McClea popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 466||Date: September 2014|
|Publisher: Now Voyager Publishing|
We're going to follow the fortunes of two couples (or are they 'would-be couples' or 'might-have-been couples'?) as they navigate the treacherous waters of love. David Castledine's first meeting with Jenny could hardly have been less auspicious: he hit her. He didn't actually mean to hit her but he threw a stick for his aunt's dog to chase and it caught her on the head. Head wounds bleed profusely and this one was no exception, so David had to take her back to his aunt's apartment to clean her up. I suppose there have been worse meetings, but it's difficult to think of one!
Bill Challenger was a little more circumspect when he met Charlotte Woods. He was a newly-qualified solicitor - and newly-arrived in the firm's offices in Leeds - when he encountered Charlotte, who was a pupil, but a very unusual one. Some people might have described her as 'unlovely' with her sturdy build and a face that wasn't usually described as pretty. Her love life wasn't much better either; she'd been determined to lose her virginity the night before - and failed. Bill wasn't doing much better either. He was still mourning his dead girlfriend - and had been doing for an unconscionably long time.
It is such a relief to meet leading characters who are not six foot three, blond and good looking - and that's before we get to the men. David and Bill are - well, I'd hesitate the use the word gormless, but they're innocents abroad and sometimes you wonder if they should be allowed out without a responsible adult. Jenny was definitely on the rebound when she met David - she'd just been dumped by her boyfriend, but perhaps her expectations of him had been too high - and Charlotte is only just getting over the sudden death of both her parents and even her ferocious intelligence hasn't really enabled her to deal with men other than in the workplace.
Nigel McClea has wisely stuck to what he knows best. In another life he was a solicitor and he's made three out of the four main characters either study or practice law and it's obvious that he's comfortable with what his characters are doing and saying - obvious too that he knows lots more which he could say, rather than cramming in every bit of research as far too many authors do. He obviously knows Leeds too. So do I - and he brings it to life perfectly.
It's a long, indulgent read. Everyone we meet has a story to tell, or - just occasionally - one they'd rather wasn't known and there's an elegant mirroring of circumstances and events between the two couples, which carries the story along nicely. If I've one quibble about the plot it's the occurrences of 'insta-love' between the couples - I much prefer that it develops steadily rather than at first sight. That's me being picky though.
I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For another story which brought Leeds to life we can recommend Grief Encounters by Stuart Pawson.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Word Glittering with Spikes by Nigel McClea at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy A Word Glittering with Spikes by Nigel McClea at Amazon.com.
Nigel McClea was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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Malcolm Butterworth said:
Looks like a great read, turn the telly off, lock the door and put the cat out, looks like I'm going away for awhile, hope I make it back in one piece.