We really want to support Birmingham authors. Here we review the latest book from local writer Katherine D'Souza who will be coming to meet the Mobile Library Book Group later in the year.
About Katharine - in her own words
"I've lived all my adult life in the south Birmingham suburbs although I grew up in a larger city further south. Given how long I've been here, it's perhaps unsurprising that my stories are set in Birmingham, but I hope the themes are universal. I write contemporary novels and the occasional short story, am a member of the PowWow Writers' Groupand help organise the PowWow Litfest. In addition to writing, I work part time at a university and used to be a flood forecaster but I'm sure you're here because of Deeds Not Words or Park Life rather than to read my CV."
It’s all about Caroline who has recently returned to Birmingham and her family roots after her divorce. Her mum and dad, Alice and Ray, live in Harborne whilst her brother Peter is in London. Her Nan is ill and ends up in hospital and this is the catalyst for the plot. Caroline’s Nan, Beth, is the salt of the earth who cares deeply for the family and the community. Her home was bequeathed to her by her mother and she lived in the same home all her life. Whilst in hospital Beth asks Caroline to talk to her solicitor and make an appointment for her to come and see her about changing her will. As we know money, wills and illness is not a good combination. As Caroline searches through her Nan’s papers at home information comes to light of which Caroline and her brother have no knowledge.
The plot develops to bring in the Museum where Caroline works, unknown relatives, the manufacturing in the Jewellery Quarter, the Suffragette movement and great, great, great Aunt Susannah Garrold who writes a will bequeathing her goods and chattels only to women members of the family. The story revolves around the colours of the Suffragette movement of White (for purity), Green (for hope) and purple (for dignity) with the motto ‘Deeds not Words’.
The novel captures the day-to-day problems experienced by any family, in any community, in any location. It takes the reader through the ups and downs of job, romantic relationships, and family with total ease. I suppose ‘Who do you Think Are’ comes to mind and this programme is mention by one of the librarians! To me the story is about what we know about our own family, why we rarely question things that seem obscure within the family group and how historic events impact on the family unit as it was then and it is now.
The Suffragette movement, in my opinion was critical in women being given, not only the vote, but also in allowing women to become part of society. It also helped secure the universal vote for many men who until 1928 still had no voice. However the family, as portrayed by Susannah’s father, certainly did not want his daughter to be caught up in the politics of the day. Nothing new there – things we should never talk about is religion, sex, politics and money – only leads to dissent – alas! Susannah ignored her father and never spoke to him again (what a decision). And this quarrel continued for one hundred years!!
A real page turner it really hit the spot of however mundane our live there is always so many aspects that grips the imagination. I loved it being set in Birmingham, going to places like the School of Art & Museums as well as Symphony Hall and the canals. The romantic character of Ollie was interesting as was the impact the Staffordshire Hoard had on ordinary people who went ‘looking for loot’.
Caroline was very dignified in the face of her mother’s disapproval of speaking to Richard Garrold, her Nan to me represented the purity of ‘doing the right thing’ and the last bit where Caroline, Peter and Richard decided to develop a new space in the factory was the sign of hope – the Suffragette Motto. I loved the way the author put the Birmingham Motto of FORWARD in the front of the novel where people usually include dedications. Loved it.
I would enjoy listening to the author’s views.
Reviewer: Su R
Lovely book! Good characters, believable and interesting. These are ‘my’ parks as I live on the borders of Moseley and Kings Heath, so I know the area well, and like Susan I came here from another place to live in Birmingham. The influence of these green areas (all very different in character) in the middle of the City really enhances friendships and life experiences. The quirky shops and tea rooms are great places to meet and explore friendships.
A ‘feel good’ story in the best possible way.
A great page turner with a lovely heart warming message.