Katherine has read, I think, everything I have written and is always generous with her time, giving very useful feedback and writing reviews for me on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. I still use her early reviews for ‘Alfi Beasti, don’t eat that!’ and the ‘Going Out in the Midday Sun’ trilogy, and in fact for most of my books as she has a knack of, without waffle, creatively encapsulating the elements of the writing.
“If you found a book that contained your entire life from beginning to end, would you read it?”
Such is the dilemma, one of many often posed on the internet, which is faced by the protagonist in ”The Hundred and Fifty – Eighth Book”.
Hamish, a Bloomsbury bookseller, stumbles upon the red leather bound volume during a quiet morning at his shop. On opening the first chapter it seems that the narrative bears an uncanny resemblance to recent events in his life. From this mysterious beginning, the reader is propelled into a fast paced and curious romp through 1980’s London, where it soon becomes clear that there may indeed be more than one version of this book.
Hamish’s adventures are deeply rooted in the era and place. The sights, sounds and smells of 1980’s London are beautifully evoked by an author who clearly knows her patch and the setting is further enhanced by her own atmospheric drawings. Ms Hardy has a strong eye for detail, for the small everyday things that are easily overlooked but are very evocative of a time or place.
The characters are so affectionately depicted that one feels they must be at least partly based on real people of Ms Hardy’s acquaintance! I particularly liked Hamish’s mother and Evan, the Yorkshire chapters in which they feature forming a poignant contrast to the rest of the narrative.
This is a cleverly woven and most enjoyable tale. “To whoever picks this up” hang on to your hat! You are in for a colourful and intriguing ride!