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The First Book Of The Year 2017

The lovey Sheila at Book Journey is on a mission to get as many pictures of books being read on 1 January 2017, so pop on over to see how many she managed to get!

The book I have chosen as the first read of the year is A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys which will be published on 23 March 2017, chosen by me for a very special reason…

The 6 March 2016 would have been my son Owen’s 22nd birthday, the day we had designated as the one where we would spread his ashes, and because the fates were determined to do their very worst, it was also Mother’s Day here in the UK. Owen’s birthday had coincided with Mother’s Day only once before, when realising Mum would do without her day, as his birthday was far more important, we exchanged cards that cold March morning with his to me saying ‘Celebrating OUR special day xx’ For the two special days to coincide this year, my first without him, seemed almost too much to bear – but as they say, the show must go on, and it did.

owen-2012

In memory of Owen pictured here in 2012

At the same time a group of authors were holding an auction to raise funds for CLIC Sargent, a charity that supports children and young adults from the moment of a cancer diagnosis onwards. Now we didn’t have the support of this charity, but I’m well aware of the different needs of someone Owen’s age to a cancer diagnosis. It is particularly tough that at a time when youngsters think they are invincible, that they are forced to confront something so tough.  That’s not to say we had no support, we did and all the healthcare professionals we met were exceptional, but on a small island there was no-one else Owen’s age, dealing with that kind of news, and I wish there had been something more tailored to his needs.

The closing date for the auction was, yes – 6 March 2016, and I was determined to give funds to this charity, and to do so, I had to win an auction. I entered several knowing that we would be having our special meal for Owen at the time it closed. Having eaten a lovely meal and raised my (final) Gin and Tonic, I checked the website and was thrilled to see I had won the prize I really wanted – to be named in one of Tammy Cohen’s books! When the formalities were done, she told me (I had to keep it secret) that she was writing a historical novel and she didn’t think my name would fit in that one, so did I mind waiting, I didn’t – and then she surprised me – I have a cameo role in A Dangerous Crossing under her pen name Rachel Rhys! How cool is that? She kindly sent me the proof a while ago and it was instantly reserved for this post.

dangerous-crossing

Blurb

It was a first class deception that would change her life forever

1939, Europe on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd leaves England on an ocean liner for Australia, escaping her life of drudgery for new horizons. She is instantly seduced by the world onboard: cocktails, black-tie balls and beautiful sunsets. Suddenly, Lily finds herself mingling with people who would otherwise never give her the time of day.

But soon she realizes her glamorous new friends are not what they seem. The rich and hedonistic Max and Eliza Campbell, mysterious and flirtatious Edward, and fascist George are all running away from tragedy and scandal even greater than her own.

By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and life will never be the same again. Amazon

So with a huge thank you to Rachel Rhys especially for her kind words in my signed copy, and in the sincere hope that my small donation will help another young person, I’m eager to see what my cameo role is!

Now the point of Sheila’s post was to collect pictures and unhappily I’ve had a vicious virus since Christmas, so here I am hiding behind A Dangerous Crossing so not to scare you all too much. After all it is New Year’s Day not Halloween!!

read-into-2017

What is your first read of 2017 going to be?

Wishing everyone of you much health, happiness and good books in 2017.

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

111 thoughts on “The First Book Of The Year 2017

  1. Dear Cleo, your sheer courage since losing Owen is something I don’t think any of the rest of us could hope to understand. I simply cannot imagine the pain I’d feel if I were to lose my daughter or my grandson. The bravery you’ve displayed is a wonderful example to all the rest of us parents, and a wonderful memorial to Owen.

    I hope I haven’t come stumbling in on clumsy boots, but I wanted to let you know what an inspiration you’ve been.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. they are lovely and so kind – in many ways having the blog as somewhere to be, where I can be ‘normal’ has been an enormous help to me. Grief came with far more horrible side-effects than I imagined it would and of course I still have days when life is incredibly tough but they are reducing in frequency, as the focus of my memories of my dear boy focus begin to favour the happier times.

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  2. That is incredibly touching, and wonderful how the auction lined up with his birthdate. I always wonder about the coincidence surrounding it or if it something bigger. (I find reassurance in timings like those, at least.) Even though life has its downs, its events like these that remind me to keep my head up, a smile on, and to support others.

    Can’t wait to hear about your role in the book 😍

    As for the first thing to read this year… I’m not quite sure yet. 🤔

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  3. A beautiful and moving post Cleo. It was meant to be that you would win the auction on that day. I have this book and looking forward to seeing your role. My first read of 2017 is a continuation from Christmas (and which I have now almost finished!), Relativity by Antonia Haynes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My dear Cleo, what a moving story. I have so admired your courage and grace over the last two years, and this is a small reward for your pain and resilience, and a tribute to motherly love. Sending you big hugs and hope you are recovering from that virus.

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  5. What a beautiful and moving post Cleo you are an inspiration and I’m so glad you won the book and will look forward to your review. What a lovely photo of you both sending you much love x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A very moving message and coincidences that add to the grief. How wonderful to be featured in an author’s book. I will definitely check out A DANGEROUS CROSSING . The cover is beautiful and reminiscent of some the early ads for the CUNARD transatlantic crossings.

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    1. Thank you Jean-Paul – that day in WHSmiths I nearly had a meltdown but winning this auction made it a little bit better – The cover is beautiful, and from what I’ve read so far this is going to be a brilliant read!

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  7. Wow, I didn’t know any of your story but what a lovely post and thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to read this book either and looking forward to seeing your cameo role now too. Happy new year to you x

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  8. Dear Cleo, beautiful, heartfelt post my heart aches for you. I hope the pleasure of reading goes some way to helping you escape sad days and give you hope for the future. I can’t wait to read this book. Much love to you and your family xx

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  9. What a beautiful post Cleo – 6th March obviously must have been such a significant and emotional day for you. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been. I have a copy of that book too so will watch out for you! My first read is The Affair by Amanda Brooke. But it’s on Kindle so no photo available! Hope you feel better soon xx

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    1. Thank you Joanne, it was a significant day, of which there were many in that first year but I learned that I don’t miss him on those days any more than any other and so although of course it’s a day for a special time of reflection. Winning the auction made my day and it’s brilliant to have read the book now.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Some things are meant to be. I’m not a particularly religious person and see myself as quite down to earth and rational and yet I see and hear stories that sometimes seem to go beyond coincidence. Whatever forces were at play, it was a suitably positive and bookish end to a tough day and a prize that Owen would no doubt have wanted for you.
    Enjoy your book and look forward to hearing about your role. With a couple of dead passengers I would love it if poison were involved – that would be right up your street.
    Hope 2017 is kind to you – all best wishes xx

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  11. A lovely post Cleo. How great to have your name in a novel and help young people like Owen at the same time. I’ve seen the work CLIC Sargent do & they really make a difference.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery – I’ve also been ill over the festive season and its taking forever to shift – here’s hoping we’re getting it all out the way now for a wonderfully healthy 2017!

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  12. What a beautiful and moving post, Cleo. I’m so sorry about Owen. Fate has definitely been at work and how exciting for you to have a cameo in A Dangerous Crossing. It’s on my pile to read so when I see your name I will be thinking of this post. My first book of the year is Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson which I am racing through.

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    1. Thank you xx I loved my cameo and was very proud to show my daughter – this is a book I won’t be parting with! I do hope you enjoy the book, which is very good (even without me). I saw you’ve finished your first book too – here is to many more good reads in 2017

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  13. I’m so very sorry to hear about your son Cleo. This is such a lovely post, I do hope your cameo role and small donation will go some way to helping another young person. Wishing you all the best for 2017, and beyond. 🙂

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  14. A beautiful and moving post. The “coincidences” relating to what would have been Owen’s 22nd birthday – so poignant! Thank you for sharing. And what a special first read of the year. I shall have to read the book myself come publication. Happy New Year! xx

    My first read of 2017 is an advance copy of the German translation of “I See You” by Clare Mackintosh.

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    1. Thank you Sandra – as you say the coincidences mounted up and being named in the book has left me with something tangible from the day I dreaded so desperately.
      I loved I See You, so I hope you enjoyed it as your first book of the year.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Such a lovely surprise, Cleo. A bright spot in what must have been a difficult year for you and your family with its many milestones and anniversaries.

    I do hope that you’ll be over your virus soon.

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    1. Thank you Susan – the first year is very hard but winning the auction made a dreaded day into one that ended on better note. To have the book, with my name in it, really meant something special to me. Fortunately the virus has gone enough for me to return to work tomorrow 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  16. What a lovely story, Cleo. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to lose Owen, but what a nice thing to happen to you, to win that book. Thanks for sharing such a touching background story, and now I’ll have to read this to see your cameo appearance!

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  17. I’m so sorry to hear about your son, Cleo. I hope you enjoy A Dangerous Crossing – it’s one that I’m looking forward to, and I can’t wait to find out what your cameo role is! Jo x

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  18. I’m so moved by your post Cleo and so sorry for your loss. Sending you love and wishing you a very happy 2017 xxx

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  19. So sorry to hear about your son, Cleo and what a lovely photo. So special to have a cameo role in A Dangerous Crossing and to support such a great charity at the same time. Take care.

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  20. Beautiful post, Cleo. I hope 2017 will be very kind to you and your family.

    And I hope A Dangerous Crossing will be made available in the U.S. I would love to read it!

    xoxo -Ann Marie

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    1. Thank you Ann Marie – I’m not sure if you’ve seen but Tammy responded below with this:

      PS For those who’ve been asking, A Dangerous Crossing will be published in the States by Simon & Schuster, but not sure exactly when.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. What a warrior mum you are to have gone through Owen’s cancer journey. And how totally awesome to have a cameo in this author’s book, a genre you love reading. Your pic is cute for Shelia’s montage of First Book of the Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you Stefanie – I am beyond thrilled to be named in the book and to have given a little bit back to such a worthy charity at the same time means it is even more special. You really are being too kind about the photo 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. What an inspiring and heartfelt post you have written here! Thank you for sharing it with us. You touched me deeply, as my husband has had 2 cancer surgeries in past few years, but hopefully he is recovered now. Bless your courage! I loved the intersection of Fate in all above– makes one wonder.

    This book sounds wonderful, even if you weren’t in it 🙂 I will certainly look for it when it releases. Hope you absolutely love it and feel better soon!

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    1. Thank you Lauren, I’m near the end (which I knew already) and Tammy did a fantastic job of weaving both my full and ‘normal’ name into the storyline – I’m delighted. Wishing you a very happy 2017 too.

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  23. What a moving post… I am sorry to hear of your loss and send much love to you and your family ❤ You are a lovely person and I wish you all the best in the new year! Many blessings!

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  24. I’m so sorry for your loss and can’t imagine what a difficult day March 6 was for you. I love the picture of your son and this was just an amazing story. What a perfect book to start out 2017 with. Happy New Year and happy reading! I hope you’re feeling better.

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  25. I only discovered your blog a few months ago and had no idea you had lost a child. Please accept my belated condolences on your loss and my admiration for your courage in facing your son’s death and being able to continue reading and writing about books with insight and grace.
    I finished my first book of the year today (although I started it yesterday, so I’m not sure if that counts). Anyway, it was Jenn Ashworth’s A KIND OF INTIMACY. If you like books with unreliable narrators where a sense of foreboding and menace gradually builds, this would be a good choice.

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    1. Aw thank you Deb – it isn’t something I mention often here, your words are incredibly touching, thank you. I love an unreliable narrator so it sounds as if A Kind of Intimacy would be the perfect fit for me.

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  26. As I haven’t been in the blogging community long I had no idea about the loss of your son Cleo. We never know what others are going through in their lives outside the blog and I’m so very sorry for the loss of your son. Your courage to keep blogging is inspiring. I want to wish you a peaceful 2017. Hopefully A Dangerous Crossing will come to the US!

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    1. Aw Renee, thank you. I have deliberately kept my blog separate from my personal life and no-one knew until I posted a single post explaining my absence in 2015 – in many ways it made writing this particular post so hard to write, but it was so important to me, I had to do so. A Dangerous Crossing is excellent and Tammy posted a comment below:
      PS For those who’ve been asking, A Dangerous Crossing will be published in the States by Simon & Schuster, but not sure exactly when.
      So I hope you get to read it too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Cleo – this is such a lovely post. I remember first hearing about Owen via your post on Twitter, and being struck then by your incredible honesty and courage in writing about something so painful. Then for you to win the Clic Sargent auction on that particular day felt ‘right’ somehow – but also a huge responsibility. I so wanted to do you proud but, as we discussed, Cleopatra isn’t the easiest name to slip into a story! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your brief appearance on the Orestes, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your bookish support over the years. Here’s to a peaceful and fulfilling 2017 xx
    PS For those who’ve been asking, A Dangerous Crossing will be published in the States by Simon & Schuster, but not sure exactly when.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So keen was I to respond to your post, Cleo I’ve got the name of the bloody ship wrong in my reply. Obviously it should be Orontes, not Orestes (which is something to do with Greek mythology). Just ignore me!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. What a lovely photo of you and Owen. So sorry to hear you had a virus but how fantastic to be in the book and have given money to such a great cause. Happy New Year and thanks for the pleasure of reading your blog over the last year.

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  29. What a moving story, Cleo. I can understand why this is so important to you and it’s a lovely tribute in a way how all of the dates have aligned. Sorry for your loss but your strength is an inspiration.

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