Blog Tour/Book Review: Joseph Barnaby by Susan Roebuck

Joseph Barnaby

I’m delighted to be co-hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Joseph Barnaby by Susan Roebuck.  You can read my review below and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of the following prizes:

1st prize an Amazon book token (£10)
2nd prize – 2 x signed paperbacks of Joseph Barnaby
3rd prize – 2 x ebooks of Joseph Barnaby

Giveaway Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter linkThe winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then the giveaway organiser reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time the data will be deleted.   The giveaway organiser is responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Joseph BarnabyAbout the Book

Stand by your beliefs – even if it means going to the end of the Earth.

By standing up for his principles to save the life of a prize racehorse, farrier Joseph Barnaby loses everything. Now, a personal vendetta has become too deep to fight and he escapes to the island of Madeira where he finds work on a small farm at the foot of a cliff, only accessible by boat. The balmy climate and never-ending supply of exotic fruit, vegetables and honey make it sound like paradise but, for Joseph, it’s the ideal place to hide from the world.

Can the inhabitants of Quinta da Esperança, who have more grit in them than the pebbled beach that fronts the property, help Joseph find his self-worth again? And can he escape the danger that draws ever nearer?

Format: Ebook (343 pp.)                 Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Published: 5th October 2018          Genre: Fiction, Romance

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My Review

The book alternates between two timelines before and after the event that caused Joseph to seek refuge from his unhappy memories and the overwhelming sense of guilt that haunts him.  The island of Madeira is the location of that refuge although, as he admits himself, it could have been anywhere as long it was away from England and the trauma of his recent experiences.  As it happens, Madeira and more particularly the Quinta owned by Fernando turns out to be the perfect haven for Joseph.  Its remote location, accessible only by boat or a precipitous path, means he can hide himself away from the outside and the discovery he fears.  Fernando’s wife, Maria, and niece, Sofia, are the only other inhabitants of the farm… if you don’t count Joseph’s new friend, Ed the donkey.

Madeira 2The smattering of Portuguese phrases and references to local dishes really help to conjure up the atmosphere of the beautiful island of Madeira.  I was lucky enough to holiday there a few years ago and the scenery is as dramatic and stunning as the book describes, especially if you venture on a bus ride around the coast.  The bus drivers really do deserve a medal for bravery!  Hint: if you suffer from vertigo, best not sit by the window.

What was interesting was that, although set in the present, I found myself being surprised by references to modern things such as solar panels.  I think this was because the way of life depicted on the Quinta seems unchanged for generations and steeped in tradition. Given the Quinta’s basic amenities (composting toilet, no thank you) it really felt the story could have been set at any time over the past fifty years.  While I was enjoying the story I also learnt a little about grape harvesting, wine-making, bee-keeping, knot tying and the role performed by a farrier.

I found that some of the characters were more subtly drawn and believable than others.  I liked the way the author depicted the relationship between Maria and Fernando, Sofia’s aunt and uncle, as a mature couple who still display the mutual affection (and passion) of their younger days.  It was great as well to have such a sensitive and positive treatment of a character with a disability and for that character to play such a central role in the story.

MadeiraIn Joseph Barnaby, the author skilfully melds a tender romance with the gradual reveal of the mystery of Joseph’s past, all set against the stunning backdrop of the island of Madeira.  Personally, I wasn’t sure it needed the mystical element introduced via one of the characters.   What’s not in doubt is that the book is a great advertisement for the island of Madeira!

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Crooked Cat Books, and Rachel’s Random Resources.

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In three words: Romantic, atmospheric, tender

Try something similar… Forest Dancer by Susan Roebuck

About the Author

Susan writes: I was born and educated in the UK (I am British!) but now live in Portugal. I’ve been an English teacher for many years with the British Council and also the Portuguese civil service where I developed e-learning courses. My first love is, of course, my husband, my second writing, and my third painting. And now I have time to be able to indulge in all three.

My debut novel, Perfect Score was published by Mundania Press in September 2010 and the paperback launched in May 2011.  It was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC e-book Awards in the Mainstream Category.  My second novel was a dark thriller/fantasy, Hewhay Hall. It won an EPPIE award in the 2013 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) e-Book Awards in the Horror Category.  Next came Rising Tide, published in 2015. Published by Mundania Press, it is set in a tiny fishing village that the world, and most of Portugal, has forgotten. Read about the wonders of the ocean and see if Piper from Norfolk UK and Leo from Alaska, USA, can find what they’re searching for in the little village of Luminosa.

Forest Dancer was published on 20th February 2018 by CrookedCat Books. This is novel number two set in Portugal but this time in the forests outside Lisbon. Instead of the sea (as in Rising Tide), now find out about the wonders of the forest and whether classical ballerina, Flora, can find what she’s searching for in the small village of Aurora.

Connect with Susan

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