Throwback Thursday: The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge

Screenshot_2020-11-24-15-33-13_kindlephoto-236712199This week I was kindly reminded by WordPress  that it’s four years since WhatCathyReadNext was launched into the blogosphere. I thought I’d mark the occasion by revisiting the first book review I ever published on my blog, updated to reflect the current format of my reviews.

The Hour of DaydreamsAbout the Book

Manolo Lualhati, a respected doctor in the Philippine countryside, believes his wife hides a secret. Prior to their marriage, he spied her wearing wings and flying to the stars with her sisters each evening. As Tala tries to keep her dangerous past from her new husband, Manolo begins questioning the gaps in her stories – and his suspicions push him even further from the truth.

The Hour of Daydreams, a contemporary reimagining of a Filipino folktale, weaves in the perspectives of Tala’s siblings, her new in-laws, and the all-seeing housekeeper while exploring trust, identity, and how myths can take root from the seeds of our most difficult truths.

Format: ebook (232 pages)                  Publisher: Forest Avenue Press
Publication date: 14th March 2017  Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy

Find The Hour of Daydreams on Goodreads

Purchase link*
Amazon UK
*Link provided for convenience not as part of an affiliate programme

My Review

The author weaves fantasy and fable into the story of Tala and Manolo’s meeting and marriage.  The writing has a lyrical, fairytale quality which at times is mesmerising – “He began walking along the lip of the water, where it saturated the sand with kisses” – and the author has some imaginative metaphors/similes – “They talked rapidly and their conversation was like a dance; as one took the lead, the others were eager to follow. It was a meandering dance, circling from place to place…“.

However, at other times, the language was surprisingly ‘clunky’. “Cigarette in hand, he assessed the scene in front of him with some degree of calm” or “Your mother’s anguish invoked you from sleep, and we combined our efforts to pacify your discomfort.

There are well-observed descriptions of everyday life, at the market or on the quayside, but I found some of the author’s extended metaphors, as in pretty much the whole of Chapter 6, baffling. The supporting characters are well-drawn and the importance of food and sharing communal meals is lovingly described.  I enjoyed the story of the main characters but, for me, the fantasy element confused rather than enhanced the narrative.

I received an advance review copy courtesy of Forest Avenue Press via NetGalley.

In three words: Lyrical, imaginative, fantasy

Renee M RutledgeAbout the Author

Renee Macalino Rutledge is the author of The Hour of Daydreams, a literary fiction novel that has been dubbed “essential reading” by Literary Mama, “one of 24 books to get excited for in 2017” by The Oregonian, and a “captivating story of love and loss unlike any other” by Foreword Reviews.

Renee’s work has also been published in The Margins, ColorLines, Mutha Magazine, Ford City Anthology, Oakland Magazine, Literary Hub, Red Earth Review, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Necessary Fiction, Women Writers Women’s Books, The Tishman Review, and others. She lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she works as a nonfiction book editor and regularly explores the tidepools and redwoods with her family. (Photo/bio credit: Goodreads author profile)

Connect with Renee
Website | Twitter

Throwback Thursday: A Look Back At Henley Literary Festival 2018

This year’s Henley Literary Festival takes place from 28th September to 6th October 2019 and many of the fabulous authors who will be appearing have already been announced, including Kate Atkinson, Robert Harris and Jojo Moyes. Find out more here.

I attended a number of fantastic events during the 2018 Festival and I also created a reading list of books by some of the authors who appeared but I couldn’t get to see.

As a reminder of what a great programme the organisers put together last year – and in expectation of a similarly brilliant one this year – I thought I’d share again a selection of my reviews.

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield | Book Review | Event Review
The Long and Winding Road by Alan Johnson | Book Review | Event Review
Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson | Book Review | Event Review
Dear Mrs. Bird by A J Pearce | Book Review
The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana
The Temptation by Vera Morris
The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse
Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan
The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings

Look out for my 2019 Henley Literary Festival reading list and details of the events I hope to attend once the full programme is available.

Please note: I have no commercial relationship with Henley Literary Festival (unless you count giving them money for tickets to events 😀).  I’m just a book lover and book blogger keen to support my local literary festival.