Book review

Print

Reviewed by Lionel & Patricia Fanthorpe

David Smith has the gift of being able to combine very entertaining stories and anecdotes with worthwhile philosophical perspectives. In Imagination he gives the reader dozens of reminiscences of his own exciting and adventurous childhood combined with deep and meaningful ideas about how to cope with life's problems. The emphasis that he places on the value of imagination is challenging and thought-provoking. He makes profound statements about just how important imagination can be – at every age – and how it can help all of us to cope with life: whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. This book is not only highly entertaining: it is potentially very therapeutic. It points the way to a wide range of help, support and extra strength and resilience that is accessible from within our own minds.

Print

Reviewed by Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe 23-3-2015

The books that absorb their readers most deeply are books that strike powerful chords of memory and recognition. When David talks about his childhood in the 1960s, his honesty and realism take every reader back to his or her own childhood. As well as being humorous, highly entertaining and very readable, there are important psychological depths in this book. It asks important questions about our childhood attitudes and experiences: the things we thought as children; the things we did as children -- and the consequences of what we thought and did – the ways that childhood experiences shaped and developed our adult lives. One of the most valuable things in this very worthwhile book is the way it links our childhood to our later responsibilities as parents. We recommend it very strongly.

Print

Review of "Midnight in Butetown" by V.G. Wellington
Published by Vanguard Press, Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978184386231 @ £15-99 2015

The author is a shrewd and sympathetic observer and interpreter of human character and especially human feelings.  Above all, he understands the vital use of detail in a novel such as Midnight in Butetown and he has the gift of making every significant detail converge to illustrate the bigger meanings of life and deeper human relationships.  His heroines, Felisa and Henna, are very realistic characters with tough, modern, adult lifestyles.  They have difficult choices to make, and different destinies to choose.  The author succeeds brilliantly in getting the reader inside their minds and inside their emotions.
By sharing the author’s understanding of modern life and contemporary attitudes, even the most sophisticated reader can learn a great deal about our current society.
Another very important factor contributing so positively to Midnight in Butetown is the author’s underlying courage and optimism.  No matter how many problems hit us along the way, we should never give up – and things will come right in the end.
An excellent story: very well worth reading.

 

Print

Review of PILGRIMAGE TO IONA by Claire Nahmad
Published by Watkins
Reviewed by Lionel & Patricia Fanthorpe
This profoundly deep and thoughtful book sets out on a true pilgrimage of the most meaningful kind. It is a pilgrimage from which every reader can benefit in both mind and spirit. It is a quest for truth, for knowledge and for meaning. Socrates warned us that "The unexamined life is not worth living." One great virtue of Pilgrimage to Iona is that it provides those essential philosophical and theological instruments with which we can examine life.
Claire has the gift of examining so-called myths and legends in depth and discovering their vital links with historical events, along with the true meanings beyond them. She also unravels many of the complex, entangled mysteries known to groups such as the Masons, Cathars and Templars.
One of the most powerful ideas in the book is the concept of Earth, and, in particular, sacred and special places such as Iona, being vibrant with divine life and power. If we think back on our lives, we may recall experiencing feelings of special spiritual depth when we visited such places. Iona optimizes these feelings, but they are also reported from the Nile valley and Rennes-le-Chateau in France, which has been described by one sensitive and thoughtful researcher as a "gateway to the invisible."
Claire's expert knowledge of the Holy Grail enables her to fit this into her other extensive research and this helps to clarify the mysteries of Iona.
Among the other mysteries that are explored with such accuracy and integrity, are the enigmas of gender and androgyny, and Pilgrimage to Iona penetrates and clarifies these brilliantly.
A particular mystery that has intrigued us as explorers of the unexplained for more than half a century is the mystery of the famous Emerald Tablets of Thoth, the Egyptian deity, also known as Hermes Trismegistus. Claire's treatment of this is absolutely fascinating.
Pilgrimage to Iona has been thoroughly and expertly researched, and Claire's excellent analysis of the many mysteries centred on the island has been synthesized into an excellent book.

Print

The King's England Press (2014)
ISBN 1 909548 32 9
By Lionel & Patricia Fanthorpe
There is no substitute for experience, and when long experience is linked with meticulous investigatory powers and an objective, scientific approach to the phenomena being studied, you have all the necessary ingredients for Peter Underwood's excellent new book. The text is lucid and fluent and is amply supported by the excellent illustrations.
In addition to the fascinating, detailed accounts of many of the haunted sites that Peter has investigated in person, he fearlessly confronts the numerous, general theories of what 'ghosts' and 'hauntings' really are – and his open approach to these theories is especially helpful and valuable.
Among the many highlights of this outstanding work, Peter has included Beaulieu; East Riddlesden Hall; Gawsworth, with its ghost of a jester, and Scotney Castle.
When paranormal phenomena are investigated and described with the clarity and accuracy found in this very welcome addition to supernatural research literature, they provide the reader with many hours of fascinating and worthwhile reading.

Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe
June 2014