The Last Gift and other Tales

By Mary Rothwell
Published by Scriptora on 6th January 2021

Review By Pete Donohue

In 2019 HIP Literature favourably reviewed local author Mary Rothwell’s poetry collection Terra Incognita. Now we are pleased to report her latest book of short stories, nineteen in all, published early next month and titled The Last Gift and other tales

Rothwell made Hastings and St Leonards her home over fifty years ago ‘always within sight and sound of the sea.’, and has been a leading member of the Hastings Writers’ Group and of Illiterati for many years now. She has won prizes both for her stories and for poetry, including the Catherine Cookson and the Norwich Open competitions.

Hastings author, performance poet and teacher, Andrea Samuelson writes of Mary’s latest literary offering: ‘A collection of well-crafted stories, full of delights. Rothwell’s world is one of treasures … revealed with insight and empathy.’

As with Terra Incognita, the book cover is by talented Hastings based illustrator Jasmine Lapper-Goodrum. Its striking colourful design reveals clues to some of the stories contained within: a rainbow, a fox, a spider dangling…

Romantic novelist and Fellow of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists (SWWJ), Viv Brown, writes: “I was touched by the depth of character … in these thought-provoking, insightful and often poignant stories … surprises in the most ordinary of lives. Recommended.”

Page 97 ‘Family Tree’ – “… through a screen of leaves was Georgina perched side-saddle on their old swing … Edward thought how lovely yet fragile his sister appeared when she believed herself unobserved…”

Page 41 ‘Out of Touch’ – “I saw her fingers scurrying and scratching over the sheet like frantic mice and then his big hands … holding them safe … And in a little while she was still. Then they came and drew her curtains round.”

Page 61 ‘Life Changes’ – “She loved to sit at the open bedroom window … and  listen to foxes barking and feral cats hunting over by Bexhill tip. Some nights she heard other cries … glimpsed a strange, sombre shape padding through the long grass just beyond the garden gate.”

Rothwell’s short stories will appeal to a range of readers, both local and further afield, and HIP Literature recommends this book as a welcome literary antidote to those lockdown blues.

The Last Gift and other Tales retails at £9.95 and is available from the Bookkeeper bookshop, 1a Kings Road, St Leonards, TN37 6EA, Email: [email protected] and on Amazon.

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