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Book details

John F Bennett. The Coastguard Cottages and other stories
£8.99 + p&p (UK only)
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: JoFra Press (31. 01. 2022)
ISBN 978-1-3999-1491-8

The Stories

20 atmospheric and evocative stories with themes as varied as nostalgia, the supernatural, mystery, suspense, humour, crime and love

Peter Lovesey said of John F Bennett:

Renowned author and major prize winner, Peter Lovesey, said of the author:

‘John F Bennett has a rare talent for short-story writing.’

And of Coastguard Cottages:

John F Bennett is to be congratulated. I think there is a bigger range of subject matter and styles than I remember in Girl on the Seventh Floor and Lights in the Wood, and more autobiography - which the author does extremely well. I say that, but I'm not sure which of them are from personal experience and which have some embellishment - and that in itself is a tribute to his skills. After reading some of the other pieces - such as Life With My Father, which I think must be from memory - I was ready to believe anything Bennett had written in the first person. I wonder if you are writing a personal memoir and some of the stories are extracts from it. For me, the stand-out stories are The Beautiful Songbird and The Battle of Lewes, each one with a strong narrative drive and a plot that stirs the emotions.

Internationally renowned poet, Joe Neal,

said of Coastguard Cottages:

These stories are great page-turners. Short stories are so very difficult to construct, but John F Bennett is quite the master of technique and brings the reader right into the adventures being described. I particularly liked 'The Cricket Match' and 'One Day While Out Walking'; also the 'Coastguard Cottages' story itself.

Excerpts from reviews

I think, of all the stories in the book, we most enjoyed those nostalgic stories that centre on an East London childhood. I don't know if these, and also 'Tammy,' are autobiographical but they feel like it. 'In Bessie and Arthur's Garden' has that same feel, although clearly extended into fiction. And the ghost stories, for want of a better term, have a great, old-fashioned atmosphere about them. I was fascinated with the 'Battle of Lewes' and its contrast to 'The Coastguard Cottages'. In the classical model, the protagonist experiences the past - living briefly in it - but comes back to the present. But in 'The Battle of Lewes' she stays in the past, or so we assume: "the fragment of the standard had disappeared." This is very crafty stuff. 'Reincarnation' was totally daft, and I loved it. 'Life with my Father' is total nostalgia and it brought me to a very similar place. It's at end of the backwards telescope for usa now, a tiny and remote vision, but reading this tale brought it closer - Loose Cannon Press

Good stuff.

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