The Escape Book Review

The Escape by C L Taylor

So recently I found the time to read ‘The Escape’ by Cally Taylor which is a mixture of suspense, thrill and fear.

Why I read The Escape.

I watched a talk the author, Cally, conducted at London Book Fair in March and received an excerpt of ‘The Escape’. The first page sets us up nicely for the suspense and twists and turns that befall us in the book so I knew it was something that I would enjoy reading. I wouldn’t get bored! Cally also handed out some great advice and tips  for budding authors and she was really inspiring; I liked her immediately. Maybe I’ll do another post on all of this later.

What is it about? 

The Escape focuses on Jo, her husband Max and their young daughter Elise. You immediately get drawn in as Jo is being followed but of course you don’t know that at first. It all seems innocent until the end of the first chapter after which you are compelled to carry on reading. Jo has been followed by a stranger and asked for a lift and the woman knows a lot about her. Jo has experienced a life of anxiety and agoraphobia. The story builds up to to everyone and anyone around her falling foul of her apart from possibly her friend Helen, mum and a stranger she meets later. Her mistrust of them matches their suspicion of her and she runs away with her daughter.

Why is it good?

‘The Escape’ is a story told by an unreliable narrator, written from Jo’s first person point of view. I found myself relating to her a lot but sometimes wanted to shake her and shout at her to deal with something in a different way. As the story develops you never quite know whether Jo really does have cause for concern or if her mental health is just declining. I liked this because not only do you want to continue to read to find out but you want to find out who is actually causing the main problem.

Every few chapters the first person point of view switches to another person. It is who this is at the beginning. You are inclined to think it may be the stranger Jo gave a lift to but it does start to become clearer as the book progresses.

I think it’s great how the book’s tone completely does an ‘about turn’ as Jo is forced to battle her fears and paranoias and you really feel like you grow and change with her and her small triumphs. The scene nearer the end with Max, Mary and  Jo (you’ll need to read to know more!) is a real climax of the suspense and fear that’s been building all the way through. There’s a moment you fear the worst which drives you to the ending of the book.

The epilogue serves as a satisfying conclusion of ‘The Escape’ as it essentially mirrors the beginning in a clever way which ties it all up. The tables have well and truly turned and I was glad and happy for Jo.

There is an interesting part where it is revealed at the beginning that Jo has her husband’s boss’s phone number programmed in to her phone. The boss, Fiona, at one point even says that Jo needs to remove her number but it actually serves a very useful purpose. I don’t want to provide too many spoilers but I was glad the power was passed to her in the moment she chose to do one thing involving Fiona’s voicemail.

As the book progresses, the power struggle between Jo and her husband becomes further apparent. It feels as if he is later losing the control as Jo continues to triumph. He gets drunk, he gets targeted and he can’t penetrate and manipulate people like he once could. This is quite ironic as Jo believes all the way through that she is the one losing control and reinforces the whole ‘escape’ theme as she runs from everything. She runs at the beginning by  grabbing her daughter and ‘escaping’ from her daughter’s nursery and continues to run throughout the book.

I highly recommend it. Have you read it?

 

 

Blog, Review

One Year Later My Blog Grew

Today, or around this time, marks a transition – I started a blog

I started my blog this time last time. It might have something to do with the lazy summer days and the long evenings which made me feel like I had enough time to do it. I had been reading blogs and watching YouTube tutorials for years and kept thinking I could never do it myself. You always think I could never write anything worthwhile or interesting. It’s true the ‘market’ is saturated now and certainly when I started reading in around 2008 there weren’t as many bloggers around. Anyway I digress.

My blog in one year

My blog started off as a photography blog as I love taking photographs and making things look pretty. I wanted a way to show them off and so I started uploading them and making comments or analysis of them.

Having a niche on a blog is a bit of cliche but it’s difficult, for me anyway, to stick to one topic as I can randomly come up with ideas all day every day. It’s great to be able to write about whatever I feel I may want to see / what I may have looked for in the past. I do write about topics that interest me which generally fit into lifestyle but fashion and beauty, my main interests, do feature. The photos take the time up!

I did take a hiatus at the end of summer as a ‘wobbly’ was thrown; we all have rubbish months! I got back in to it probably around the time I quit my legal career. Suddenly I wasn’t drained from constantly having to think about what I should be thinking about. I was free!

There is still so much I want to do and change but it’s all a work in progress. I have gone self-hosted (minefield and did a lot of searching online). I bought a cool theme and like to change this regularly and more recently have been refining what I write and making it less wordy.

Why you could do it too – the blog starter

It can be about whatever you want and who cares who reads it! Seriously though; concentrating on figures and stressing about growth doesn’t get you started. I just write for me really and it’s a bonus if people enjoy it. You can share what you have done on social media and friends and relatives can comment so at least you will have some readers when you kick off.

Blogging is a passion and you have to be passionate as it takes up a lot of time. I don’t need to spell it out but start with words and the rest flows. I am literally mostly learning as I go along but also from free courses, people with greater knowledge than me and tutorials.

wanderlust

Wandering as far as the sea

Wanderlust is essentially that; the lust to wander. The innate feeling of wanting to travel and see what else is out there. Think of this as cabin fever or itchy feet. I am one of those people where the need to escape and travel haunts me regularly and I don’t even think you need to actually go far to do this. I think any activity which steers away from the norm can sometimes satisfy the wanderlust.

Where does wanderlust come from? 

For me an incessant wandering mind. If your mind is constantly wondering what is out there and where can you go next then you will want to naturally visit these places. For me wanderlust is the desire to see more than four walls.

It can also stem from a severe fear of wasting your life or even a deep dissatisfaction with the way your life is going.

I used to think everything would be great when I left home or if I was really rich and could travel constantly. Now my mindset hasn’t necessarily changed; I am just more determined to try everything.

Why has wanderlust happened? 

Over time my definition of ‘rich’ has changed. You can be rich in money, rich in health etc. and from when I once thought you could only be rich if you had loads of spare cash I now feel rich being able to take on new experiences. What I want to do is worth more to me than working 90 hour weeks in the ‘rat race’. The worst nightmare and not a life. By no ways wandering or lustful.

How has wanderlust happened? 

This has developed in me via my natural instincts and personality. Perfectionism to be precise. I have always strived for 100% in everything and now that million pound house is on the backburner as I have meaningful life experiences to thank for satisfying me. I have so often been disappointed by ‘stuff’ or places and jobs because they don’t meet my perfect world ideal. Now that I’m not willing to settle anymore, I have learnt to see the richest parts of each opportunity. I never have masses of money so it forces me to use what I have creatively. I’m not a lazy person and never have been and do what I needed to do to get through the hard times. My first job was delivering newspapers when I was 13 where I a`rnt £6.00 a week and I’ve pretty much worked ever since.

The future.

I’m very much like most girls/women. I love fashion, makeup, TV and can still treat myself but I now have an appreciation for what I have instead of beating myself up for what I had.

So many people will put up with their life and continue to run the race. I am continuing but I am also now making improvements for me because I owe that to myself.

Not sure when my wanderlust will ever stop or where it will lead me next. One thing I know for sure is that I won’t be ashamed anymore that I keep ‘chopping and changing’.

Getting a job is so often these days based on your past experiences and it’s the age old adage that recruiters are put off by a candidate having many past jobs. I have come to the conclusion then that that experience is not worth fighting for. I’d had a pretty standard job past until now . Before now criticism got to me in the worst way. I wasn’t good enough; I wasn’t as good as the other candidates obviously. Now I know that I just don’t fit their ‘ideal’ and that’s ok. Rejection is for a reason.

Summarising the ramblings and some further points -

  1. Im no longer putting up with sub-standard experiences longer.
  2. Moving continuously on does not mean there is something wrong with you.
  3. Having mortgages and children is not the be all and end all.
  4. As long as you good enough in your eyes that’s all that matters.

Life is not a constant and the way most people live it is. I can’t live ‘constantly’; I existed only. Now I fly.

Let me know your experiences or opinions!

 

 

Female Entrepreneur in Business

Female Entrepreneur in Business

How did I get on in Female Entrepreneur Week? 

So after watching the videos and completing the worksheets I have learnt some really interesting information for starting and maintaining a business. I’m one of those people who would like to start a business but just needs the push to do so. To that end, I’m gathering all the information first before taking the plunge so I may differ from the stereotype of women who may have been involved.

Nadia Finer – Profit Maximising in Business 

So I learnt a lot but I’ll just mention a few interesting points to note that I learnt through the week.

Nadia explained how to maximise profit in business and there are five key points.

Promise

Personality

Packaging

Pricing

Pipeline

Promise is all about what you can deliver. You need to establish what you can offer as results is what your customers are interested in.

Personality focuses on what you have to offer and how you can add your own personal story to your brand. Everyone can relate to a story and I’m sure you would be more willing to buy in to a brand that had a personal touch.

Packaging is all about what you could create to leverage relationships with your clients. What works for them and could add value? This ties in well with Laura’s training based on your ideal client – see below.

Pricing is all about not underselling yourself and believing you are worth what you are charging. Nadia shared some interesting tips on holding on to the customer. For example it’s more costworthy to offer a package for a certain time where you can get the most value for your client and still make money.

Pipeline – the future for your business! What’s your goals and how are you going to meet them? Nurture existing relationships but also how are you going to attract new clients?

Laura Robinson and the Wortitude Club

Laura founded the Worditude Club to allow women to create valuable copy for their websites and marketing.

It seems really obvious but when you have to have an idea who you want to connect with. Write a profile of your exact client e.g

Typical age?

What they look like?

Male or female?

What can you offer them that they may need?

Try not to be too focused on marketing or providing your product or service to that exact demographic as other clients may come along too! As long as you focus on providing content for your ideal client, others will always come along.

There is so much more to learn and read and if you’re still interested check out the pinned post in the Facebook Group. There’s more information regarding Nadia, Laura and all of the other female entrepreneurs and what they can do to help!

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1778489899147827