A collection of linked short stories, all set in and around the small village of Blaxhall in the sandlings of coastal Suffolk, which is the reason for the title, 'Sandlands'. The collection is inspired by the landscape of the area and its flora and fauna, as well as by its folklore and historical and cultural heritage. Six of the twelve stories focus around a particular bird, animal, wildflower or insect characteristic of the locality, from barn owl to butterfly. The book might be described as a collection of ghost stories; in fact, while one or two stories involve a more or less supernatural element, each of them deals in various ways with the tug of the past upon the present, and explores how past and present can intersect in unexpected ways. The stories uncover what is real and enduring beneath the surface of things.
Sandlands Press Reviews
'A writer with extraordinary range.'-Jenn Ashworth; 'Evocative and sure footed.'-Emma Darwin; 'Sandlands is an apt title for this elegant collection of stories. Just as the sand slips around and is fragile and delicate, these stories slip from era to era and place to place.'-Ann Cater, Random Things Through My Letterbox; 'When a collection - and the individual stories within it - moves you as deeply as this did, you know you've come across something really rather special. Maybe you don't usually read short stories either. But please, try this collection. You might just love it as much as I did.'-Anne Williams, Being Anne; 'I wasn't expecting the wonderful poetic quality of the writing. It put me in mind of Seamus Heaney at his very best. There's a preternatural undercurrent that weaves its spell throughout so that I found the writing mesmerising.'-Linda Hill, Linda's Book Bag; 'Although the book is set in Suffolk, the descriptions are so vivid that you do not have to be familiar with the area to enjoy these stories. For a book group I think there would be a lot to discuss as the author has skilfully woven the stories through time.'-Carolyn Fraser, Nudge Books; 'The various elements of the book - characters, setting, language, and even the names and title - come together so well. Do read this - even if like me you don't like short stories. I am happy to be a convert! 5/5'-Dorothy Anderson, Nudge Books; 'Imagine writing that mixes Susan Hill and Gavin Maxwell with a hint of Edgar Allen Poe and you'll be on the right track. This is an outstanding collection of stories from a woman who is clearly a master of the form. If Rosy Thornton doesn't win some major literary prize very soon, I'll be very surprised.'-Colin Garrow; 'A gem of a book with story hooks as strong as the claws of the owl on the arresting front cover. Brilliant.'-Laura Wilkinson; 'Each story contains little jewels in its own right as well as forming part of a cohesive collection.'-Helen Walters, Fiction is Stranger Than Fact; 'A beautiful collection of short stories that held me spellbound from start to finish.'-Margaret Freeman, Books Please; 'Descriptive prose is Thornton's strength, her wordage as apt as the characters... portrayed, effective and poignant. There are natural; twitches in narrative flow, a distinctive method of keeping the reader's mind engaged and making a short story appear less diminutive... This is a book to pick up, to read a story and 're-boot' the brain... at the back of her storytelling there's a sense of steel, of purpose.'-Kent Life; 'Rosy Thornton's impressive new volume of stories, Sandlands, share many common elements. Place is the most obvious as all the stories are set in the Suffolk fenlands & often share the same locations - the Ship Inn, Willett's Farm, a WWII airfield now turned into a museum, the village of Blaxhall. There are also common themes - nature, remembrance, the past reaching into the present.'; -Lyn Baines, Prefer Reading; 'What I liked particularly was the feeling of history: an ancient landscape with Anglo Saxons under your feet; pagan rituals mixed up with the Christian calendar; the past and present coexisting. There's a hint of the supernatural, too, which somehow seems appropriate to the place.'; -Call Me Madam'The stories here cover all sorts of subjects, from the trivial to the sublime, and they're all subtly linked together by the landscape.'-Social Bookshelves; 'I've never been to Suffolk, but even I can recognize that these stories are suffused with a deep love for it: its sandy lanes, its coastal flats, and above all, its people. Rosy Thornton is probably best known for her romantic novels, but going by this collection, she's a wonderful and thoughtful literary fiction writer too.'-Elle Thinks; 'If the stories were paintings, I would say the author managed to depict each character accurately with a few brush strokes. I could picture them all, even hear their voices - something that sometimes does not even happen to me for the main cast of a full-length novel.'-Librarian With Secrets; 'Every story is crafted to perfection. I found myself going back to re-read each one, wanting to extract every last drop of imagery, allusion and meaning, to peel back its layers.'-Vulpes Libris; 'The stories are the perfect length - not too long and not too short - and each one feels complete. Although they share some similar themes such as the beauty of nature and the relationships people have with the area in which they live, the stories are also quite varied.'-She Reads Novels; 'Entertaining, illuminating, chilling, sad, and often funny too, the whole collection hangs together seamlessly as a portrait of a fascinating part of the country. It deserves to be a huge success.'-Shiny New Books; 'Rosy's wonderful writing draws you into each story with her poetic descriptions of the land and her sometimes amusing and sometimes poignant observations of people and places, of nature and nurture and the performing of simple everyday tasks.'-Adele Geras, Corners of My Mind; 'A wonderful collection that will play with your emotions, deliver over and over, and often make you pause at the end of the story to savour its impact.'-Brian Clegg; 'The secret to a successful compilation of short stories under one cover must be that each individual narrative tell its complete story in what would normally be one chapter of a regular novel. It must draw the reader in and keep them there, and include character and story line development in a matter of just a few pages. Rosy Thornton has successfully mastered this art in Sandlands.'-Bookishly Attentive; 'Rosy's wonderful writing draws you into each story with her poetic descriptions of the land and her sometimes amusing and sometimes poignant observations of people and places, of nature and nurture and the performing of simple everyday tasks.'-Corners of My Mind; 'But what struck me most as I savoured these tales was the beautiful poetic prose, the rhythmic flow of the narrative, the extensive and unique use of words, the syntax and the way Rosy Thornton strings those words together.'-Judith Barrow