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Paul Blezard - Editorial Expert

About Paul Blezard

Multi award winning broadcaster, poet, author and literary commentator, Paul Blezard has for over twenty years spoken to, written about and worked with many of the world’s finest authors, poets, thinkers and writers.

On radio or television, international literary festival stages and as a critic, judge and editor, he profoundly believes in the transformative power of a good story well told. Paul Blezard is Festival Director of The LoveReading LitFest.

Latest Reviews By Paul Blezard

The Pathfinders
From the opening pages describing the BBC outside broadcast recording of a nightingale singing in cellist Beatrice Harrison’s garden in Surrey as bombers pass overhead en route to Germany, Iredale makes it clear that he has done the work and is truly engaged with and passionate about his subject. From every small detail that he includes - the bombers mentioned above were heading for Mannheim and the BBC broadcast was cancelled for fear that it would warn the Nazis of their arrival – it is clear that Iredales’s aim is to honour and record the bravery ... View Full Review
Love and Care
For centuries much has been written about a mother’s love for her son, fewer words have been dedicated to the reverse. When his controlling elderly father becomes a danger to his aged mother, Shaun Deeney takes the decision to place his mother in a charming care home. Later, following his father’s sudden death, he takes the unusual decision to remove her from the care home and to provide for her himself, in the family home, with the assistance of paid-for carers. So unheard of is this, the care home themselves have never heard of anyone doing ... View Full Review
Old Testament Warriors
Dr. Elliott states in his introduction to this fascinating volume that his ambition is bold; “…to detail conflict from the beginning of warfare itself in the Near East and Middle East from around 9000 BC through to the onset of the Classical period around 500 BC.” Bold indeed, and delivered in such crisp and well ordered chapters that Old Testament Warriors is as much master class in concision as it is admirable in its comprehensiveness. Starting out with clear definitions for how humanity has organised settlements and communities, to what warfare is, “the extreme end of organised aggression&... View Full Review
Looking for the Durrells
The Durrell family and their writings have been a source of wonder and inspiration to book illustrator, Penny, since her Father read Gerald Durrell’s “Corfu trilogy” to, and with, her when she was young.  Now an enduring bond between them as his life nears its end, when the dread day comes, Penny, grieving and needing time and space, embarks on the promise that she and her dad couldn’t fulfil together, a Durrells’ pilgrimage. Suffused throughout with the scent of flowers, lemon and garlic and the dual salves of sunshine and sea, Hewitt&... View Full Review
Circles a Clover
Egan’s finely tuned skill as a storyteller seduces you. Right from the opening chapter he sets up a delicious, nerve-tingling sense of foreboding, with references that range from Game of Thrones and mushroom clouds to Afghanistan, Iraq and the impending end of the world. He doesn’t so much hook you into his imagined world, as gently caress a net around you, coaxing you onto each page after the next. And what a story he tells.  Plucky, thoughtful Kyle Halfpenny, year 11,  lives with her Dad who is either a mad drunk or prescient seer. She ... View Full Review
Splinter on the Tide
There is a great deal to commend this engaging account of a WWII sailor’s life. For those who are fans of punctilious attention to naval and nautical detail, there is plenty here. For anyone who enjoys a sense of the era, the use of language in the dialogue and prose, and the descriptions of the food and clothing of 1940’s East Coast USA are spot on.  Fitting somewhere between a ‘how to’ guide and personal log, Splinter on the Tide gives an enlightening overview of the personal, personnel and service politics that determine a ... View Full Review
Black Reed Bay
When Orenda Books decides to back an author, whether they write in - or are translated into - English, it’s wise to pay attention as they have an uncanny knack for finding and signing up writers of great quality in publishing’s busiest and most competitive genre. Rod Reynolds is no exception. Having gained plaudits aplenty for his excellent Charlie Yates 1940’s noir series; The Dark Inside, Black Night Falling and Cold Desert Sky, Reynolds then diverted to the brutal London-based stand-alone thriller, Blood Red City, and gained a long-listing for the CWA Steel Dagger for ... View Full Review
Man at the Airport
When the opening line of a personal account starts “For those of us who leave our country for a better future, memory stands still.” you know that you are in the hands of a writer who has a hinterland, both geographic and experiential. Hassan Al Kontar is such a writer. Bright, brave and boundless in his desire for escape; from compulsory Syrian military service and an uncivil war, then from entrapment in Kuala Lumpur airport, Al Kontar tells a tale of determination and courage that encompasses so much more. He seasons his story with perceptive and astute observations, ... View Full Review
The Insomnia Diaries
If you have ever read any of Miranda Levy’s journalism you can’t fail to have been impressed by her straightforward, no-nonsense approach to any subject she turns her pen to and The Insomnia Diaries is no exception. Following a catastrophic single event, Levy had one sleepless night followed by another that became severe, crippling insomnia that affected every aspect of her life for eight years and which she recounts every stage of in this, often painfully honest, part memoir, part reportage. With over 16 million in the UK suffering from insomnia and a third of adults affected ... View Full Review
Unbreak Your Heart
There is often something extra-affecting about novels that have their roots in real life events and Unbreak Your Heart is no exception. Seven-year-old Jake has spent much of his short life in hospitals receiving treatment for a life threatening heart condition and is absolutely determined not to leave his single dad, Simon, to live alone, resolute in his ambition to find Simon someone to love and to love him.  His hopes for his father are equally mirrored by Simon’s love and hopes for his son and the sacrifices he makes to ensure that Jake’s life ... View Full Review
The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
Having written advertising commercials and marketing copy for decades before trying fiction, Alka Joshi launched her fiction career with the stellar debut The Henna Artist and instantly became a phenomenon.  Much admired by Reese Witherspoon, it became a bestseller for its multi-sensory depiction of superstition, class and tradition in 1950’s Indian society and introduced readers to a superb cast of credible and highly engaging characters. Joshi’s latest, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur shows that the author has had no ‘difficult second novel’ issues as from page one we are immersed in Joshi’s ... View Full Review
In Black and White
Inspired to enter the legal profession following the tragic death of a dear friend, Wilson exposes a broken and unfair legal system in this eye-opening, mindset-changing memoir. She shows that it is possible to be a mixed race young woman and succeed in the rarefied world of the legal and judicial system, designed for a different time and maintained by a privileged few, with its arcane and archaic rites and traditions. Not easily, it must be said, but possible. Through her direct and personal account of the bigotry she has witnessed and faced, she also illustrates and confronts the inequality ... View Full Review