Friday, 23 September 2016

"Charlie Smithers: Adventures in India" - A Review - d.arcadian

A simply lovely review of "Charlie Smithers: Adventures in India."
Thank you, d.arcadian!

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did not think that it would be possible to follow Charlie Smithers first adventure with anything that was as totally all engrossing and engaging, but CW Lovatt has not only succeeded in bringing us a second book that was as enjoyable, but has actually surpassed the first book in range, scope and utter brilliance.

When authors seek to maintain stability within an established series, there is sometimes a danger that stories can become diluted, but this is not the case with the Charlie Smithers books, which, although we are only on book two of a three part series, seems to go from strength to strength. Maintaining continuity, whilst at the same time giving readers something new to discover is what makes reading Lovatt's work so appealing.

This quote is from Lovatt's exceptional book of short stories, 'And then It Rained' but I feel it is relevant to my comments here :
''But writers aren’t about straight lines; they love to amble along, twisting and turning through life’s pathways, making sure that nothing is left behind...''
Charlie Smithers is as loyal and faithful to his master and to the British Empire as ever and his sense of fair play and decency has not been diminished by the tragic death of his wife in the first book, although her shadow stretches long over his soul throughout his adventure to Bhutan.
Her loss and the pain that Charlie feels is handled with great skill and sensitivity and the reader can really feel his loss without it getting in the way of the story. The plot is a complex story of the Raj versus the local people, which in less expert hands could perhaps have been rather tedious, but here it shines with life and dark humour and real living breathing people. I can never think of the people in this author's books as characters; they are living breathing people who we know and love. Mostly love.

Smithers is a complicated man with very deep emotions that he rarely shows (he is British after all and must maintain that stiff upper lip!) and this quote, relevant perhaps to so many people, sums up his deep and thoughtful nature for me: "Once, in an ill-starred moment, I had trusted a man, and as a result had lost everything. Was it wrong ever to trust again, or should I cling to the safety of caution so much that I would sacrifice happiness to maintain it? With the question placed thus, there could only be one answer, and I saw that a part of me had known this all along."

Conversation is lively and natural:
"Then, “D’you mean to tell me,” milord began, scandalized (reflecting all of our sentiments, I’m sure), “that when he…that is to say…when he approaches his…what I mean is when he’s about to…to…”
“Achieve orgasm?” she supplied helpfully."
Now even milord fell silent. Instead he ended lamely with a half-hearted interrogative tug at an imaginary cord around his throat.
“Quite so,” madam confirmed, with what I thought was a note of relief. A relief, I might add, that was not shared by any of us, and even less so with my master.
After a great deal of effort, he managed to stammer, “But…but…” before finally coming out with it, “but what the deuce for?” To which the widow replied,
“I am told that it greatly enhances the experience during the act of…”
“Yes…quite,” my lord managed to interrupt her just in time, and attempted to cover his embarrassment by clearing his throat, over and over again, quite volubly, I thought."

I cannot praise the book highly enough and can only look forward to having the time to read 'Charlie Smithers: Adventures Downunder'.

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