||Matador (Troubador) Publishing Ltd.
||Dec 1st, 2011
A young librarian discovers old love-lettters in a book and she is catapulted into a web of terror and deceit.
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Phyllis BURTON - Writer and Author
PAPER DREAMS: Take a recipe for disaster...Start with an illicit love affair in 1952, add a painful parting and three deaths in 1953.
Leave to settle until 2009, then add a crumbling mansion (Epton Hall), which harbours a scandalous secret...Gradually combine your librarian Katie Nicholson - an incurable romantic trying to get over a failed love-affair. Sprinkle a few day-dreams, hundreds of books and stir until well mixed.
Carefully blend in a friendly housekeeper, some memorabilia and many books, with Katie's weekend away, new boyfriend and a prophetic dream... Add the secret arrival of sinister nephew Harold Hapsworth-Cole, the only known heir to the estate, and throw in the evidence discovered by Katie in the attic, that another heir exists...Combine fear, violence and theft of evidence with Katie's imprisonment in an attic, Harold's growing mental instability and stir...malevolently.
The resultant mixture should be an explosion of love, financial expectations, inheritance, terror, greed and attempted murder. T
P A P E R D R E A M S
What is life? A frenzy.
What is life? An illusion, a shadow, a fiction
And the greatest good is of slight worth
As all life is a dream
And dreams are dreams…
(Pedro Calderon de la Barca – 1600-1681)
‘It’s impossible, I just cannot let her go,’ Gerald Hapsworth-Cole whispered to himself. His heart lurched as the huge ship’s siren pierced the silence of the afternoon. He knew that there was nothing he could do or say that would make Amy change her mind, but he had to try. Feeling frantic, he reached out to embrace the woman standing by his side.
‘Amy, my dearest Amy, what am I going to do now? I love you so much and I just can’t envisage a life without you.’
‘Gerald honey, it’s no use, can’t you see? I have to go home to Canada. We’ve been over everything again and again. What choice do we have?’
Gerald looked blankly at her, momentarily lost for words. The inevitability of it all made him feel impotent. He searched her face for hope, but there was none, except for the gathering of tears in the corners of her eyes that threatened to engulf her.
Amy Butler was making the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of his family.
A lump appeared in his throat making it difficult for him to speak. ‘My darling Amy,’ he said in sheer desperation, ‘I can’t…I just can’t believe what I’ve…I’ve done to you and how can I possibly let you go now?’ He hadn’t felt quite so emotional since the day his father had died and coupled with the fact that she now looked more beautiful than ever, made the moment of her departure even more poignant. She looked pale and fragile, just like a porcelain doll and he tightened his grip on her.
‘My dearest Gerald, you must know that we really have no choice,’ she said as unrestrained tears now rolled down her cheeks. ‘Just think what would happen if your wife and sons found out about us: it would destroy them all. You must see that it is all…so impossible. I will def…’
A loudspeaker cruelly interrupted their final moments together and obliterated what she was saying. The preparations for the huge liner to get under way had been completed. There was an air of excited tension as people began to walk up the ramp and on to the ship that would be taking them across the Atlantic and away from their families and friends.
‘Honey, I’ll be waving my yellow handkerchief so look out for it and I promise that I will write to you as soon as I reach home.’
‘But Amy, it’s not too late to work something out. Couldn’t we…?’
‘No, there really is nothing else we can do, can’t you see? I have to go. Goodbye my dearest,’ she said kissing him on the lips. ‘Always remember, even in your deepest and darkest moments, that I love you and that will be the link between us.’
She broke away from him…and was gone.
Gerald was left with an empty void between his arms, loving Amy, wanting her, his whole being crying out for her. He had to stop himself from running after her, but even as his heart cried out in pain, he knew that he had to let her go. He watched her in sorrowful silence as she ran up the gangway before disappearing from his view. After what seemed an age, the huge liner pulled away from the quayside. Panic began to overtake him as he frantically searched for Amy amongst the passengers leaning over the ship’s railings. Then he saw her: she was waving her yellow handkerchief and he waved back putting on a brave face, but inside his heart was breaking. He watched the vessel as it gradually pointed itself in the direction of the open sea. “Come back…come back…please come back,” he wailed inwardly but he knew it was useless: his beloved Amy had gone.
He continued to watch as the ship grew smaller and smaller until finally he saw a faint plume of smoke drifting into the sky, before the ship disappeared over the horizon.
He looked upwards. The sky was leaden and everything and everyone around him seemed as miserable as he was. The puddles under his feet were a testament to the fact that it had been raining hard for some time and he hadn’t even noticed. He pulled up his coat collar and shoved his hands into his pockets. His heart sank. Lying at the bottom of one of them was a small box containing his farewell present for her. It was a diamond solitaire ring and a symbol of his enduring love for her. How could he have forgotten to give it to her, he asked himself? With a huge sigh, he pulled his sodden grey trilby hat further down on to his head, turned and walked sadly back to his car.
ALLBOOKS REVIEW - by Anthony Lund
Title: Paper Dreams
Author: Phyllis J Burton
I have always been a lover of novels that don’t confine themselves to one genre. I recall Dean Koontz saying that he likes to sit down before writing a new book and decide which genres he’s going to use in it.
That puts me very much in mind of Paper Dreams by Phyllis Burton.
I first came across Paper Dreams on Harper Collins’ Authonomy site where the author had posted sections of the book online. On the site, it should be said that the author’s blurb on the story was a lot simpler and straight forward compared to the enigmatic “recipe” on the back of the published book, but it didn’t have the air of mystery about it. in its current form, the blurb compliments the mysterious aspects of the book’s plot so a good decision in the end.
So, about the book itself. The story centres on Katie, a young woman who, like so many, has had a failed relationship but soon has a new man in her life. Add into this the death of the owner of the old mansion Epton Hall and the resulting need for Katie, as librarian, to catalogue the books in the building’s library, which leads to the discovery of a letter and a birth certificate that appears to make life a little more difficult for would-be heir of the estate, Harold. And so truly begins the story of deceit, murder and greed that is promised from the outset.
The characters in the book are generally pleasant to read about, even those who are not too pleasant in themselves and some of the things they do. The good have their flaws, the bad aren’t just a caricature of evil. A good mix of characters also means that they are easy to differentiate between and you don’t find yourself constantly thinking, “Who was that again?” or “What did they do earlier?”
The story reads at a good pace, an intense plot weaving nicely from the mysterious outset, through a little melodrama and finally into a suspense story to rival the best in the business. The plot is complex, but the writing has a simple way of drawing you in and without wanting to sound cliché holds you until the last page.
Overall, Paper Dreams does not change the world, but there aren’t many books that do these days. Instead it gives a good read, takes you away from your own troubles and puts you in the path of someone else’s, just like a good book should and I would highly recommend it for anyone who loves mystery, intrigue and something for a dark winters night. Reviewer: Anthony Lund, Allbooks Review Int. www.allbooksreviewint.com
Title – Paper Dreams
Author – Phyllis J Burton
Publisher – Matador
ISBN : 978-1848767-898
Price : £7.99
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