Times and Places by Keith Anthony
Published March 1, 2018
Paperback, 200 pages
MY GOODREADS RATING 4/5 STARS
(Thanks to Rachels Random Resources & the author, I received a copy of this book for this blog tour.)
Ten years after his daughter Justine’s death, an anxious Fergus embarks on a cruise with his wife. On board, he meets a myriad of characters and is entranced by some, irritated by others and disgusted by one. These turbulent feelings, combined with a sequence of bizarre events, only lead to his increased anxiety.
In a series of flashbacks, Justine enjoys an ultimately short romance, a woman concludes she killed her and an investigating police officer is drawn into her idyllic world. Fergus, haunted by poignant memories, withdraws in search of answers.
Back on the cruise, Fergus reaches breaking point, fearing he has done something terrible. By the time the ship returns, his world has changed forever.
“Times and Places” spans Atlantic islands, the Chiltern countryside, Cornish coasts and rural Slovenia, all of which provide spectacular backdrops to a humorous and moving tale of quiet spirituality.
I love books that have alternating chapters that bring you along on a characters journey fully. This one alternated between Fergus who is on a cruise with his wife, and Justine, his daughter, from ten years prior. There were a few more spiritual chapter thrown in that really added to the story, but may not be for everyone. I really enjoy books that are descriptive, especially when I haven’t been to the setting of the story. This book left me feeling like I was right alongside Fergus on his cruise and I absolutely loved it.
Fergus was a very anxiety ridden character, that seemed to question everything. I liked his thoughts on the other passengers who he was, quite literally stuck with for three weeks. He was an extremely haunted character, which works out wonderfully throughout the book. I found that he was a very compassionate man and a character I grew to really enjoy.
I loved the way everything seemed to fall into place, pretty unexpectedly, in my opinion. I felt the book was a bit slow in certain sections, but that didn’t deter me from the story one bit. I would definitely pick up any other books by this author, because I enjoy his writing style very much.
Keith was born and brought up in the Chilterns, to where he returned after studying French at university in Aberystwyth and a subsequent spell living in west London. He has a love of nature,both in his native Buckinghamshire countryside, but also in Cornwall and wherever there is a wild sea.
Keith has been lucky enough to spend time living in France, Spain, Belgium, Serbia and Croatia, as well as being a regular visitor to Germany, and languages were the only thing he was ever half good at in school. Since graduating he has worked in government departments, but between 2005 and 2008 he was seconded to the European Commission in Brussels and, thanks to a friend from Ljubljana he met there, has travelled regularly to Slovenia, getting to know that country well.
Keith’s other great love is music and he plays classical and finger picking blues guitar, though with persistently limited success. He has always enjoyed writing, including attempts at children’s fiction, and in 2016 he began work on his first full book with “Times and Places” the end result: an accessible, observational story, mixing quiet spirituality with humour, pathos and gothic horror, and setting it against a rich backdrop of the natural world.
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