Evaluation of the novel

Dear Celine

I have now had the opportunity of reading Glaston Town, which is, indeed, quite a book! It is very high quality contemporary fiction, which boats many positive attributes and is a fascinating read from beginning to end.

Your book can be seen as a comment on society in general during the first years of the 21st century and in this way, it does have much in common with Dickens, as famous for his social commentary as for his range of prolific and marvellous fiction. What is important is that the book is very ‘real’, so to speak; it is gritty and honest and candid and portrays all elements of human life in one place, shying away from nothing, drawing the reader into everything.

It is, perhaps, your writing style, which makes the novel as outstanding as it is. You are a natural storyteller and have a gift, which cannot be substituted by any amount of study or practice. It seems you have thoroughly enjoyed writing the book; there is an undertone in the narration that suggests this somehow and this is infectious, ensuring that the reader equally enjoys the fruits of your labour. I agree with your editor in that the book works well with the three parts having been stitched together, as it were, with no loss of fluidity and certainly seamlessly, but would work just as well as a trilogy, with the three parts being split up into books of their own, published in quick succession to maximise the potential reading audience.

Glaston Town is certainly a very ambitious novel, especially for a premier work, but you have proved yourself to be more than equal to the challenge you have set yourself and execute the plot and sub-plots with considerable aplomb.

What seems clear is that you have undertaken a great amount of research in order to compose the book, or obeyed the writers’ golden rule and written about what you know well, or, indeed, both. It is also clear in such a lengthy work, with so many twists and turns in terms of plot and so very many characters, that you have spent a great deal of time meticulously planning your story line, crafting your characters and deciding which role each will play. This is most certainly not one of those books, which the author can claim, ‘almost wrote itself’ and your reading audience will appreciate it greatly because of this.

This brings me to your characterisation. I very much like the fact that each character has a specific role to play in the overall plot and even minor characters, like the mothers of the boys, for instance, have been carefully sketched and filled out. Both major and minor characters have been given due attention and are all beautifully three dimensional and the reader can easily imagine knowing them in person, so to speak, regardless of age, race or background.

It is clear that you have invested a great amount of thought into the creation of each and every one. Thus what happens to the characters is important to the reader, no matter of mere indifference; once a reader has become so engaged with a fictional individual, they take on something of their fictional life, making it their own and compelling them to read on.

Essential to the creation of wholly believable characters is the use of wholly believable dialogue, and you have not appeared to struggle with direct speech at all. Your verbal exchanges between characters ring entirely real as being the words spoken by children. Direct speech is introduced when necessary and appropriate and the conversations are vivid so that the reader can imagine himself or herself to be a fly on the wall, eagerly taking in the conversation.

This is a very visual book which will doubtless easily conjure many images in the mind of the reader and, due to this and the strength of the dialogue, the easy way in which the target reader can identify with the characters, as well as the drama and, quite often, stark horror, with which the work is imbued, it would, in fact, be relatively easy to convert the novel into a script for a screen or television play.

Your book is highly innovative, wonderfully well written and with the sort of content and narrative that could well result in it becoming quite a cult book and with it a significant ‘following’ for you personally.

It is a very fine book indeed.

Yours sincerely

Tony Goldenberg, publisher

NB: Tony Goldenberg agreed to write the introduction to the book


Dear Celine,

We found Glaston Town to be an excellent work. You have created a compelling novel with a vivid sense of place and a well-drawn cast of fascinating characters. Your writing is sharply observant, particularly about what motivates people and how they react to advice and adversity. The ensemble nature of the piece is deftly handled, with different story strands criss-crossing each other cleverly.

it really is a lovely book.

Carol Biss, publisher


Glaston Town is an easy-going, interesting, compelling read, exploring as it does the lives of a diverse and fascinating cast of characters in a poverty-stricken London Borough and how the murder of xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx affects their tight-knit community. As well as communicating the modern take on the classic Dickensian novel, this reminds us of The Take by Martina Cole because of the importance put on family and loyalty. And there’s a touch of Zadie Smith too. Helen Hart, publisher


The first thing to say is that, despite being written in a sort of urban vernacular, this book is remarkably free from either steamy sex or 'f' and 'c' words. Everything is left to the imagination, which is a refreshing change.

The book gave me a very complete vision of the place through its development of the different characters. There are quite a lot of these, as in any neighbourhood, but I found them easily differentiable by their actions and speech. I took to some more than others, as one does, and these are the ones that stick in the mind. But they form a good, heterogeneous group, all serving to build up a picture of the place.

Though I was a bit surprised towards the end to find the book had become a 'whodunnit' I was glad it did that because of the opportunity to bring threads together and provide a neat ending. That the police officer who actually identified the villain had not been involved in the earlier part of the book was a neat way of sustaining the slightly surreal sense of the place built up earlier.

Finally, it was good to see a bit of propaganda thrown in, thereby giving us three books in one: The existentialist view of the place; a bit of mystery, and a message. A good read. Dr. James Brander


The fluent writing of Glaston Town, and the intriguing sense of place, kept me so involved that I read it in one rewarding night. Clare Shanks


Glaston Town took me to an interesting place and time: in particular, a colorful neighborhood of London at the beginning of the 21st century. Lots of wonderful characters, plots and subplots and the sudden occurrence of a brutal murder kept me on the edge of my seat. At that point, I could not put the book down so eager was I to find out whodunit. Glaston Town turned out to be a surprisingly satisfying crime thriller. The only criticism I had is the cover, which, for me, did not fit the edgy story I read and enjoyed. All the same, this was a really good novel. Richard Lafreniere


Kirkus Review

In La Frenière’s debut thriller, the savage murder of a local citizen threatens a close-knit community in a small London village.

Many of Glaston Town’s residents are low-income families living in social housing. But the citizens find themselves united when a nearby area once populated by criminals is redeveloped, consequently flooding Glaston Town with displaced drug dealers, prostitutes, and other lawbreakers. Members of the community band together to clean up their streets, forming a collective when the park, Lavender Gardens, may be destroyed by a developer to make way for a lorry (truck) route. But the biggest menace the citizens face may be from within: One of the housing tenants is killed from multiple stab wounds, a murder that an ensuing investigation shows was likely committed by someone in Glaston Town. La Frenière’s novel is split into three separate parts, each in a distinctive genre. Part I, “The Solitary Kingfisher,” feels like a drama, focusing on the village’s unity as the people overcome fears of criminals’ retribution if they testify against them. “The Rebels,” Part II, becomes a soap opera detailing numerous relationships, particularly romances, such as one revolving around Jack, who has a child with Bee, and his envy over her apparent affection for Mick. Part III, however, paves the way for “Unfinished Business” with the murder, leading to a series of interrogations helmed by DC Sharon Tyllor and a dizzying whodunnit that’s not easy to figure out. There’s a plethora of characters but never more than La Frenière can handle, and they, along with the setting, help interlock the stories to create a cohesive novel...The author ends on a high note with the murder mystery, which is unquestionably the best of the three sections. It’s rife with motives and endless finger-pointing while recalling the opening tale when the community’s unity is put to the test. By the end, the murder, as well as a few romances, is adequately resolved.

A trio of stories that stand out individually but, like the Glaston Town residents, are

much stronger as a whole. "Kirkus Review"


Kindle Book Review

I would mark this very good book as “outside genre” since the murder mystery mentioned in the synopsis does not start to dominate the narrative until the last third.

Before that, we have a very ambitious venture: more or less describing the landscape of a whole working class neighborhood of London. A project of Dickensian sweep...in just the way Dickens might do it now: the life and loves of a group of what be termed “marginal” people recorded with persistent fidelity over the course of an entire decade.

Definitely a winter book — made to be read next to a welcoming fire with an ever-present cup of tea — and an astonishing value when you consider how much reading you get for the price.

Nate Briggs, "Kindle Book Review"

Jane Clinton, "Camden New Journal"

Tales from the hood

"Glaston Town, the gritty debut novel by Céline La Frenière, is part thriller, part soap opera; with characters who will appal and entertain in equal measure...it has many bleak moments of poverty and despair, but the prevailing theme is the sense of community that emerges in the darkest of times."

Jane Clinton from her article, Tales from the hood, in the Camden New Journal, February 11, 2016.

Goodreads Reviews

Goodreads Reviews:

Roseanna Morales

Great book

What a great book, hated for it to end.

I will read it again!! Loved all the characters

A follow up would be great

Irène Waller

I enjoyed tremendously reading Glaston Town by Celine La Freniere! Her command of the English language is stunning and her prose rich and enticing! She is a keen observer of people, races and customs. I was instantly drawn to her characters and got attached to them, especially the priest who reminded me of Pope Francis, the prostitute and the main protagonist. Her description of the typical Jewish mother is right on and hysterical! I found myself laughing out loud.

I cannot wait to read her next book and hope one day to meet her in the streets of London, if I am lucky enough!

Rebecca McNutt

No neighbourhood of London is more diverse, none more complex, than Glaston Town. Yet every man, woman and child who lives there belongs to her. Each man, woman and child, saint or sinner, has a purpose.

I got a free copy of this book from Amazon.com, and I'm really grateful that I had the chance to read it. Being Canadian myself, I always like reading books by Canadian authors. Glaston Town takes place in London and follows the main character, a teenage boy by the name of Jack. Jack is rather out-of-place in Glaston Town, an intelligent person usually more preoccupied with objects than with human interaction. He does have friends though, and his best friend is a girl named Bee who he's known since they were both kids. He wishes that their friendship could become something more. Unfortunately Jack finds himself becoming the third wheel and pushed aside when Bee is hired to be the companion of a rich high-society woman.

Jack finds himself seeking out advice, and meets a surprising mentor - a prostitute called

Leila - who gives him a few pointers in romance. Leila might get along with Jack, but

certainly not with Jimmie, another boy whose youthful rage, angst and rebellious attitude

is focused on her. At the same time that Jack tries to catch Bee's eye again, a disturbing

murder that shakes the town to its foundation.

Glaston Town isn't just one story, either. It's one book, but at least four different stories that are separate yet often crossing one another. You'll find echoes of the author's life and experiences in the words, and you'll find yourself immersed in a compelling mystery that you'll never forget.

Based on my own opinion I've decided to give Glaston Town a well-deserved five stars for its creativity, its imagery, its original plot and its characters. I highly recommend it to any reader. :-)


La Frenière leads you confidently on a fascinating journey across the gritty streets of Glaston

Town in a corner of London. With her, we follow the lives, loves and dark secrets of a close

knit community and discover how they cope with everyday trials and tribulations.

Town in a corner of London. With her, we follow the lives, loves and dark secrets of a close

knit community and discover how they cope with everyday trials and tribulations.

Glaston Town is refreshing inasmuch as it does not follow the usual pattern of a run of the mill mystery thriller, which is to reveal up front the identity of a murdered victim and then work its way up to finding out whodunit.

The author develops each character so well that you feel you know them intimately. Consequently, when finally the murder occurs, it’s as though this crisis is happening to a family. Every one is deeply affected one way or another.

La Frenière manages to keep one’s interest from the beginning to the very end.

Phil Patterson

This book follows the complex lives of the residents of Glaston Town a London Council estate and in such an interesting way. It shows the variety of different personalities and people that exist in such a community that believes that knows everything about everyone but yet still has secrets that even this close knit community could not work out. Friendships are created between the most unlikely of characters, those that we expect to remain close don't and the individuals that we would love to end up together actually do. The book is split into three parts The Solarity Kingfisher, The Rebels and Unfinished Business, and there is so much crammed into each part (in a good way) that they could have been easily seperated into three seperate books to form part of a series. I could quite as easily have finished reading at the end of Part I thinking that the remaining of the book would not have much else to offer and I am so glad to have read on.

Each Part and Chapter is crammed full of information, twists and turns that kept the interest in the book and it seemed that there was always a new story just around the corner with a new surprise. I would encourage people to read this book and hope that they enjoy it as much as I did.


if I could give this 4.5 stars, I truly would. it's an engaging story about life in Glaston Town.

I enjoyed peeking behind the curtains at the stories of each character as they grow, live, and love through their encounters with one another over the years. plenty of depth as well as action to keep the reader engrossed from start to finish.

I look forward to reading more from this author. well done!

Patricia Sands

A long overdue novel from a master storyteller! LaFrenière develops characters that draw you to them and insist that you not miss a moment of their journey ... whether you like it or not. The fascinating characters of Glaston Town bring murder, mayhem and marriage into action that does not let up. La Frenière's background in screenwriting may explain how she is able to build such depth into each scene and place the reader squarely in the middle. I'm looking forward to more novels from this talented writer.

Jon Thum

With a cast of characters as long as your arm, all of them recognisable to any inner city dweller, this is an intricate story that interweaves the lives of Glaston Town’s diverse and conflicting population. Centred around a town square in North London, the stories have echoes of another famous fictional square - Albert Square - with the same complex interaction and integration of plot strands.

There are many themes here - the confrontation of locals with the displaced, unwanted residents from another area of London; the friction caused by the advance of gentrification; and the administration of justice both from the police and from within the community itself. Like all good stories there are heroes and villains, love that transcends race, religion and class, and the ultimate truth - that we are all more similar than we think, if we choose to dig a little deeper.

Although the novel starts slowly, introducing us to the many residents and sub-plots, this book more than rewards as it reaches its climax, a murder mystery that feels tragically real. If you like your list of characters as long and diverse as a Dickens novel, with an elaborate plot set in a world that’s only too believable, then this novel is for you.

I was given a copy of the author’s book in exchange for an honest review.

Paul Stanneck

What really blew me away about Glaston Town is,how marvelously well it is written.I always loved poetry(Hoelderlin,Goethe and Heine the favourites of my youth), and the use of beautifully, richly crafted written language has always been the most important part of my reading.I enjoyed Glaston Town immensely for the writing itself,next for the characters.Considering the author's background, I find this Novel even more surprising.My goodness. How does a woman from Quebec, who grew up in the far north of British Columbia of all places and spent years in LA create such a slew of authentic London characters with all their idiosyncrasies?How did the author get do deeply into their souls,understand their unique feelings and emotions?

Reviews promised that the characters would come together, and certainly they do, in an entertaining,satisfying plot, and a thorough and educational description of life in a run down London neighbourhood.

Congratulations to Céline La Freniere.

I was given a paperback for my birthday.

Nate Briggs

I would mark this very good book as “outside genre” since the murder mystery mentioned in the synopsis does not start to dominate the narrative until the last third.

Before that, we have a very ambitious venture: more or less describing the landscape of a whole working class neighborhood of London. A project of Dickensian sweep (I lost track of the number of characters who appear) in just the way Dickens might do it now: the life and loves of a group of what be termed “marginal” people recorded with persistent fidelity over the course of an entire decade.

Definitely a winter book — made to be read next to a welcoming fire with an ever-present cup of tea — and an astonishing value when you consider how much reading you get for the price.

[Please note: this book was received free of charge in exchange for a fair and honest review — Nate Briggs, Kindle Book Review]

Bonnye Reed

I entered the Goodreads Giveaway for this novel, and though I did not win the physical book, the author generously gifted me a Kindle copy of her work. Thank you so much, Celine La Freniere, for allowing me to read your novel!

This is a fascinating story. Within a couple of chapters, you find yourself caring about the characters of Glaston Town. The cast are colorful, well rounded and well grounded, and the voice is unique. As the community begins to deteriorate you will be right beside them, looking for solutions and salvation.


What a great mystery, thriller! I did not like the cover of this book very much. It would not have caught my interest. But the story inside was very good. I cannot judge a book by it's cover but honestly the cover it what makes me want to look. The way the author write this book was great I loved the character and the setting even though I have not been to London. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Debbie Carnes

Loved Glaston Town, this book has gripping characters and a story that's very believable. London is one of my favorite cities and I have been to or lived in towns similar to this. Great murder thriller.

Look forward to reading more from Celine La Freniere

Françoise Dupuis

It was cleverly written with short chapters which allowed me to finish one quickly when my caregiver's duties were called for.

I never felt that the story was dragging on and on. It always kept me interested in the suspense.

I can predict that it could be made into a very popular television series.

Eniko Turgyan

Glaston Town is a more serious novel than might be expected. Yes, it does contain humour, a grisly murder and some sexy scenes, all of which help make the difficult issues within this story appealing.

The bulk of the story, however, is about people interacting within a complex society and how those characters respond to events and develop over a decade. It is, in my view, an artistic achievement, which is expressed by the beautiful black & white contemporary illustrations as well as the quality of the writing. Certainly, one can judge the novel solely as a piece of entertainment, which it may be for some. For myself there is more to this book than meet the eye.