After publication comments:
Sent on: September 27, 2010, 08:02:37 PM
'tis read... 'tis beautiful... tho' the eyes welled just a little
Sent on: September 27, 2010, 09:35:11 PM
Sent: Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:07 am
Your book. What can I say? Engrossing is too tame but I don't seem to find the right words nowadays. I've read the first ten chapters and it's difficult not to continue until the end. A wonderful, strong, beautiful story and I knew it was going to be when the last paragraph (of Chapter One) had me saying out loud, "Oh my God -- imagine that being the last thing she saw!"
Anything seems possible. I like that.
Sent: Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:58 pmIt really is the most beautiful, moving story and I'll be reading it again -- and again, which is quite a compliment from me. The only other book I've read several times is 'Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance' and that's because I'm still trying to understand it!
Beautifully, sensitively written with a few unexpected twists and a message of hope at the end. Congratulations!
Sent: Wednesday, 20 October, 2010 14:30
I have just finished reading your latest book and wanted you to know how much I enjoyed it. It brought smiles and tears, almost both at the same times sometimes.
Sent on: 04 November at 01:10
What can I say ? I'm totally gobsmacked .....;-)) The book arrived on Monday so last night I made myself a cup of hot chocolate, filled my hot water bottle and curled up in bed with my book :) I totally enjoyed it............every single page was a sheer joy to read.......your descriptions of the wood and flowers etc., transported me there........I could smell the flowers from my bed :) and I felt the chill of their winter :) Definitely my favourite so far ;-)
As it was 2am when I finished I couldn't tell anyone until today and I've been telling everyone since...........I will treasure it FOREVER and beyond.............definitely a treasure to pass on to my grandchildren (if I'm ever to be blessed with them :) GO RAIBH MILE, MILE MAITH AGAT.............a thousand, thousand thank yous :) ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
Sent on: 04 November 2010
Sent on: 07 November 2010
Such a beautiful, beautiful book! It's short enough to read in the one sitting, and engrossing enough that you will want to do just that once you start. I love the gentleness to it, the simplicity of the story - we're never really given a time or a place, just a *feel*. Fleur is a delightful character and her story is a fascinating one to read about, from her beginning, through her life with Jenet, to the startling end. Loved it.
A lovely simple story, 17 Jan 2011
So far, I haven’t had much luck with the books of which I’ve received free copies for review from Goodreads and LibraryThing. More often than not, I read the descriptions thinking “Oooh, what an interesting concept!” and eagerly click the request button but the books haven’t really lived up to my expectations when they’ve arrived. So when Flowers for Alys arrived and I saw that, like my previous early reviewer books, it was self-published, I could feel my heart sinking. Which just goes to show that I shouldn’t be so prejudiced because I couldn’t have been more wrong about Irene M. Redpath’s book.Flowers for Alys is set in an unspecified time which I presume is the middle ages in an unspecified place which, again, I presume is England. It centres around Jenet, a young woman who has a disfigured mouth which renders her mostly unable to talk and hence is also presumed deaf. Jenet adopts a baby whom she finds lying abandoned by the side of a river, and raises her despite the ensuing difficulties. As the infant, given the name Fleur, grows up, it becomes clear that she is a remarkable child in a great many ways.
This is a quiet, simple, heartfelt book, which refreshingly abandons lengthy descriptions and elaborate prose in favour of a more straightforward writing style which really suits the little tale that Redpath tells. For all its simplicity, her writing conveys strong emotions, particularly in the first chapter when we learn the origins of the abandoned baby. The closing lines of this chapter, intriguingly titled 'The End', are heart-wrenching and I think that more complicated prose would have spoiled the impact that they have. The final chapter, which, in corresponding backwards fashion is titled 'The Beginning' was also well written.
Although this book is light on characterisation, at a mere 115 pages I wasn't expecting in-depth analysis and the somewhat sketchy character profiles are all that is necessary to carry the story. Jenet is innocent, reliable and homely, and the occasional glimpses inside her head provide an interesting perspective. Fleur is particularly intriguing in her fey ways, and it would have been nice to see a bit more of her. I liked the scenes of her being inexplicably drawn to the river where she was found and her strange rituals with flower petals which become so important.
Of course, this book isn't perfect. The representation of perceptions of disability in the middle ages is woefully inadequate; I felt as though Jenet's disabilities were used casually as an excuse to justify her not having married and without consideration for the implications of this. However, although this was an issue it bothered me less than I expected because the book reads more as a parable with a historical setting than as a strictly historical novel. I also thought that the magical overtones could perhaps have benefited from some expansion to make them sit better in the story as a whole.
This was a quick, enjoyable read and I’m really glad to have finally received a self-published book about which I am happy to say that!
You may read a longer version of this review by clicking here.
Sent on: 20 January 2011
Flowers for Alys
What a beautiful, tender story, this story of Jenet - a socially unacceptable lass due to a facial disfigurement, who finds her own little baby Moses in the rushes.
The beautiful prose transforms every scene into a touching reality. The understanding, and eye for detail, of the ways and customs of the times is outstanding.
But even more beautiful is the story which forms its basis. This story of a miracle child and the life-giving power of her love, though at times misunderstood.
And the flowers, which, in an unexpected twist, complete this wonderful circle of life.
It is a story of love, pure and simple as that, but a story of the power of a mother's love for her child, and her child's love for her, which transcends even their own understanding at times, and crosses into the lives of more than one relationship - even those who have not had the fortune to meet.
An excellent book by an excellent author, it is one of those gems that once you have read the opening paragraphs, you are instantly transported into their lives and completely unwilling to put the book down, until its conclusion...and even then I wished for more.
Sent on: 31 January 2011
Great book...keeps you hanging on.Short storie that carries you away to a different time.I liked it and recommend it.
Sent on: Jun 06, 2011
Flowers for Alys by Irene M. Redpath is a lovely, lovely story simply told with prose that is limpid and straightforward. It is structured as a kind of fairy tale but the character designated as the witch will surprise you. The time is unspecified but appears to be medieval, or at least somewhere in a simpler, non-technological past and the setting, for the most part, is a cottage in the woods.
Alys is a young unmarried woman who gives birth to an exceptionally beautiful child who is later named Fleur-the word in French for flower. It is impossible to give more of the story line than that without revealing too much. The book is relatively short and reads as quickly as a fairy tale. But although it does not take long to read, the story continues to haunt (as any fairy tale does) and the mood lingers after the story ends.
I was captivated by this simple story, beautifully told and recommend it to any one who likes well-written but simply structured stories. The tale illustrates the pain inflicted by narrow-mindedness, fear of difference and intolerance while at the same time conveying a sense of hope and beauty that survives like the flowers of the title.
Posted on: Aug 18, 2011
A touching short story. Gentle, even with the tragic elements.
A tale of the outsiders in society, injustice and beauty craftily mixed up.
When and where might not be clear excepting the one mention of Beverely and an estimate of 17th/18th century.
After reading it there seems so much more detail that I might want to fill in, yet the story is complete.
6th February 2013
Thank you for this - what wonderful writing! The characters feel so real, and the story is compelling and made me want to read more and more. I have posted a link to your website on our Facebook today to help spread the word!
Pre-publication comments may be read on page 1.