New 5* review for Daffodils posted in AMerica

5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, authentic period piece page turner, May 29, 2013

Amazon Verified Purchase(What\’s this?)

This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)

Definitely a page turner and equally a romance and historical novel.

Daffodils captures the class sensitivities, naivety and parochialism of English villagers before the First World War and the gruesome experiences of that war and the partial emancipation of the working and servant classes that came through WW1. It does this through the utterly authentic voices of the characters. At times touching, erotic, heartwarming, gruesome gritty and heartrending, it is an intimate story that really does portray the changing attitudes and the turmoil that ordinary British people went through. This is not the first novel, film, tv series to explore these themes around the emancipation of the British working classes through WW1, but it\’s the most captivating I have read.

The opening chapters portray the orderly and oppressive world of pre-war British country life from the point of view of characters who wouldn\’t think to question this order. It\’s quite a charming and engaging read at this point, but be prepared for thoroughly convincing drama as war propels these characters into the modern era.

Alex Martin has another novel, The Twisted Vine, on Kindle. I think Daffodils is a stronger work on all fronts, but if you agree with me about Daffodils, you\’re likely to enjoy Twisted Vine as well.

Bargain for The Twisted Vine!

The Twisted Vine is on promotion for a short while. Grab your bargain – only 99 cents in the US or 77pence in the UK
17 reviews average a score of 4.5*\’s
A French escape full of romance, mystery, gourmet delights and the joy of finding new friendships through travel. Roxanne has to find her courage many times and eventually uncovers a French dynasty in vineyards which hides a terrible secret.
Perfect escapist reading!

The Twisted Vine

blog hop at with Shani Struthers

Shani Struthers invited me onto her new blog to talk about my latest book, Daffodils.  First a little about Shani:

About Shani Struthers:

As the tagline suggests, I’m an author, a copywriter and an avid reader of books across a variety of genres (but particularly supernatural thrillers and romance). I’m also a mum of 3 (two girls and a boy, who are thankfully past the nappy and toddler tantrum stage), something of a film buff (well, not really, but I do like a good movie), an appreciator of good food (especially when it’s cooked for me) and wine snob (nothing less than a fiver!).
The written word has always fascinated me, ever since I realised I could make sense of those strange markings on the page when I was 4 or 5. Since then, I’ve run riot through a world of books, even so much as completeing a degree in English and American Literature at Sussex University back in the (late) 80′s. I took to writing as a teen, mainly angst-inspired poems which I’ll post up on this site sometime plus a tale of running away to Scotland (something I was keen to do until I discovered it rained all the time there!). Early-twenties, I left my job in travel and became a freelance travel writer instead, something I do to this day. A couple of years ago, I wrote a book. Last year, I got it critiqued. The critique led to a complete re-write (don’t they always?) but I (and my beta-readers) were much happier for it. I sent it off to various publishers at the end of last year and was overwhelmed by the response. Omnific Publishing in the USA have had a great 2012, so I decided to publish with them and, so far, the experience has been delightful (I am pre-edits mind!). The book, The Runaway Year, is out soon.
Meanwhile, I’m copywriting, writing my second novel and still reading like a woman possessed. I particularly love the offerings of authors I’ve found online in various writing circles I belong to – awesome bunch, the lot of them.
Well, that’s me. If it gets more interesting, I’ll let you know.

And here\’s my post on her blog:

Shani Struthers Blog Hop

1.   What is the working title of your book or project?


I’ve got two books ‘out there’ at present.  The latest one is called Daffodils and it’s set in Edwardian England just as World War One broke out.  My first book is called The Twisted Vine and is based on my own experiences as a grape-picker during the French wine harvest back in the 1980s. My next one is already started and is called The Rose Trail, a ghost story set against the back drop of the English Civil War.

2.   Where did the idea come from for the book or project?

          I’ll tell you about Daffodils, my latest release. This was a slow burn! I lived in a village in Wiltshire and borrowed its geography for the book. There was an old guy, called Harry, who lived in skid row – the terrace of tiny cottages we lived in – next to us.  He had a wooden leg from an old injury working on the railways.  Harry was nearly 100 years old and a great talker.  He told me about how taps finally arrived in the cottages in the not too distant past. Initially there was only a pump on the village green, then standpipes at the end of the row of cottages, then a tap to be shared between two back doors and then, finally in the sixties, each cottage got a sink with its own tap!  I was captivated by this and the germ of an idea was born.  We caught the end of an era when we lived there in the 1980s and it was where our children were born.  I wanted to capture the era I could see would pass with Harry, who still rented his cottage from the local landowners, in a feudal, timeless way.

3.   What genre does it fall under if any?

Historical fiction with a bit of romance, and some military background from the battlefields of WW1. It could also be seen as a bit feminist!

4.   If applicable, who would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I always find this a hard question!  Katy could be portrayed very well by Keira Knightly; Jem by James McIvoy and Lionel by Christian Bale.  I must remember to give them all a ring. I know they are waiting to hear from me!!!

5.   What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript or project?

Showing the impact of the First World War on everyday people living ordinary country lives and how it shook up society values on class, gender and other values forever.

6.   Will your book or story be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self published on as an ebook and paperback and also on as a paperback.

7.   How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Would you believe ten whole years?

8.   What other book or stories would you compare this story to within the genre?

Birdsong covers similar ground and left a big impression on me but only after I’d finished Daffodils.  I was pretty annoyed that Downton Abbey also covered this era and stole my thunder and now The Village is doing the same.  Downton is a bit lightweight and The Village is too miserable. I hope Daffodils strikes the right balance.

9.   Who or What inspired you to write this book or story?
Old Harry, cited above but also when I started to write about his era and read the research I was so moved by the sacrifice and courage of that generation, particularly the women (and you don’t hear of them so often), that I felt compelled to tell their story, in the best way I could.

10.                     What else about the book or story might pique the reader\’s interest?

Anyone who loves history and learning how people managed country life before electricity, cars and information technology should be interested in the detail shown of Edwardian life.  Also I did a lot of research on the conditions of the soldiers in the British Expeditionary Force, and the way they were treated really shocked me.  And any woman who wants to know how we evolved from being drudges and became independent people in our own right will find Katy’s journey in to the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps fascinating.  I did when I researched it and had no idea how involved and resourceful these women were.



This is a link to my blog where I post about my writing experiences and works in progress.  Reviews are also posted here. And blog posts from other lovely authors too!




The Next Authors with exciting books to tell you about are:

Malika Gandhi who has written 3 books and published them on amazon:

Rakesh’s Story, Freedom of the Monsoon and Where The Secret Lies.

Prue Batten who is the author of the Gisborne Saga and many other best selling books.



New 5* Review for Daffodils!

Out of the blue a new 5* review for Daffodils:

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 15 May 2013

Mrs. J. A. Bell \”JAB\” (Carlisle, UK) – See all my reviews

This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)

This book was recommended to me and I have thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. I was totally absorbed in Katy\’s life and I do hope Alex Martin is going to write a sequel.

I shall have to give a sequel some thought!

just beginnings but feel I\'m on track with the Rose Trail

Here\’s my latest review from which is a peer review site for writers. You do a review and get a randomised one in return. Reliably very honest!

Excellent story by an expert writer

Let me start by saying that, for me, this story was the easiest one ever to rate. I am giving you all 5’s for this story, one of the best I have read on YWO. You are clearly an experienced and responsible, thoughtful and hardworking writer. Your story was a joy to read.

I loved the opening line. Immediately this drew me in and I was able to empathise with Fay instantly.

Furthermore, by the time I reached the first conversation with Persephone, the narrator had me hooked. The gentle, tilting and humble tone, perfect pace and clever but simple intricacies of language were a pleasure to read. Fay quickly developed into a lively and endearing character that I would happily follow all the way through the book. Then, the hint at something mysterious at the end of chapter one gave me the plot hook that I needed so that I knew the direction the book was going in.

You have a great talent with language, making it work hard. Lively, active word choices and intriguing, precise short descriptions that really allow the reader to feel and experience everything and be part of the journey.

I think the first two chapters are a bit on the short side. I couldn’t really see why chapter one and two were separate – apart from the fact that there’s that delicious hook at the end of chapter one. But the end of chapter two is equally enticing and if this was my story, I would combine these two chapters. But then what do I know, I have yet to write something so accomplished. Chapter three, I think, is perfect in length. Short, sharp and enthralling.

I can tell you’ve put a lot of thought into character description and the tone that divided the historical with the modern scenes and I think all your hard work has paid off.

One of the most poignant lines I’ve ever read: ‘He envied little Elizabeth the safe cradle of her mother’s arms about her tiny, still body.’ This is such a strong line, very powerful. I did wonder whether the following line was required (Half of him wished it was him lying there, peacefully wrapped up next to the one person who had really loved him.). For me, this weakened that very powerful image of Elizabeth that you give just with the one line. This first line tells us exactly how Will is feeling, and how strong his relationship with his mum was. And it says it all, without the next line.

Not sure if you intend on keeping the chapter headings (i.e. Present day but the same place) but I don’t think they are necessary. The writing is very clear without the headings – no easy job, but you’ve mastered this perfectly, good for you.

I just have one minor niggle, it’s more of a personal thing really and that is that I kept tripping up over the name Persephone. I wasn’t sure how to pronounce it but however I did, it just sounded stilted and out of place. I’m sure you have good reason for this name, and in all honesty there’s probably nothing wrong with it, it’s just that it’s the only thing that caught my attention in a negative way. You don’t have to take any notice of this, just thought I would mention it.

As much as I hated to get to the end of this extract, I was left with this wonderful feeling of having something to think about – how two worlds so far apart might collide. A great achievement with such a short extract – this story is bigger than itself – and I expect that the consequences and resolutions will be equally thematic.

Overall, I think this is a wonderful story, an exciting subject, but what makes it really shine is the writing. I would love to read the whole novel, it sounds intriguing and I’m sure it’s complexities would be worthy of many an audience. I think you’ve done a brilliant job here and have no doubt about your skills as an extremely competent writer and master storyteller. I wish you all the luck in the world with this and all your writing. I’m sure I will be picking up this novel from a bookshop in the near future and will relish doing so.

Happy writing

Thought the paperback would never pass through the publisher\'s screening!

Hallelujah! Finally, got the paperback of DAFFODILS through the screeniing processing for publishing.  It\’s taken weeks of correspondence with the nice FeedARead people. Mostly because I have used several different fonts in lots of letters from the characters in the book.  Letters were the only way people could communicate then – or the dreaded telegraph – so had to be included.  Also the characters are so different – Lionel with his pompous articulate style, Jem with his honest sincerity, Agnes with her country burr and Cassandra with her modern vivacious energy.  They each deserved to have their own distinct handwriting and was was determined to achieve that.  Had I known how tricky it was to be I might have not started but once I begin a procedure I like to follow through.
So, it\’s gone to the printers at last.
More waiting until I clutch my second \’egg\’ to my fast beating heart.
Better get in the garden and do a bit of digging!
You can be sure its arrival will be posted here….