As you know, on Fridays I bring you guest authors and new books. Sometimes I keep reading and commenting on people’s blogs (and vice versa) and I’m convinced I’ve talked about the author’s books, and then realise that’s not the case. That happened to me with Peter Wells (and his blog Counting Ducks). We read and comment on each other’s posts, and I even remembered having read reviews about his book, but I had yet to feature him. Well, finally, here he is.
Peter Wells, who has lived by the maxim, “If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same” has had a life, working in the corporate, financial and self-employed worlds, and in his spare time has enjoyed adventures on a number of continents and sailing over several seas. His writing is inspired by his working and traveling life, and the people he has met through them. He now lives just south of London and is the proud father of three daughters.
And his books:
Living Life Backwards by Peter Wells
Having spent his childhood in a barren emotional wasteland overseen by a father who valued order above feeling, Bill finally meets a woman who leads him to a place he can call home. Arriving in the small coastal town in England with his new wife, he finds that he is quickly assimilated into her community and extended family. With his somewhat murky past behind him, he forges a new life within a solid, caring community and discovers what being valued means. As it happens, his wife appears to be overly interested in “organizing” everything and everyone around her, including her young cousin who is the apple of her father’s eye. Within the garden of Eden Bill knows he can show no interest in this apple called Misty. He knows the price of doing so, and the value of what he now enjoys. Will that be enough to protect him from desire? Luck is with him: she has no interest in him. But what if circumstances where to change and she looked at her world and him with new eyes. Would he cling to common sense? With the hand of a surgeon, Peter Wells gently probes the thoughts of the mundane to seek those corners that still long for adventure. Those bits and pieces of each of us that gaze out on the world and find something to settle on and wonder… Tenderly touching the wounded, lonely parts of his character’s hearts, Peter gently leads them to a destiny they never could have imagined on their own. When an Obsession knocks on the doors of your Paradise, should they remain closed?
A great review. (By a fantastic blogger whom I also visit often and vice versa)
ByLorna Leeon April 3, 2014
Peter Wells cannot be described as merely an accomplished breakout novelist. In his first book, as well as in his very popular blog, he has proven himself to be the most subtle of humorists, a most astute observer of human emotion and behavior, and the kind of philosopher I simply can’t get enough of.
This novel gets inside the minds and hearts of a cadre of characters that you won’t soon forget. Why? Because they are us–real, quirky, flawed, complex, dreamers, well-intended, unsure, conflicted, and presented with difficult situations through which they must navigate. Sound familiar? It should! It’s called life. And it’s messy. Peter captures how these people deal with their challenges in a way that only he can. It’s as if he has special spectacles through which he can see into a person’s (fictional or not) psyche. And he does it with a wit that I, as a humorist, envy.
As a writer, I know it’s best to show not tell. Let me give you a few snippets of Peter’s laser-like wit that cuts to the heart of his characters:
Of Misty, the object of much consternation, he tells us: “Through no fault of her own, she was more than averagely pretty, and this had made her a prize for those not necessarily interested in marriage.”
Of the protagonist’s (Bill’s) wife and mother-in-law complaining about their husbands: “Grumbling at low volume was their normality. Mother and daughter now joyously celebrating a common burden: men with no imagination.”
Of Bill’s (Peter’s) insightfulness: “Secrecy is often the strategy of the socially awkward or shy.” I very much related to that observation!
I could go on, but won’t. I don’t want to give away the many gems in this novel, which is a veritable treasure chest of jewels.
At the heart of it is the basic human dilemma: do you settle for a good enough safe life or do you risk it all for the fantasy dangling before you? Peter takes us on the ride with characters who grapple with the choices they make and the consequences of their choices. And what a ride it is.
Don’t make us wait too long, Peter, for another book. Until then, I remain a loyal follower of your blog on WordPress.
The Man Who Missed the Boat by Peter Wells
It should have been an ordinary Saturday morning. A short walk down his street to give a piano lesson at the home of a family he knew well. As it turned out, he knew them rather better than was good for him.
How much trouble can a well-intentioned piano teacher land in? Simon Baxter discovers that being “well-meaning” is sometimes not enough to protect you from the chaos in other people’s lives. Even an excessive sense of “good manners” can be disastrous in the wrong circumstances. Under pressure the unorganised desires kept strictly deep inside us can surface and bring chaos to the lives of ourselves and anyone near us.
Will our untrained hero make it safely across the river of life or, like so many of us, get swept up by the current of events towards an unplanned adventure?
In the sudden change from “Not being loved enough” to “Being loved too much, and by more than one women,” Simon finds out more about himself than he would like. Can he choose wisely, and live with the consequences?
In this, his second novel, Peter Wells continues to cast his gentle but penetrating light on those foibles and weaknesses which lie beneath the exterior of the apparently most ordered lives. Those hidden character traits which can, in the right circumstances, surface and toss their owner, and anyone around him or her, most unpleasantly.
And the same reviewer repeats and loves it!
By Lorna Lee on April 14, 2015 (5 stars)
Resonating with the twinkle-eyed wit of Mark Twain and with the compassionate insight into the human condition reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway, Peter Wells presents his readers with a most engaging and delightful look at the twists of fate in the otherwise ordinary lives of the many characters who populate his latest book.
We get to know Simon (the kind hearted, often confused protagonist), Ruth (the jilted wife in an uneventful marriage), Giles (the regretful cheating husband whose former predictable life continues to spiral out of control), Amy (Ruth and Giles’ teenage daughter seeking stability from Simon, her piano teacher), Sadie (the wealthy woman who finds Simon’s brand of innocence quite alluring), Bobbie (an impetuous, heartless young woman who uses Giles for her own entertainment and crime spree), and Herman Melville (yes, that’s right, a frumpy man whose wife left him and who longs for Ruth’s attention).
When I say, “we get to know” these people, I truly mean it. We learn as much about these people as clergy learn about their confessors or therapists learn about their clients. We know their innermost thoughts and feelings because Peter takes us into their minds, hearts and souls. I was so awestruck at Peter’s ability to get inside each character so completely that I often stopped and reread passages of his prose.
Peter is able to seamlessly pop in and out of each character’s point of view by being the omniscient narrator of this story of a Simon, a simple piano teacher who stumbles into the family drama of one of his pupils. As the quintessential storyteller, he engages us by adding his own observations and cues us to pay attention to certain elements of the story and not to others, telling us what is important and what is “for another time.
Thanks to Peter Wells for his books, thanks to Lorna for her reviews, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK!