Monthly Roundup – March 2020

March has been quite the month. It all started so well. I attended two fascinating literary events. I smashed my personal best at Parkrun. Student son came back from uni for a weekend visit. And then we became a plague house.

If it weren’t for all the scaremongering in the media I would say we had a nasty run-in with a flu virus. And maybe that was what it was. We can’t know as no testing for any potential new virus has been made available.

Husband was the first to go down – before all the media fuss – so, having recovered, ensured supplies were brought in. We weathered the storm. I’d like to say I made inroads into my TBR pile but actually I missed a few deadlines because, when I wasn’t lying still wishing my fever would abate and the bedroom ceiling would stop moving, my muzzy head couldn’t cope with anything remotely challenging. I read some. I wrote a few reviews. These will not be amongst my best work.

We came out the other side and I started to hope that, actually, it had been this new virus as we would then have the immunity we are supposed to be seeking. Without testing, who knows?

Son returned to uni to empty his fridge (meat had turned black!) and pick up work related items to enable ongoing, on line learning. The cessation of face to face support takes on new focus when this costly education is being paid for through loans.

As he was still feeling weary, and my car was needed to get other son to work (overnight he had been designated a key worker), husband and I travelled by train to Cardiff to help bring back what would be needed to keep student home for several months. Over the two days we spent in the city it shut down. We watched as a vibrant centre became a ghost town populated by increasingly aggressive homeless. By the time we left it felt feral.

With train services being cancelled without warning we were fortunate to get out. Daughter had escaped London on the previous day so came to our rescue when our final connecting service vanished from the boards.

It is good in these strange times to have my family all together. I have never felt so glad to live in the countryside where signs of spring are offering much needed hope.

My final literary event of the month – to be held in London – was cancelled. To be honest, given everything else going on, I was relieved.

We do our best to adjust to the shift in our reality. With police powers becoming increasingly draconian my mental state is jittery. How many lives will be shortened due to these measures inflicting difficult living conditions and shattered prospects on so many? My personal fear is the removal of my right to daily exercise outside – on some days it feels this is all that is keeping me balanced.

I posted reviews for 11 books in March: 4 novels (1 translated), 2 novelettes, 1 short story collection, 2 poetry collections, 1 children’s story, 1 illustrated story.

Click on the cover below to learn more about the book. Click on the title to read my review.


A variety of fiction

blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris, published by Black Swan
You Never Told Me by Sarah Jasmon, published by Black Swan

Once Upon a Time in Chinatown by Robert Ronsson, published by Patrician Press



Northern Alchemy by Christine De Luca, published by Patrician Press
Dancing Naked in Front of Dogs by Michael Maul


Fabulously wicked novelettes

The Prick by Mazim Saleem, published by Open Pen
In Lieu of a Memoir by Tadhg Mullar, published by Open Pen


Translated fiction

Fate by Jorge Consiglio (translated by Carolina Orloff and Fionn Petch), published by Charco Press


Not just for children

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy, published by Ebury Press
Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans, published by David Fickling Books


Short stories well worth reading

She-Clown and Other Stories by Hannah Vincent, published by Myriad Editions


Literary events attended

Adam Scovell in Bristol
Venetia Welby at Bowood


Sourcing the books I read

This month publishers provided me with five new titles to consider. I also accepted two books from authors – something I rarely do as reviewing them feels too personal.

I borrowed one book from my local library.

I purchased two books.



As ever I wish to thank all the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.

My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your continuing support is always appreciated.

And to everyone reading this, I wish you and yours good health, speedy recovery from any illness, and as much mental stability as can be mustered in these challenging times. May we strive, at all times, to be kind  xx


6 comments on “Monthly Roundup – March 2020

  1. BookerTalk says:

    Am I understanding correctly that you all succumbed? If you don’t know for certain this was Covid that means you can’t be sure you are now immune? The worst of both worlds… I’m also fearful we will get fiercer restrictions on exercise,

    • Jackie Law says:

      Three of us have been ill over the past couple of months but more likely cold or flu given symptoms. Hard to know what to think though given ever changing ‘advice’. Hope you stay well x

      • BookerTalk says:

        We’re all so panicked now that the slightest sign of a sore throat has us fearful… I know the talk is that most people will get mild symptoms but that’s not borne out by the stories of some people who have had it and come through it including the 19 year old boy next door to us who is extremely fit and healthy. His mum said she;d never seen him so ill

      • Jackie Law says:

        It is a scary time. I hope you all stay well.

  2. MarinaSofia says:

    A month and a half and another half, by the sounds of it! I hope you are all well now and stay well.

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