Category: Lesley Atherton

Read This Book: NO MATTER WHAT! ***** FIVE STARS

Read this book ‘No Matter What‘ by Lesley Atherton

Review by Guest Blogger, Lauren O’Neill

No Matter What‘ is a short tale told from the point of view of Jayne Smith, a ghost writer who loves her job. She enjoyed the challenge of trying to write a book, autobiography or memoir in a way that it would seem her clients had written the books themselves. That is, until a certain supermodel named Hawk was sent her way, bringing not only stress and trouble along with him but also a past that Jayne had long since left behind.

Image: Pngtree

Lesley Atherton does a really good job of drawing you in and keeping you there and interested until the very end. Usually for me, short stories are just something to read to pass the time but with ‘No Matter What‘, I found myself enthralled with every word.

Even for a short story, each chapter flowed easily from one to another, I never found it difficult to get to the next page, never got stuck on a paragraph and never struggled to find the motivation to continue.

Jayne Smith, the protagonist of the story, is a woman who doesn’t find the need to impress or be a different person just to appease her peers and clients. Throughout ‘No Matter What’, I noticed how I didn’t agree with everything she believed but I still wanted her to come out victorious, be it ignoring the “supermodel version of Christopher Ecclestone” that was Hawk or being able to one day get the recognition she truly deserved for her hard work.

Without giving too much away, I saw myself mentally making note of every word she wrote, putting it away for later. This may just be a short fiction story but within it, you’ll find many things you could put to use in your life. As I started reading, I had somewhat of an idea in my head on what ‘No Matter What‘ was going to be about. Boy was I wrong!

For a 64 page story, there were so many twists and turns that kept me guessing and I have to admit, I never would have predicted what was going to happen and I think that’s quite a feat.

Illustration – quick sketch by a young Morrigan Atherton-Forshaw

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘No Matter What’: the story was interesting, gripping and even quite helpful in some places. It kept me intrigued and excited to keep on reading to find out what happened to Jayne and if Hawk had caused any more trouble for the poor woman.

I would definitely recommend ‘No Matter What‘ to you if you enjoy a quick little fix of humour, excitement, mysterious supermodels and a ghost writer with more to her than she lets on, if you enjoy all that, then this is the story for you.

See also ‘Conflict Management’ by Meredith Schumann, Lesley Atherton’s new author name.

5/5 stars

#lesleyfridayreads, #lesleyatherton, #scottmartinproductions, #laurenoneill, #nomatterwhat, #shortnovel

‘Past Present Tense’ – Brilliant Review Comments

“Good pace. Takes its time to reflect in intriguing fashion.”

“May not suit readers of the ‘Wham Bam’ genres. Will suit readers wanting more depth and more 3D characterisation. A lot of interior verbalisation and feeling.”

“Motifs ; Sartrean existential angst. No way to anticipate direction of story because of unpredictability of players.”

“Fear, insecurity. anxiety. loneliness v aloneness. strong but vulnerable characters causing conflict within and outwardly.”

“House belonging to Edward, another ‘character’ in its own right, reflects mental turmoil and needs at the time. For father it is an anchor to a wavering reality. It is a symbolic order (in a Kristevian sense ) but a symbolic disorder. Abject. Revolt. Chaotic thoughts and action or non-action.”

“Search by all characters for Home or sanctuary. For the villian, Craig, his is violent efforts to control or he is lost at sea.”

“Action is woven into interior monologues. In the case of Craig it is difficult to detect any residual charm that had first won Natalie but his violence paradoxically shows weakness.”

“Concept of Home = Concept of identity. Gregarious human need v Need for individual creativity and protection of one’s integrity.”

“Finally there is an acceptance and value of valuable pluralist connections, choices and ideas.” 

‘Past Present Tense’ – some incredible reviews!

“I think the sensuality of the woman’s condition of craving… not just food… but stimulation to prove life in a secure way is brilliant. It is evocative of Sartre’s Nausea with its descriptions of existentialist angst and the fear of being adrift on a turbulent sea without anchor and also the devaluing of self by trying and failing to live up to other’s expectations. The present is indeed tense. I’m looking forward to Tanya’s adventures.
PS The ‘Peace’ quilt has a strong breath of [the author]” – PL

“Can’t put it down. The ironing is suing me for neglect. All the creased blouses have folded their arms in disgust and the sheets are pale with rage. You have such tremendous insight into those feelings of loss and psychic connection. Thank you Lesley. This work is literary as well as being the work of a born storyteller” – PAT

Thoughts: John Atherton 1939-2016

 

He was my dad, my boss, and one of my very closest friends.  My other close friends have known for many years that, for me, the loss of this person and all he was to me, would be monumental.  In fact, I described the prospect of losing my dad, on a great many occasions as, “The thing I’ve dreaded most for the longest time”.

 

How I dreaded it.  And when I knew his end was almost with him, I cried.  Of course I cried, but it was a numb crying. Now, four months down the line, it’s like re-opening deep wounds when I think of him.  But yet I must think of him because he made me what I am, faults and all.

 
I  thought I’d feel alone when he went, but the truth is, in more than one sense, that he hasn’t left, and he won’t ever leave.
 
The truth is that three weeks after dad’s death I asked him for guidance.  I asked him “A or B,” which to choose?  I received an answer in the most dad-specific way possible.  I couldn’t brush it aside as a coincidence.  Then, a couple of weeks later, I asked another direct question with 2 simple answers. Dad’s answer was unequivocal, not just with voices in my head by in clear and unmistakable signs.  Two answers.  The first manifesting as a book.  The second, a mug.
 
But he is also here all around me, not just in his books on my shelves, and in his photographs, but in so many memories.  He left, on his table made from storm damaged elm, two books barely begun, one about Adam Smith and one about Edinburgh.  I intend to read both in tribute to him.  He also left behind a key ring from a visit to the Bayeux tapestry and a tub full of Tesco ballpoints (which he greatly preferred to the beautiful ballpoint pen his mum had spent a fortune on).
 
My most treasured recent moment with him occurred just a little while before he went into hospital  for his final stay, when we were sat together in his study.  I’d just assisted him typing up his last piece of research to send to his good friend Normunds in Stockholm.  He put his hand on my forearm and squeezed it and with tears in his eyes he then told me how much he loved me and how grateful he was to me and how I wasn’t just his daughter and employee, I was his dear friend too.
 
And we were friends – such good friends.  And there are so many memories.  Memories of his frequent IT support requests, his tiny little pieces of paper covered with completely unintelligible scrawls which were in fact my task list… the lunches he used to make for us when the kids were little – chicken goujons, new potatoes with butter and parsley and vegetables or salad all helped down with mayo or a special chutney. 
 
And, oh my God, the strength and size of his alcoholic measures, and the depths of pain he felt at losing his wife, my mum.  I’ll never forget the day she died, when I’d brushed her hair and fed her tinned peaches, and we both thought she was probably getting better.
 
We talked so much, and talked about everything.  The fact is that whenever I had something to tell, it was always him I wanted to tell it to.
 
He was a very singular, arguably slightly eccentric man, with great determination, strength of character, and unbelievable kindness – at the same time as a kind of bonkers flippancy too.  I can’t forget when my son took exception to his granddad describing many things as “really rather nice,” and how my dad then felt compelled to say it all the more to him as a form of aversion therapy, till it ceased to be an annoying overused phrases and became instead a sweet family cliche. A family legend, almost.
 
My dad would have been sorry not to have experienced the later-than-usual return to their nest by the swallow pair who, some years back, took residence outside his study window.  We used to love sitting and working with their flapping wings in view from the corner of our eyes.  The swallows didn’t come this year till after he died (a good many weeks later than usual) but when I visit the house now it gives me comfort that their babies have again grown under the protection of dad’s roof.
 
It was easy for me to grow under the protection of my mum and dad because both were people who made you want to transcend your mistakes and limitations and to constantly try your best to become a more decent, reasonable human being.
 
As a child, being told off by my dad was the worst experience ever!  When my mum told us off, she would perhaps shout and then the job was done, but my dad did the thing of getting me to consider all the consequences of what I had done.  Not a guilt trip as such, but more of an ethical check-in reminder.
 
So dad, bye for now.  I’m waiting and hoping that you’ll choose to talk to me again when I need it.  But even if you don’t, even if you don’t,  I’ll still talk to you and tell you everything that’s been going on with life down here.  With love forever from your devoted daughter, Lesley xxx