Happy New Year! Three words came to me in a morning meditation for the year ahead – magic, miracles and manifestation. So that is what I am looking forward to and looking out for this year and I wish all of you the same. I know that in my own life, these things happen all the time though I only notice them when I am present and aware. May 2017 be a year full of magic, miracles and manifestation for YOU too!

love Leila x

Magic Miracles Manifestation

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In November 2016, we moved into our new house, which my dear father kindly bought for us in the beautiful village where we have lived for the past five years in a rental. I’m so happy and grateful to finally have a home to call our own again!

New Home

New Home

New Home

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In 2016, I discovered BookLife, the Publishers Weekly site for self-published authors where you can add your book and submit it for consideration for a free Publishers Weekly review. There are apparently thousands of books submitted every month, so the chances of getting picked are not high, however, I was pleasantly surprised to hear back from them within a few weeks that my book, It Rains In February: A Wife’s Memoir of Love and Loss had been picked for a PW review! Seeing as readers seem to either love my book, or hate it (depending on their own personal beliefs), I waited in nervous anticipation, hoping for the reviewer to be one of the former. In November, I received the email to say that my PW review was live on their website and had gone out in their newsletter. I followed the link and was hugely relieved to find a wonderful review!

“Summers’s memoir is a complex contemporary tragedy written by a mature, talented writer. Summers speaks directly to her husband, Stuart, who chose to end his own life, in this painfully honest eulogy. The intimate style, combined with second-person narration, gives the story a page-turning tension. Summers must first accept that her emotional, smart, artistic husband has fallen deeply in love with another woman. The small family that includes two young daughters is fractured when Stuart moves out of their Victorian home in the suburbs of a South African city, and the rupture deepens when Stuart moves further away from his family and his reluctant lover to be near his sister, Ruth, in Cape Town. Summers works from a distance to keep her long-suicidal husband alive, while Ruth makes similar efforts from nearby. Ultimately, the love of his wife, sister, and children are not enough to keep him alive. Summers’s skilled prose (“Bleakness permeates the moist air and seeps into my pores”) makes this traumatic book bearable to read. This memoir is a cathartic exercise for the author and could well serve in the same capacity for anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Publishers Weekly

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Last year, I was very excited to hear that my memoir, It Rains In February, was a finalist in the 2014 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards in Category 6: Adults Non-fiction! This means that it made it into the top 15 of all the book entries in its category. It has taken me quite some time to get around to adding the award seal to my book cover, but it is finally done.

It Rains In February

Here is the feedback I received from the book award readers:

Title: It Rains In February
Author: Leila Summers
Star Rating: 5 stars
Number of Readers: 31
Stats:
Cover 8/10
Editing 9/10
Writing Style 9/10
Plot/Story/Contents 10/10

Readers’ Comments:
‘I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing is excellent and it covers the difficult time during and after a partner’s death. Although I often felt she should be much tougher with her husband, it was still an insightful read. I’d recommend it to anybody who had lost a loved one.’ Female reader, aged 54

‘I think anybody who can write about such terrible events must have great courage.’ Male reader, aged 52

‘I liked the unusual setting very much the author described it well. But that is secondary to the journey she and her family went on as she dealt with her husband’s sickness and death. Well written and thought provoking.’ Female reader, aged 61

‘A frustrating book to read as I wanted the characters to act differently than they did. But this is a memoir and this is the way it happened. I enjoyed it.’ Female reader, aged 48

Of the 31 readers:
25 thought the cover was good or excellent.
27 would read another book by this author.
9 thought the setting was the best part of the book.
22 thought the honesty of the author was the best part.

Catchy Quote:

‘An insightful and powerfully written memoir. Highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Awards

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