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
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!
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
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.
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
Writing Style 9/10
‘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.
‘An insightful and powerfully written memoir. Highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Awards
If you'd like to read this blog as a story, click here to go to the first blog post and continue reading in chronological order.
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What readers are saying…
"I just finished your book and loved it. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It was beautifully written and was difficult for me to put down!" ~ Kimmie
"Your book was beautiful! My heart ached with you all the way! I cried so much that my head hearts! Lol. Thank you for sharing your journey....you are a beautiful soul. Love to you and your girls." ~ Jannette
"Your book struck a personal cord with me. Thank you for making me see I am not the only one. Best wishes to you and your girls." ~ Tabitha
"Brilliant writing. Heart rending subject. Emotions expressed superbly. Too sad! Loved your descriptions; 'rain falling like sheets of glass...', 'syllables dropping at my feet.....' and many, many more. Five stars!" ~ June
“I didn't want your book to come to an end; yet, I did, as I knew it would be a new beginning for you. Your words, no matter what pain may lie behind them, are so beautifully strung together. I can't thank you enough for pushing yourself to write your story, very REMARKABLE story, for so many to love and learn from.” ~ Allison
“Your book has every emotion possible. The love you have for Stuart is unconditional and not found often. I admire your strength as a women wife and mother. God bless you and your girls each day. Thanks for sharing your story!” ~ Bridgette
“Just read your book, couldn't put it down. God bless you and your girls and for loving Stuart the way you did. I truly believe he is at peace. My best wishes to you all... you have touched a piece of my heart xx” ~ Lydia
"Have just finished your very moving and beautifully written memoir. I wish you and your daughters much happiness for the future. Thanks to you your girls will have good memories of their beloved father together with an understanding of his battle with depression." ~ Nicola
"You are a very brave and compassionate woman and I'm so glad you told your story. It has also helped me on my healing journey and it will help so many others too. Thank you so much for sharing and for your beautiful writing. I will be recommending it to many people and hope to read more of your writing in the future." ~ Kae
"AMAZING BOOK! I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN! Thank you for sharing your deepest self and your incredible journey. You are a true inspiration. I will tell everybody I know what a MUST read this book. You are a gifted writer, and I look forward to your next book." ~ Maryanne
"I just finished your incredible book! THANK YOU FOR sharing your pain. The story is incredible a true example of unconditional love." ~ Myra
"I took a whim and downloaded your book on my kindle. I had no idea what it was about or who you were. And let me tell you, i am so glad that i did. this was one of the most moving, loving, heartbreaking and amazing books i have ever read. I couldn't stop reading it and refused to do so until it was finished. What a moving story, and thank you for sharing it." ~ Beth