~Temptation in Paradise~
LIVING LIFE BACKWARDS is Peter Wells’ first novel, which focuses on the issues of temptation, hidden desire and obsession, which the hero of the tale struggles to control.
I have been reading Peter’s work on his blog, COUNTING DUCKS, on which he shares his unique take on life through his writing, for over a year now. His work is full of wisdom, witticism, wry and laugh out loud humour, and sometimes profound sadness and over riding joy. His character driven prose delves deep into the human condition, often leading me to stop and think about my own life and that of others. We featured the novel and an excerpt from it earlier this year (scroll down to click on the link to this) and today we are featuring my review and an interview with Peter. You can also check out the purchase links and find out how to connect to the author. Tina 🙂
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?
~Temptation in Paradise~
This insightful novel by Peter Wells is full of quirky, real life characters, to whom there is certainly a lot more than meets the eye! The plot is ripe with hidden desire and obsession and also deception and temptation. It is a beautifully written, engrossing and thought provoking read.
In Living Life Backwards, Bill, a long suffering married man, has an obsession with his wife’s younger cousin Misty, an obsession which he does not act on and does his utmost to conceal, for fear that it will destroy all he holds dear. Bill’s back story is one of a singularly loveless upbringing from his widowed father and he is adept at hiding his feelings. At the start of the novel he is already married to Katie, a woman who in stark contrast is gregarious and highly strung.
The couple moved to to be near to Katie’s family and there Bill becomes a pillar of the community. Passion and intimacy are lacking in their marriage and Katie views Bill as reserved and unexciting. However, Bill is mindful that he has at last found acceptance amongst his peers and the love and respect of his wife’s family, who view him as solid, dependable and honest. The following quotation, found early on in the novel, is revealing:
“I kept my dreams to myself and my actions to a minimum. I discovered having a reputation for being boring has advantages………. I used the time provided by her (referring to his wife) absences to live a life of imagination.”
The only chink in his armour is his long standing and secret obsession with Misty, Katie’s younger cousin. He has never acknowledged this attraction to anyone, other than himself, and does his utmost to conceal it and keep it in check. It is an obsession which does not go away and circumstances conspire in a way that Bill becomes tempted as never before………….
Is Misty aware of Bill’s obsession and is she as innocent as she appears? Also how will Bill react? Will he sacrifice all that he holds dear for this younger woman? Once he tastes forbidden fruit there will be no going back and he will have to face the repercussions.
For much of the novel Misty is as much an enigma to the reader as she is to Bill. Her persona is of a beautiful, innocent ice maiden, who appears to effortlessly rebuff the carnal advances of men. Her actions are explained in part by her background and we do get to find out more about her as the plot reaches its denouement – suffice to say that I was as surprised as Bill with the plot developments and her character development! There are many key supporting characters, which include Katie’s parents and also Misty’s. However, the characters of Bernard and Derek and their actions are pivotal to the plot and provide a counter plot in their own right.
The novel has so many different themes and layers. Prima facie it is a romance where the hero is tempted by a younger woman, who happens to be related to his wife, and is in a moral dilemma on how to act when circumstances conspire to bring them together. However, it is far more than this and to me illustrates how we can sometimes become trapped in a certain way of acting by circumstance or individuals and the power we allow them to hold over us. It also illustrates how reality can be manipulated by others.
The novel is narrated in the first person, from the POV of Bill. It is very readable and I felt as if I was in Bill’s head. It delves deep into the psyche of its characters and is not devoid of gentle humour, often self-depreciating and contains moments which blend sadness and hilarity. It is immensely quotable and contains many memorable one liners, an aspect that applies to all Peter’s work.
I recommend this to readers who enjoy a realistic, yet quirky, character driven contemporary romance that focuses on inner turmoil and transformation.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
A copy of the novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
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1. When did you start to write and what prompted you to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard?
About three years ago. I just woke up one night having one of those half asleep, half- awake sessions, and thought, “I really must get this stuff on paper or it’ll be lost.” The rest is history, or Blogging and writing history anyway.
2. Where do you find the inspiration for your writing?
I go for walks, and during them scenarios or ideas just seem to swim into my head. They pretty much all begin as Blog Posts, though a couple of them have now morphed into books
3. What category or categories do you consider your writing falls into?
I suppose you could call it either ‘general fiction’ or ‘romantic fiction’ because the stories always have some romance and examination of character in them
4. Describe your writing process in three words.
Write every day
5. What have you found is the best thing about being a writer?
Talking to myself without being told to shut up, and being able to explore ideas and scenarios at length. Creating fiction that helps me understand and encapsulate life if you follow me
6. What have you found the most challenging aspects of being a writer?
What happens next.
I really do, “ Make it up as I go along” and as any writer will tell you, the further into a novel you get, the more demanding the characters can be about how the plot should move, and that can get you into difficulties
7. I hear that you have plans for a future novel. Are you able to share anything about it with us?
I’m pleased to say I signed the contract for my next novel last Saturday, and I understand it is now cowering on the desk in the editor’s office. To be fair, she edited ‘Living Life Backwards’, and I could not think more highly of her
8. Have you any advice to anyone who is thinking about becoming an author?
Don’t give up, and write every day. Whatever your level of ability, it will always need polishing and that can only happen if you work at it regularly. You may not write a lot each day, but write something, and then you can play with it, and refine it as you go about your daily business.
Connect with the Author
To read our recent post focusing on Living Life Backwards, click here.