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Saturday, 6 August 2022

#MyLetsTalk weekend Guest ... Dodie Hamilton


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Wander through wonderful worlds real and fictional,
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The Gabriel Quartet by Dodie Hamilton

About the Books

Being an Angel is not easy, nor at any time might it be seen as fair: it is a sacred duty entrusted by the Almighty, a chance to Serve, and then only after the accepting of a millennium of lives. The Gabriel Quartet is the story of an Alabama man: Gabriel Templar, who was born part mortal and wholly divine, and who, while he could neither read nor write, was able with a wave of his hand to change the seasons or to give life or take it away.

A reluctant angel, Gabriel saw his divinity as an unwanted gift. At nights he would lie sleepless in his attic, howling at the moon; 'Leave me be, why don't you! I never asked for this. All I ever wanted was to be left alone to live my life as an ordinary guy.'

Gabriel Templar is not being so very truthful: he might want to be seen as an ordinary man he surely does not want to be alone; On the contrary, he yearns to share life with the girl he loves: the one who comes to him in dreams, or at night at a shaft of starlight: his ‘little gal’ - his Other Self, as he sees her. 

Gabriel was born loving this girl as he was born to love her in the last life and the one before that; Life after life, he will go on being alone until the day she is able to say, 'Yes, and I will love you.'
Enjoy An Excerpt

Reluctant Angels
By Dodie Hamilton

Bug’s Wings

"A WW2 pilot, a soldier and US Marine, three strong and powerful men, each loved the beautiful Adelia Challoner and promised, no matter what happened, war or no war, they would be with her until the end of time. One man, with marks on his back that in a certain light look like bug wings, kept his promise: Gabriel Templar, an ex-con, a murderer and having the curse of “Becoming Angel” will be there until the end of time, again…and again…and again…"

This is how it started. One day in early Spring Pa took the belt from behind the door to administer discipline. When he was done, arm wrung out and sweat in his eyes, he gave Gabe a choice: he could work with them that was already killed or he could do the killing. There weren’t no choice. Gabe could never work in a slaughterhouse: cattle so scared, great big eyes pleading for mercy, it would’ve killed him. So he did the other thing; he went to work for old Man Smith, Simeon Salmanovitz, at the Valley Funeral Parlour.

Mr Smith took him back of the shop. ‘This is the preparation room where I do most of my work.’ Gabe peered round the door. A couple of metal tubs and a pulley contraption screwed to the rafters, he daren’t think what kind of preparing went on in there.

That first day he hovered. ‘Come on in,' says Simeon. ‘No need to be afeard, nothing happening here but folks getting ready for their last journey.’ 
Coffins propped along the wall, shadows everywhere and a strong smell of lye, eight year-old Gabe thought it was an awful place. That smell! There were times in later life when he’d ketch a drift of that and straight way was back in Virginia watching Simeon embalming a corpse. Skinny old guy, dry as leather, he’d be standing over a drain, an apron about his waist and his feet encased in outsize rubber boots. ‘Come close, young Gabe Templar,’ he’d be saying, ‘and I’ll show you how it’s done.’

Gabe didn’t want to know how it was done: Pa said he was to be making coffins; he said nothing about washing dead bodies. 
He’d hovered at the door. ‘I can’t stay, Mr Smith,’ he says, ‘truly I can’t.’ 
Simeon nodded. ‘I’ll allow it don’t seem fair, the sun shining and me and you and Miss Virginia Ransome here in the gloom. I can see why you’d sooner be some place else as I can see how given the choice Miss Virginia would feel the same. Poor lady dying of dropsy she has no say in the matter, her only hope a Christian burial and to look decent when knocking on the Pearly Gates.’

But for a fly buzzing it was quiet. Still Gabe hovered. Then Simeon had sighed. ‘But never mind Miss Virginia’s hopes. Cut along home and tell your Pa you weren’t able to stay. I guess he’ll understand.’ 
There it was again a choice that was no choice. Gabe stayed. He would like to think it was care of Miss Virginia that kept him but there were other considerations: the bank foreclosed on the Mill and Pa out of work and them having to leave Alabama. 

Of course, there was the two dollars promised at the end of the week, and also the need not to be a yellow-belly when alone with a dead body. All of those unhappy considerations kept him at the Parlour that day but mostly it was about not having to see Ma’s face when returning home empty-handed caused Pa to seek out the belt. 

Gabe stayed that day and on til his seventeenth birthday. As for the belt, the two dollars earned working from school until late into the night made no difference - discipline was maintained, bloodied wheals crisscrossing his back that by morning would be gone. Yes, they were there at night but come five of the morning he would wake without a blemish. It’s why nobody knew overmuch of Pa’s fondness for discipline, and nobody yelling out, ‘stop that Hodge Templar! You’re hurting that boy.’ 
Ma said the cuts on Gabe’s back looked like bug’s wings. The overnight healing she put down to good blood her side of the family, ‘Sister Belle always quick to heal.’ Gabe saw it different. He saw a miracle, a painful miracle while it was happening yet a miracle nonetheless. 

After a beating he’d lie on his belly trying not to weep. Knowing the miracle-maker was close by he’d stare into the darkness. ‘It’s okay, little gal,’ he’d whisper. ‘Don’t you fret! I know who makes me well and it ain’t Aunt Belle.’
On such a night, his back a fiery furnace and his pillow wet, he would twist and turn, every muscle aching and yet his heart filled with love. Most nights he’d try staying awake hoping to catch sight of her but dog-tired would sleep to rise in the morning healed. ‘Cept for dreams he rarely saw his little gal but now and then, when real unhappy, kids at school calling him a dummy, and Pa extra busy with the belt, she would visit, shining and perfect, his Other Self, a reminder that she was more than a dream. 

So it went year-after-year until there was another world war and the dream was made flesh. 

© Dodie Hamilton


 reviewed by Discovering Diamonds


Family drama / mystery    WWII   US

'When Adelia, beautiful GI Bride, crosses an Ocean to be with a USAF pilot she takes with her a dark secret. Locked in her head is the identity of the father of her daughter, a US Major. When she reaches America, her fiancé, Bobby, isn’t there to meet her. He sent another man, the local undertaker, Gabriel Templar, in his place. Home in Virginia is not as promised. It’s a dirty place. It has a gated tower where a man hides from the light. It is crammed with secrets of its own. Adelia cannot remember her first love. Like the man in the tower, the memory of his face, how he used to look, is locked away. Amnesia holds the key to many doors. Adelia and her little daughter, Sophie, live in constant danger. Until one door is unlocked, and Lazarus returns from the dead, a lonely man with the name of an Archangel is all that stands between Adelia and fear.'

A Second Chance is a good story: A British war bride coming to live with an American soldier in 1942, despite hardly knowing him. She has her own secrets, an illegitimate child and on her arrival she finds a few surprises and mysteries, an absent husband and a hostile mother-in-law. The plot and the intrigue around the mystery kept me going throughout.

I felt that the overall presentation of the era and the characters was authentic and gives a great impression of war-time Virginia.

This is an enjoyable and compelling read that got me invested in the characters and, although being only one isolated such story, it gave me some fascinating insights into the psychology and reality of war brides.


Romance Edwardian England

Fragile Blossoms by Dodie Hamilton  is a romantic historical fiction novel set in the Edwardian period. This book is a delight to read - I can honestly say after years of reviews that seldom do you come across a writer with such a voice and such a heroine who can lift you up and put you into another world so deftly. Beautifully written...

Julianna Dryden is a celebrated beauty and muse for the great and the good - and is the protégée of the dubious wealthy Lady Evelyn who has a disreputable brother - oh yes, it is Georgette Heyer all the way but with such a modern twist - until she inherits a house. But a little house with such a legend - once a teashop to two mysterious and difficult sisters. Julianna and her little son Matty seek an escape and here it is. Our heroine is a widow and so must rely on her patroness which is increasingly a burden due to her attentions.... So off to Norfolk and Sandringham (and yes, the king makes an appearance) where Julianna befriends the publican and a dark, handsome builder who helps with the teashop unwillingly.

Julianna wants the shop to be a success; and so it looks until scandal looms through no fault of her own - and then Julianna finds friends fall away and her son in danger.

This is the sort of book that cheers you. Our heroine is so engaging but not a pushover and you root for her all the way as the scattering of great names test her. Yes, some of the plot is implausible, some of it over romantic, but that does not detract from writing that lifts you up. 

Why the author hasn't found a publisher I don't know - except that this novel could be edited by a good quarter and in the middle it did weigh as I turned pages to get on and needed to pick up - and way, way too many points of view dropped in - with a better editor this would be such a good book. So give it a go.

About the author

Dodie Hamilton, or the Spiritual Midwife as she is known, is recognized throughout the world for her work in psychic counselling: her particular interest being the Near Death and Out-of-Body experience. 

Over fifty years she has given countless private consultations and appeared at many of the Mind, Body & Spirit Festivals. All of her books and writings - no matter how real, and how flesh and blood, as in say, A Second Chance, the first in the Gabriel Books - are borne of years of personal exploration of the Spirit Realms, her mentor in this work being the late Robert A Monroe, of the Monroe Institute, Virginia, author of Journeys Out of Body, Far Journeys, and The Ultimate Journey, and to whom she is ever grateful.

Three of her novels have won Reader's Awards:
A Second Chance and Fragile Blossoms won The Chill Reader's Award
Perfidia, the sequel to A Second Chance won a Chill Award and A Diamond Award. Reluctant Angels, the prequel to A Second Chance, received The Readers Chill Award. 
Air and Angels is Dodie's latest novel
TWITTER @dodie_hamilton

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