Posted in Book Reviews

Eyes Are The Windows To The Soul

my grandfather's eyes

Title: My Grandfather’s Eyes
Author: B.A Spicer
Release date:
November 27th 2013
Format: eBook
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and a half star

Alex Crane is not a nice woman. But she understands what it is to be set apart from other people, and she knows the pain of unrequited love.

Inside a small cupboard at the top of the stairs during a Christmas game of hide and seek, five-year-old Alex Crane listens to her cousins as they dance downstairs chanting, ‘Poo face! Poo face!’ She raises a small hand and covers her moles, glowing with shame and confusion. She does not want them to find her. Already reeling from the loss of her beloved grandfather, the cousins’ careless words cut deep. But there is worse to come, and Alex discovers that there are very few people in the world whom she can trust. Years later, self-assured but emotionally disaffected, Alex marries, knowing that the only person she cares for is her closest friend, Lizzy. Trapped and with diminishing hope, Alex almost gives in to Richard’s suffocating devotion. However, the discovery of a family mystery takes her over. She pieces together clues and delves deeper into the past, recalling scenes from her childhood which mask a devastating truth. The cupboard at the top of the stairs cannot hold Alex forever.

While she is waiting for her ill husband in the hospital waiting room, Alex looks like any other woman. Except maybe for the moles on her face that have shaped her relationship to others and the world around her since she was a child. But that face hides feelings a that should not be flooding the mind of a loving wife anxiously waiting for news of her spouse.

Cold and detached, Alex walks down memory lane, from the funeral of the grandfather she was so close to, to this day, allowing her to dive into her mind to get an insight of what is going on in her head and her heart. As the story progresses and the events unfold before you eyes, one memory after the other, leading you back to the hospital, you realize there is more layers to Alex than her calculative mind wants you to know.

Doing what is expected of her, from marrying a nice man to finding a good position, she suffers an internal struggle as her feelings for her childhood friend Lizzy trouble her, having her longing for a freedom she can only achieve by making peace with herself and her family secrets.

My Grandfather’s Eyes is a riveting tale of appearances and secrets, pressure from the society and ourselves, enveloped by a sense of uneasiness and told by a woman with two faces.

The writing skillfully serves Alex’s portrait and her vision about life. I was intrigued from the start. I am not a big fan of slow-paced storylines, but seeing Alex’s life unfold slowly before my eyes, each chapter helping me dig deeper into her memories and the core of her being was captivating. Before long, I began to understand her choices and I caught myself warming to her, imagining what it was like to live her life. I even felt claustrophobic for her, being stuck in a life she doesn’t want to lead.

Emotions are always depicted spot-on, raw and real. There is no hesitation as Alex says it as she feels it. Inviting the reader into her mind through the first person narrative was a brilliant choice. It allowed me to connect with her, and I might not have enjoyed Alex’s story without an insight of her true feelings.

Every secondary character was complex and three-dimensional, creating a full world around Alex. Her husband, her grandmother, Lizzie, her parents, and of course her grandfather. Maybe because of her flaws, she managed to observe and explore her family so well that she unearthed secrets that have been plaguing lives for years. Her grandmother was a character I was drawn to instantly, her attitude and words cutting through the air. I had a feeling Alex had inherited bits of her personality from her. Family stories and secrets are some favorites of mine and I was not disappointed. The animosity between her grandmother and her mother sparked curiosity in me as much as it did for Alex and unravelling the truth turned out to be utterly satisfying!

Her obsession with Lizzie has driven many of her decisions, and even if I didn’t understand them all, I was able to see their relationship grow and Alex grow with it as she learned more about herself. At times I wished she had not been so selfish, and I felt sorry for her husband, the victim of life’s harsh realities and illusions.

Overall, My Grandfather’s eyes is a captivating character-driven psychological thriller filled with family drama and enough twists to keep you reading until you finally get the answers.

My Grandfather’s Eyes is available on Amazon

About the author

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Bev Spicer has been writing full-time for six years, from her crumbly Charentaise house in France. In a past life she gained a degree in English and French Literature (Keele University) and a PGCE in English methods (Queens’ College, Cambridge).

She has lived in Bridgnorth, Cambridge, Rethymnon (Crete), Mahe (Seychelles), and now lives in Charente Maritime with her husband and youngest son. The next place she wants to explore is probably Spain. Her husband is very tolerant, and secretly enjoys chaos.

Bev has been a teacher, blackjack dealer for Playboy, examiner for Cambridge ESOL, secretary (various sorts – most boringly ‘legal’), lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, and a Sunday checkout girl for Tesco (who allowed her to deliver surplus bakery products to the homeless – ‘every little helps’).

She loves people, reading, writing, speaking French, astronomy (quantum theory addict), gardening, travelling, and hates housework, cooking, drizzle and honey.

Bev publishes under the name Bev Spicer for her lighter books and B. A. Spicer for more literary work.

I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of My Grandfather’s Eyes in exchange for an honest review.

23 thoughts on “Eyes Are The Windows To The Soul

  1. Thank you for this brilliant review of ‘My Grandfather’s Eyes’. A slow burn is not always easy to get into, but it sounds as though you enjoyed Alex’s story and appreciated my choice of the first person point of view. You have made my day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you liked the review 🙂 I spent a great time with Alex and I loved discovering her through both her memories and the present. I thought the slow pace would be a problem but combined with the first person narrative, it was truly enjoyable!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a lovely review. You write so well Donna! I love how you manage to touch on some many aspects of the reading experience without droning. This is not the sort of book I would pick up, but your reviews have the ability to sell anything! Teach me haha 😉

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    1. Thank you! It is such a lovely thing to say! I struggled so much with this review, I wanted to do it justice but my head was messing with me, so I am glad you find it good 🙂 Haha, I have no idea what I do, I only jot down my feelings and then try to make it look like proper English!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t know this one! Sounds interesting, maybe because of the main character’s “issue”, that is something pretty unique. And well, I love family mysteries 😀 I don’t really mind slow pacing as long as the story is interesting and it seems you enjoyed this one in the end!

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    1. It was a nice read, and I am still surprised about how the slow pace and the first person narrative managed to grab my attention and keep me reading. I finished it in two sittings, it was very interesting to learn about what had contributed to shape the main character’s personality.

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  4. I already got claustrophobic from reading the blurb. Poo-face, though…*shakes head*. I have a freckle near my belly button and it’s often been slapped by people saying “Oh, I thought it was an ant”. Seriously…*sighs*. Family drama sounds fabulous ;). Just like your review baby cakes waffles :-*

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    1. The blurb gives you a hint of the essence of the book. That claustrophobic feeling is with you for most of the story! There’s something so wrong with living a life you don’t care about. I have plenty of beauty spots on my face, so her relation to her face intrigued me. I never saw them as a problem myself. Thank you, ma saucisse! ❤ (damn, that does not sound so charming in French, I feel I'm insulting you, haha) this is one of the reviews I struggled with because of my health, so now I'm relieved and happy 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m always terrified I find myself feeling trapped in this marriage some day. Luckily, both my hubby and me are crazy, so it shouldn’t get boring soon XD. Some people are obsessed with them for some strange reason! Hahaha, I love it! 🙂 Glad that’s another weight off your shoulders then :-*

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  5. Lovely review, bestie! I haven’t heard of this book before, but it sounds interesting. I’m usually hesitant with slower paced stories, but it seems that wasn’t much of an issue. I guess it depends of the characters. When you can connect with them, I think you don’t care as much if the pacing isn’t as fast as you would like, right? I think sometimes I overlook that because I want to spend as much time as possible with the characters.

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 I’m the same with a slow pace, it’s hit or miss, but it worked with My Grandfather’s Eyes. If you don’t mind little action, it’s a nice portrait of a woman stuck in a life not made for her. When the characters are good, they make the story so the pace doesn’t seem so important.

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  6. So interesting to read everyone’s comments on my book. It is rather an intense ride, isn’t it? Just to clarify an important point raised here about Alex’s facial moles – I write from personal experience as I have a scar that had a profound impact on my life as a child. Now, I don’t even notice it amongst so many other flaws! Just thought I’d let you know that I didn’t intend to make light of anyone’s physical appearance – just to include it as one element of Alex’s life experience. Thanks again for commenting on Donna’s very insightful review – it means a lot to me to get honest feedback.

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  7. Another very brilliant and thought out review Donna. You seem to be getting through these books and reviews faster and faster. But I am happy that every time I visit choc n waffles there is usually a new post for me to read.
    I’m not so keen ( at the moment) on family based stories. However this sounds like it was cleverly written to give a wonderful insight into the mind and ways of the main character.
    I have a few moles on my neck and I find it amusing how so many of the children in my special needs school point them out, whereas I never notice them anymore.
    It is also lovely that the author commented and then came back to comment again after others had commented. I love author interaction when I write my reviews. Somehow it makes me appreciate the story even more.
    Great review Donna.
    Amanda.

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    1. Oh I’m cheating, this was a tweet of an old review :p But I do feel I’ve put reading first and I watch less TV and spend less time just looking at thin air. It helps to get through more books!
      This book was special, the main character is so difficult to connect to at times, but there are reasons why!
      That’s interesting! It’s true that others notice this kind of things even if we have stopped noticing. I have lots of beauty spots and I’ve had people telling me, it generally takes a minute for me to realize what they are talking about, haha!
      I also love when authors can interact with their readers through the comments, it makes the experience richer! Thanks so much for stopping by, like always xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

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