1 The Red Season

From Reb MacRath – 5 stars ‘Killer serial’

Roz Morris has become one of my great reading discoveries with this first installment of a book that sounded too strange in synopsis but became more like a second skin each time I turmed a page. Part one begins the mystery of a crippling affliction that has hobbled a concert pianist. Her search for a cure leads her from yoga to hypnotherapy to past lives regression…including a Ripper connection. Wherever this is heading I cannot wait to start part two. Morris is a wonderful stylist with a superb talent for plotting and place.

From Mr P South ‘Snouty’ – 5 stars ‘Surprising, effortless, addictive storytelling’

In the interest of full disclosure like a few of the reviewers before me, I know Roz and was prompted by her to read the first part of her interesting part-work novel experiment. As she has been so supportive of my work I was happy to return the respect by giving it a read. Now I knew Roz is a good writer, and has decades of experience, wrote a book about writing and seems to know what she’s talking about. What I wasn’t prepared for is how good a writer she truly is.

From the start the effortless evocation of mood, deft illustration of the main character (and amusing asides on the accidentally comical nature of yoga and those who practice it) win you over and you’re hooked. The heroine is immediately someone you want to know more about, even before the mystery kicks in. Reviewer Andrew R is bang on, the feel of this book is cinematic, and as a movie guy I felt myself at times compelled to pause and imagine how I would shoot a scene because the imagery is so vivid. As a musician, hypnotist, former sufferer of RSI, science fiction fan and writer of stories which ask questions about layers of reality within and beneath the surface we take for granted, this book hits me where I live on almost every level.

I’m very much looking forward to the other 3 parts, and I will certainly be posting reviews for those too. Oh and just so you know I’m not the kind of person who reviews stuff by their friends just to pump their myth. This review is a genuine celebration of a story worth celebrating. Even if you assume, as I did, that this is not your thing, read it. It’s compelling, well told, and hugely entertaining. I am fascinated to discover where she is going with it and will be waiting for the next episode with considerable anticipation.

From Anita King ‘Raven’ – 5 stars ‘I felt her pain’

I was hooked from start to finish and wanted more.
Carol intrigued me. Was her pain real or imagined? No matter which, the desccription of her pain was precise. As I have rheumathoid arthritis which affects mostly my hands and elbow, I flinched at every painful movement she made. The idea that her pain could be cured through hypnosis and regression therapy sounded intriguing, yet dangerous. Every turn of the page made me curious, and fascinated me. And finally, who is Gene? A character that seems so full of secrets.

So I HAD to read part 2.

From Andrew R – 5 stars ‘Very surprising’

I’ve known Roz (the author) for many years, so I agreed to read her book out of kindness, not expecting it to be my kind of thing – my usual reading list is programming books, Scalzi, Heinlein Pratchett etc.
So I read the book, and fully expected to put some vaguely worded ‘it’s great’ review to make her happy…

BUT… I was hooked! The story grabbed me also immediately, as did the writing style. I honestly did not expect to enjoy it much. I expected to find it interesting and well written, but not enjoyable. However, the writing is fantastic and really advances the story. I ended up reading it through in one sitting and found myself wanting immediately to know what happened next upon reaching the end of the episode.

From talking to Roz, I understand that book publishers liked the book but didn’t know where to place it in their line-up. My response to this: they’re idiots! It’s fantastic.

Now, as I’m a friend of Roz, I could be taken as being slightly partial… In this case, I’m not. My honest opinion of this book is that it’s fantastic and a very enjoyable read; for comparison, I believe the closest thing in ‘feel’ that people who may not be familiar with Roz’s writing would be “The Time Traveller’s Wife“. Now, that ended up selling a whole bunch and being turned into a movie… That’s something I’d LOVE to see happen to this – and it’s most certainly deserving (and has the quality to do so with great success).

From Matt Kelland – 4 stars ‘Intriguing opening’

I have to confess that after the first episode, I’m still slightly confused as to what’s going on. That’s not a bad thing – but be aware that this is not a complete story. It’s the opening part of a 4-parter. I’m very much looking forward to the next part (due out next week) – a feeling I haven’t had before with prose. We’re used to episodic content in comics or TV, but it’s a form that’s more or less disappeared from literary fiction since the glory days of pulp SF magazines.

Roz’s writing is beautiful, simple, and evocative. She makes you empathize with the characters almost instinctively, despite – or more likely because of – their flaws and weaknesses. They, more than the plot, are what kept me reading until I’d finished the book in one sitting. I cared what happened to them more than I cared what happened next.

I’ve given this four stars rather than five only because I’m still unsure where this is going. The story could develop in several different ways, some of which appeal to me more than others. The elements of hypnosis, sci-fi and time travel are intriguing, but I’m hoping the Ripper sub-plot doesn’t turn out to be too much of a cliche. Roll on September 5 and Episode #2!

From Paul R Drewfs – 5 stars ‘Spellbinding fiction’

Conventional authors show and tell stories. Roz Morris transforms readers. Episode 1, The Red Season, of My Memories of a Future life is no ordinary book, it is hypnotic experience. The words vanish as you transcend conventional reading to transform into Carol Lear, gifted formally entrained pianist in debilitating pain. Her pain becomes your gain as you hyper-leap into her future life, running and returning in building waves that crest in tensed anticipation of Episode 2, and the life to come. You will simply be more intimately interwoven with Carol and her future persona than you ever dared to be with your inborn self.

From T Britton – 5 stars ‘A compelling and engaging read’

Morris successfully draws the reader into the psyche of the protagonist, which teeters precariously between worlds that are both painfully shrinking and cryptically unfolding before her.

The author’s style emerges as that of an Imagist–one who employs a succinct economy of words to isolate and reveal the essence of a ‘thing’–yet, her oftentimes lilting prose and engaging manner frees the mind to conjure the more sublime, expansive, and visionary landscapes of the Romantic aesthete.

There are no Pinter-pauses, nor any Osborne-outbursts; rather, “The Red Season” shimmers with the beauty of a well-penned sonnet and rolls forward like a Whitman entertaining a Ferlinghetti-strut.

Musically speaking (which seems appropriate, given the story’s motif), the overall tempo of the piece is ‘allegretto vivace,’ with the persistent Gene Winter and recurring themes–such as those involving white gloves and lime green Post-Its–acting as grace notes. This enhancement of an undulating rhythm is directly connected to the real excitement of Morris’ writing: in this first episode she has begun to layer her characters’ encounters with their subconscious into a ‘mythopoeian’ canon–akin to those created by the non-linear thinkers: Tolkien and Blake.

After reading “The Red Season,” I am left impressed, satisfied, pricked with curiosity, and sufficiently primed for the next episode. Bravo, Roz.

From Glynis Smy – 5 stars ‘Hooked! An enjoyable read’

My Memories of a Future Life is fascinating. A young woman in pain shares her frustration with the reader. Pain brought about by her love of piano playing is so intense she has to refrain from playing for a period of time. Her attempts at Yoga to fill the gap made me smile. Roz Morris has a gift of descriptive writing.

Carol Lear has a housemate. Jerry suffers from panic attacks-severe attacks that control his life. He seeks help from a hypnotherapist who publicly uses a technique and sends him back to Victorian London. However things are not what they seem with the hypnotherapist and a friend of Carol’s-a physiotherapist name Gene- comes to her aid.

Gene has the ability to hypnotise and Carol accepts a session in order to help her obtain pain relief. Eventually her focus settles during the session and to her surprise she finds herself in another life; a future life. A pain free life.

Throughout the story the combination of characters are relaxed and believable. I was swept along with Carol. I struggled on the floor with her during her Yoga class, I sat waiting to see the doctor with her. I shared her pain while she played the piano, showing only strength. I was drawn in by her and kept reading to find out what happens next. Which world will she be in-the present or the future?

I await the following episode in this series, I need to know more.

From A. Holyer – 5 stars ‘Uniformly excellent’

Declaring my influence here, I was at University with Roz, so could probably be expected to vote it 5 stars in any case.

Despite that, it really is worth five stars. Her writing is engrossing and the characters are sympathetic and easy to relate to. The descriptions of London (some of which I know fairly well independently) are persuasive.

I confess I haven’t read The Time-Traveller’s wife: if I had to come up with comparisons I’d say it reminds me a little of The Magus, or one of the early Iain Banks – Walking on Glass, or The Bridge. Though I’m enjoying this more than I did reading those. I have no idea at all whether Roz has even read those, by the way.

I have proof-read in that past, so it is really hard not to twitch over little details, but I find that is true of almost any fiction nowadays. On to part 2 already. Can’t wait to find out how it ends.

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