Monday, April 27, 2009

A Book with a View... and 5 Wings!

Hey everyone! It's been a while since I got to visit here, and I'm now a few days late thanks to a South African cyber-connection failure. Still, I'm here, and I'd like to share a little on a Book with a View...

The Look is set in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, a wide sweep of land that climbs up to become the foothills of the mighty Drakensberg Mountains. Now, for those who don't know, I have a thing for mountains. I love the towering peaks and tumbling valleys, and the shifting of light and shadow that give them an ever-changing, breath-taking beauty I seem to never tire of. The valleys are as much a part of them, as they have given to create the heights, and been blessed with a singular beauty in return.

Morgan heads off into the back of beyond in search of the truth and stumbles on an old house that draws her inexplicably to explore. The house has truths of its own to tell, but it also overlooks one of these same sweeping valleys....

"Instantly, as if someone had wiped a chalkboard clean, her mood changed. The huge living room, a masterpiece of wood and stone and glass, took her breath away. The entire length of the room, unbroken except for the narrow frames of the picture windows, looked across a valley. The panorama rolled out towards the shadow of the hills in the distance. High up, so the entire vista was easily visible, the house seemed to own it, the view simply an extension of itself.

Swathed in the lazy haze of afternoon sunshine, the valley, the house, the whole picture seemed to take on a magical, other-worldly quality. An odd but comforting scent of what she thought could be lavender drifted through the slightly dusty smell that surrounded her, hinting at things beyond the here and now. The silence crept in, crept around her, but with a sense of welcome rather than isolation.

Spellbound, Morgan crept forward to lean her forehead on the surprisingly cool glass. The place had a sense of completeness about it, like a homecoming, odd and confusing, but strangely normal at the same time. She didn’t even try to explain it. Just soaked it up like a dry, thirsty sponge."

I'm always astonished at how vast and immeasurable is the beauty that defines Africa, and how the images remain long after you leave them. The valley in The Look could be any one of the many I have seen, or all of them. It's a vision that stretches the eye and the spirit, and makes one look beyond the here-and-now, into a world of possibilities.

Here's what the Classic Romance Revival Reviewer had to say:

The emotions in the novel are subtle and powerful, shown rather than told so the reader can feel with the heroine. Morgan is a perky, sympathetic character and Blake a good foil to her. Morgan’s a lovely tease and Blake certainly needs taking down a bit so I enjoyed their back-and-forths. Beneath their banter is a far more serious issue, the reason why Morgan has come to Thornleigh, and that is handled with great delicacy.

The cat is adorable - if you read the book you’ll see why and how - and the whole easy-going way of country life in South Africa is very appealing. Clearly Judah Raine knows the country and knows what she is talking about: the rhythms of life and people and their speech are perfectly caught. Fishing can be romantic, too - if you read The Look, you’ll understand!

To view the full 5 Wings review, visit the CRR blog at

To find out more about my books, or see more of my Images of Africa, visit my website at or my blog at Or visit the Neverending Story at my RomanticSynonymous blog at

I hope to see you there! Take care,


Lindsay Townsend said...

Excellent blog, Judah! Looking at the stunning photos, I'm not surprised you are inspired by South Africa as a setting. (Or that your heroes are so compellingly rugged!)

Linda Banche said...

Photograph pictures and word pictures. Can't be beat.

Hywela Lyn said...

I can understand why you love South Africa Judah, the pictures of it are absolutely beautiful. I share your love of mountains, I feel exactly the same about my native moutains of Wales. I really miss them and can't wait to get back for a visit.

Kathleen said...

Beautiful scenery. I too love the Mountains and Valleys, Where my dad is from in Ireland it has a Magnificent Mountain range and a beautiful valley with a river that runs trough it. They always make one feel in awe of such greatness. They are indescriable. Green, white and blues, with the clouds so low you feel like you are in heaven for sure.

Savanna Kougar said...

Jude, extraordinary passage from your THE LOOK... and, of course, I love your pics!

I so wish the world was a different place. Then I could visit your South Africa.

And Wales, and Ireland... and all the exceptional places on Earth... sigh...

Jacquie Rogers said...

I just loved the photographs, Judah, and the snippets were wonderful, too. Congratulations on the terrific review!


MarthaE said...

Such great pics! Thanks for sharing!

Francesca Prescott said...

Jude, your descriptions are always fantastic. I love seeing your photographs, too. I so want to visit South Africa!
Lovely blog :)