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Queer British Art at the Tate is a fascinating exhibition, it is more of a history of homosexuality in Britain told through artistic pieces. Some of the exhibits aren’t very queer, until you …

Source: Queer British Art, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 | reviewdonkey

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You could have knocked me down with a feather, and all the other clichés, but I’ve read my first vampire novel and loved every minute of it!

L E Turner was looking for blog followers to read a proof copy of her book and, even though it was not my cup of tea, I offered myself up on the strength of the flash fiction on her blog.

About the Nature of the Creature is a compelling tale, written from the vantage point of Constance, whose human life is cut short during her Edwardian childhood in Bristol. After a back story the author doesn’t reveal fully until further on, we find her a century later settled in Egypt, at which point some unknown urge prompts her to return to the city of her birth.

She is faced with the changes wrought by a hundred years and the danger of a religious sect determined to eradicate her kind. There are rivalries and jealousies amongst her tribe and Constance realises it is she who has to find a way to overcome the dangers in the hope of survival.

One of the reasons I was drawn into this story is the humanity, if one can call it that, of the creatures – the good and the bad. For example, the last thing Constance desires is the death of another but the need for blood is how she is made; if she can therefore acquire blood without killing a human she will always choose thus. Turner manages to give her heroine human and vampiric qualities which don’t seem at odds. I started caring about Constance and urging her forward. I wanted her to be happy!

Turner is adept at pacing and knows exactly where to place her twists and turns of plot. Even in the best books, one can predict certain events. Not in this case. The author kept me on the edge of my seat to the extent that when my computer went down and had to be rushed to hospital where it stayed for a month, all I could think about was getting back to the story on my Kindle app!

The other characters, human or not, are as well-drawn as Constance, giving the story an edge that I suspect — generalisation warning — many bandwagon books do not. Turner’s knowledge of Bristolian history is lightly interwoven, giving a lovely Gothic depth to the piece.

Will my enjoyment make me pick up another novel about vampires? Probably not. It will, however, make me buy and read the sequel to About the Nature of the Creature, which Turner is currently writing.

The only criticism I have is that there were a number of typos and some erratic punctuation but I’m sure these were ironed out before publication.

Thank you, L E Turner, for sending me a copy!

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Sarah

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