Reviews

Some people have been kind enough to both read and review my work. Reviewing takes a lot of time and is hard work, so I really appreciate this. To my honest surprise, most of them liked what I did, and here’s a choice selection of comments.

“THE RADIANT BOY”

“(…) If you like good historical fiction, or good ghost stories, or good character-driven tales, or simply well-written fiction, then this is the book for you. It is a book full of atmosphere, that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end without curdling your blood or spilling too much gore. (…)”
Topsy Reader, on Amazon

“(…) The whole book is a perfect little gem. (…)”
Anteros

“(…) the sort of thing you might buy to give to your small relatives and then end up falling in love with and keeping for yourself. (…)”
Alex Beecroft

“(…) Clearly a labour of love, with charming illustrations and a pirate’s curse in place of a copyright notice, the only drawbacks are that (to a devoted Patrick O’Brian fan, anyway) the language is often disconcertingly modern, and that the book’s really quite tiny. A tiny gem, though. (…)”
Ferox @ Goodreads


“I DO Anthology”
“Semi-detached” by Emma Collingwood”

“(…) Another slice of life moment, this story has some brilliant dialogue and some less than perfect but perfectly likeable characters. The three men in this story talk and act just like I imagine men should. The emotion is all there, talked around and acted on, but never mentioned, and not once did I doubt any of it for a second. Such real characters make for a really good story. (…)”
Jaime, Dark Diva Reviews

“(…) “Semi-detached” is a wonderful story. I loved Thomas in this story; he was brash, English and just a man’s man. The characters read realistically, and their relationship was both humorous and endearing. A wonderful contribution to the anthology. (…)”
Shaz, Rainbow Reviews

“(…) This story is the only one in the anthology actually to mention Prop 8 by name, and I read it, hoping I wouldn’t get preached at. Fortunately, the sharp, funny dialogue takes over. (…)”
Val Kovalin, Obsidian Bookshelf

“(…) It’s rare that I read an entire anthology. It’s even rarer when every one of the entries is good. Congratulations. (…)”
Jayne, Dear Author


“LIEUTENANT SAMUEL BLACKWOOD (deceased)”

“(…) Readers might also desire more emphasis on the romance itself. But that would be missing the point: the book wants to keep its plot elements in balance and achieve closure while attempting this short and challenging literary form (kind of like writing a sonnet). I’m impressed at what a good job the author does while keeping it fun for the readers. The book does have one brief sex scene that is tasteful but hot! (…)”

And about the illustrations by Mlle Amandine de Villeneuve:

“(…) She does fingers extremely well, showing each one distinct and shaped with realistic tension. The four interior drawings highlight important moments in the narrative. I almost screamed with delight when I saw that one shows the first kiss between Daniel and his captain: it’s one hot and romantic drawing! (…)”
- The Obsidian Bookshelf (website)

Read the full review by Val Kovalin here

“(…) In summation, I wouldn’t suggest this to fans simply looking for a MxM romance, as the speed with which romance was introduced and the little face-time it was given made it unconvincing. As an old-fashioned ghost story set at sea however this excels, and anyone who likes those would enjoy the booklet for that alone. If the physical copy lives up to its pictures, it would only add to the enjoyment. Grade: B. (…)”

And about the illustrations by Mlle Amandine de Villeneuve:

“(…) The illustrations are marvelous and Amandine de Villeneuve is to be commended. (…)”
- Dear Author (website)
Read the full review by Jan here

“(…) In the best tradition of the Victorian penny dreadful, it is a rip-roaring story without great literary pretensions, but with buckets of verve and charm. Ghosts! Mortal peril! True love of the m/m persuasion. Derring-do on the high seas…. It has all of these things. Above all, it’s an entertaining short story told with great wit. (…)”
- Alex Beecroft, author (website)
Read the full review here

Fife stars out of five: “(…) Emma Collingwood’s new novel Lieutenant Samuel Blackwood (deceased) is a wonderful story which this reviewer will rave over (and reread) for quite some time to come. One of those wonderful stories which captivates the reader from the first line, every chapter ends with a hook to catapult readers on to the next. I literally raced through (…)”
- Rainbow Reviews (website)
Read the full review by Frost’s Fancy here

Four stars out of five : “(…) The story is interesting and flows well, with an exciting finale that I particularly enjoyed. What I was left feeling, however, is that Ms Collingwood had the makings of a full-length novel in these pages and it would have been excellent to have had a much bigger read. I hope that she is intending to write more in this era because this whet my appetite for more please. (…)”

And for those among you who don’t like reading books:

(…) The illustrations (got to love men in naval uniforms!) are worth the price of the book, just on their own. (…)”
Speak Its Name (website)
Read the full review by Erastes here!


READER FEEDBACK

“(…) This was a great read! Perfect for today – a muddy, murky afternoon, with the sleet about to turn to heavy snow, fire roaring, crumpets dripping, cat refusing to sit cosily on lap as she wanted to lick the butter from aforementioned crumpets.

I really enjoyed this story – the plotting is skilful, the characterisation beautifully done and the conclusion gripping. It is not easy in a compact novella, and in a ghost story, which is essentially plot-driven, to create credible, nuanced characters who engage our sympathies so readily and so completely, but you did it; and the love scene was fitting and right – neither coarse nor coy, but perfectly balanced. And I’m glad you kept the dialogue modern. Patrick O’Brian excepted, I can’t stand the cod ‘olde Englishe’ of much historical writing. Using the language of today keeps us mindful of the truth that the human heart doesn’t change, though custom and manners may.

Although it works perfectly well in its present form, I could have wished this longer. You have enough material for a full-length novel and I wanted to delve more into the backstory. Blackwood is a charismatic manipulator – I’d have liked more of him, and Meadows is a wonderful creation, an alluring composite of passion and control (‘I have never acted upon my inclination’ – Sheesh! Powerful, succinct sentence, those words freighted with so much more.)

You are going to write a full-length novel, aren’t you?

All good wishes,

A. (…)”

“(…) Emma Collingwood is like Jane Austen on Speed. That’s supposed to be a huge compliment, but it will probably not help the sales of her books. (…)” – Brenda

“(…) There’s only one thing wrong with that book: it’s too short. It should have 600 pages and be the first in a series of ten! (…)” – Hannah

“(…) The story shows that a great deal of research has gone into this time period and into the Royal Navy itself, and it does a great job of evoking time and place. I admit to knowing hardly anything about the Age of Sail apart from what I’ve seen on Masterpiece Theater/BBC miniseries, but it certainly feels authentic. It’s also quite spooky. Not only is there a rather angry spirit causing trouble, but the ship itself has its own sort of personality, which Daniel must tap into to help him save her. It left me wanting to know more about the folklore of this time period concerning ships. It really is another world (even without ghosts) these men live in that landlubbers like me can’t begin to fathom (no pun intended).

And yes, there’s romance too, but it’s subtle, genuine; not flowery or histrionic. There’s also the shame and bigotry that would have accompanied such a forbidden attraction. Connected to this is a theme that I’ve admired before in [Emma's] writing: the redemptive powers of love, acceptance, and inclusion. (…)” – Chloe

“(…) Adventure! Ghosts!! Cursed ships and dashing lieutenants!!! Enjoyed the book immensely – a page turner story (because you DO wonder how our hero is going to put the ‘curse’ to rest), excellent dialogue and fabulous illustrations. My only whinge is that it is TOO SHORT… I want MORE!! (…)” – Kiera

“(…) Nothing beats ginger, you’ve seen the light! I’m in love with Daniel Leigh which is really, really weird, all things considered! Must go and read again. I hope this gets picked up by some big player so you can get filthy rich and write more books about redheads! (…)” – Pamela