Massive congratulations to Rachael Featherstone as #PuzzleGirl is published by Dome Press in e-book, TODAY! Huge thank you to Emily for asking me to be involved in the blog tour for the republication of #PuzzleGirl so, to celebrate my kicking off the blog tour, I will be re-sharing my review from the first time around, as well as a Q and A with author, Rachael. Enjoy!
Love is a riddle waiting to be solved… Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes
has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything.
When she finds herself stuck in a doctor s surgery, a cryptic message left in
a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious puzzle-
man behind it. Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive
dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin.
Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together
and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?
What does TWG think?
Now, I’m not the cleverest person when it comes to completing puzzles, especially as Sudoku reminds me of trying to work out your BMI (awfully frustrating), but I was intrigued to see how puzzles were going to be made into a storyline. I thought that maybe I needed to go on a word search(sorry!) to find out, but I ended up having a few cross words with myself due to the constant brain teasers of the storyline! Sorry, I will stop now!
It all started by Cassy finding a puzzle book in a doctor’s surgery waiting room, working out and adapting a few clues (multiple times), whilst finding a mysterious replying puzzle man in the process. I can’t even get people I know talking to me, never mind a stranger responding to me via a puzzle book!! Cassy had a bee in her bonnet and was adamant that she would find out who her puzzle man was, however, the only way that she could do that was by finding multiple (bizarre) reasons to drop into the clinic to check the puzzle book. The bee in the bonnet became an obsession, and the obsession started taking over her life, her friendships and her work life. Thanks to a smidge of rivalry in the office, Cassy’s workplace was already taken over by a different kind of obsession…
At first, I found Cassy’s obsession with her puzzle man quite funny, especially as she was making herself look like an absolute fool every single time she made an excuse to go to the clinic. She let it rule every part of her life which made me feel like she had taken the whole excuse thing completely overboard, making it more about finding excuses as opposed to finding out who the mystery puzzle person was. Her rivalry with a work colleague was hilarious, even if I did think that she had created a completely different version of her rival in her head! Martin didn’t appear to be as big of an arrogant ogre as Cassy made him out to be, but her reactions to his antics were sometimes OVER dramatic that it was brilliant.
‘Puzzle Girl’ is the type of book that to believe it, you need to read it. There are so many unique, clever and utterly bonkers moments throughout the whole book which need to be ravished by your own imagination. There really is something truly hypnotizing about this book, I can’t even put my finger on exactly what it is but all I know is that it filled a large void. I have never, ever read a book like ‘Puzzle Girl’ and I have read A LOT of books. Every character had a place in the book (even the grumpy receptionist!), not one of them gave off the vibe that they were just ‘there to fill up the storyline’. Obviously, some of the characters were more memorable than others, but they all brought something completely different to the overall feel of the book. For me, that added even more depth to an already puzzling storyline.
Seeing as I was so excited to read ‘Puzzle Girl’, I had everything crossed that my excitement wasn’t going to be short lived once I had begun reading it. I really had no need to worry as Rachael Featherstone’s book ticked each and every box for me, multiple times. Yes, some parts of the storyline, for me, were over exaggerated at points, but it didn’t ruin the book in any way. I just put those OTT situations down to Cassy’s individual personality. After all, she is definitely a unique cookie!
It’s hard to believe that ‘Puzzle Girl’ is Rachael Featherstone’s debut novel, as to read it you might think that she had a fair few novels under her belt. Instead, she just has puzzle pieces!
Puzzle Girl is a humorous, bonkers and unique story which shows that love can be found in the most unexpected places, as long as you have a bit of two down and three across (not even a clue btw).
A fantastic, witty debut that resulted in me closing the book with a massive smile on my face. Absolutely loved it.
TWG – Could you tell us a bit about you and your background before you began
I’m a chocoholic and bookaholic who dreams about the invention of books whose
pages turn into chocolate after you’ve read them. I live in Hampshire with my
husband and our beautiful baby girl. Before I was a writer my life was very boring… I
grew up in Essex where I spent most of my time doing mathematical equations. I
went to Oxford to study maths and afterwards took a job in banking in London. Then
in 2012 my mum was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer and everything
TWG – Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes and no… Writing a book was on my “do before you die” list but I’d never thought
I’d be a writer writer. Maths was always my strongest subject at school and so I
naturally studied it at uni. But in my final year there, I opted to do an extended essay
which I focused on 18 th century women mathematicians. It was my favourite part of
my degree and I realised how much I enjoyed writing.
TWG – What made you decide to write your novel?
My mum’s diagnosis made me re-evaluate everything in my life. I quit my job so I
could make the most of the time we had left. My mum never gave up, she lived her
life to the full, travelling, campaigning, and embracing the power of positive thinking.
I was, and still am, in awe of her. It was seeing her bravery that gave me the
confidence to pick up the pen and write a novel.
TWG – How hard was it to find inspiration for Puzzle Girl?
I actually didn’t find it hard; the idea found me! Puzzle Girl’s premise of someone
replying to a message in a magazine at a doctor’s surgery came to me while sat in a
doctor’s waiting room with my mum as we waited to see her consultant. The exact
details of Cassy’s journey came to me more slowly as I worked on the book.
TWG – If you could pick a favourite character from your novel, who would it be and
Dan. I think everyone needs a friend like Dan in their life. He’s funny, he’s kind, he’s
loyal and excellent eye candy.
TWG – Did you ever regret writing a character in to your story after it was published?
No. But… I did change who Puzzle-man really was during the editing process. Does
TWG – Did you find yourself under any personal pressure for your debut novel to
succeed and be liked by many?
I’ve always put myself under a lot of pressure to succeed but with Puzzle Girl that
pressure felt even more intense. There were a fair few raised eyebrows when I told
people I was leaving my job to write a book, before I had a book deal, before I had an
agent, before I had even written the prologue… Having Puzzle Girl published was the
validation that I’d been right to take a risk and follow my dream. Having people
enjoy reading it is the icing on the cake.
TWG – Time for a tough one: if you could choose any book that has already been
published to be the author of, which one would you choose and why?
That is a tough one! But I think I’d have to say, P.S I Love You by Cecelia Ahern. For
me, everything about this book is perfect, from the concept to prose. It made me
cry, laugh, hope… I loved the letters. I felt like I was part of the story and the
characters lived on in my mind long after I read the final page.
TWG – What does your ‘writing space’ look like?
Whatever space I happen to be in when my little girl is taking a nap. A table in a
coffee shop that has space for a pram, a park bench in the shade, or in bed, with the
baby monitor propped up on the pillow next to me.
TWG – Were there any authors you wanted to be like, when you were a child?
J. K. Rowling because she’d seen Hogwarts.
TWG – If you had to sum up your book to a stranger in five words, what would they be
Good question! I think I’d have to say… Cassy’s calamitous hunt for Puzzle-man. In
fact, Puzzle Girl, is about so much more than just finding the mysterious Puzzle-man,
but – just like my five-word summary – Cassy’s obsession causes her to ignore
everything else that’s going on around her, and if she’s not careful, it could cost her
more than she ever imagined.
TWG – What’s coming next for you? Any exclusives?
I am diving head-first into editing my next novel, another romantic comedy that I
have been working on with my agent. I can’t give too much away just yet, but I can
*exclusively* reveal that the main character is called… Freya. Watch this space!
TWG – One final question. What advice would you give to a writer that wants to get
published? Any words of wisdom?
Meet as many people from the industry as you can, be confident pitching your work
and be open to feedback. Writing festivals with agent/editor ones-to-ones are a
great way to do this.
Huge thank you to Rachael Featherstone for taking the time out from editing her second novel, to answer a few of my questions! I cannot wait to read it!
About the author.
Rachael Featherstone was born and raised in Woodford. Her path to writing was a little
unorthodox. After reading Mathematics at Oxford University, New College, Rachael went
to work in research.
When Rachael’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, Rachael decided to
take a chance, quit her job, and fulfill a lifetime ambition to write a novel. She went back to
university and completed a Masters in English Literature and had several short stories
Rachael now lives in Hampshire with her husband and daughter.
Puzzle Girl will be published by the Dome Press in ebook on 2nd August 2018 and in
paperback in January 2019.
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