Synopsis Strays and Relations – The Five Hours and Four Decades:
Strays and Relations follows the story of Dizzy, whose search for her birth parents is sad, humorous, and in parts bizarre. Dizzy learns that she began life as a surviving twin, then was fostered until a permanent home was found.
Dizzy begins her search for her original identity. Why was she given up for adoption in the 1960s? Following a tenuous lead, she travels to Ireland with her best friend Sugar, but the trail takes a misleading turn. It ends in what they mistakenly believe is Dizzy’s mother’s grave.
Dizzy falls in love with Will, a blacksmith. But something is missing. Dizzy’s life changes when her birth father Tommy makes contact using a private detective. He reveals that her birth mother is alive and married to a man called Vernon. Now the bigger, trickier task lies ahead: working out how to fit the disparate bits of her life together. This is a book which will both amuse and touch readers’ hearts.
Strays and Relations manages sensitive subject matter with engaging wit and sharply-observed dialogue, and includes vivid descriptions of some rather unusual animals and people. It will appeal to readers who have encountered a recycled animal or family.
Excerpt from chapter 21 of Strays and Relations:
When Dizzy set out on an adventure to find her birth relatives, she didn’t realise how different they would be from her adoptive family.
In this section, we find her at an Irish family reunion with her birth mother and several other new relations. The party has been going on since lunchtime – and they haven’t been drinking water…
‘Sugar and I travelled to London on the Friday-afternoon train, made a dash across the city on the underground, walked the last two miles and arrived at the party at gone nine pm. The Irish family reunion had started at lunchtime, so celebrations in the pub were well underway.
Before us, the fog of nicotine cleared to reveal a riot. The inside of the pub was filled with horizontal layers of smoke that drifted lazily towards the ceiling lights, where the grey, poisonous fumes collected before finding the air vent and escaping. We stood,
momentarily framed in the doorway, and stared. It wasn’t hard to make out Marie’s siblings among the crowds – all drinking, most smoking, and some squabbling; a gathering organised so that Marie could meet her brother, also adopted – he was separated from Marie when he was a baby and would be encountering his siblings and his birth mother for only the second time.
I studied this tribe of mine, who all looked so similar, as they pushed and jostled to get the attention of the lone barman.
This was the first time I had seen Marie’s family as a whole. That scene from Star Wars – the one with the creatures in the cantina – ﬂashed into my mind. Mayhem.
Sugar touched my elbow. ‘Go on, you’re fine,’ she whispered. She nodded towards the direction of the room. When I hesitated, she pushed me forward, into the merry confusion.
Marie, looking as pristine as ever, spotted us amidst the smoke. She tottered over on heels that looked like they should be confiscated on the grounds of health and safety and marched Sugar and me in to meet her family. First, we were introduced to Marie’s brother, Uncle Liam, who was leaning on the side of the bar, surveying all around him. ‘Are you Marie’s girl?’ he asked.
‘I am,’ I said.
‘Well, come on here and let me hear all about it now,’ he said, winking at Sugar.
Liam looked more like a man about to sell us scrap metal than a relative oﬀering a seat on the sofa. ‘Come on and sit down here next to me,’ he said.
He planted himself on the nearby sofa and patted the empty spaces either side of him. Sugar and I duly positioned ourselves.
We were next to the speakers and the Irish band was in full swing. The siblings were all joining in; singing, dancing, and falling in front of us, holding onto each other for love and balance.
‘Would you look at yourself, Sinead. God help you,’ called Liam, raising an eyebrow in the direction of a dark-haired, tiny looking woman who was having trouble walking in a straight line.
To give her credit, though, she could still dance, ‘That’s my sister,’ he told us. ‘Look at the state of her, and it’s only just past nine. We love her, but she can’t take a drink, not like the rest of us… She has a great job that one, she works for Alcoholics Anonymous. You’d never think that to see her now, would you?’ said Liam.
‘Does she, really?’ asked Sugar.
‘No, she’s a teacher.’
Liam’s green eyes twinkled with delight and mischief. Drinks ﬂowed. He peered at me, getting closer, leaning in to scrutinise my face.
‘There’s a look of our Bridie in your bulging eyes,’ Liam whispered. ‘She’s a f…… card.’
Review by Fany Van Hemelen:
Strays and Relations is a sensitive book about adoption and is the first book by this author. Dizzy is living with her husband Will on a farm. She is happy now, but something still is missing. As a baby, she was adopted by a wonderful and kindness new family. Yet, after a while, she wanted to know who was her birth mother and why she gave her away. With Sugar, a dear friend, she traveled to Ireland to search her Catholic mother Marie. It was a dead end and her search stopped.
Life went on and her daughter Sarah is a treasure for Dizzy. One day Dizzy’s father sends a letter and she gets back in contact. So, she discovers Marie is not deceased and would like to love contact Dizzy. As a start they have long phone calls, but then Dizzy is visiting her mother.
Dizzy’s great adoptive family and her partner Will supports her through all the way and a special connection is growing between both families.
Strays and relations is a fiction book about how adoption can be and what can happen when you experience this event. Marie is the right person to demonstrate how hard giving away your child can be and why some people still do this.
It isn’t a dramatic book, but it’s humorous, emotionally written and a must – read for whom who wants to know more about the mixed feelings and history around adoption.
Strays and relations is a story about people who are searching their roots. This book is fiction, but inside are real happenings and thoughts. It’s a lovely story full details about stray animals and people. I really was moved by the interaction by Marie and Dizzy. The narration is about how life will follow an unexpected way and how much beauty there can be in reuniting. Strays and relations is about special families and how people can influence each other. Strays and relations is a lively and enjoyable story about the surprises life can offer. Will you take them as a gift or will you throw them away? The choice is yours.
Author Bio – I have lived in the West Country all of my life, but never in such a remote place as I do now – in the middle of the woods with rooks and bats. It may be remote but it’s never quiet in Dizzyland! When I’m not looking after the dogs, chickens and a six-toed cat, I help run a blacksmith’s forge with my partner.
My ideas come from humorous incidents in my own life, which I fictionalise. Strays and Relations is my first novel.
Before I began writing I had various jobs, including working in a wildlife park and as a youth worker.
Titel: Strays and Relations :The Five Hours and Four Decades | Auteur: Dizzy Greenfield | Uitgeverij: Silvercrownbooks | Categorie: romans | Uitvoering: paperback of E-book | pagina’s | ISBN13: 9781788039345 | Verkrijgbaar sinds: april 2018 | Recensent: Fany van Hemelen | Datum recensie: 18-03-2019 | Prijs max.: €12,99 | Bestellen