Review of ‘The Real World’ by Kathleen Jowitt

‘The Real World’ is the second book in Kathleen Jowitt’s Stancester series and was a joy to read. I purposely made myself slow down when reading it as I wanted to stay part of this world, of Stancester, for a while longer. There was something familiar and soothing about being with Colette and Lydia. I loved finding out more about their lives and the decisions they were having to make. This is a book about people, about communities, and just happens to involve those of various religious persuasions.

Lydia wants to become an ordained minister, but that is problematic as the Church of England will not allow gay clergy to marry. How will Lydia and Colette navigate that particular issue? Colette is part way through her PhD, and dealing with that is about as much as she can handle. How will she deal with being the partner of a vicar, if that were ever to happen? This is a book about realisation, about finding answers to the questions we all have. Sometimes it takes time to know exactly what we really want. It’s a book to savour. The writing is exquisite, and the characters have depth and realism. I loved it and hope this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Lydia, Colette and their friends. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘Speak Its Name’ by Kathleen Jowitt

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’Speak Its Name’ by Kathleen Jowitt is ostensibly about the  political interactions between various Christian factions within Stancester University. Lydia Hawkins is part of the Christian Fellowship and is trying to keep the faith while dealing with a secret she does not want to get out. As she mixes more with other christians of various denominations she is exposed to views that are very different from her upbringing and the version of Christianity she is trying to preach in her role as Hall Officer. But it is about a whole lot more.

This book made me think, made me laugh and cry. It was about love and friendship and becoming the person you need to be. I adored it. I really liked Lydia and I admired her struggle with her faith and the secret she is trying to keep. The characters as a whole were very realistic – some wonderful people I would be happy to know – others were appalling prigs, full of their own self importance. It is an excellent story of self-realisation and was very well written. The descriptions were stunningly accurate – both of student life and of the people encountered there. I highly recommend this novel.

I was given this book for review.