Not Exactly Chaucer – Blog Tour

In this contemporary twist on Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’, tour manager, Bailey, strives to ensure that her guests enjoy their three-week tour of Australia – for many, the holiday of a lifetime.

Then Bailey discovers that her tour operator – Australia Unleashed – has been taken over, she has a secret shopper among the guests and her career is on the line. She remains determined in her quest. However, her good intentions disintegrate into a cocktail of chaos! Take a slice of mystery; a shot of skulduggery; a measure of prejudice; a twist of romance and a dash of humour.

Put them all together, shake and enjoy, as the twenty-one travellers each tell their stories, form new relationships and discover things about themselves that will change their lives forever.

It’s great at the weekend to get the chance to relax and immerse yourself in books that you’ve been waiting to indulge in, when you have got the time and headspace to really enjoy them and savour them. But if you are anything like me – you find that when you’ve really really enjoyed a book, you might not be quite ready yet to dive straight into another lengthy tome – and that’s where Wendy Mason’s original ad eclectic group of tales comes in just perfect. This is a book that you can dip into and read a few at a time and then look back over the whole cavalcade of characters once you’ve had time to enjoy them all…

brown lake under blue sky

Bailey’s group of tourists are certainly a long way from Canterbury, but in these perfectly drawn character studies you get exactly the same sense of observational accuracy, social commentary and diverse voices as Chaucer’s original! It was great to be able to come back from a huge sweeping drive around Perthshire and enjoy a couple of these with a gin before dinner. The diversity of tales on offer here is fabulous – it’s like a box of chocolates with plenty to choose from – you can take a lucky dip and be surprised at the range of tales on offer here – the common denominator is that they are all skilfully written and leave you wanting more after you’ve savoured one…

opened box of chocolate

My husband got used to me bringing up the latest episode over dinner as I regaled him with the most up to date set of characters that I’d ‘met’ through these pages It was interesting to hear that they were written not by an Australian, but by a fellow Brit as they certainly made me feel like I was joining them on this vividly described tour as we worked our way through them and talked them over at length. I know that the Canterbury Tales themselves might not be for everyone, but these stories do what all the best tales do, present humanity in all its glory from the best of us to the very worst of us and I can truly say – all human life is here…

empty road between brown fields with green trees

I enjoyed being able to read them and flip back and forward to the whole cast and cavalcade of characters and compare and contrast them as I read. It was difficult to put down as I got so caught up with where they travelled to and who we were going to meet next. Bailey was a great device to pull all of these eclectic lives together. I particularly enjoyed Professor Harold Reeve’s story and was fascinated to discover that it had its basis in real-life events – I don’t do spoilers but I can assure you that you’ll be as surprised as I was that Wendy based this on a real-life episode from her husband’s family history…

couple taking selfie

I really enjoyed this collection and will be recommending it to people in my book club who enjoy a read that takes them far away and allows them to get caught up in an intriguing tale with a pleasing array of interesting characters . This is an unusual and compelling read that has enough diversity to keep you intrigued and enough variety to ensure that you keep turning the pages long into the night! I recommend it to people who enjoy something a little bit different and appreciate a book with a great cast of characters that really makes you think about people and what makes them tick as you are reading

Buy yourself a copy and enjoy the rest of the Bloggers on the Tour!

Sydney, Opera House during daytime

Writer On The Shelf

Wendy Mason

Wendy was born in Queniborough, Leicestershire and enjoyed her careers as a hospital administrator, lecturer and finally as a capital manager for schools in Cornwall. She now lives in Falmouth with her husband, Harold, close to their daughter Rachael, Son-in-law Dan and two grandsons, Hector (5) and Arthur (3). 

She took early retirement in 2011 (she emphasises early) and decided to study creative writing. Her first novel, St Francis – An Instrument of Peace, was published after eight years of research and perfecting her writing skills.

Her latest novel – Not Exactly Chaucer – is based on the concept of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales with a contemporary twist. The setting is a three-week escorted tour of Australia. Bailey, the tour manager, struggles to discover who is a threat to her career, while the 21 travellers each tell their stories, form new relationships and discover things about themselves that will change their lives for ever.

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