Monday, 19 September 2011

Review for Language of Thieves. A RUSTIC ROLLERCOASTER says The Travellers' Times.

Language of Thieves
by Elizabeth Jackson

Published by Robert Hale, London.

'Language of Thieves' is a novel set largely in Cumbria at the end of the 1940s. It follows the story of young Daisy Latimer, a spirited Travelling girl. Her widower father Samboy does his best to protect Daisy from the two men who love her, local squire Tobias Flint, and bad boy Gypsy Roulson Adams. The main action takes place around Appleby, during and after the fair.

Elizabeth Jackson has a gift for conjuring up very English places, whether it's the country manors and villages we're used to hearing about, or the horse fairs that we're not. 'Language of Thieves' is a vivid, sweeping novel, a fine book for the fireside when the winter wind is up outside.

Jackson transports you from the politics of the present to a rural past that many of us can't help longing for, whether we're Travellers or not. You can really breathe in the atmosphere, from the straw Samboy sleeps on under his wagon to the hops and 'baccer of the old pubs when they still served proper beer.

The characters are largely wholesome and likable, but there are a few bad apples: especially the young, wild and dark-eyed Gypsy Roylson. When Daisy's heart is stolen by the dashing by the dashing landowner Tobias, Roulson goes off the rails in his quest for revenge against the rich Gorjia who stole the best looking girl at the fair.

Meanwhile, Samboy rediscovers his youth when he falls for the lovely Lavinia, a warm-hearted Gypsy lady who married Sam's best pal before he died in an accident, so love is definitely in the air.

The trouble is I ended up cheering for Roulson, in spite of his unhinged ways and love of the demon drink. The dear chavvy has to watch yet another wealthy, interfering rai-mush chore the kushty dikkin' rakli he loves. Of course, like everyone's all-time Romany villain, Heathcliff, he's not too happy about it, but you'll have to read the book to find out what happens.

'Language of Thieves' is a rustic roller-coaster tale with scary scenes and a few steamy ones as well so this one's for the grown-ups. It's definitely worth a read.

Damian Le Bas

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Another excerpt from Language of Thieves

The spell was broken when an unexpected thunderous clattering of hooves resounded on the bridge. Daisy whirled round to come face to face with Roulson Adam’s horse. The animal was biting the bit and frothing at the mouth whilst prancing about wildly. Alarmed looks on the faces of those standing close prompted the rider to rein his horse back a few paces allowing people to retreat to a safer distance.
     “Hello, Roulson,” Daisy said taking hold of the horse’s bridle. “I thought it was you in the water below. Cushty gelding you’ve got; are you thinking of selling him on at the fair?”
     He didn’t reply but jumped down from his horse and stood very close to her. She could feel his warm sweet breath on her face, and the familiar aroma of horses mingled with his body sweat excited her. His shirt was slung carelessly round his neck exposing his broad chest where droplets of water trickled a pathway through the dark hairs; spellbound, she followed their descent to where the dark hair tapered below his bellybutton.
      “I knew it was you up on the bridge. I’d spot you a mile off, Daisy.” He spoke softly and reached out gently tucking a wisp of hair that had escaped back behind her ear. “No mistaking that beautiful hair of yours,” he murmured, stroking it with the back of his hand.
     She flushed hotly and bowed her head. Her heart quickened when he placed a finger beneath her chin raising her face to look at him. She stared into the darkest eyes she’d ever seen. He was the handsomest man around.
     And Roulson Adams knew it.
     “I’d better be going,” Daisy said, stepping back a couple of paces to disengage from his magnetic charm. “Dad will be wondering where I’ve got to.” 
     “Are you walking back up the hill?”
     “Er, yes, yes I am.”
     “Well, come on then, I’ll give you a ride.”
     He took the parcel she clasped to her chest and climbed on to his horse. He held out his arm. “Come on, grab a hold,” he said, winking mischievously at her, “You’ll be safe enough, I promise,” he added, laughing.
     She looked about her where a crowd had gathered. Roulson, unable to resist an audience, burst into song.
   “Daisy….Daisy….give me your answer do…
   I’m half crazy…all for the love of you…I can’t afford…a”
     “Roulson! Stop it! Stop it now!” She pleaded.
     “Well, come with me or I promise you, it’ll get worse,” he laughed, taunting her.
     A moment later a figure stepped out from amongst the crowd and a silence ensued.
     “Is this man bothering you, madam?” A distinguished voice asked.
     They both turned to see a smartly dressed man standing before them. It was the same man she’d met down by the river. Daisy recognised him immediately.
     “And what the hell’s it to do with you?” Roulson blared, jumping down from his horse. Bugger off and mind your own bloody business, if yer know what’s good fer yer!”
     Daisy stepped between them with her back to Roulson. She looked at Tobias, perceiving his every detail in an instant while wondering what he was doing here. 
    “No, this man isn’t bothering me,” Daisy said coolly, dismissing him with a glance.
     She turned to Roulson who was glaring challengingly at Tobias Flint. “Come on Roulson, let’s go can we, please?”
     Roulson leapt on to his horse and held out a bronzed muscled arm for Daisy to grasp and climb up behind him. But first she turned to face the man who’d so readily insulted her people. “I hardly recognised you cleaned up. You’d better watch you don’t get yourself mistaken for one of us, specially dressed like that!” she added curtly.
    Tobias grinned and looked on with envy as she grasped the strong arm that hoisted her up in one easy movement. They rode off but Daisy couldn’t resist a furtive glance back over her shoulder. Tobias Flint stood in the centre of the bridge, watching them. He smiled at her and waved before giving an elaborate, exaggerated bow.
     She didn’t smile back.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Reviews for Language of Thieves.

Date: 14 / May / 2011
A compelling story
This book is a compelling read and once started we will all want to know what happens to the attractive gypsy heroine, Daisy. Elizabeth Jackson has given us an insight into the gypsy way of life which few of us really understand. Her descriptions of the Northern countryside and strong feelings of loyalty among the characters make this one of the most enjoyable stories which has recently come my way.

5.0 out of 5 stars Language of Thieves, 9 May 2011
This review is from: Language of Thieves
I found "Language of Thieves" by Elizabeth Jackson to be a compelling read and not easy to put down. It is a beautifully structured story that effortlessly holds the different strands of the plot together and the reader is carried through the text at a smooth and rhythmic pace that compliments its subject matter! Elizabeth has an uncanny ability to write dialect that reads both naturally and easily without becoming stereotypical and "Northern", her descriptions beautifully create a sense of place, but above all she portrays the Romany people, their culture and way of life, vividly, honestly, and with humanity and warmth. The story is as varied and colourful as the characters in it and neatly avoids being pigeonholed and labelled. This is as much a tale for men as it is women with a potent mix of action, romance, intrigue, class and racial tension that resolves in a nailbiting climax that will have you on the edge of your seat. Congratulations to the author of this excellent book which is both challenging and immensely entertaining. I thoroughly recommend it.

5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant story, 13 May 2011
This review is from: Language of Thieves
I loved this book. It’s got everything to hold your interest from start to finish. Very exciting, I couldn’t put it down. The characters held my interest all the way through. Wonderful descriptions of places I feel I want to visit. A fantastic read to take on holiday and thoroughly enjoy. I look forward to your next book Elizabeth.

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read can't wait for the next book, 11 July 2011
This review is from: Language of Thieves

I loved this book from the start. I could not hurry it as I didn’t want it to end.
I think it would make a brilliant travellers saga.
A TV Sunday winter’s saga, what more could we wish for. A glass of wine or beer, supper on our knees, chestnuts cooking on our fires watching the next episode enfold.

5.0 out of 5 stars Language of Thieves, 7 July 2011
This review is from: Language of Thieves
I thoroughly enjoyed this story of gypsies in Yorkshire. The descriptions of people and places are evocative and enchanting. The carefree mood the young gypsy girl, Daisy is captured with sinister overtones, as the plot draws the reader further on. The characters are brought to life with enigmatic and endearing qualities, easily planting pictures in the reader's mind.

The regions of Yorkshire were very well depicted, with accuracy and thoughtfulness. It was easy to imagine the setting and the atmosphere was tangible.

I would recommend this book and look forward to reading more by this author.

5.0 out of 5 stars "Language of Thieves" by Elizabeth Jackson, 24 May 2011
BY Bob Burns
This review is from: Language of Thieves
"Language of Thieves" by Elizabeth Jackson is the most enthralling novel I have read in years!
This unique insight into the gypsy way of life gives us beautifully sculptured characters set against equally stunning backdrops of the Northern landscape.
Jackson is a superb wordsmith who skillfully takes us on this journey of life in and around the Romany camp sites and annual horse fairs.
This intriguing story of love, hate, jelousy and revenge will keep you glued to each page. You will instantly fall for Daisy and her father whilst at the same time never quite sure what to make of gypsy heart-throb Roulson.

This is certainly one not to be missed!