Jane Wilson-Howarth

Fiction

 
 
 

reviews

Himalayan Hideout

The adventures of Alex and James continue on as they brave hunger and every kind of wildlife in Nepal in order to rescue their kidnapped conservationist parents. Young readers are introduced to Nepal's past, a time when real-life kidnappings of conservationists occurred. Not only will readers learn about the history of Nepal and the rich wildlife and foods there, they will be reminded of the grit it takes to stand up for what one believes. Beautifully told and illustrated, a real treat!

Lizbeth Meredith, author


Snowfed Waters

This is a lovely story. The main protagonist, Sonia, is a 34 year old divorced woman with low self esteem and a host of health issues. On a whim, and with her doctor’s encouragement, Sonia leaves her life in Cambridge with all its painful associations, and travels out to Nepal to work for a charity - and with the vague idea of retracing her great-grandfather’s footsteps.
After a rocky start, full of frustrations and misunderstandings, she gradually loses her English reserve and expectations and adapts to – and respects – the rhythm of life on the island of Rajapur, comes to care for the low caste family with whom she is staying and embrace their simple way of life.
The author spent many years in Nepal – and it shows. She writes with an absolute assurance – and passion - about the people, the landscape and the flora and fauna of the country. Indeed, her descriptions are so vivid that the reader can almost smell the food, taste the sweet tea, see the vast yellow butterflies and the wonderfully colourful plants and exotic animals, breathe the mountain air and hear the hustle and bustle of the market.
The story is told from a variety of viewpoints and, in this way, we have insight not only into what Sonia thinks of the people she meets but also what they think of her and how strange they find some of her attitudes and reactions. Because of the author’s in depth knowledge of the country, she is also able to explain the intricacies of the caste system and its implications, - for instance, the shock of her Brahmin (high caste) friends when she insists that young Moti, the daughter of her Tharu (low caste) hosts, is her companion when she goes trekking.
And it is when she and Moti are on their trek that disaster strikes the island. Ironically it is the disaster which is Sonia’s saviour. Working with the wounded, snatching food and sleep when she can, she recognizes how trivial her own worries are when compared to the plight of those she treats. And finally, too, she feels valued and regains her self respect.
When she returns to England and her old life, she is a very different person.
This is a story of a complex, shattered woman and of the healing power of love as of the whole community finally recognize her true worth and no longer see her as an awkward foreigner with strange ideas but as a strong, compassionate woman who is prepared to work tirelessly to help them.
A very readable and uplifting story, set in a beautifully described landscape.

Rosemary Hayes, author


Chasing the Tiger

This is another romping Himalayan adventure. This time the boys, and their long-suffering friend Bim, end up in the high Himalayas where they encounter a family of hungry bears and even a snow leopard and much more astonishing wildlife as they wander, lost, amongst the crags and deep into terrorist territory.


Himalayan Kidnap

... a compelling political and ecological wildlife adventure in the Himalayan mountains. Recalling Kipling’s Jungle Book,
Wilson-Howarth’s attention to cultural and zoological detail provocatively weaves a riveting collision of civilizations, avalanches, and river boat escapes as two brothers search for their kidnapped parents by ruthless Maoist terrorists.
From goats getting sick from eating plastic bags (“Now everyone uses plastic, and its not good for the goats,”), to life and death underwater struggles with crocodiles, this harrowing adventure left my husband and me on the edge of our seats.  Himalayan Kidnap is a nuanced tale with sensitively imagined characters. 
Although intended for kids 8-12, it’s an exciting read for adults. Can’t wait for the continuing adventures of Alex
and James!  

Micaela Amateau Amato