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25 November 2013

Review & Interview: 'Solomon's Tale' by Sheila Jeffries (2013)

The story of a little cat who saved a family in crisis.

Solomon’s story began one stormy night…

Found on the doorstep in the middle of a thunderstorm, Solomon enters the King family as a tiny, wet ball of fur. But as his new owner Ellen coaxes him back to life, it becomes clear
that he is no ordinary cat.

Wise beyond his years, this little black and white kitten becomes the family’s protector. As Ellen and her young son deal with abuse, homelessness, and the loss of everything they
hold dear, it is Solomon who brings light to the darkest times.

Inspiring, moving and heartbreaking, ‘Solomon’s Tale’ is the story of an extraordinary cat who is the most faithful of friends. The perfect read for fans of ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’.

When I was contacted to review Sheila Jeffries’ novel ‘Solomon’s Tale’, which was released by Avon on the 21st of November 2013, I at first wasn’t too sure whether I would enjoy this book. I’m not an incredibly big lover of cats or animals in general, and this novel seemed to be a big stretch from the genre I usually go for (chick lit). However, somehow the sound of little cat Solomon and his tale caught my interest (I promise it wasn’t just the pretty glitter on the cover of the book), and I decided to give it a chance, seeing it as an opportunity to step away from my trustworthy chick lit novels and try a new flavour for a change!

Solomon is a black-and-white cat who has led a good life as the pet of young girl Ellen. He is now part of the spiritual world, where he is given the challenge to go back to earth and back to his former owner, Ellen, who is now a grown woman and struggling in her life. Solomon doesn’t have to think twice about this and tries everything he can to find his way back to Ellen to help her through the difficult times.

As the blurb already shows, ‘Solomon’s Tale’ is quite a unique story, mainly because it is told from a completely different perspective, namely that of a cat. Next to that, spirituality and the topic of reincarnation take on a significant role in the book. Because of these two elements, I wasn’t too sure about this at first, but Sheila Jeffries really managed to convince me with Solomon’s voice and I felt myself wanting to turn the pages of the book, curious to find out whether Solomon would be able to find Ellen and how he would help her. I loved Solomon; he’s not just a cat, but an easily loveable character and I really enjoyed reading about his dedication to Ellen and the relationship between the two of them. I personally like this idea of a pet looking out for you, and whether you believe in this or not, Sheila Jeffries managed to turn this into a thoroughly enjoyable tale.

As I already said, ‘Solomon’s Tale’ is different from my usual reads, but I definitely do not regret agreeing to read and review it. It is an original story that focuses on a different and interesting perspective, namely that of a cat, and Sheila Jeffries managed to write it in such a way that I did not even miss a human voice. ‘Solomon’s Tale’ is a different, warm, light and quick read that is suitable for both adults and teenagers, and I certainly recommend it to animal lovers or people who are simply looking for something else than the average read!



I'm delighted to have author Sheila Jeffries on 'A Spoonful of Happy Endings' today to talk about her new release, 'Solomon's Tale'! 

Can you tell us something about your new novel, 'Solomon's Tale'?
Solomon was a special cat, and I felt his story would touch people's hearts. I enjoyed writing it and everyone says they can't put it down. I originally wrote it to help parents to know what to say to comfort a child who is grieving for a lost pet, and I feel it has worked. It's a deep book with a light touch, easy and fun to read, but tackling some big issues like birth, death, re­incarnation and angels.

Where did you find the inspiration for the plot line of  
'Solomon's Tale'?
Inspiration has never been a problem for me. Stories queue up in my head. First I get the essence of the story and the characters, then the plot evolves organically as I am writing. I've tried many times to do a plot outline but I never can. I just have to trust that it will come, and it always does.

You've written numerous children's books, but you see 'Solomon's Tale' as a new start. Can you tell us about that?
When I was writing for children I got type cast, always writing a commissioned 'next in the series book '. My best children's books, the ones I was passionate about, are still unpublished, but I hope that is about to change. I've always been interested in spiritual stuff, and it's at last finding its way into fiction, thanks to enlightened publishers like Harper Collins.

'Solomon's Tale' is written from the perspective of a cat. Why did you decide to use an animal's perspective? Did you find it in any way challenging?
A must­have ability for any writer is being able to get inside the mind of their characters, so I didn't find it difficult at all. I am a sensitive person and I can pick up feelings from anything that is alive, even a plant. Cats are highly evolved beings with complex emotions and an innate spirituality that is very pure. Our own innate spirituality has been messed up by education, peer pressure and religion. So choosing a cat as the narrator was actually quite liberating!

I've read on your website that you've already written a sequel to this novel. Can you perhaps give us a sneak peek?
The manuscript is currently on my editor's desk, so I can't give too much away. It's about Solomon's favourite, the tabby kitten who was cruelly snatched away from him. I've had to research animal healing and communication for this book and that's been amazing, and I mean AMAZING.

What are some of your favourite books or authors? 
Marina De Nadous, Kate Morton, Janet Frame, DH Lawrence, Tarjei Vesaas, and poetry.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Write from the heart. Don't procrastinate but just get on with it, even if you write rubbish you can edit it later. Build a social media platform long before your book is published.

And last, but not least, if you had to describe 'Solomon's Tale' in just 3 words, which would you pick?
Spiritual cat story.

Thanks very much, Sheila! :) 

If you are interested in getting your own copy of 'Solomon's Tale', click here to order it on Amazon now!

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