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The worst review of my life?

Is this the woman who gave my new novel Bell Harry the unkindest review I have ever had in my professional life?

Bell Harry is an attempt to tell the story of England solely througth the famous people who have passed through the gate of Canterbury cathedral. It has had plenty of five star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, but also several one star reviews in what appears to be a co-ordinated attack by middle-aged women who have taken a great dislike to the book, for no discernible reason.

Someone named Avril Caryer gave Bell Harry one star on Goodreads on 31 January. Twelve days later, someone calling herself AA Caryer did the same on Amazon:

‘Don’t waste your time,’ she wrote. ‘Probably the worst book I have ever read… an awful book. Didn’t really deserve one star.’

Curious as to why Caryer should have taken such exception to a perfectly competent piece of work, I had a look at what else she had reviewed. It turned out that she has read a lot of diet books over the past 30 years, but all have been absolutely useless.

Are Avril Caryer and AA Caryer the same person? I don’t know. Nor do I know if the Avril Caryer in the photograph is the same Avril Caryer who hated my book. The woman in the picture has my apologies if she isn’t. My quarrel is solely with the woman who gave Bell Harry such a mean and spiteful review.

As a separate issue, the book has also been attacked by trolls. Several female reviewers have laid into Bell Harry without either buying a copy or reading it. That is an occupational hazard for an author, unfortunately. A couple of the trolls appear to have been annoyed by a chapter entitled Jane Austen and Lady Hamilton’s enormous behind. They should try reading the book, instead of reviewing it unseen, before rushing to judgment.



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