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 Blog Tour Review - A Power Unbound by Freya Marske Secrets! Magic! Enemies to. . .something more? Jack Alston, Lord Hawthorn, would love a nice, safe, comfortable life. After the death of his twin sister, he thought he was done with magic for good. But with the threat of a dangerous ritual hanging over every magician in Britain, he’s drawn reluctantly back into that world. Now Jack is living in a bizarre puzzle-box of a magical London townhouse, helping an unlikely group of friends track down the final piece of the Last Contract before their enemies can do the same. And to make matters worse, they need the help of writer and thief Alan Ross. Cagey and argumentative, Alan is only in this for the money. The aristocratic Lord Hawthorn, with all his unearned power, is everything that Alan hates. And unfortunately, Alan happens to be everything that Jack wants in one gorgeous, infuriating package. When a plot to seize unimaginable power comes to a head at Cheetham Hall―Jack’s ancestral fam

Rachel Delahaye takes the Inside Out Challenge


Rachel Delahaye takes the Inside Out Challenge


Good morning and welcome!

Today I'm in a celebratory mood. This is my 300th blog post! A milestone I never thought I'd reach when I started this little blog over five years ago. 

To celebrate this, I've invited one of my favourite authors, and all-round wonderful person, Rachel Delahaye to join me. I started the Inside Out challenge in the early days of my blogging, and brought it back for special posts previously with Jennifer Killick and SinĂ©ad O'Hart. It was the only choice to mark my 300th post. Enjoy.

First, please introduce yourself.

Hi, I’m Rachel Delahaye. I write books for children of all ages, and tend to veer towards the dark side of things – be that comedy (Mort the Meek) or dystopia (Day of the Whale – although it’s really quite sunny for dystopia). Stories are all I think about, and as long as I can keep bringing them into the world, I’ll feel happy and very, very privileged.

*by the way, you know that I’m not going to be able to choose just one book, right? I’m going to have to cheat.

Can you tell me about a book you have read that made you feel joy?

Recently, I read a non-fiction, semi-memoir called Phosphorescence by Dr Julia Baird. It explores wonders in the natural world, and describes the healing power of surrendering yourself to awe. Part science and part psychology, the chapters are like little vitamin pills for the spirit. A truly lovely book. For the joy of reading, I have to mention Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel – the post- apocalyptic story of a travelling theatre, navigating cut-off communities in the new world; it’s clever, absorbing and the writing is divine. Also, anything by David Sedaris, Nora Ephron and Shalom Auslander, in terms of wicked delight.

What about a book that filled you with sadness?

There are so many moving books, but when I think of sadness, Before I Die by Jenny Downham comes to mind. It’s about a teenage girl trying to live, whilst dying. It’s beautifully handled, with the text form mirroring her increasing confusion as the disease progresses. Absolutely heart-breaking, but intensely beautiful, too. Also, Pat Barker’s Regeneration series made me hopelessly sad: the futility of wars of attrition; all those lives lost, like so many pawns.

Have you read a book that made you feel angry?

I remember being deeply affected by The Colour Purple by Alice Walker and Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally (and I can’t choose between them, sorry). I feel extreme anger that people are overpowered and persecuted, whether that be race, sex or religion, for political or irrational reasons. Why should people suffer because an ego is hurt, or a scapegoat is required, or a person decides he (it’s usually a man) would like to bask in a little more money/glory/attention? I think I have a severe persecution complex, in that I loathe it. I’m not a violent person, but when I’m made aware of cruelty exerted for the sake of control, I feel it.

Has a book ever disgusted you?

Oh yes, I’ve been disgusted by a few. Deliciously so by James Herbert’s The Rats and Naked Lunch by William Borroughs. But without doubt the most disgusting book I have ever read is American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. It was the gore and violence, coupled with the lack of empathy – the perpetrator being relentless, meticulous, calculating; someone you had no chance of rationalising with. I love the dark side of things, but that went way too far. I think I even threw up. Gratuitous violence written without any theatre, irony or comedy is not my bag.

Can you tell me about a book that made you afraid?

I tend to avoid scary books and especially supernatural ones as I’m irrationally hysterical about it, but Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, whilst giving me absolute chills, was so beautiful written I had to finish it. I was very, very afraid. In terms of fear for the future, then nothing ever stuck me like The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: it was too close to the bone back then, and it’s practically infected the marrow now...


And finally, can you tell me a little bit about a book that you know inside out?

I don’t know any book inside out, as I don’t tend read books more than once. Although, I did as a child, and when I was about ten years old, I read and reread the books in Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series until they fell apart. So I guess that dark-versus-light story will stay with me forever. I’ve always been drawn to that battle (I was a huge original Star Wars fan), and I remember when I was reading, it was as if every sentence were wrapping me in its cloak and carrying me along for the ride – I, myself, was fighting the darkness (in more ways than one – I always read by torchlight under my duvet after lights-out); in every moment, I was there.


Thanks so much for having me, Liam.

Thank you so much Rachel, it's been a pleasure having you here.


You'll find reviews of many of Rachel's books here on my blog. Take a look here.

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