What’s in a Name? (Vol 1) 35

Book Review:

What’s in a Name? (Vol 1)


Sally Cronin


I always feel sad reaching the end of a Sally Cronin book.

It is not simply because I feel a chapter of my life has closed.

Nor because I will no longer be dragged along, a willing, nay eager, voyeur into the lives of people I have just met, but feel I have known for years. People who I am convinced will go on to live happy lives off the page, but who I will never see again; although I will think of them often.

Neither is it because I have not laughed hard enough or had my eyes mist over more than once and had to sternly tell myself: Get a grip you old fool. It’s only a story. A story it might be, but only a heart of stone could remain unmoved by Sally Cronin’s prose: even a heart of ice would melt.

It’s none of the above. Quite simply, when I finish a Sally Cronin book I really miss my mum who died some 20 odd years ago. Yes I know, even though they are gone they are with us. But truth be told, I no longer think of her enough.

If she were alive, knowing how much she would love What’s in a Name? I would jump in the car and take it down to her, like I used to. Although these days I would probably email it for her to download into her e-reader or tablet, or whatever it is the old folks do these days.

And I would look forward to her out-of-the-blue phone calls. Well, not really out-of-the-blue. Actually I would more surprised if she didn’t ring. We would discuss each point, nattering on about the twists and the turns: how we never saw that coming; exulting in the triumphs of our new mutual friends and crowing when those who’d dun ’em wrong got their comeuppance.

From there I start thinking about my Nan, aunts and cousins, how this circle of sisters and daughters would have enjoyed passing Sally Cronin books back and forth with a buzz with excitement and aglow with pleasure.

That’s all gone now.

My mum was a frustrated author. She wanted to write but didn’t know where to start. For this reason she would have loved Sally Cronin, whose writing looks so effortless: with her beautifully constructed stories and engaging characters.

By making it look easy, Sally Cronin empowers budding authors. They think- I can do that. Little realising how hard it is it to make your work look natural. By the time they do, it’s too late. They have either given up or are already hooked.

The short story is a subtler art form than the novel. It is a single idea ending in a killer punchline that flows seamlessly without clutter, waste or doubt. Every word of every sentence must contribute to the story or be ruthlessly stripped out. And this is where Sally Cronin excels. She can paint an entire scene in a handful of words and conjure any emotion with a well-turned phrase. In short she is both a delight for the reader and an object lesson for the writer.

So what can I say about the latest book I read: What’s in a Name? (Vol 1)

The answer has to be nothing at all.

How can I deny you the same immense pleasure I had discovering it for myself. In all conscience I could not do that to anyone.

But as you have been so patient and deserve some crumbs, how about a game?

In What’s In a Name? (Vol 1) you will find:

  • A bride of Christ in the autumn of her life
  • A man, saved as a child, dedicated to saving others
  • A garden reminiscent of another magical place
  • That we all need someone special
  • An un-cowed wife
  • A mid-life crisis
  • An ancient heritage living on
  • How to handle a bully
  • A special letter
  • A randy old fellah
  • Twin souls torn apart
  • An old hand at being a new mum
  • Revenge is a dish served cold
  • A mother and daughter act
  • A hero by any other name
  • A hard-hearted mother
  • A quiet woman’s secret
  • A man waiting for his long lost love
  • The helpful neighbour’s terrible burden

All you do is put the name to the clue.

So, I hear you ask, What’s the prize?

Hey, you read the book.

Can you think of a better prize than that?

See also:

Sam a Shaggy Dog Story Review

Tales from the Garden Review

35 thoughts on “What’s in a Name? (Vol 1)

  1. Pingback: Reading Links 8/14/17 – Where Genres Collide

    • Reply Paul Aug 17,2017 7:55 pm

      Traci, thank you so much much for featuring my review of Sally’s lovely, warm and utterly charming What’s In A Name on your great site. Indebted to you. Paul

  2. Reply D. Wallace Peach Aug 13,2017 8:24 pm

    What a beautiful review, Paul. You delve not only into the beauty of Sally’s stories but the role books play in our lives and how they connect us to each other. I also thoroughly enjoyed this book. (To be honest, I’ve enjoyed everything of Sally’s that I’ve read.) <3

    • Reply Paul Aug 14,2017 12:12 am

      Thank you Diana. Of course it helps when you have a book that inspires such a review. And Like you I have enjoyed every book of Sally’s I have read.

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – FREE book, Invitation to a Party and brilliant writers. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. Reply Suze Hartline Aug 13,2017 2:04 am

    what a beautiful tribute to a book, author, and even your mom! Now I have to read the book!

  5. Reply Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC Aug 13,2017 12:10 am

    Oh Paul, what a gorgeous review! I jumped on the offer immediately upon reading about it on Deb’s site, but if I’d had ANY doubts your review would have clinched the deal (not that any follower of her elegant blog could doubt that any book she wrote would be any less engaging).

    My mother is an angel now too – but when she was alive she was also a voracious reader and “frustrated writer.” She didn’t linger long enough on this earth for the two of us to share our thoughts on books – so I’m happy for you that you had this experience with your own mother. We never get over missing them, do we?

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    • Reply Paul Aug 13,2017 5:36 pm

      Dear Madelyn, you are so right. It is funny because if she were alive now she would not be the person I remember- my dad’s still around and he has changed over the decades. I think not only is youth wasted on the young but so are our parents. I would love to meet her again at the age she was before she died and the age I am now… I would be older! And share our experiences now we are so close in age.

      • Reply Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC Aug 17,2017 1:24 am

        I feel the same way about both of my parents, Paul. I would love to go back as I am now to spend time with each of them as they were then. I was in my 30’s and might as well have been a world away when my mother died – in NYC and busy trying to “make it” as an actor/director. Looking back, I know so little about her life and ambitions.

        Parents share more of who they are with their kids these days, but “parenting” was different a generation ago. I like to think we’ll have lots to talk about once we are all “beyond”

        • Reply Paul Aug 17,2017 7:46 pm

          I know Madelyn, wouldn’t it be wonderful. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to find out, when the time comes, there is a beyond.. and we are all in a good place!

  6. Reply Vashti Q Aug 12,2017 11:32 pm

    What a wonderful review of Sally’s book, Paul. What a lovely and well-deserved tribute to Sally and her work. Thank you!

    • Reply Paul Aug 13,2017 5:37 pm

      No thank you Vashti, that is a lovely thing to say. I definitely feel privileged to be a friend of Sally and part of such a warm and welcoming community.

  7. Reply Christy B Aug 12,2017 4:08 am

    I loved this review, Paul, and I cannot wait to read it! I’ll be ready for a range of emotions as I read the stories, by the sounds of it 🙂 Congrats Sally!

  8. Reply Natalie Ducey Aug 11,2017 4:50 pm

    This review is such a tribute to Sally’s talent. It’s also a wonderful gift for all the soon-to-be readers who are sure to discover a real gem. Thank you for sharing, Paul.

  9. Reply Robbie Cheadle Aug 11,2017 6:05 am

    Oh, masterful Paul, I salute you for this review. Have a wonderful weekend and happy reading and writing.

  10. Reply Judy Martin Aug 11,2017 4:28 am

    I also love Sally’s writing, and you have summed up her style so perfectly, Paul. She does make it look so effortless, and draws out every emotion from her reader who can’t help but care about her characters. 🙂

  11. Reply dgkaye Aug 11,2017 12:40 am

    A fabulous summation of Sally and her stories Paul. 🙂 x

  12. Pingback: Smorgasbord Reblog – Review by Paul Andruss – What’s In a Name- Volume One Ebook – FREE 11th – 13th August | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  13. Reply sally cronin Aug 10,2017 9:04 am

    Thank you seems inadequate Paul for such a review. The fact that my stories stir such memories and emotions feeds my addiction to write. I am very grateful for your beautifully crafted response to my efforts. It is treasured. Sally ♥

    • Reply Paul Aug 10,2017 11:20 pm

      Dear Sally, it is lovely to know that I have given you some of the same pleasure reading ‘What’s in a Name’ (Vol 1) gave me. It was a heart warming and emotional read. AND NEVER STOP WRITING!

  14. Reply Pauline Aug 10,2017 2:25 am

    An enticing review Paul – another book to add to the list!

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