Book reviews by Jane Corry

Ben's Story

Ben's Story - Credit: Archant

Feeling a bit low? Tackling a tricky problem? Books are a great medicine! Jane Corry has chosen some titles that will lift your spirits.

Mayday in July

Mayday in July - Credit: Archant

BEN’S STORY by Norman Tebbit. Bretwalda Books. £7.99

When Sam is paralysed in a car crash, his life changes for ever. But then he meets Ben, a Labrador, and together they embark on a thrilling adventure involving MI6 and a ruthless gang of drug smugglers. This isn’t a new book but the issues are still highly relevant. Norman Tebbit, whose wife was paralysed in the Brighton bombings, will be talking about his writing and political career at the Sidmouth Literary Festival on Saturday, June 16, at 7.30pm. Tickets will go on sale shortly at Winstones, the library and the tourist office. It’s expected to be a sell-out so don’t leave it too late!

Dear Katie

Dear Katie - Credit: Archant

MAYDAY IN JULY by Jim Rider. Published by Ottery St Mary Heritage Society. £9.99. Available through local bookshops and Amazon.

Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know - Credit: Archant

I’m always thrilled when readers write in to say they’ve enjoyed a title – or that they’ve written a book themselves. So when Jim Rider contacted me to ask if I’d read this, I was delighted. This true story is about a Vickers Viscount airliner which set off from a routine flight in 1980 from Santander to the UK but ended up in a farmer’s field near Ottery St Mary – with almost catastrophic results. Jim has a very readable style which combines fact with drama as well as some great photographs. It’s a testament to human skill, courage and perseverance and, as such, is a story that every man, woman and child in Devon should know.

Beach Wedding

Beach Wedding - Credit: Archant

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DEAR KATIE by Katie Thistleton. Orion £7.99.

It’s not easy being a teenager. I still remember the angst of unrequited love and that panic over whether I’d pass my exams in order to get to university. It seems that some problems haven’t changed over the years but now here’s a self-help book for 10- to 16-year-olds by presenter Katie Thistleton. The book takes the form of letters. One teenager is worried that her mother doesn’t love her any more. Another wants to stop blushing. Katie’s advice seems wise and positive. One answer is that ‘families are complicated because they’re made up of humans and humans are complicated’. As adults, we would do well to remember that ourselves.

Most Read

SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW by Wendy Mitchell. Bloomsbury. £9.99

Dementia isn’t funny. Yet the author manages to convey a sense of humour as well as practical tips in this extraordinary book. Wendy was diagnosed at only 58 years old after a fall while jogging. Initially shocked and angry, she has now worked out a way of coping which will also help others. When it becomes too hard to read novels, turn to poetry or short stories instead. If you keep losing the thread in speech conversations, use What’s App or text instead. Of course, there are no hard and fast solutions. But this is a hand along the road.

THE BEACH WEDDING by Dorothy Koomson. Arrow. £1.

Don’t have time to curl up with a book? You’re not alone. This is why, every year, Quick Reads teams up with publishers to produce short easy-to-understand novels. This is a story about weddings and secrets. When Tessa’s daughter arrives in Ghana to get married, she is excited but also scared. Will the ghosts of the past come back to haunt them? For more Quick Read suggestions, visit

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