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‘The Hambledown Dream’ by Dean Mayes

‘THE HAMBLEDOWN DREAM’

Australian, Denny Banister had the world at his feet; a successful career, a passion for the guitar and he is in love with Sonya – his best friend and soul mate.
Tragically, Denny is struck down with inoperable cancer & he is destined to die.
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Meanwhile, Andy DeVries has almost nothing; he is alienated from his family, he moves through a dangerous Chicago underworld dealing in drugs, battling addiction & now he’s gone and overdosed – jeopardizing the only thing that matters to him; a place at a prestigious Conservatory for classical guitar.
Having been snatched from the abyss Andy recovers, but he is plagued by dreams – memories of a love he has never felt, and a life he’s never lived. Driven by the need for redemption and by the love for a woman he’s never met, Andy begins a quest to find her, knowing her only by the memories of a stranger and the dreams of a place called Hambledown…

DEAN MAYES

Revised Image Of Author Dean Mayes June 2015

Dean grew up with an early love of words – a trait a little out of step for most children of his age and has been writing and creating for most of his life…or at least for as long as he could wield a pen and knew how to use it.
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The genesis for what became his first published novel came in 2008, when Dean started an internet blog and decided to craft a story ‘on the fly’, with no bells or whistles and put it up in instalments each week. He would announce a new edition on Facebook and Twitter and let anybody who wanted to, read it. Dean suddenly found himself with a dedicated readership, a following who, hooked on the story, would ‘tune in’ each week to read the next instalment and encourage Dean to keep writing more.
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One particular message, was to signal the turning point in Dean’s writing career. It invited him to take a look at Central Avenue Publishing of Vancouver, Canada. After talking with C.A.P’s creative director Michelle Halket, Dean became very serious about his project. He stopped publishing the story to the blog and began constructing the manuscript, stealing time whenever he could to work on the story. Within a few months the manuscript, now renamed The Hambledown Dream, was completed, submitted and accepted for publication.
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Since its publication, The Hambledown Dream has received critical acclaim from across the globe and fired Dean’s creative spark to continue writing. His second full-length novel, Gifts Of The Peramangk, was nominated as a finalist in the prestigious EPIC Awards for contemporary fiction, in 2013 and has been described as a work of significant literary achievement.
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Dean lives in Adelaide, Australia with his partner Emily and their two children Xavier and Lucy.
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Catch up with all Dean’s latest news on his Website
Like Dean’s page on Facebook
Follow Dean on Twitter

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK

Before I set down my thoughts about this fantastic book, let me just say that I love the way that Dean introduces the idea of a story and it’s characters to an audience, through the medium of his blog.

He basically seems to set down his thoughts and ideas, in a short story form of installments, building on it weekly, until the novel has taken shape. The comments and words of encouragement he receives almost appear to help mould the finished storyline, even down to the final book title.

Dean is at present, potentially working on his second novel, with a work-in-progress title of  ‘Gifts Of the Peramangk’. Why not visit his site sometime and maybe leave a comment of encouragement, together with your thoughts on his progress!

As for ‘The Hambledown Dream’ …. I loved it from the first page to the last!

When Dean first contacted me, requesting that I read and review ‘The Hambledown Dream’, I was at first flattered and pleased, then, after checking out the synopsis, a little sceptical and dubious, as for me, the notion of reading a paranormal romance, took me right out of my comfort zone, into an unknown genre.

I need not have worried … This debut novel of the genre for me, was a great initiation and something to be enjoyed. The only caveat that I would highlight, would be the explicit sex scenes and violence at the start of the book, which although totally in context wth the story, may offend some readers.

The book is described as a contemporary paranormal romance, but for me it was so much more. There was a hint of the supernatural, both physical and emotional transformation, and the obvious question of the notion of reincarnation.

Reincarnation, (derived from the Latin, literally meaning, “entering the flesh again”), is not something that I have a great belief in, but this book does pose the question to me, of how a body is selected to be the recipient of a departed soul or spirit.

In the ‘Hambledown Dream’, could it be simply that Andy had died on the ER table and the transformation took place purely randomly at the time of his resuscitation, was it a similarity in the ages of the two young men, because of their shared talents and love of music, the rescue and redemption of Andy’s tortured soul and body, or to guide Andy back to Sonya simply for Denny’s own gratification??

I’m sure that there will be  a whole raft of differing opinion about the subject, so let’s just accept ‘The Hambledown Dream’ for what it is … A story of sex, sleeze, drugs and a life on the path to self-destruction; transforming itself into a story of love, passion, new beginnings, two lost souls reaching out for each other and a love so strong that even death cannot stop it.

The characters all have great definition, depth and presence, to the point where you can almost see them and feel their emotions throughout the entire story. The spiritual powers of emotion and music lay the senses bare and the mind a blank page, ready to write a whole new chapter.

The first part of the story, is fast paced and action packed, with emotions running so high in the sleezy underworld of Chicago, that the tension is palpable to the reader. You almost think that sooner or later, you will be left to pick up the pieces of a shattered life and are looking sneakily forwards to the next page, just to see if there is any more danger that one person can attract.

The underlying reasons for this life of self-mutilation and debauchery, start to become apparent, as the story of Andy’s childhood and early years begins to unravel little by little, leaving the reader with a sense of sadness at a life wasted for the want of a small show of affection and encouragement, from those he held in the greatest of esteem.

Andy’s subsequent transformation and the remainder of the story, takes on a whole new meaning, as he comes to terms with how his life might have been, if he had lived in someone else’s shoes and how that change may still be brought about, if he is only willing to open his mind to the possibilities of a life without hate and self loathing; to embrace his talents for the gift they are and to realise that the help and affection offered by people is just that, unconditional and freely given.

The description and evolution of Andy’s musical talent and experiences, only draws the reader further under the spell of this captivating story. His ability to express himself through his guitar playing and the link between this and his eventual reconciliation with his estranged father, is poignant and at the heart of the story.

His need to reach out for his still grieving soul mate is inexorable, once he full comes to terms with, understands what has happened to him and accepts the siuation as it is. A love so strong experienced by two people, is dealt with sympathetically by the author, who draws them together as if by fate, with soft, flowing and emotional lines of prose, that are only enhanced by the paranormal and supernatural overtones.

In Dean’s words from the book “This is not over”

There is a great link on Dean’s website, to an interview conducted by Joanna, at ‘The Creative Penn’, where he talks about what it takes to be a man in the romance market. It makes for some interesting reading!!

A fantastic debut novel, can’t wait for the next book, Dean.

A well-deserved 5 out of 5

I was asked to read and review this book by the author, Dean Mayes. As such, this copy was supplied to me free of charge by said author.

This in no way influenced any comments I may have expressed about the book, in any review I may have compiled. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this review.


Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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9 comments
    • Thanks Cath,

      I wasn’t really sure about the genre when I first got asked to read/review by Dean. I have taken a look at a few paranormal romance synopses before and have to say that I wasn’t overly impressed by the standard of some of the writing.

      ‘The Hambledown Dream’, luckily for me, was a great place to start my journey into the genre, as it was definitely of a good standard of writing, the plot was subtle and believeable and, most importantly, it made me want to read more ….

      • To tell the truth I wouldn’t mind reading some paranormal romance but the market is flooded with it and I wouldn’t know where to start. Like you said, I don’t want to spend time reading something that’s poorly written and is a load of rubbish… and that does seem to be the case with some of it.

        • As someone who has read Dean’s fine novel, can I suggest to you Cath to not write off Dean’s novel without at least giving it a chance.

          Though it is described as a paranormal romance, The Hambledown Dream transcends the genre in a beautifully original way and it does not by any means resort to the cliche’s that have plagued many paranormal novels in recent times.

          The Hambledown Dream relies on strong characters, some of the most vivid I have ever read and what Dean Mayes achieves in giving life to music on the page is an achievement, the likes of which I have not seen – perhaps ever.

          It is not an understatement that The Hambledown Dream is characterized by a good standard of writing. In fact, it is exceptional.

          • Hi Casey,

            Thanks for taking part in the conversation, it is always good to ‘meet’ new participants.

            It is good to know that Dean’s book is meeting with such strong approval and I truly do wish him every success, with both ‘The Hambledown Dream’ and any further projects that he brings to fruition. I shall be watching his progress with great interest.

            I do find that many authors in the marketplace today, do not pay sufficient attention to detail, in either their storylines, of which many are very weak and make for a disappointing read, or their general standards of writing, which are often lacking in description or grammatical content.

            I went to great lengths to assert that this is not the case with ‘The Hambledown Dream’ and would concur with most of the sentiments expressed in your comments. Dean has an exceptional way with descriptive writing, which was great as my introduction to the genre of paranormal romance, but I am not altogether sure that it is a genre that I will be reading on a regular basis.

        • Hi Cath,

          I definitely don’t think you would be disappointed with ‘The Hambledown Dream’. Dean has obviously put much thought and a great deal of research into the plot, with the references to music bringing life to the story in an oustandingly moving way.

          • Thanks for your reply, Yvonne, and to Casey for her/his comments too. I’ve made a note of the title and will check the library for it at some stage.

    • Hello Diane,

      This is a great story for any lovers of romantic fiction. There are some quite hard-hitting scenes, in the first couple of chapters, but has been written with great sensitivity by Dean, who is definitely an author to look out for in the future.

Written by Yvonne

NetGalley

2016 NetGalley Challenge Professional Reader Goodreads

My final author copies have arrived! The book is beautiful. I’m so grateful to my incredible publishing team at Thomas & Mercer (Liz, Gracie, Sarah, and the rest!) and to my one-of-kind agent, David Hale Smith. I can’t wait to soon put this story into the hands of readers!

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