Thursday 13 September 2018

#BlogTour Bone Lines by Stephanie Bretherton

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Bone Lines by Stephanie Bretherton. It's an incredibly intricate debut novel, which has elements of spirituality, science and follow. the difficult path of migration. It's the first part of the intended Children of Sarah series, a tale of evolutionary fiction.

About the Author
Who do you think you are? A daunting question for the debut author… but also one to inspire a genre-fluid novel based on the writer’s fascination for what makes humanity tick. Born in Hong Kong to expats from Liverpool (and something of a nomad ever since) Stephanie is now based in London, but manages her sanity by escaping to any kind of coast

Before returning to her first love of creative writing, Stephanie spent much of her youth pursuing alternative forms of storytelling, from stage to screen and media to marketing. For the past fifteen years Stephanie has run her own communications and copywriting company specialised in design, architecture and building. In the meantime an enduring love affair with words and the world of fiction has led her down many a wormhole on the written page, even if the day job confined such adventures to the weekends.

Drawn to what connects rather than separates, Stephanie is intrigued by the spaces between absolutes and opposites, between science and spirituality, nature and culture. This lifelong curiosity has been channelled most recently into her debut novel, Bone Lines. When not bothering Siri with note-taking for her next books and short stories, Stephanie can be found pottering about with poetry, or working out what worries/amuses her most in an opinion piece or an unwise social media post. Although, if she had more sense or opportunity she would be beachcombing, sailing, meditating or making a well-disguised cameo in the screen version of one of her stories. (Wishful thinking sometimes has its rewards?)

Follow @BrethertonWords @Unbound_Digital @unbounders on Twitter #BoneLines

About the book
A young woman walks alone through a barren landscape in a time before history, a time of cataclysmic natural change. She is cold, hungry and with child but not without hope or resources. A skilful hunter, she draws on her intuitive understanding of how to stay alive… and knows that she must survive.

In present-day London, geneticist Dr Eloise Kluft wrestles with an ancient conundrum as she unravels the secrets of a momentous archaeological find. She is working at the forefront of contemporary science but is caught in the lonely time-lock of her own emotional past.
Bone Lines is the story of two women, separated by millennia yet bound by the web of life.  A tale of love and survival – of courage and the quest for wisdom – it explores the nature of our species and asks what lies at the heart of being human.

Although partly set during a crucial era of human history 74,000 years ago, Bones Lines is very much a book for our times. Dealing with themes from genetics, climate change and migration to the yearning for meaning and the clash between faith and reason, it also paints an intimate portrait of who we are as a species. The book tackles some of the big questions but requires no special knowledge of any of the subjects to enjoy.

Alternating between ancient and modern timelines, the story unfolds through the experiences of two unique characters:  One is a shaman, the sole surviving adult of her tribe who is braving a hazardous journey of migration, the other a dedicated scientist living a comfortable if troubled existence in London, who is on her own mission of discovery.

The two are connected not only by a set of archaic remains but by a sense of destiny – and their desire to shape it. Both are pioneers, women of passion, grit and determination, although their day to day lives could not be more different. One lives moment by moment, drawing on every scrap of courage and ingenuity to keep herself and her infant daughter alive, while the other is absorbed by work, imagination and regret. Each is isolated and facing her own mortal dangers and heart-rending decisions, but each is inspired by the power of the life force and driven by love.

Bone Lines stands alone as a novel but also marks the beginning of the intended ‘Children of Sarah’ series.


This is planned as the first in a series called The Children of Sarah, and it absolutely can be read as a standalone book. It fits into quite a few categories when it comes to genre. It is historical fiction, and yet it is also evolutionary, philosophical and features genetics, migration and climate change.

On a side note, I would just like to say that although I enjoyed the way the author goes from past to present with the living Sarah in the past and the bones of Sarah with Eloise in the present, I think the story of Sarah in the past is compelling and strong enough to succeed alone without the storyline of Eloise.

I felt myself drawn more towards Sarah, perhaps because of her determination and strength, despite the fact the two women share those traits, Sarah's battle was the element of the story that drew me in completely.

We follow the journey of a young woman many thousands of years ago, a woman who possesses gifts of an intuitive nature, passed down from her ancestors. She separates from her tribe and sets out on her own path of migration, because her instincts are telling her that survival lies elsewhere. Her journey, which may be recognisable to some, as she encounters different terrains, wildlife and natural resources, takes place over a few years.

It's a fascinating read from the perspective of migration, especially when you take into consideration which tribes we are linked to and everywhere they have melded into the story of our evolutionary path. I also enjoyed reading about a possible predisposition of specific genetics, which are or were perhaps a more accurate determinant of survival, as opposed to survival of the fittest.

The focus is on evolution, migration and genetics, but the author does due diligence by including the religious theory of creationism, albeit to disprove and show how improbable it is. It is a physical, genetic and scientifically proven impossibility. Having faith and believing in a higher divinity to comfort yourself is one thing, disregarding factual evidence to support your comfort blanket is quite another. My thoughts, and not those of the writer by the way.

The author invites her readers to discover the journey of our ancestors. To reach far into the past and live through their struggles, determination and watch them influence our future. To take Sarah's hand as she searches for sustenance, protects herself from the environment and the danger she is surrounded by, and to help her as she searches for the place she believes will make her feel safe.

Bretherton has clearly researched the topics in the story meticulously and presents them in layman's terms. Combining facts with fiction to create an intriguing read, which is simultaneously also an educational experience. It's a story that leaves you with food for thought, and those are my favourite kind of books.

I am genuinely looking forward to reading the next part in this series. It has a lot of potential, and has a Jean Auel feel to it, which is combined with the forensic obsession of a Kathy Reichs novel, but without a crime element to the story. It is a tale of survival, pain and the search for a place to establish roots. The story of our footprints in the sand, our scent in the wind and our genetic material morphing and mutating as it moves throughout the years.

Buy Bones Lines at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Unbound Digital, Pub date 6 Sept. 2018

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