Diane Doona is Pembrokeshire born and bred, and lives near Manorbier where her first novel is set. While her career has been as finance manager for a west Wales legal firm, she has always enjoyed history and writing, and has been a regular member of a writing group over the years. This has given her the experience to write this exciting novel for 8-11 year olds - which has been scrutinised carefully by the younger generation in her family for its enjoyment value and necessary sense of adventure and intrigue! Diane, a keen traveler, enjoys walking the Pembrokeshire coastal path around the spectacular coves near her home, with her dog for company. Little wonder that this landscape provides the backdrop for her novel.
Diane Doonas first novel is a charming read. She tells the tale of a boy and his father, moving to Pembrokeshire to start a new life, and encountering experiences which help them to move on from a previous tragedy. The story is fantastical, but is interestingly told in a very realistic manner. The setting is immediately recognisable to those who know the area, and is beautifully appealing for those who dont. Told in a chatty first person style, Joe keeps dropping hints and suggestions of a happy ending from very early on, which helps to make the tension and drama later on more bearable for a younger reader. Its a brisk read at less than 120 pages, with shortish manageable chapters for newly independent readers. For an older reader, it might feel a little in need of character development; in its place is event and action which hooks us to the end. I particularly liked the post script in the last chapter, which promises an entirely happy finale. This could work well as a class reader for a Yr 4 or 5 class. The cover is dark and mysterious in keeping with the novels atmosphere, though I suggest the next edition keeps the secret more effectively the tail at the top of the S of 'Secret' is a little too revealing! Sally Owen It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council. Gellir defnyddior adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru. -- Welsh Books Council