What Reviewers Say about Leela’s Novels
Reviews of Only A Signal Shown New: from the novelist Valerie Norris A LOVE STORY- ON A LARGE SCALE
When I say this is on a large scale, I mean both temporally and the diverse parts of the globe to which it takes us. The main plot is that Eleanor and Alec meet when they are students and fall in love, but Eleanor decides to follow her career instead of settling down with Alec. Thereafter they keep bumping into each other in various parts of the world, and the flame of their attraction never quite gets extinguished. The description of the locations has the ring of authenticity - for Leela Dutt has spent her life travelling/living in these places - and you get just enough details to create a picture in your head. Another strength of this well-crafted novel is that it is fleshed out by just the right sized cast of characters - any more would have been hard to keep up with. As it is, you get a spectrum of people ranging from Alec's overbearing mother to his deeply troubled father. How the story is going to pan out is a tease all the way through. The ending delivers, and you are conscious of time well spent reading this novel.
A Great Read
Intricate interactions between their families and friends ensure the momentum keeps the book as a ‘page turner’. Backdrops to the various events that take place include Howrah Train Station which had seen the suffering endured by refugees as they fled from East Pakistan in 1947, and then to a current (1998) situation in Lesotho where events saw humanity collapse. And then there is the stability of the ever-present 8,586-metre Kanchenjunga mountain, south of Tibet, that upon reflection could be an analogy of Eleanor and Alec’s relationship – the majesty and beauty of the mountain only being glimpsed in short periods as clouds part, and yet when out of sight we know it is there.
The journey continues and when we feel it is concluded Leela Dutt takes the opportunity to pluck one last heartstring in the final sentence. Love, death, life, fear, the Grand Canyon and penguins – the reader isn’t left alone at any point. I became totally immersed in the story. Garry
I Could Not Put It Down - Great Read
I was Eleanor’s travelling companion; by each turn of the page, I wondered where we would be off to next – London, Wales, Finland, India or the USA, to name but a few. This book is a brilliant and enjoyable read, a book for everyone, and I feel it was written by a best-in-class author. If not already done so, this book should be made into a film and should also be put forward for a Book of the Year Award and TV mini-series. I look forward to reading more of Leela Dutt’s books. I leave you with this opening line from one chapter: ‘Hit the floor, lady.’ Want to know what happens next? Order a copy of ‘Only a Signal Shown’.
New review of ONLY A SIGNAL SHOWN
An Exciting Read
The characters’ moving through these locations provide an opportunity for Leela’s descriptive skills to come to the fore, without seeming contrived and give the reader both pleasure and knowledge. I loved writing techniques such as the use of italics for unsaid thoughts and the clever use of e-mail communications as a, now commonplace, alternative to verbal conversations. I also loved the fact that passionate feelings were clearly expressed, but without the need for lurid scenes; making the book suitable for young and older adults alike. On one level there is a sense of inevitability as to the future of the two main characters, Alec and Eleanor. But as the story unfolds with twists and turns, that certainty is challenged and the reader cannot be sure, until the last pages, what the future holds for them. This makes the book an exciting read.
‘Only a Signal Shown’ cleverly portrays ordinary people who, in certain circumstances do extraordinary things. The interlinking of three generations of one family sympathetically shows how the heroes and heroines of one decade become background actors in another era, as they settle for a quiet life. Similarly, the shallow, fun-seekers of youth can easily become shrewd and deeply, intuitively, sensitive adults.
Because of this, I feel that there is plenty more scope for deeper development of some of the characters. I would love to know more about Norman’s younger life as a soldier, lover and husband. Charlie and David could come out of the shadows and have the spotlight on them for a good read. And of course, I can’t wait to know the futures for Alec, Eleanor, Milly and Tamsin. This has been a great read and leads me to look out for more of Leela Dutt’s work. ‘Only a Signal Shown’ is also available via Kindle. It would make a great gift for anyone, young or old. Liz Muir (as seen in Calon, the Newsletter of Quakers in Wales)
Reviews of Mathison and Kingfisher Blue
“Ideal Travel or Holiday Reading”
‘Mathison’ tells the story of one family throughout the twentieth century involving an Indian home in Calcutta before the First World War, a Jewish dentist in Nuremberg in the 1930s and a Quaker weekend gathering in the mid-1990s. The two parallel storylines starting either end of the century gradually converge. The author uses the premise of an imaginary computer programme that can write a novel as the reason for exploring this family’s history that clearly draws on her own.
Both ‘Kingfisher Blue’ and ‘Mathison’ are related to Leela Dutt’s Quaker life experiences but her most recent novel, ‘Only a Signal Shown’, is different in that it is simply a love story that weaves around the world as it draws the reader into the story and its conclusion. It grips the reader with its twists and turns between people and places. Her descriptions are vividly first-hand, and she credits her husband for giving her the reason to travel to so many different parts of the world. All Leela’s books would make ideal travel or holiday reading.”