Reviews and Endorsements

Reading at NILFPhoto by Celia Sorhaindo/Reading at the Nature Island Literary Festival/Dominica/2012

“I find she has this really cool way of bringing Antigua to life through the written word.” – reader, on facebook

Can I just say how thankful I am to everyone (fellow authors, critics, and readers) who has taken the time to read and share their thoughts re anything I’ve written. Thankfully, the feedback has been more positive than  negative, but even negative reviews (into each writing life a few, and hopefully only a few, must fall) serve their purpose. Sometimes they leave you winded, sure; but then so do the reviews that feel like a virtual hug. It’s all an opportunity to grow and learn, and to feel the impact words written in solitude are having somewhere out there in the world. Here I share what readers, bloggers, and reviewers have had to say about my writing with links to the appropriate pages. Mostly, I hope that if anyone stumbles in here who’s never heard of Joanne C. Hillhouse or my books, he or she will find something among the thoughts of other readers that prompts them to buy my books, read and share, read and share, read and share.

LOST! A CARIBBEAN SEA ADVENTURE

#Endorsements
“Lost!” is a tale, based on a true story, about a marine mammal who finds himself – by accident – in a strange new ecosystem. Unsure of some of the strange creatures around him, the wayward Arctic seal must rely on advice from these strangers to make his way back home. He meets some characters that remind him of his own family, which inspires him to keep the faith that he’ll be able to return home before too long. In the real world, scientists and conservationists do go to heroic lengths to help return stranded animals to the habitats they call home where they can continue to recover and thrive again. A wonderful and inspiring story for all ages.” — Carole McCauley, marine educator

#Reviews
“An appealing book, all the more so for being based on real life.” – Kirkus Reviews

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“This is a very sweet story about home, family and friendship that any child is bound to enjoy. The illustrations are colorful and full of life and do a good job of bringing the adorable characters to life. This story is great to read for fun but could also be a great addition to a classroom. It lends itself to lessons and discussions around a variety of topics: acceptance and making new friends, sea creatures, environmental conservation, learning who to trust, etc.” (posted to Amazon)

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READ MORE REVIEWS AND/OR ENDORSEMENTS OF
LOST! A CARIBBEAN SEA ADVENTURE

WITH GRACE

#Endorsements
With Grace combines feelings of love, hate, greed, and generosity to weave a powerful narrative that is magical in spirit and human in character.” – judges of the Desi Writers Lounge story contest in which With Grace was singled out for commendation

#Reviews
With Grace explores a Caribbean space richly woven with magic, mystery, and fantasy – an engaging fable not only for young readers but any reader poised for a new reading experience that twists and turns on a suggestion of allegory.” – Alscess Lewis Brown – editor, the Caribbean Writer

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“I adore this Caribbean fairytale! It’s a wonderful story about love, greed and selflessness with unexpected twists, full of Caribbean culture and gorgeous illustrations. I wish a book like this was around when I was growing up.” (Amazon)

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READ MORE REVIEWS AND/OR ENDORSEMENTS OF WITH GRACE

MUSICAL YOUTH

#Endorsements
“I first recognized the weight of her work by the response of the teens to her book, Musical Youth, in the Grenada Community Library. It remains one of the most popular books with teens, despite their tendency to shun Caribbean literature when they have a choice because they are required to read it in schools.” – Oonya Kempadoo, author of Buxton Spice

#Reviews
“The story is fast paced and engaging, a writer doing an excellent job with her tools of trade…” – Petamber Persaud, Guyana Chronicle

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“If you’re looking for a great YA summer read that’s also got some depth, check this one out. It’s all about learning to work together, the effects of colourism, coming out of your shell, and embracing your own self worth. I will read this one again at some point!…It’s a heart-warming Antiguan YA that’s pretty quick and easy to get through. 🌴🌺🌊📖 Would highly recommend!– beauty.on.the.bookshelf (on Instagram)

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READ MORE REVIEWS AND/OR ENDORSEMENTS OF MUSICAL YOUTH


OH GAD!

#Endorsements
“Joanne Hillhouse deserves to be better known…I believe that as the word spreads, she will be widely recognized as an important Caribbean writer doing distinctive work…in Oh Gad! (she) makes vivid a wide range of Antiguan residents: rich, poor, black, white, brown, educated, old, young; characters who feel compelled to emigrate, some who are committed to the place, and some who returned, uncertainly. The novel is largely about negotiations of identity; and it raises, inter alia, issues of family, class, history, ecology and politics…There are skillful descriptions of people, place events, traditions, and nicely managed dialogue that captures personality and mood.” – Mervyn Morris, Jamaican Professor emeritus University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica; author of I Been There, Sort Of: New and Selected Poems

#Reviews
Oh Gad! is a major artistic triumph of which all Antiguans and Barbudans can be justly proud. I certainly am delighted by this publication of this novel and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. As a work of fiction, it is beautifully written and flows like a river on its way to the sea. The conversations between the characters are well crafted dialogues, often very sharp, with verbal darts that pierce the thick armors of several of the characters….Along with being very well written, this is a very Antiguan and Barbudan novel. Hillhouse’s fiction bears and reflects the cultural marks and tensions in our society, its patterns of in and out migration and its dependence on metropolitan cities like New York. Oh Gad! very artfully encodes in its characters and plot lines rich slices of the culture of Antigua and Barbuda…we encounter very directly the cultural values, proverbs, practices, and everyday crises that make up life in our twin-island state. Many of the difficulties that challenge her characters, Hillhouse links to slave past and the matri-focal family structure that it has left us. Thus, among the major achievements of this novel is the extent to which the social and cultural life of our society gets woven into its most basic fabric….In spite of its carefully embedded cultural riches, Oh Gad! is a character driven novel. Its characters are very well developed, clearly delineated, and very artfully kept alive by Hillhouse.” Badminded Nikki: A Review of Joanne Hillhouse’s Oh Gad! by Paget Henry, editor of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books; professor of sociology and Africana studies and department chair at Brown universit; author of Caliban’s Reason in the 2014 edition of the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“Historical meets modern with a twist of reality that many young women are facing in life. This story will steal your heart.”

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READ MORE REVIEWS AND/OR ENDORSEMENTS OF OH GAD!


THE BOY FROM WILLOW BEND

#Endorsements
“A charming novella…” – LIAT Islander, 2003

#Reviews
“For its thoughtful rendering of complex issues such as gender, class, migration and death, for the swiftness of Hillhouse’s prose, and especially for the captivating personality with which she endows the title character, readers will be instantly drawn to this narrative…Hillhouse has crafted a story that adult and young readers alike can enjoy, that truly captures the spirit of Antigua’s recent past.” – Dr. Natasha Lightfoot in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, 2011

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“I recommend everyone to read this book. It is a combination of fiction and reality in the life of a small boy who grew up in Antigua Barbuda. Once again Joanne did an awesome job producing this book.” (Amazon)

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READ MORE REVIEWS AND/OR ENDORSEMENTS OF THE BOY FROM WILLOW BEND


DANCING NUDE IN THE MOONLIGHT

#Endorsements
“A nice, light, summer read for the romantics.” – Search Antigua’s Adult Fiction Summer Reading List, 2011

#Reviews
“What makes the book a true pleasure is its political edge. Hillhouse arms the characters with larger social conflicts that far outshine the romance…Michael and Selena struggle for romantic survival and for self-definition, despite their histories as discarded children surrounded by bitterness. Every character has some kind of betrayal echoing in their lives. Though no one is innocent, Hillhouse skilfully wraps the reader intimately into the fallout of each character’s experience.” – Broken Pencil, Canada Read the full article

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“Why it took me so long to read some of Joanne’s work? I don’t know – perhaps when you live on a small island you too busy looking out to see what’s under your notes, but her writing rings so true for someone who has spent a good part of their life in Antigua. ‘True that’ I found myself saying: first as I read ‘Dancing (Nude) in the Moonlight’, and again – even more so – when I read the ‘Other Writings’ – even though the dialect sometimes got away from me. Time for a ‘Collected Works of Joanne Hillhouse’ I think with lots of her short stories that might keep you awake at night, and more of her poems – so sparely worded, but so powerful.” (Amazon)

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READ MORE REVIEWS AND/OR ENDORSEMENTS OF DANCING NUDE IN THE MOONLIGHT 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION AND OTHER WRITINGS


OTHER CREATIVE WRITING

#Endorsements
“I am energized as I write this recommendation on behalf of one of my distinguished former students. I am delighted that Ms. Hillhouse has so compellingly demonstrated that living and writing in the Caribbean impose no limitations of sensibility. All writers are ‘local’ and it is out of this very locatedness that they create distinctive fictions.” – Carolyn Cooper, Professor emeritus, University of the West Indies; author of Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large

#Reviews
“…a notable short story, ‘Genevieve’, about a social worker struggling against her own demons to help a young girl abused.” – Broken Pencil

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“I read “Amelia at Devil’s Bridge” by Joanne C Hillhouse and it was absolutely amazing! it had the mixture of dark and spooky but just enough that it would not give me nightmares in the end of the day. The story itself gave me goosebumps and I wanted to know more about this girl and why she went to devil’s bridge if she was only a little girl. The imagery in the short story was so breathtaking that every time i read the short story I thought of that little girl, Amelia, at devil’s bridge washed up. Miss. Hillhouse is an amazing writer. I would highly recommend her short story! I would love to read other writings of her!”

READ MORE REVIEWS AND/OR ENDORSEMENTS OF OTHER CREATIVE WRITING

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REVIEWS OF WORK AS FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR, WRITING COACH, COURSE AND WORKSHOP FACILITATOR ETC

#Writer
“A wonderful article.  I think you captured the spirit of the enterprise so beautifully and managed to weave in the other issues so naturally” – re Caribbean Beat article on the Antiguan Racer snake and the Antigua and Barbuda offshore islands/conservation

#Editor
“Your edit was incredibly helpful.  The detail identified inconsistencies, minor mistakes and more serious plot details, and generally improved style and delivery.”

#Writing Coach
“Joanne’s coaching has been practical, resourceful and supportive.  The feedback she gives is amazing in the way that she makes strong suggestions while allowing me to maintain my voice. As a writing newbie, working with Joanne has been a great boost to my confidence and she challenges me to explore styles and perspective that I would never have tackled on my own.  She is also very flexible with my schedule to keep me on track.”

#Course  Facilitator
“I am really confident about writing now. I have been doing so well since I started it has grabbed the attention of my employers and colleagues.”

#Workshop Facilitator
“I can honestly say that my writing has improved from this experience and because of it I’m sure I will get better. Highlight of my summer.” – participant in the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project

#Etc
“I relish the work you have done and have been verbally pushing your services to my associates. ” – client re content creation services for social media

READ MORE REVIEWS AND/OR ENDORSEMENTS OF JOANNE C. HILLHOUSE’S FREELANCE WRITING AND WRITING RELATED SERVICES

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If you’ve read my book, please consider posting a review online <via whatever platform you use> if you haven’t already done so. It makes a big difference. Thanks!

See links to other articles/interviews related to my books or writing, here.

See link re freelance writing and writing related services, here.

See other Creative Writing, here.

See other books by Joanne C. Hillhouse, here.