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)

“I have to say your books are so evocative of the Caribbean, of Antigua, …when you read the books, you really see yourself on the beach or singing to a mango tree.” (ZDK Radio Host Zoe Carlton during this interview)

Can I just say how thankful I am to every and any one 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. Of course, what I share here is the largely positive (and some mixed) takes of my work from reviewers and readers, including published literary criticism and posted opinions from bloggers, booktubers, bookstagrammers, book twitter, and other social media. Where something is public, I treat it as such and where shared personally I ask permission or redact the name. If anyone stumbles in here who’s never heard of Joanne C. Hillhouse or my writing, I hope they will find something among the thoughts of other readers that prompts them to buy my books, read and share. Books for which I was the sole or primary author are listed from most recent publication date backwards and then other writing is covered below that. Click the book title to read more reviews and/or endorsements.

The Jungle Outside 

#Reviews
“Hillhouse’s loving depiction of inter-generational bonds, her layering of life lessons, and the vibrant characters makes this story one that will be read over and over again.” (ACalabash)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“Would recommend to parents who are wanting to support children to discover nature.” (Goodreads)

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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)
“It’s all about learning to work together, the effects of colourism, coming out of your shell, and embracing your own self worth…It’s a heart-warming Antiguan YA that’s pretty quick and easy to get through. Would highly recommend!(Instagram)

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Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure & Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe

#Endorsements
“Lost!” is a tale, based on a true story, about a marine mammal who finds himself – by accident – in a strange new ecosystem…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. …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.” (Amazon)

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The Boy from Willow Bend

#Endorsements
“A charming novella…” (LIAT Islander)

#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.” (Natasha Lightfoot, 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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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, Desi Writers Lounge story contest in which With Grace as a short story pre-publication 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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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 skillfully wraps the reader intimately into the fallout of each character’s experience.” – (Broken Pencil, Canada)

#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’ …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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Oh Gad!

#Endorsements
“There are skillful descriptions of people, place events, traditions, and nicely managed dialogue that captures personality and mood.” (Mervyn Morris, former poet laureate of Jamaica)

#Reviews
“Along with being very well written, this is a very Antiguan and Barbudan novel. …Oh Gad! very artfully encodes in its characters and plot lines rich slices of the culture of Antigua and Barbuda….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.” (Paget Henry, Brown University professor of sociology and Africana studies and department chair, Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, 2014)

#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.” (Amazon)

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OTHER/VARIOUS CREATIVE WRITING

#Endorsements
“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)

#Reviews
“This story felt so light and read so smoothly. Hillhouse captured nuance in such a beautiful way. … It’s a layered, mysterious tale that explores Amelia’s family life.” (African Book Addict re ‘Amelia at Devil’s Bridge’ published in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean)

#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)
“I read ‘Amelia at Devil’s Bridge’ by Joanne C Hillhouse and it was absolutely amazing! …dark and spooky …The story itself gave me goosebumps and I wanted to know more about this girl and why she went to devil’s bridge …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.” (Amazon)

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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”

#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.”

#Course & Workshop  Facilitator
“I explored a different writing style which I normally wouldn’t have and I’d like to continue exploring it…I learned quite a bit about the writing process. I’m now interested in exploring opportunities to submit my work primarily for the growth opportunities…I would recommend this workshop because the facilitator is obviously knowledgeable and willing to share her knowledge.”

#Etc
“I am looking forward to working with.  Your reputation and work speaks volume.”

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

If you’ve used my services or commissioned my writing, and are happy with the outcome, consider submitting an endorsement via the contact form.

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 all my books, including books to which I have contributed, here.