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 – more on my Media page

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. I am a work in progress as a hybrid author-blogger-reviewer re the protocols and etiquette re interaction and overlap across those spaces; all missteps are mine and where noted will be corrected as soon as I can. One reason I started capturing and sharing reviews including and especially reader reviews from social media is because after my first two books went out of print, I decided if I got another chance I would be more proactive about marketing my books and did a lot of research on low and no budget ways to do so, in addition to trial and error – and the fact is that the readers were the ones who were passionate about my books which received very little (next to none) critical attention. So I started doing what movies do and excerpting the positive reviews in my social media/marketing. I used to think I had to share good and bad to be fair, but now I don’t share the blanket negative ones. What I do share is the largely positive (and some mixed) takes of readers, bloggers, booktubers, bookstagrammers, book twitter, and reviewers. Where something is public, I treat it as such and where shared personally I ask permission or redact the name – links and anything shared can be removed by request (and sometimes are just on personal reflection). I feel gratitude to these people for giving my books legs. 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.


#Reader Reviews (and shout outs)

“This little book’s story (only 29 pages) is about a boy who abandons the tv for the outdoors…with his grandmother! It weaves together information about many of the fruit trees and other food plants found in Antigua, some of their local names, all the while telling a story about a boy’s discovery along with related tangents from his grandmother. He develops an appreciation for the mini jungle around the home with the many fruit and other trees there. The story slips in the fact that children used to climb trees routinely when the grandmother and his father were young but this boy barely had looked at the trees before. It is heartwarming once the boy gains appreciation for all around him. It can be simply a story for a young (or not-so-young) person to read. Additionally, the end of the book nicely points out some lessons to be gleaned from the story so, perhaps with some guidance from an adult, children could be asked to give examples of where the various lessons were exemplified. It was a cute and heartwarming read. Can’t wait to pass it on to my young nephew and niece.” (Amazon)

“Tanti in the tree is one of my favourite images too!” – You Tube

Tanty up a tree

Live, virtual World Book and Copyright Day discussion between the author and illustrator of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and The Jungle Outside.



“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

“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.” (Amazon)



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

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)



“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

“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!(Instagram)



“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

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 university; 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.” (Amazon)

Oh Gad cover


“A charming novella…” – LIAT Islander, 2003

“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)

The Boy from Willow Bend - COVER.p65


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

“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 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)

Dancing 10 cover


“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

“…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!” (Amazon)





“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

“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

“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



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.