Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis, an author in her own right, most recently of the international thriller The Road to Wadi Halfa, wasn’t sure if she would make the Oh Gad! televised book club recording (she eventually did) so sent this letter preemptively to be shared with the audience. Given that it was intended to be shared publicly, I figure it’s okay to share it here. Thank you, Claudia.
Oh Gad! is one of the most important fiction books to come out of Antigua & Barbuda. I would call it fact fiction and I would suggest that Ms. Hillhouse is extremely brave to tackle many of the issues raised in this story which could be regarded as provocative by some. Nevertheless those issues are true and offer an excellent written portrait of elements of our society in the twenty-first century.
As a Barbudan I will mention just one section which I loved.(Starting page 102.’)
“But Barbudans are a different breed to Antiguans;if they are not behind a project they will shut it down. No two ways about it. With force if they have to.” Spoken by Minister Hensen, a Minister of government no less.
Current gangster movers and shakers beware these seemingly throwaway lines in this excellent novel. There are many such realisms woven into this modern day story.
And I believe Ms. Hillhouse has developed her written talents vastly from her earlier novels both of which I own in my selective library of books for keeps. They however were lightweight in comparison to Oh Gad! ( Dancing Nude in The Moonlight & The Boy from Willow Bend)
This is a full scale novel woven around the lives of thirty something sisters who hail from as diverse and varied a family as there is, only this is not unusual in our society. Siblings sired by a complex range of parents and frequently unknown to each other and sometimes raised on different continents are food for hungry writers.
Oh Gad! is history in the making and embraces history of the past, our history,and written from the pen of a home grown girl. The speech is authentic, the characters real, the book is a page turner. Congratulations Ms. Hillhouse.Write on!
An admirer and fellow author.
Claudia Ruth Francis