Review by HarperTrue, 19th January 2010



"Dear Allie

Sincere apologies for not reviewing your book for HarperTrue before Christmas – but unfortunately flu and seasonal varieties of illness left us rather decimated. But we’re very happy to be back in the saddle now, and raring to go.

And Uneasy Rider is such a great read at this time of year! It’s a wonderful combination of travel writing meets holiday diary meets nostalgia/whimsy. You have a very readable tone with a light touch of humour and wit and a very visual style of writing. You make it seem easy! And your tellings of adventures with the obligatory theft in Rome, continental camp sites, self-catering from a van and more feel very fresh and not the standard ‘a Brit abroad’. Plus I feel they appeal to all ages – both the child and adult in us all.

I’m glad that you make the recommendation to dip in and out of your chapters – a collection like this works so much better when allowed to be itself, rather than enclosed within a formal structure with a beginning, middle and end. I suspect though that a nod towards a more standard approach might be a good move commercially – it felt much easier to connect with you after Chapter 5 – Inauguration of the Innocents – and I think some early ‘van’ story helps explain and outline the characters plus ups the resonance for those coming to your writing from their own van experiences – leaving you more free to enjoy yourself with the action after that point. But this is just a comment.

Otherwise, I found your writing totally enjoyable. In terms of you being published, this isn’t something that HarperTrue would publish as it would generally fall more within the general nonfiction bracket. Another reason to consider adding more ‘van’ history and identity – to really make the usp more ‘van’ than travel writing, a very broad area. And worth pursuing through periodicals perhaps as well as in book form.

I hope that this has helped, and I hope that you keep writing. I look forward to dipping into your memoir "



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