Friday 22 February 2013


My February book for the Artful Reader's Club was 
The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow,
read on my Kindle for 99p - a bargain for such a good book.


And for a bit of relevant history, this is the actual telegram that my mother received in 1942 when my father's ship was sunk in WW2 (but with the personal details blanked out).


  • Um ..... um ........ um ...... um ..... can't think of any negatives

  • I loved every page of this book, informative, emotional and true to life, well-paced, with believable characters, and very well written
  • The WW2 background is about events I lived through, which gave it a special resonance for me, though the war is not the main focus.
  • I learnt things I never knew, or things I hadn't realised or given thought to previously, so it kept my interest going all the way through
  • Reduced to basics it's about silk, silk manufacture, love, prejudice against those who are 'different', and, I realised at the end, about how WW2 gave women the opportunity to move towards greater emancipation
  • The silken thread that holds the story together is love of many kinds, including the tenderest of love stories whose quality pervades the whole of the book
  • No romping, steamy sex passages, just a beautifully crafted story that rings true on every page
  • As the end of the book approached the tears flowed fairly regularly, not really because the events were sad, but because of the tenderness with which the story is told
  • I often find the conclusion of a book disappointing, but The Last Telegram sustained its quality right to the very last page, and the author's comments at the end were just as interesting
  • Husband enjoyed it just as much
  • I gained so much from reading it, and I hope you are encouraged to add it to your Wish List.

Such a full book that I wondered how I would find one image that picked out the central focus of the story for me.
As I finished the last page, this image jumped into my mind and I just drew it straight away.
I had to resist frequent temptations to 'improve' it 
because it just felt 'right' to me.

Pitt Artist's Pen and Inktense Pencils



  1. I'm glad you enjoyed the book so much but it must have brought back some sad memories, eg your own telegram there.

    My mum kept a similar telegram they sent to inform the family that her brother's plane had been shot down. So sad :(

    Your drawing is wonderful, such sadness and exhaustion on their young faces

  2. I read this too this month Jez and loved it as much as you. Your art work is super completely in touch with my picture of the boys. The telegram is very moving memory so kind of you to share it.
    Jen x

  3. Oh Jez thanks for sharing...and I absolutely adore your painting of the three kids it's wonderful... just love it!! Sounds like a great story!!

    Hugs Giggles

  4. OMG Jez, I was nearly crying by the end of your review!!! There are already all sorts of heart twanging images running round my mind. And how beautiful that you have been able to revisit an era in your life and learn new things. Your sketch is fabulous :D XXX

  5. The drawing is perfect! ♥
    I had no idea people back then were informed by telegram... I thought someone would be knocking on your door, bringing the news in person. Oh, what do I know? I'm too young and fortunately missed it all...

  6. Thanks for the book review, I like reading about that period (my Dad was a WW11 vet) so I will check the local library for it. I like your drawing and it will be interesting to see how it fits the book once I do read it.


  7. What a great post. So touching and informative. Thank you also for sharing your wonderful drawing and the information on the next post about the Inktense not liking the paper!

  8. Another wonderful review of this book, i think that means it is def going on my list. Love your illustration, I wonder if I will 'see' the same boys if I read it.

  9. I think this will be in my wish list in amazon sounds beautiful love your sketch. The telegram must be the worst thing to receive thank you for sharing this Dxx

  10. I love the sound of this book Jez... will be adding it to my wishlist for sure... and your artwork is STUNNING... I just adore it... fabulous post...

    Jenny ♥

  11. Jez I have just come over from reading Jen's review of this book and have just added to my wish list. Reading your wonderful review has just confirmed that choice and if anything pushed it to the top of the list. Sharing your families memories must have been hard but so appreciated by us all I am sure. Your drawing is stunning and really does conjure up how living in those times must have been.

  12. I just went looking for the book, and when my library system didn't have it, I checked Amazon. looks like it won't be released in the US until April. I've added it to my list of things to read. thanks for the tip!

  13. Thank you for sharing such a touching review and your own "telegram"...the illustration is wonderfully detailed (I noticed the different colored socks on the gentleman) and their faces tell the story...

  14. I was blown away by your telegram. How much more personal could you have gotten when you started this review. I really enjoyed the drawing. I don't draw, so this was a real gem!

  15. Oh Jez I was so blown away by the art for some reason. When I kept looking at it I understood why. It was the different coloured socks it brought back the stories I was told about my grandma escaping a prisoners of war camp in WW2. Also I did love Sonja from your last post and hope I wrote about that under your last review when I came to visit you back then. You have made me eager to get this on my wish list too! I will be back soon because I love your art very much!!!!

  16. Sounds like a book for me! Your artwork is wonderful, inspiring.

    Janet xx

  17. I love your illustration! Couldn't tell though if you liked the book or not. Lol! :) Sounds like a fantastic read.

  18. Wonderful art, the sound of the book from your glowing review. Will put it on my list... THanks for the recommendation!

  19. Wow! Another book to add to my ever growing pile of "must reads" sounds wonderful and I love your artwork.
    Hugs xx
    p.s. thanks also for sharing your personal memories...I remember seeing a similar telegram announcing the death of the uncle I never met..he was only 18.

  20. going to add this one to the holiday reading list... can just see me sitting at the beach in a few weeks enjoying it.... and love the artwork... you have a great eye for different styles and making them your own...xx

  21. Will with two fab reviews on the run I am upping this to the top of my must reads! Love your picture too... Captures personality and the emotion.
    Interesting, and of course emotional, to see your real life connection to this time period. So many lives lost, such a sadness.

  22. I haven't even finished my book, let alone started the art work! You seem to have got so much from this one sand it must have raised such memories... Thank you for sharing that telegram, I never realised theory were so brutally to the point. The art work is sad and intriguing at the same time...

  23. Thanks for sharing something which must be very sad for you and your family.

    You are a very talented artist. Your picture is amazing.

  24. Am just doing the rounds of the Artful Readers and have spotted all the spelling mistakes in my comment. Oops sorry Jez - you can guess when I'm using my tablet - I make even less sense than usual :D

  25. Sounds like a good read, glad you enjoyed it and that you had a personal connection with it. Great artwork too. x


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