Short Stories: Infant Barbarian by Jenny Worstall; Angels by B.A. Spicer

I’ve downloaded several short stories recently and particularly enjoyed reading these two books which explore very different aspects of family relationships.
This is a collection of two short stories which are thematically connected within family conflict situations and their resolutions. I say conflict but this is very genteel, middle-class conflict so the surface remains polite and the tensions are suppressed. The resolutions are connected but it would spoil the stories if I said any more.
And that would be a pity because these are two very well written short stories. They don't take long to read and they are light, easy reading but they remain with you afterwards and contain some interesting in-sights into parenting and grand-parenting.
In "Old School" a new granny / interfering mother-in-law has plenty of opinions about child rearing but not a great deal of practical application; the effects of her contributions are unhelpful in the extreme until she has an unexpected reality check.
The "Infant Barbarian" of the title is a handful and everybody knows it except his mum. Unfortunately (or in the long run, hopefully, fortunately) in this story she finds out.
Thoroughly enjoyable and ideal for reading when you just want something gentle and not too taxing: well worth a look.
Jenny Worstall is the author of several short stories and a full length novel “Make a Joyful Noise” which, judging by what I’ve read so far, is proving to be an entertaining love story in an unusual context.
“When a mother loses her daughter to bullying at school, she decides to take revenge”
The blurb for this rather remarkable short story says it all and within its well-crafted pages a whole life is played out.
The mother in this story decides to take matters into her own hands and deal with the perpetrator herself. Her response is extreme but understandable and anyone who knows the victim of bullying at school, or anywhere else for that matter, will sympathise with her actions.
The story is sad and poignant with an unexpected ending; the characterisation is explored well and there is an almost poetic quality to some of the scene setting.
The author uses an interesting device of paralleling this present incident with one from the past: consequently, the emotional tension is raised considerably through the insights gained into the character of the daughter and the decisions made by the mother as the story moves to its climax.
I’ve already read “Bunny on a Bike” by Bev Spicer (see previous review) and had every expectation that “Angels” would be well written. As an introduction to her writing “Angels” is well worth the read and it has prompted me to remember to download “My Grandfather’s Eyes” which looks set to be an intriguing murder mystery.
You can find details of all the books by these two authors on their Amazon author pages.
Jenny Worstall’s author page: Amazon UK or Amazon USA

Bev Spicer; B.A. Spicer’s author page: Amazon UK or Amazon USA