Cover detail from Certified by Roger Wilson-Crane

Certified by Roger Wilson-Crane

Please note, I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I only mention once or twice, (a million) about the fact that I am from and live in Yorkshire. For my lovely friends abroad, this is a county in the North of England. To give you a flavour of the accent, think of the actor Sean Bean, or for fans of Game of Thrones, think Jon Snow. (Although I believe the actor is from down South, but that is another matter.)

Yorkshire people are known for being hardy and straight-talking and I'd like to think we take most things in our stride with a nod and a 'it'll be reet'. Although if you had seen me this week dealing with a cold, you may have disbelieved the hardy part. We are also good story-tellers.

Read my Review of Jane Eyre

The Bronte family, Margaret Drabble, Joanne Harris and Barbara Taylor Bradford all hail from this fine county, along with the last author I reviewed, Jack Sheffield. My father is one of the best story-tellers I know, and would often give speeches at conferences and weddings, holding the audience in the palm of his hand. His stories about Barry Makepeace are the stuff of legend in our house. And so, I was delighted to receive an email from a fellow Yorkie, who had just written a book His name is Roger Wilson-Crane and my word, things certainly do happen to him!

The Plot

Three Tales following one man through birth, marriage and death. Inspired by real life events this humorous fictional memoir takes you on a journey of joy, loss and heartache, through life's three certificates. It is ultimately a love story.

My Thoughts

To say Roger Wilson-Crane has had an interesting life would be a bit of an understatement. From the early chapters when he shared a car with three stars from legendary soap, Coronation Street, to his hapless wedding accompanied by memories of the other weddings he has attended, whether as a head choir boy, best man or groom, or to the birth of his beloved daughter via Del-Boy, Roger seems to be an author that things happen to.

Interestingly the book, is categorised as a fictional memoir, and I did find myself wondering what parts were real!. Especially as events seemed so implausible they were probably true!

Roger writes with heart and with a lot of love. It is obvious the affection he has for his wife who throughout the book, would laugh alongside him at all the crazy things happening to them and then call him a 'nob-head!'. Affectionately of course. Then there is the adoration he feels for his daughter and here the writing is lovely. There is such a joy and wonder in his daughter, Charlotte, that a father's love shines through. His entire family are all slightly madcap, his mum with her 2 kisses 'just like the Spanish'.

But don't be fooled into thinking that all of the book is light and breezy. Roger Wilson-Crane writes honestly about domestic violence meted out on the man in the relationship, the stigma and dare one say, embarrassment he felt. I would hope this writing would help anyone in the same boat, saying this is not Ok and to seek help or tell someone.

The chapter about the death of Bonnie, his beloved dog who saw him through some of the toughest times, I'm not ashamed to say had me in tears. Here we feel the rawness of death, the hole left behind in our heart when someone we love passes be that a friend, family member or pet. The writing is powerful and I defy you not to have a tear in your eye reading this.

All in all, this novel is a look at life. At mad, crazy, bonkers, whimsical life. It's ups and downs, joy and sadness and everything that happens in between. It's, brutally honest at times, but reminds us that there is much to wonder at as we make our way in the world. In the hands of a good storyteller such as Roger, this is a wonderful thing. Certified is a charming book from start to finish, and is mostly full of joy with a reminder to us all to laugh at life's absurdities.

Very many thanks go to Roger, for sharing his delightful book with me.