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Reviewed by Keyla Damaer for Readers' Favorite
Peace and Disquiet by Helen Laycock is a collection of short stories that range from death to hope. The author uses vivid language, giving birth to a variety of emotions for the reader: sadness, longing, despair, tenderness, fear, rejection, hate and many more. Each story, aside from a few, left a bitter-sweet taste in my mouth. Some of them are definitely worth a specific mention. 'Till Death Do Us Part' is one of my favorites of all, with the title explaining most of what happens. A moving story about the final moments of an old couple. 'I'm Not Simon' is one of the most unsettling, especially when the end of the tale approached and I realised what it was about. A bitter-sweet symphony about love and death. 'Silver Lining' is a sad story about an abused child. 'Design' is a short fairy tale, one of the few stories with an ending that made me smile, while ‘From This Day Forward' is a disturbing, living nightmare. My favourite of all is 'Dear Madeline,' a heartwarming, sad story about two children.
I usually read long novels and sagas, but I must admit that I liked these short stories more than any others I’ve ever read. Helen Haycock swiftly creates entire worlds, some of them fairly realistic, others out of the ordinary and on the boundary of the paranormal such as in 'Design' where improbable, weird things happen for real. The sadness of some stories is fairly balanced by the ones that make you feel hope. I felt pulled into the lives of the characters and was compelled to finish each story as soon as possible. When I finished the book, I almost felt disappointed that there weren’t any more stories. I’ll definitely read something else from this author. I’d also love to see some of these stories developed into a novella, or a novel: everyone needs more mermaids. If you like a quick dip into an enjoyable collection, then you can’t miss this one.