Shoulda Been There: A Novel on the Life of John Winston Lennon Shoulda Been There discussion

Only Historical Novel on John Lennon Ever!!

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message 1: by Luann (new)

Luann Have you seen the cover picture of the UK edition of Silks yet? I found it here first:
but see that it is also posted on the Amazon UK site.

message 2: by Jude (new) - added it

Jude This is the only documented historical novel ever written about John Lennon. It was researched for 20 years with 7 trips to Liverpool to interview John's family, close friends, and early band members. Shoulda Been There tells the story of John's life from 1940-1961 (the day The Beatles signed with manager Brian Epstein) in a readable ficiton format, but the book is a scholarly work. Each fiction chapter is footnoted,and chapter end notes discuss the discrepancies in non-fiction accounts of that particular event.

Shoulda Been There even provides an encyclopedia of the real characters in the novel with short bios of each. There is a Scouse (Liverpudlian) glossary and lots of photos from the author's trips to England.

You will not just hear about or learn about John Lennon and The Beatles in this book. You'll LIVE each day with John. You'll walk the streets of Liverpool, dance in the Cavern Club, hear the sounds of the Roseberry Street Festival...experience what John actually experienced!

Check the book out at You can read a sample chapter there and write to the author as well.

message 3: by Luann (last edited Jul 23, 2008 09:32PM) (new)

Luann Now the cover picture for the US edition is available! So you might notice that I've changed our group pic. :)

I'm counting down the days until August 26!

message 4: by Luann (last edited Aug 20, 2008 12:06AM) (new)

Luann Just one more week until the US version of Silks is out! Who already has a copy pre-ordered?

Also, have any of you heard of any book signings? I've searched a bit online, but haven't found any information.

message 5: by Chris (new)

Chris Just pressed my bookshop here in Cyprus for delivery - due 23rd Aug (last year arrived early - no such luck yet) Still, it'll be worth waiting for, and re-reading, and re-reading etc. etc.
What a delight that such an aged and respected author can overcome adversity as great as any of his heroes has suffered and still give us, his readers, such pleasure - Bless you Mr Francis!!!

Chris Jones

message 6: by Verona (new)

Verona I just ordered my copy last night! I read mostly large print books these days, so when I found it on my Doubleday Large Print book club list, I oredered it, plus Dead Heat which I missed last year. I'm reading Under Orders right now and am enjoying it, although I read so little each day, it'll take me awhile to finish it. I bought Under Orders in London a couple of years ago, and am just getting around to reading it. I love the English pounds sticker on the front telling what I paid for it in England. That was a thrill to find it in a bookstore over there.

message 7: by Luann (last edited Oct 04, 2008 12:37PM) (new)

Luann Have you read Silks yet? If so, what did you think? Post your thoughts and comments here! I've just changed the title for this topic to let everyone know that spoilers are welcome in this topic! So if you haven't read it yet, go read it and then come back and post here. Also, please feel free to post links to your Silks review on Goodreads or elsewhere online.

message 8: by Luann (new)

Luann I figured if I was asking you to post your review, I should really sit down and get mine written! Read my review of Silks here:

There aren't a huge number of reviews posted here at Goodreads yet, and some of them are downright negative! I think more true Dick Francis fans should post their reviews. I'm not saying you should give it a better review than you really think it deserves, but I've looked at the reading lists of many of the reviewers and Silks is the only Dick Francis on their list. I would like to see more reviews from people who have read all or most of the Dick Francis mysteries!

message 9: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie I read Silks, and I have read all of Dick Francis's books. Actually have them all, even the one about the jockey (biography).

I really enjoyed the book, the only problem I saw was the plot, as soon as I read the part about a photo of a foal, I knew it was a plot that I had seen before. Can not find it previously in Dick's books. Does anyone know where I have seen it before. The references to digital photography is new, and the angle of the lawyer's point of view is new. Wonder if it is one of the other books redone?

message 10: by Valerie (new)

Valerie If you have read the plot before, I'm pretty sure it's not from a DF book. I have read them all and it wasn't familiar to me.

I enjoyed Silks. It was a little sad to me because what makes DF's books so great is his particular voice. There were echoes of his voice in this book, buit it was fairly obvious that most of the book was written by Felix. Just the turn of phrase, the way of looking at the world, were very different from earlier books. I had to go back and re-read a couple of his older books after reading Silks, like having to call an old friend when you see someone who reminds you of them!

I want to write reviews on here for all of DF's books, it's just a matter of finding the time to do it!

message 11: by Chris (new)

Chris I enjoyed Silks very much. Three years ago we thought that we had read his last; this book is proof that, together with his son Felix,much of the magic remains. The bullying tactics of the 'villains' reflects much of the unsettling atmosphere in parts of britain today. I have read and re-read all of Dick's books many times and do not recall the photo of the foal as a theme. The loss of a young wife, a bully back from prison, dishonesty surrounding racing are all themes we've read before, but the story had me gripped.

message 12: by Luann (new)

Luann Well put, Chris! I thought much the same thing as I was reading - that there were some similarities to several other DF books, but also brand new things. For example, as in Proof, Geoffrey Mason was dealing with the loss of a beloved wife. But in Silks, we get to see our hero moving on and starting a new relationship. In other DF books, we've had a jockey accused of cheating, strained relationships with fathers, mothers who have passed away, heroes with broken legs who were driven around by chauffeurs, and amateur jockeys who are very involved in non-horse-related professions.

Now that I think of it, I do think there was something to do with a photograph of a horse in Longshot, but I would have to check on that to be sure. Although if there was a photo in that one, the storyline for Silks is definitely not the same as Longshot.

message 13: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Aw Oh, I found the book with the picture of a girl and a foal. It is John Francome's 2005 book titled Cover Up. The picture differs because the building in the background was torn down on Jan 1st. The girl tries to blackmail one of the owners, is killed. There is no trial, so that angle is very different. The horse keeps running and wins again, dispite losing the wins he had as a three yr old. A good book. Very different in some ways, very the same in others. Hmmm, wonder if John has read Silks yet?

message 14: by Luann (new)

Luann I'm glad you solved that, Bonnie! I haven't read any of John Francome's books yet. I always think I should try out at least one, but haven't yet. I also always mean to read at least one of Bill Shoemaker's, but haven't read any of those yet either. So many books, so little time!

message 15: by Luann (new)

Luann Also, Verona, I meant to post a long time ago about how cool I think it is that you bought a copy of Under Orders in London! I'm jealous! :) I would love to go there someday, but who knows if that will ever happen. I know some members in our group who like to collect the British versions as well as the US. Have you looked through a US version to see how it is different from your British one?

message 16: by Alison (new)

Alison I’m a long time DF fan – I was a teenager when the first one came out, I became aware of them round about the publication of For Kicks and I’ve been waiting for the issue of each next one on a yearly basis! So I think I can say I am a good judge of DF books.

I was surprised at the comment that there had been several adverse reviews – I thought this was the best for some time, certainly the best collaboration with Felix. I didn’t think it read as if it was written mostly by Felix, in fact I thought this had a lot more of the genuine DF flavour than the other collaborations. Unless of course Felix has got better at mimicking his father’s writing style!

I thought this was very good without being one of his absolute best. A genuinely scary, memorable villain in Julian Trent with his baseball bat and his destructive overkill. I cheered at the end when Geoff smashed him.

A good surprise plot twist towards the end, with the revelation in court about the birth of the racehorse Peninsula. I genuinely sat up and went “Wow!”

The only drawback for me was that I did find the courtroom scenes a bit boring, but I don’t care much for courtroom drama anyway.

And yes, there were echoes of other books, such as the hero having lost a wife – as in Proof, and Enquiry as well I think. But what the hell, when you’ve written more than 40 thrillers there is going to be a little bit of repetition!


message 17: by Verona (new)

Verona I wouldn't think there would be many differences in the British and American versions, but I did leave the sticker price written in pounds just to remind me of where I bought it. It just gives me pleasure to remember that. I'm almost finished reading it and look forward to reading Silks. I don't find as much time to read as I want to. Thanks for sharing.

message 18: by Deb (new)

Deb I very much enjoyed this book. Yes, in some ways it did differ, but it was enough Dick Francis to be satisfying. I liked the plot and as usual loved the main character. I don't usually like a lot of courtroom drama, like Allison mentioned, but I found this one kept it intersting.
However, I was a bit disappointed in the end. I found it a bit disturbing that Geoffrrey would deliberately kill Julian Trent, much as he deserved it.
All in all though, an excellent read, and am glad to have more books from Mr. Francis, so am glad that Felix is out there helping.
Deb Smith

message 19: by Chris (new)

Chris Concerning the ending of "Silks", DF advocates "justice" rather than the law. The result is not so different from the end of "Flying Finish"

Chris Jones

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