Critical comment…

I rarely mention reviews for any of my books. One writes the story and then kisses it on the forehead before tipping it out of the nest and that’s it. (Yes, metaphor mix-up there!)

But Passage was a step way out of my comfort-zone.

Contemporary fiction is something I would read occasionally, but certainly never planned to write. Not sure I will ever write another, as writing fantasy sets ballads singing in my imagination and writing hist.fict lets me weave a story of times past, with every thread of colour that history has to offer.

Because Passage is a personally unfamiliar genre, I was more than delighted when I noticed on Amazon today that it has accrued a handful of really kind reviews.

I can’t begin to thank those who made the effort to review. Even though I will probably never write in that genre again, the reviews have given me validation for that temporary jump sideways. I had thought that words from the maven of contemporary womens’ fiction, Cathy Kelly,, would be enough. Amongst other things, she said:

‘What a beautiful book about loss and grief and learning to live again.

I can imagine myself with Annie and Blighty walking the land and inhabiting the space she lives in.

You have written a wonderfully moving novel.


But to see the words below, it really is icing on the coffee cake.

5.0 out of 5 stars – A story that stays with you long after you finish reading.

11 July 2019

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

This author’s prose is so evocative and her characters so real that one fully identifies with the situation in which Annie, recently widowed, finds herself. With only her wonderful little dog for company, Annie struggles to find a purpose in life after the tragic death of her husband. The beautiful Tasmanian land and seascape is described so vividly that one feels a yearning to visit. Her surroundings are part of Annie’s life and eventually provide part of her healing process. She sets herself challenges, one of which I couldn’t have attempted, and all the while talks to her husband, feeling he is with her. She suffers anger at his leaving her as well as burying herself in the memories of their love. Although this is fiction, at times it feels like an autobiography, so true to life are the characters involved. I applaud the author for moving out of her usual genre of historical fiction with such success.

5.0 out of 5 stars – Wonderful Book

10 July 2019

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

Another excellent book from Prue Batten, although this is a new Genre for Prue, it is beautifully written.
Passage and Annie’s story is about loss and grief, and and Annie’s story moves between the past and present and her emotional journey. You feel as though you are travelling alongside Annie throughout her journey. I can empathise with Annie on her struggle during this emotional journey. Prue’s descriptions and story telling lets you see and feel the characters and their surroundings. I love the descriptions of the land and the area that Passage is set in, it shows her deep love of nature. The different characters are interesting and feel real. Blighty is a special part of the story…

5.0 out of 5 stars – Heartwarming and heartbreaking

24 July 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

For transparency, I have known Prue for many years and read her fantasy and historical novels. She actually suggested I didn’t read Passage as it wasn’t my normal fare, but I set on doing so anyway because as I said in my first ever review of her work, her words are like silk and she could rewrite a phone book and make it beautiful.

Passage is a story of loss and coping, but of friendship and family and love. It is both heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal amounts. It is in essence brimming with emotion and pulls that emotion from the reader, striking them with some of the most upsetting situations and yet doing so in a way as to soothe and entertain. It’s a rare gift.

Moreover, parts of this book are based on her personal experiences and, knowing Prue and several mutual friends, almost all of this book has its roots in real aspects of peoples’ lives. As such the realism and depth shows through in every page.

This is an excellent story. Do not expect to be whisked away to another world, but be prepared to re-examine your own.

Read of the summer.

5.0 out of 5 stars – Life, passion, grief, and healing in a story laden with truth and quiet humor

4 July 2019 – Published on

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I am a longtime fan of Prue Batten’ s novels of fantasy and historical fiction. Passage marks her first foray into the genre of contemporary fiction and she handles it with the same meticulous care and vivid language I have come to expect from her. Annie’s story begins in loss and grief. Her struggle to heal and discover for herself a way forward feels honest and truthful. The story moves between present and past, delicately layering detail with her emotional journey. As always, her descriptions pull one into the narrative, with evocative language that lets the reader see and feel the characters and their surroundings. I especially enjoy her descriptions of food and its prep (warning: do not read on an empty stomach!) as well as the scenic depictions that make clear her deep love of nature. All the characters are well-drawn and interesting and feel real. And Blighty is a special delight.

5.0 out of 5 stars – Lyrical and moving

27 July 2019 – Published on

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

Having read and enjoyed the author’s historical novels set in the middle ages, I wondered if she could manage to create a comparably rich and evocative sense of place in a contemporary story.
The answer to that turns out to be an unequivocal yes. Her deftly written descriptions, replete with sensory detail, enhanced this deeply-felt tale of grief and love, making it feel real and immediate to the reader. I found it moving, honest, and profoundly satisfying. Batten’s writing is graceful and often poetic, but it addresses some of the deepest currents in human nature with wisdom and unflinching honesty. Highly recommended.

5.0 out of 5 stars – Poignant and descriptive

24 July 2019 – Published on

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I loved this book. The author wrote with a true heart about grief, and the value of family and friends. Her description of the scenery showed how much she loves the place she set the story. All in all an excellent book.

4.0 out of 5 stars – A love story

5 August 2019 – Published on

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

A lovely story with a good storyline. I generally prefer stories of world building and fantasy. The further I get away from this place and time the better.
I do think that many people will enjoy the book however. It does delve into the losing of a beloved and that is a difficult subject to broach.

Meanwhile, I’m back to writing fantasy, The Cabinet of Curiosities, and my imagination is in full flight. Lien and Ai are inside a discrete pavilion set in the middle of the large, tree-edged imperial lake. They must find a concealed way out within a small space of time, else their lives may be forfeit. The pavilion is a library filled with scrolls, books, cabinets, caskets, shelves, cupboards and strange ephemera. Down the middle of the library chamber is a long table upon which lies a white ceramic ink bowl, calligraphy brushes and a jade bottle of ink and it is upon this table, that the dangerous Map of Many Things was painted.

And thereby hangs the tale…