Monday, March 6, 2023

Disraeli Hall by Polonian Author Sue Knight: Check it out!


Do you care about Polish issues? Then put your money where your mouth is. Support Polish authors. Right now, go buy Sue Knight's book on Amazon and then post a review. 

Sue Knight, author and Polonian activist, to whom Polonia owes a great deal, contributes this description of her book:


Disraeli Hall is a thriller, inspired by the two houses of my childhood, and by the people who inhabited them.


Disraeli Hall does contain some Polish characters along with one Jewish one, Benjamin Disraeli, who was said to be Queen Victoria's favourite Prime Minister. I believe he was a bit of a charmer with us ladies. Although Disraeli himself never appears, as this is not a historical novel, the fictional visit he once paid to the Hall resonates through the book.


The book, according to reviewers, is a real page turner. It is both frightening and funny.


Here is a review from my Amazon page:


Unlike some authors I won't name, Sue Knight doesn't write the same story twice. Her new novel doesn't resemble the delightful, dream-like but unsettling Waiting for Gordo or her beautifully constructed Till they Dropped. Once again there are dream-like sequences and there are pleasing, sometimes bewildering, intricacies of plot structure, but this is quite a different book from its predecessors. It combines elements of Gothic romance, murder mystery, and angry regret at the progressive destruction of traditional life and communities by the inexorable march of money-fuelled modernisation.


Disraeli Hall – a fictitious building, needless to say - was so named because the great Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once spent a night there and a dramatic event occurred. We're never told what that dramatic event was, but we're half-encouraged to speculate about it. It isn't material to the story, but the fact that Disraeli once stayed in the building is something the money men can exploit.


The first chapter tells us that all is not well with Disraeli Hall; its ancient roots and its future possibilities are being subverted and undermined. Then we're given the background to the subversion and undermining as experienced by the protagonist-narrator, Sarah Dexter. Sarah had married Leo Cavalier, owner of Disraeli Hall, after a whirlwind romance. She'd sold her flat in London in order to invest in her new home in the North of England. (As an inhabitant of the Peak District I could relate to her descriptions!)


In her imagination, Sarah made a tongue-in-cheek comparison between her situation and that of the unnamed heroine of du Maurier's Rebecca: Leo had been married previously, his wife had died in an accident, and a sinister housekeeper, Ava Maggs, appears early in the story. During the course of the novel, Ava proves to be no less pernicious than Mrs Danvers. However, stark differences between Disraeli Hall and Manderley are apparent almost from the outset. Manderley was warm, physically comfortable and well maintained. Disraeli Hall was cold, uncomfortable in every sense and falling into decay. Sarah has plans for renovation and restoration, but they are thwarted as she makes more and more unsettling discoveries about her marriage and about her new residence.


Her only real comfort is Anya, daughter of Leo's first wife, with whom Sarah quickly establishes a bond. Sarah is pregnant and hopes she'll shortly give Anya a half-brother and Leo the heir he wants. But things don't work out as she hopes and intends. A tragedy occurs and Sarah's life steadily unravels as Disraeli Hall and its surroundings, and the village that once served it, are transmuted into an upmarket hotel with spacious grounds, and a housing estate.


As the novel nears its end, Sarah's life approaches rock bottom. Her fortunes do seem to take a turn for the better in the closing pages, but the reader is left with an overall feeling of sorrow and loss. Nevertheless the story is gripping and endlessly thought-provoking as twist follows twist. Sue Knight has created a vivid setting and vivid characters, which make this melancholy and sometimes anger-inducing tale memorable.


I am so glad that the reviewer found the book gripping - as that is exactly what I was aiming for.


I am finding it hard to know what more to say, beyond what I guess all writers say. Please, please read the book, and review it. And if you like it, please read the other two and review them as well!


I hope I have one more book in me - a book of short stories - one of which also references Benjamin Disraeli and some of the characters from Disraeli Hall. I am in discussions with my publisher now.


How to finish? Maybe just to say this. My epigraph for Disraeli Hall is Proverbs 15:17:


"Better is a dish of vegetables where there is love than a fattened bull where there is hatred."


Those words are as true now as when their writer, King Solomon, was inspired by our Creator to record them. Whether I have done those words justice in my book is something I have to leave to my readers to decide.


  1. Thank you Danusha. I do appreciate this. And it will be wonderful if it gets me some sales and reviews. This has been a lovely day writing wise as not only have you published this, but I also heard that a short story I sent in to a publisher's competition will be published. Which is very encouraging for my hope for my book of short stories.

  2. American teachings. In 1989 Jeffrey Sachs ( advised the government of Poland, the result was mass migration, deindustrialisation, growing social differences. Now Martin Miszerak uses 2015 data to criticize the results of Sachs' reforms. Poland has changed since 2015, the government introduced many social programs, so Miszerak's text is "musztarda po obiedzie", as someone suggests "Well, the cat's out of the bag now." The opposition criticizes the social programs as overgrown. Miszerak criticizes many aspects of life in Poland in his tweets - religion, post-war antisemitism. "Martin Miszerak is a visiting lecturer at the Business School of Renmin University, Beijing."

    1. Hello Jerzy, but isn't "the world" - the current wicked system of things on the earth - corrupt? How can we, how can any human government, put right what has gone wrong?

      Isn't this why we pray for God's Kingdom to come, for his will to be done on the earth? Under the loving rule of that heavenly government the whole earth will become the paradise of peace it was always mean to be. And obedient humankind will be restored to the life and perfection that our first parents so tragically lost

      Then our real lives will begin, the lives that our loving Creator, Jehovah, always intended for us, lives that are full of joy - the lives we long for.

      And as this blogpost is a review of my book Disraeli Hall, I will add that I hope my next book - my last book? - will be coming out later this year - if it gets past my publisher's editorial staff. They have liked my stuff - so far.

      Will there be fiction in the restored earthly paradise? I do not know. For sure, if there is, there will be new plots, new stories. At the moment don't we really only have one plot - the one we are so tragically living in - things have gone wrong, they need to be put right?

      I cannot even conceive of another story. But then there will be new things. So who knows. I hope we will all be there to find out.

  3. "Free Navalny" documentary obtained Oscar. The foundation is supported by prominent Americans, eg. Anne Applebaum. These Ukrianians remind us that the only way to influence Putin is support for Ukraine. Navalny cannot change Russia. This film has not won

  4. Visit the Radomsko Jewish Museum.

  5. Every year we obtain in March a number of biased stories about the 1968 in Poland. I remeber terrorized teachers at my highschool. Young people protested in many cities and towns, were beaten, imprisoned, drafted to special army units. Daniel Korski describes the revolt as "the last pogrom". "workers spontaneously passed anti-Zionist resolutions". As far as I knew 99% of the workers had no idea about Zionism and did not act spontaneously. Slogans were always decided by party leaders.It was inhuman to expell people who wanted to live in Poland, but the emigration opened the world, some of the migrants became influential. Polish history post-1968 included 1970 massacre, 1976 beating, 1982-1989 martial law and destruction, 1989-2000 unemployment, poverty. Millions emigrated during that period.

  6. OTD 1943 Ulma family was murdered in Markowa. March 21, 2023. Poland has just signed an agreement with Israel. 'Foreign Policy' published 'How Poland Distorts Its Holocaust History' March 21, 2023. . By Daniel Schatz, a visiting scholar at Georgetown University and a writer on international affairs. The article criticizes several countries, eg. former Nazi ally Hungary. Why is Poland only mentioned in the title? Poland sells apparently. Dr Schatz quotes the "Neighbors" by Jan Gross, published in 2004. The investigation has not proven several opinions of Gross, but Schatz does not care about the facts.

  7. The continuous tragedy of Ulma family.
    78 years ago the Ulma familty was murdered by the Nazis. The government of Poland informed about the anniversary, because the government is oblidged to inform about such facts. A number of Jews, at least two US rabbis among them, answered on the day - yes, we respect the family but the Poles murdered the Jews. The Internet fighters believe they are oblidged to bash Polish people. They do not mention neither Nazi Germany nor a dozen of Nazi allied nations and collaborators. They obviously do not know basic facts about the Holocaust. I do not know what exactly US educators teach, but the results are lousy. The USHMM presents the basic informations for free. It is a matter of few hours, perhaps days, to learn. The fighters are answered by Polish fighters, who defend their naive image of the German occupation and war.

    1. can you share a link to the rabbis' comments?

    2. This is much better than the other one, but he misuses the day, he may not understand the context.

    3. Rabbi Litvin is an old anti-Polish fighter, here from 2020


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