IN THE early 1990s, Sophie Neville went out to South Africa to work for a horse-safari company in the Northern Transvaal, in an area called the Waterberg. Most tourists to Africa see the wildlife from the back of a minibus with a raised roof. Riding out into the bush to see wild animals close up sounds much more ... A book review in The Church Times by Alexander Lucie-Smith

“Enormously amusing.” Nick Archer

“I love the blend of real life, humor, adventure...” Richard Pilbrow

‘Real life jumps off the page with such warmth and energy I couldn’t put it down.’ Fiona Lindsay

Recent e-mail and Facebook comments on Ride the Wings of Morning:

24th January ~ 'Your illustrations are hugely impressive.'  Maria Toth – Premier Radio

15th December ~ "Just finished 'Ride the Wings of Morning'. I absolutely loved it and laughed a lot." Juliet Maddan on holiday in Tenerrif.

11th December ~ "I have read & enjoyed Sophie's books, and really love her beautiful drawings!" Elizabeth Rondthaler-Jolley, USA spontaneously recommending the books on her Facebook page.

'I've finished both books now and absolutely loved them.' Rose Alcock, Eastern Cape, South Africa

'I've just finished 'Ride the Wings of Morning' and enjoyed every page - especially your illustrations. It has been a pleasure going to bed each night living and breathing Africa... You've had some extraordinary adventures & live to tell the tales. And you have given them back to us - your readers. I loved the warmth shown between you and your sisters and your remarkable family... Your books are amusing too. I laughed out loud so many times (not often one does that these days). We've just had our village Book Group meeting (monthly) and I've recommended both your books.'    Jenny Black, Gloucestershire

I have been reading your book and loving it.  What a rich life you have led. I'm so glad it is all recorded!   Juliet Calcott, Limpopo Province, South Africa

...the illustrations are a lot of fun.  What a wonderful commendation on the volume you got from Virginia McKenna.  You obviously have a gift of writing in a very entertaining and charming manner.  Thank you and well done.  Michael Cassidy, African Enterprise, South Africa 

Have enjoyed both books and look forward to more... keep writing x Jane Edgar, Channel Islands 

silhouette of girl riding a horse on a riding safari by Sophie Neville

"I've never had a horse safari, and I didn't read it on holiday, but it was still very good." Paul Fernandez on Facebook

'Have just started "Ride the Wings of Morning" & really enjoying it!' Penelope Bossom, Gloucestershire

'I was reading the first chapters of the Kindle to my daughter last night before she went to bed. She laughed so much, and loved the pictures in colour. Hopefully it'll encourage her to continue reading in the paperback.'  Lisa Scullard, UK

'It's lovely, so tempting to put all else aside and get lost in your descriptions. It must have been such a joy to put the book together. Such rich memories, and I love your way of seeing things and the words you use. You are a truly gifted writer and illustrator and I rejoice with you. I think my girls will get more out of this one, especially since it's letters between sisters.' Wendy Chandler, South Africa

I LOVED this book! Even more than 'Funnily Enough', which I also loved! Your family is a hoot, and your letters tell so much about your life. What fun that you found a place that allows to be well, and that you have met such wonderful people in the process :-)  ... Thank-you, Sophie & Amazon! I am so excited to have another of your books on my Kindle.  :-)" Elizabeth Rondthaler Jolley, USA

Lovely work Sophie & Many Congratulations :))  Rahul Perekh, India

'...extraordinary, unique, inspiring, real -  I don't know how else to describe what I have just read' Annie Ogilvy, South Africa

'This is gorgeous work Sophie, you have a real gift for drawing people into your wonderful adventure in a real and intimate way. I feel almost as if I had been there with you. :) Great work! ' Skye Wieland, Queensland, Australia

I'm going to try ordering 'Ride the Wings' through my local bookstore later this afternoon...can't wait to read it. David Canuck, British Columbia, Canada

'I am reading your book now on Kindle about your time in Africa and I love it! What a sense of humor you and your family have!' Allen Hunt

'I couldn't resist looking at Wings of Morning this afternoon.  I love the way you write to your sisters and the close and easy style you all use with one another.   It's all very readable, funny and sweet.' Lucy Woodd, Scotland

'I  am mid way through your book at the moment and every time I start to read am transported to S. Africa, where I've never been. Sarah Hollis

'What a beautiful title.' Chronic Fatigue Support

'Love Sophie's book...' Jane van der Westhuizen, Perth, Australia

'I love how you’ve captured your journey with sketches and water colour paintings.'

Black Rhino by Sophie Neville

'I am  loving your book. Your mother sounds like a riot! Love the mama donkey work!' Kate Coleridge

'Have enjoyed both books and look forward to more... keep writing.'  Jane Edgar, Channel Islands

 "I had a hard time setting your book down--such a good read! And I was really disappointed when it ended :-)"

'I'm also enjoying "Wings" - too much - I'm failing to get my next OU essay done ...' Paul Fernandez  '...lovely book. My wife is making her way through "Funnily Enough" at the moment and I've little doubt will move on to "Wings". We also have some ex-pat readerly South Africans in the church, to whom I've recommended the books ....'

Elephant writing paper by Sophie Neville

 'This is gorgeous work Sophie, you have a real gift for drawing people into your wonderful adventure in a real and intimate way. I feel almost as if I had been there with you. :) Great work!' Skye Wieland, Australia

 'I think the letters approach brings the personal story to life.' Hugh Colley

'....your book works so well at the moment because the format you've chosen simply takes life as it comes.' Paul Fernandez, again

 'Will try Amazon. I must have this book!!' Topsy Eschenburg, South Africa

 'By hook or by crook we will find a copy.'  Douglas A Groves, Botswana

In the African tradition, Jenny Nash from Zimbabwe has written about Ride the Wings of Morning in her Blog ~ Shamwari Chaidzo
 Three guniea fowl by Sophie Neville

Adventures in Africa April 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase  5.0 out of 5 stars
An extraordinary, funny, enchanting, book that will surprise the reader-- a delicious soufflé of reading pleasure.Sophie writes of her adventures in Africa. After a busy life in television, and recovering from debilitating illness in England, she determines on a radical change and moves from a chilly, damp British winter to the blistering heat of Southern Africa. And there she can no longer be an invalid. She plunges into the hectic life of horseback safari camps, driving trucks through rivers and desert, cooking, handling horses, killing snakes, organising the tourists and supervising the always characterful local labour. With her we meet fascinating, heart-breaking, funny, and sometimes infuriating characters. And the animals: thrilling, or entertaining encounters with elephants, aardvarks, crocodiles, antelopes, lions, leopards, hyenas, hippopotamus and rhinoceros, and a panoply of other exciting wildlife.But the core of this wonderfully entertaining book is Sophie's correspondence with her wonderful family; Granny, Mummy and Dad, her three sisters and a bevy of children, friends, and other relations who create a web of hilarious anecdotes. Anecdotes and other adventures in love, life, dogs, cats, rabbits, donkeys, otters, and babies.Sophie is as delicious an artist as she is a writer. The book is packed with wonderful sketches and watercolours that make these stories spring to life. A minor criticism would be that the exigencies of Kindle eBook publishing results in all the illustrations being very small. Happily I soon discovered that a little finger work can zoom to larger images, and every single one is worth expanding.Such a light-hearted story is also pervaded by a keen awareness of reality. The struggles of a African post-Apartheid society, the deadly spread of Aids, the chaos after civil war, the problems of life for a British army wife . . . and just bringing up all those kids. These stories contain all the contradictions of life itself, but are told with such heart-warming honesty, humour and humanity.I must admit to a personal interest in Sophie. In 1973 I produced the feature film of Arthur Ransome's SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS. One of my childhood stars was a delightful twelve-year-old Sophie. This book suggests that she grew up to be a most special woman.A delightful book. Strongly recommended to bring a real ray of sunshine into your life.

Oryx in Namibia by Sophie Neville

5.0 out of 5 stars African Odessy,23 April 2012
Lisa Scullard (U.K.) - See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ride the Wings of Morning (Kindle Edition)
We're really enjoying this. Since just before the Book Fair I've been reading this aloud to my daughter on my Android colour Kindle app. She is schooled at home, and wildlife facts and anecdotes are some of her favourite things. It also contains the political history recorded as it happened, from possibly the time of the greatest late 20th Century upheavals occurring in Southern Africa.
The colour illustrations are great - if you only have a b/w Kindle, download the Kindle app for your PC as well, and you can retrieve the book from your archived items to see them in colour.
We love the humour, it follows on really well from the first memoir 'Funnily Enough' - comments about 'alien invader species' and what it's like trying to sleep outdoors on a groundsheet next to a flatulent horse meant I had to keep stopping reading while my daughter rolled around laughing and making sound effects. Great stuff :)
As this one is written in the form of letters, not a diary as the first book is, and is in the genre of Travel this time rather than Christian reading, the subject of God retires gently to arm's length here, but what you do get is more of the wonderful endearing sibling exchanges and comedy pratfalls being recounted back and forth between Sophie and her friends and family in the UK. Sophie even has a visit from a BBC wildlife crew she has arranged to help find rhino, who are annoyingly elusive that day, and is harangued on the phone by a young TV executive who wants 'wild leopards, at dawn, in a tree, eating antelope' :)
Worth every pixel :) xxx

'Ride the Wings of Morning'

5.0 out of 5 stars Just a pleasure to read,  April 27, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Ride the Wings of Morning (Kindle Edition)
Thank you Sophie for sharing your delightful letters and wonderful insights into South Africa. I loved the pictures, although they were a bit hard to see on my tiny kindle screen. I think you have a beautiful family, funny, smart, compassionate and loving. Your horses are marvellous, and your style of writing is gripping. I couldn't put my kindle down! I will certainly be reading more of your work. Thank you!

Ride the Wings of Morning

5.0 out of 5 stars ride the wings of morning, 27 April 2012
This review is from: Ride the Wings of Morning (Kindle Edition)
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, its enlightening, funny and addictive reading. After reading 'Funnily Enough' it was nice to see what the author did next. Brilliant read!!!

1 comment:

  1. Upon seeing these reviews, i think i might get this one. - Maree