Cover Image: Thunderstone


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Okay book with a slow to start story. This one took me ages to get into because of the writing. It just felt like it took off slow and had a hard time gaining steam.

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Nancy Campbell’s memoir of her time post-Covid is as moving and heartbreaking as it is inspiring. It reminds us all that life can change quickly and when it seems like there is no possibly path forward that taking time to once again find ourselves is the most important thing we can do

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Thank you NetGalley, Elliot and Thompson, and Nancy Campbell for an ARC of Thunderstone in exchange for an honest review. What I most enjoyed about this book was the setting as it was very local to where I live. It is set mainly in a caravan which is nestled by the River Thames. The descriptions of the areas were fabulous and really reminded me of home. I enjoyed imagining life in a caravan and hearing about the highs and lows. It’s also the first book I’ve read which was set during covid times. I got a bit lost near the end and may need to revisit the last part of the story.

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This is the story of the Nancy Campbell, a girl who was on the edge to break up with her mate but due to his down-health she decided to take care of him. But they talked and agreed that Nancy must move on to her new phase of life rather than worry for his declining health
.She decided to settle into a caravan and stayed rough on ground near one canal. During that covid period she spent almost a year in her van and wrote about her off-route experience and philosophical ideas.
She even get ill herself during that time while using the stove that release gas not good for health. Her lone life start to get jammed with the thoughts of getting back to the world of reality but harsh one. She learned a lot during that time.

This source of this title is the stone author get from Denmark, a fossil stone. That Thunderstone is basically an amulet.

It was good reading this experiencing memoir.

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Life takes many turns no even the rough roads can lead you to the most beautiful hidden places. Such is life for Nancy. A long, living-together love ends amicably, but Nancy soon returns to her and Anna’s flat when Anna suffers a stroke. Once Anna is better Nancy leaves the flat again. After some wanderings Nancy takes up residence in a small, well worn caravan by the river nestled in with thistles, weeds and wildflowers. There she becomes part of a small, eclectic group of characters living similar lives….introverts in a little wild plot just outside of town,
Nancy write poetically and describes rusty little utopia in ways that make me yearn for my little camper in the woods. I’m glad I read this as the snow is melting here so that I know I too can take refuge from the world in my tiny shelter.
This is a wonderful book for my fellow introverts and nature lovers to read. Pull up your camping chair, grab a cuppa, and savor Nancy’s story as well as quotes from the likes of Thoreau and Muir which are scattered here and there… wildflowers….in the text.
#Thunderstone #NancyCampbell #netgalley

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I found this to be very slow, with so much irrelevant content, I couldn’t engage at all. DNF at 30%.

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What a book, what a story, what a woman!

Thunderstone is the real life story of Nancy Campbell's journey through a relationship breakdown, multiple lockdowns, ill health and death. Sounds like it should be hard going, but it's not, in the least. Nancy's writing is beautiful and uplifting, even in the darkest times this felt like a hug in a book.

Some of my favourite sections are where the author compares her mercurial friends Sven and the assassin to Sun Dogs; the cocktail cabinet which now houses poetry books and whiskey; the chap who can't walk in the shade of trees for fear of his blood cooling and triggering a heart attack. So many beautiful vignettes in this diary of a life of enforced / chosen hardship.

Nancy was awarded a prize at school for Quiet Determination, and for me, that's the theme of the book. Stunning!

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Nancy Campbells life goes into a total spin she is ending her relationship with her partner Anna when Annahas a stroke.Nancy continues with her plans moves into a caravan completely changes her life as the world around us changes with Covid.Nancy writes so well so engaging she kept me engaged through her life changes ,I’ve read another book by her and look forward to more.#netgalley #elliott&thompson

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Just as Nancy Campbell decides to break up with her partner, her partner has a life-changing stroke before she can have the conversation. At a more fitting time, she finally does the deed, but agrees to stay and look after her ex as she acclimatises to her new way of living and regains some of her capabilities. Eventually they agree it's for the best that Campbell moves on, and with little savings or income, she sets up home in a caravan on rough ground near a canal.
As she settles into her new existence, she befriends local barge dwellers, expanding her support network in new and unexpected ways. She reclaims the rough ground, planting things of beauty and things to eat, as she ekes out her off-grid existence. However, she starts to have health issues of her own, beyond mild carbon monoxide poisoning from her stove, which threatens her new-found solitude, forcing her back into the harsh real world.
This is an incredibly well written and researched book. Campbell riffs on topics and takes the reader on a fascinating educational journey through the rural idylls of Oxford and beyond. The narrative is intimate and engaging, and you come away from it feeling like you really know Campbell. Highly recommended.

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A book well written and interesting but it wasn’t for me. It was different to what I usually read and didn’t hook me in.

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Thunderstone is a memoir adapted from a journal written by Nancy Campbell after a breakup and during the covid lockdown. Hardcover edition released in fourth quarter 2022 by Elliott & Thompson, upcoming reformat and release in paperback and ebook formats are due out in third and second quarter 2023 respectively. It's 224 pages (in hardcover).

This is a short read, and it feels nearly transcribed directly from the dated journal entries. This gives the whole a very intimate and honest feel, sometimes quite jarringly so. The author describes the breakdown of her partnership and the health challenges her former partner faced from a stroke and recovery. In the end, Ms. Campbell moves into a stationary caravan/camper and spends a year writing, philosophizing, and trying to come to grips with the reality of the madness the world endured under covid.

There's a lyrical quality to the whole and I was fascinated to find that daily entries were engaging even for less-than-electrifying occasions: fixing her water supply, stocking the larder, meeting her neighbors. It would have been a very different book from a less adept wordsmith.

Four stars. This would be a good selection for public library acquisition, book club review, buddy read, or solo reading.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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I loved Nancy Campbell's The Library of Ice and Fifty Words For Snow so much that I picked up Thunderstone even though the blurb didn't especially draw me in. This was an error. Thunderstone is an edited version of a journal Campbell kept when she was living in a static caravan in a strip of woodland near a canal outside Oxford. The setting resonated with me: I used to live in Littlemore and could cycle into Oxford along the river, so although this was clearly not the same bit where Campbell lived, I remember the communities that staked out space in the woods there, and reading this brought back some things I had forgotten. However, I've almost never read a novel that works for me told in short-ish diary entries, and non-fiction seems to be no exception. I wouldn't have decided to read this if I'd known it was written in this style, as I find it works against establishing any pace or thematic through-lines. Nevertheless, Campbell's writing is still both beautiful and precise, and others may get on with this memoir much better than I did.

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In October 2019, the author's partner, Anna, had a stroke. Nancy Campbell was working in Germany at the time, but she rushed home to Britain to be with Anna, who would require a lot of recovery time. Their relationship had been changing before Nancy left for Germany, and before Anna left the hospital, they'd agreed that they would no longer be a couple, but that they would continue to live in their flat together for a year, with Nancy as Anna's carer. Of course, this was all happening just as we were all starting to learn about COVID 19. They went through lockdown together in this way. When it was time for Nancy to move out, she had nowhere to go. She considered couch-surfing, but a new-ish friend she'd met in the hospital told her about some friends of his who lived on a boat in a canal. There was a community of people there. Nancy couldn't afford a boat, but she could afford a caravan and there was a spot near the canal towpath where she could park it. So she bid £750 on a caravan listed on eBay, and ended up owning her first home. She knew nothing about caravans, but she learned a lot pretty quickly, living as she did with no electric, water, or sewer hook-ups. This book is a journal of that time in the author's life.

The title refers to a kind of fossil called a thunderstone in Denmark, where the author found one and brought it home. They are fossils of sea urchins with a 5-pointed star pattern, but Danish in folklore, the markings on the rock come from lightning strikes. Putting these in the corners of the home was thought to protect the family inside.

It's a beautifully written book, filled not only with descriptions of the author's experiences, but also of the natural world around her, which she was experiencing in a new way, her own feelings as she found herself changing along with her circumstances, and the quirky new friends she met along the way. I loved this book. My only regret about it is that it wasn't longer. The end seemed a little bit abrupt. I would have liked to have read more about Nancy's evolution and that of her relationships, both with the people in her life and with her new life circumstances. But I suppose that's the way with memoirs--they are necessarily limited to a certain period of time and have to end somewhere. Still, I think another month or two of the journal would have made this an even better book.

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Thank you NetGalley, Elliot and Thompson, and Nancy Campbell for an ARC of Thunderstone in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a raw and true depiction of the following statement: In losing ourselves, we find who we really are.


I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Nancy and her partner. When someone is suffering from a progressive illness, the focus is often fully on that individual. Thunderstone is a clear reminder that we must be gentle with the caretakers. Caretakers, like partners, are not medical or mental health professionals. They are real people with their own struggles.

I also enjoyed the subtle and direct symbolism in thunderstone. Clearly, readers learn what a thunderstone is and the meaning behind it. There are several other, more abstract instances of symbolism as well -- I will not spoil them here!

Finally, I loved how this book reshaped my definition of "survivalist." This oftentimes gets a negative connotation; we picture people hoarding canned goods and firearms, right? Nancy Campbell redefines survivalist as something positive and something that helps us strip our surroundings so we can cope with obstacles and challenges.


This is a short read, and I feel the author needs to make it a bit longer. The pace is so fast that it felt rushed. The series of events in Thunderstone is boom boom boom done. I would like to read more about the emotions and details of some parts of the author's story.

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