Reader reviews


I have been spurred on to have a Louis Armstrong moment

- blowing my own trumpet.


To receive any reviews at all is astonishing. To read something positive is a surprise indeed.

.... to start with a blank sheet of paper and cobble something together from an uncoordinated series of mishaps can be a long and fraught journey - particualrly if you want to be honest about it!

Publishing Flawed Liaisons, my first novel, was a different but equally satisfying journey.

To subsequently have people say (vaguely) nice things is amazing. So.......


To all of you who commented - a sincere thank you.


Please take note of the following comments, made by some very discerning people!

Re - A Barge at Large


Joyfully written, thoroughly entertaining and ofter laugh out loud funny. Jo May, with his sainted wife, Jan (the skipper), recounts tales of their travels together around the rivers and canals of the Netherlands, Belgium and France over a five year period in their one hundred year old converted Dutch barge. A thoroughly good read. Recommended!

- Colin Barrett


Re – Flawed Liaisons


Jo, I just wanted to say straight off that your novel is much more than a "rattling good yarn". I think it packs a real punch and gains in intensity and emotion as it goes along. When I was younger, it would have cost me a lot to say that as I still had aspirations in that field myself.

All of which to say I think you've got a real talent. I had a bit of trouble getting "into" the story - that's always a difficult thing, isn't it? - but pretty soon I was hooked!I wonder how long it took you to write it? Have you got any others in the pipeline?

- Barnaby Capel-Dunn

(It's easier to 'get into' now after a re-write)


This a real page turner. I was gripped from the first page, great characters and would make a very good TV drama.

- Teresa Barrett


Congratulations on publishing "Flawed Liaisons" great read, really enjoyed it, would make a good film !!!.

- Geoff Palmer


I could borrow your book 'A Barge At Large' from our mutual friend Pete Todd ('Rook'). Highly entertaining reading! For instance about neighbours of ours, David & Jane ('Narwal') and naturally about our home country in general. I'm now at the stage that you are leaving The Netherlands - where we, although being Dutch, never have cruised a single yard. 

Of course borrowing a book is not very beneficial for the author. Diny (my 'skipper') wants to read it too, so she bought a copy from Amazon for her Kindle e-reader, thus compensating for my 'sin'.

- Simon Mocking (Holland)


Just a quick note to say found another hour this morning to read bit more of your book.

Really enjoying it. Warm, funny, interesting. I'll 'share' it on Facebook -

whatever that means. Short of a few commas if you were trying to get other

publishers to look at it, or maybe you have been down this route?

Would make great radio series - shall I mention it when the right patient comes in? (Although I tend to get the odd TV producer more than radio - think they've all moved up North)

- Sally May

(I have added a few commas and removed a few semi-colons since these kind words)


I didn't realise that you had written another 2 books, they will be purchased today, I love your writing Jo so you make sure you keep that up.

- Rhonda


Thanks for your email. It was a godsend as I wanted to say thanks for your story which we have both enjoyed immensely.

- Jan and Tobias


Bought your book and both Pam and I are enjoying your tales.

- Rob Horsfield


Hello !

We had 31 canalliers at our meeting on Tuesday evening - I told them about and showed them your book. A recommended read! no less.

- Ian Deaney (Australia)


Sounds like you guys are having a load of fun... best of luck with the book it looks (and reads!) fabulous.

- Cate and Murray


Jo it was my pleasure and am pleased to report that most of them have bought a copy. Jo, Ken and I had such a laugh especially the story of Jan in the toilet. You will do well and so you should, your writing style is so good. All the very best, you deserve it.

- Rhonda Blakie (New Zealand)


I must get hold of your book because I want to know what you wrote about all of that happened.

I read about your reasonably uneventful trip from here to where you are and I could not put the text down because you managed to create a funny interesting story out of so little. I printed it out for Peter who loved it as well. We had a good laugh about it. You are better at writing than at putting wheels on a charcoal barbeque.

- Charles Gerard (Friend and CEO H2O Fluvial, St. Jean de Losne, Burgundy)


You are a fab writer in my humble opinion - well done you xxx

- Mags


Got the book yesterday. Good read so far, you've got a nice casual style of writing which makes it easy and enjoyable to read.

- Austin Robinson


Steph's already downloaded it & has compared it to treacle (it slips down a treat, at least that's what I think she meant). The few pages that I've read so far have been very entertaining so well done that man!

- Henry Hudson


..... if you love adventure, red wine, barges, canals and humour - this book is for you too. I love Jo's writing and want to shamelessly promote him xx

(unattributed - but it sounds like I have at least one friend!)


I really would have liked to give this book 5 stars as it is written in a witty, self-deprecating style, which makes enjoyable reading.

However, it is let down by the numerous grammatical errors and spelling mistakes which are so frequent that it really does impinge on the overall experience. Almost every page has an; it, to, from, of, for etc. missing and you have to re-read the paragraph to make sure that you have grasped the correct context. I was somewhat confused when Jo built a "tailor" for his bicycle but this was actually confirmed on the following page. I'm sure that he meant trailer. I wish that the book had been properly proof-read and the author not simply relied on "spellcheck".

That aside, nothing can detract from the fact that Jo is a good storyteller who really does take the reader "there" and I would highly recommend this book.

- Nick Longstaff

(Following this review A Barge at Large has undergone a re-hash and is re-published!)


Well done Jo, I loved your book, found it hugely entertaining and didn't want it to end. Your humorous, somewhat self deprecating writing style is interspersed with some lyrical prose and keeps the content flowing smoothly. For anyone contemplating this lifestyle you are honest and open about possible pitfalls but also optimistic in that you proved there's an answer to almost every problem if you keep calm....a lesson I will try and take with me on my next cruise. Found myself laughing out loud at many of your descriptive anecdotes. Keep writing're a natural and deserve to succeed!

- 'Meandering Maggie'


Well done Jo. Great read for anyone contemplating boating in Europe, it's a well researched, informative, interesting and humorous book that is written both for the first time boater and the old timers "who think they know it all"!!! Loved the interjections of "Bonny" re her owners and her adventures. Looking forward to the next book !

- Geoffrey Palmer


I have read Jo's offerings over the years and this will be just as cr*p (joking) - a funnier raconteur on the subject of old dutch barges in Europe wth a dodgy toilet would be hard to find, and it deserves to go to number one in this important subject. Don't own a kindle, so will wait for it to come out in print.

- Andy Josephs


A wonderful book to read and relax. It allows you to share in a different lifestyle, and enjoy the way folk can live in a more genuine way regardless of status or nationality. Made me happy just reading it! Roll on the next instalment.

- Jenny Naylor


Amusing, descriptive and interesting. If you love boating and canals, you'll love this. It takes courage to make such a trip and then to share candidly. Love it Jo.

- Anonymous Amazon customer