DIANA’S OCTOBER REVIEW ~ SEDUCTION & DESTRUCTION by JULIA COLBOURN
A fast pace and intriguing plot. I don’t want to give to much away but the first few chapters could be described almost as ‘an arranged marriage at gunpoint’. I loved the retro theme, taking me back into the 1980’s and the gangland characters were both colourful and believable. A most enjoyable read.
DIANA’S SEPTEMBER REVIEW ~ THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS by ELIZABETH GILBERT
Alma Whittaker is an unusual, intelligent and highly educated lady who lived in Philadelphia in 18th Century. She was absorbed in the botanical study of mosses which she discovers holds a theory of life.
We first hear about her father Henry’s rise to fame and fortune through his travels with Captain Cook and subsequent less scrupulous ventures. It is Alma, however, who hold us captivated throughout, although her father is forever a powerful presence in the background.
This novel is gripping and yet shocking at times, where the loves of Alma’s life are all consuming and yet have the power to destroy all that she holds dear. Alma is a woman before her time, whose lessons of the value of self giving arrive almost too late.
A powerful book, well worth reading at least twice.
DIANA’S AUGUST BOOK REVIEW ~ TEA ROSE by ERIN KEELEY MARSHALL
I enjoyed this light cosy mystery at a stressful but moving time, when I was finally visiting my elderly parents down south after the ease of the lock down.
The setting of a Tea Room, where three lovely ladies, serve delicious and mouth watering cakes and fancies along with teas from around the world was warm and welcoming. Alluring and disturbing mysteries took you quickly into the plot and main characters were easy to get to know.
Rose has found a death certificate ~ hers ~ just after her mother’s death!
As this strange find is investigated other mysteries are added to the drama involving the falling of the Berlin Wall, the mysterious disappearance of an expensive broach and lace making; all woven to intrigue and compel you to the finale.
I won’t divulge the ins and outs of this novel but suffice it to say that it was well written with a plethora of characters to like, mistrust, doubt and feel reassured by and the overriding warmth of the power of friendship and family overrides it all.
DIANA’S JULY BOOK REVIEW ~ THE DAY SHE CAME BACK by AMANDA PROWSE
An emotional roller coaster, mainly spiralling downwards as Victoria, aged 18, tries to unravel the lies she has been told by all close to her since she was born.
She was brought up by her grandmother Prim whom she adored until Prim’s funeral. All her life she had been told that her mother died of a drugs overdose when Victoria was born and she was subsequently brought up by Prim, lies which on Prim’s death nearly destroyed Victoria.
Amanda Prowse’s grasp of family relationships, dependency, loss, deceit and the fragile and yet enduring nature and depth of love is remarkable. I like in particular Victoria’s close friendship with Daks throughout as she grapples with the truth, but Gerald, Prim’s ‘man-friend’ adds a certain light-heartedness to Victoria’s dark world. An excellent book which I read, cover to cover, in between gardening over the weekend.
I know I will be reading more of Amanda Prowse’s novels now.
DIANA’S JUNE REVIEW ~ BENEATH AN INDIAN SKY by RENITA D’SILVA
Children of very different social and economic backgrounds grow up in a period of great change in India and become unlikely but best of friends, much to the distress and even anger of their families. Their paths in life diverge even further, Sita to be a woman of power and influence, whereas Mary lives a more humble life but Mary has one thing that Sita cannot have. I won’t tell you what it is but in stealing it Sita changes the course of both of their lives and Mary mourns her loss until nearly the end of her life.
A gripping story of love, tragedy and ultimate betrayal, in a style which evokes a multitude of colours, flavours and smells of Indian life.
DIANA’S APRIL REVIEW ~ SECOND WIND
I was drawn to this book by the dreamy cover, the theme of making a fresh start and the memories of a fab couple of holidays on the Californian Coast ~ The Big Sur.
As Laurel was nearing her mother’s vegetarian restaurant, following a long and arduous drive from Seattle and a traumatic break up with her fiance, she passed Monterrey and Carmel, places which had also made vivid imprints in my mind. ‘Home’ was the best place for her to be and the possibility of turning a room above a garage into an apartment overlooking the sea and the garage into a studio felt like seventh heaven to Laurel ~ especially when her cat recovered from his ordeal. There was even a tentative love interest to Jake ~ who was not what he seemed.
That was until trouble followed her big time, putting both herself and her family in grave danger …
A gripping tale which drew me in from page one with characters which appealed to me and plausible villains. A novel I highly recommend to take your mind of the plot we are all experiencing in the real world! I know I’ll be reading more of Alison Henderson’s books now that I’ve discovered her.
DIANA’S MARCH REVIEW ~ THE GLASS KNIGHT by JULIA COLBOURN
The stage is set for The Glass Knight at a time a few decades after a world apocalypse. The small surviving communities struggle to maintain a civilised world. Andelantos, for example, forbids guns and any forms of communication from the old world, trying to learn from past mistakes.
Saffy excels in everything from science to sport. It was while she attempted a serious climbing expedition with a friend Varney, not her equal in any way, that they are captured by two fugitives, James and Raife and taken hostage. They are dragged, or at least Saffy is, to a refuge where a religious sect called the Joules live. On the way Raife and Varney fall in love and Saffy and James begin a psychological battle against a mutual attraction of equals.
The Glass Knight had me hooked form the start even though Sci Fi is not a genre I usually choose.
Would the legend of the Glass Knight come true?
Would Saffy overcome the blot on her life, the lack of bonding with her father?
How could Saffy and the equally strong willed Malvern (his real name) resolve their differences and cope with the unwanted magnetic attraction they both feel?
The twists and turns in the plot were ingenious. The characterisation was beautifully crafted and the scene set in full technicolour, including vampire like creatures and other ‘out of this world’ predators.
A great book, highly recommended! Brilliant cover too.
I met Julia on holiday ~ wonderful to share a common interest and even better to read one of her books.
DIANA’S JANUARY BOOK REVIEW
The Seal Mother by Rose English
A selkie (half seal / half girl) was tricked to become a fisherman’s wife and although she loved her children, life and husband ~ to a point ~ she still pined for her life back in the sea, where she truly belonged.
Author Rose English tells the Seal Mother so eloquently in beautifully lyrical verse, a rhythm which speaks of the sea.
This is a magical tale, delightfully illustrated throughout. A book to treasure!