Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Love in a time of war - Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

Love in a Time of War

Set in the WWII era when Hitler was in full flight, the setting is eerily recognisable. Germany has swallowed Poland and is determined to swallow Europe whole. 

We have Natalie a children's writer and her sister Anna with early onset dementia and their niece Mila. We have another sister Ilona who is desperately in love with Bela. Those are our main characters. We have Hungary on the eve of being taken over by the Nazis and everyone who can escape trying their best to do so.

Natalie is the stalwart one in the family. Having arranged for five tickets to get on to the last train out of Hungary, she realizes at the very end that Ilona through Bela has no intention of getting tickets for all of them, and only has thoughts of getting herself and Bela out of the country. Faced with this problem and most importantly the fact that Mila is a Jew and will face every obstacle possible, the next course of action for Natalie is to find an alternative way to either hide Mila or send her out of the country in another way.

Who is friend and who is an enemy, who will sell them out - questions of family loyalty and the heartbreak that one has to face when you think that your own sister will be your enemy are subjects that no one should have to face. 

The story reiterates the suffering faced by families in Europe during this period and the stunning fact that very few people outside did anything to help. It is true that some people did more than their fair share of trying to help at least some people but you always felt that more could have been done. 

A story of love of different kinds - romantic as well as family love. Also a story of history of a time which must be documented well just to make sure that it does not get repeated. 

I got this free on an Amazon download and am so glad I did. Not very often that a historical fiction novel comes up free on Amazon!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mailbox Monday/It's Monday! What are you reading?

Just  a couple of books, but all very good.

I was a tad disappointed with the last read. Hoping this one will live upto my expectations.

Hawthorne Author Sarah Ballance

On several blogs and a free download on Amazon. Not my usual genre but I am trying to branch out!

Love in a Time of War

This is going to be good. Romance and history. Also a period I like very much. Another free Amazon download.

The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee

Four friends growing up in the best jalapeno area in the country! Amazon download.


Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Reading now and enjoying every minute of it.

The Towers of Tuscany

Medieval Italy, meticulously detailed historical settings, a very strong woman. What more could one ask for?

The New Year has dawned today. A time for reflection as well on an year gone by and a new one to follow. Also absolute freedom - four days holiday!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Far In The Wilds by Deanna Raybourn

My readings of this author have been limited to the mystery/murders set in England. This was a different kind of read. 

Set in WW1 era in Kenya we have Ryder who has come to Africa and finding the healing he needs after the devastation and killings that he endured during the war. He is a kind of man Friday and also acts as a guide when the opportunity comes. We also have Jude friends of Ryder who was also best mate with her husband who has disappeared and is now presumed dead.

Jude and Ryder are sent to Nairobi for a Christmas celebration mainly to get Jude out of a rut into which she has fallen and which she has no intention of getting out. Friends decide the time is now and almost force Jude out to this party.  They meet with minor royalty whose one ambition is to snare a leopard - big game of some kind - and his lady friend who has been eyeing Ryder from the word go. Events on this safari change the lives of all the characters and this is what makes the story so interesting.

The story continues with the next book A Spear of Summer Grass which I have not been able to get. Looking forward to that as Ryder and Jude along with the other characters are ones I do not want to miss.

History along with a touch of romance made this a good one for me.

Today is the day prior to the Singhalese and Hindu New Year. At 6 am normally our lane is full of vehicles - children leaving for school or people going somewhere - its pin-drop silence today. Not a single vehicle to be even seen. Practically everyone has gone to their ancestral villages and the neighbourhood is so very quiet.  This will be the scene till everyone gets back. With Monday and Tuesday holidays its going to be a very quiet week.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Far Horizons - Book One of The Emigrants Triology - Kate Hewitt

Far Horizons

The story is based on a true premise of the author's ancestors. I was drawn to the book because of this because I invariably find such stories to be of much human interest. This did not disappoint.

Starting from the very harsh climate and living of Scotland where all farmers are under the crushing heel of a laird - someone who is only interested in money in this case and not about the needs of the people who work for him to the freer life to be found in Canada where the next stage of the story is set.

People who go from the familiar to the unknown and a harsh unknown are to be admired. It is not for the faint hearted and our story is like this. Allan proposes to Harriet the love of his life just hours before he is due to sail. However due to pressure from his father, he rescinds the proposal as he thinks it would be unfair to bind Harriet to a future which is uncertain. To make matters more complicated Allan returns all Harriet's letters leaving Harriet doubtful of his actual intentions.

Move to Nova Scotia and Allan and his family trying to make a new life for themselves. Back in Scotland Harriet faces more hardship with the illness of her father, the loss of their home via manipulation of the owner and the foolishness of her 13 year old brother and a new love interest. The effect of a long distance relationship which totally depends on only letters coming via ship once or twice a year and sometimes not at all is felt here.

Set in 1819  a historical romance with very good descriptions of both Scotland and Canada at the time one is happy however with the ending! I would have hated it to have ended any other way.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

In the Shadows by Susan Finlay

Maurelle Dupre is a stranger in a small knit, insular village in France. That alone is enough to draw attention to oneself where everyone knows not just everyone but knows their intimate business as well. 

Maurelle is on the run from the police in England. Strange that she should run because she has not been convicted of an offence and by running she makes herself look the guilty party. There is a police force looking out for her in England and eventually the gendarme in France are also looking out for her.

The story involves a former US cop and his colleagues. The cop is attracted to Maurelle when he does meet up with her and since he is a former cop (who also writes detective/mystery stories for a living now) he feels that the mystery of Maurelle's past is one that he should try to clear. The story of Maurelle who was an English teacher and a good teacher at that - unfortunately a never do well Jared fell in love with her and then was eventually found murdered. Jared spread stories about Maurelle when she turned him down and the whole community felt that there was no smoke without fire and that the teacher had encouraged the boy in his infatuation with her. When she disappeared after his murder most people felt that Maurelle was at fault here.

The unravelling of the story from the small village in France back to England where the murder took place forms the crux of the story. Many interesting characters especially the two elderly grandmothers, another love interest Simone and the murdered boy's family.

The story in itself was a good one but it did not sustain my interest. I felt at times that it was a bit disjointed. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mailbox Monday/It's Monday! What are you reading?

My mailbox is very full this week only because of the generosity of one of my fellow bloggers who sent me a parcel of books. Thank you Jackie of  Farmlane Books

The list of books I received are


Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam - about a child molester. This is not going to be an easy read.


Described as exciting writing, good plot and characterization. What more does one want?

Burial Rites

There has been enough written about this book and the fact that I got to it so soon delights me!

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel

Set in Chechnya a story of a small boy watching his father being abducted. A story that is now commonplace right around the world. I've not read a book set in this part of the world so this interests me.

The Language of Flowers

About flowers and one woman's love for them. Enough said.

Apart from the above have a whole stack of reads on my Kindle! I bless my brother everytime I start reading one on it. With Amazon having so many good reads (and free as well) it tides me over till I find my next stack of reads.


Set in a cave ridden part of France we have a young woman who seems a mystery. Nothing is what it seems. Just started on this one.

Right now we are in the middle of getting ready for the Singhalese New Year. Today was the final day of work at one of our properties - we grow cinnamon and tea there. It is always a very satisfying end of the year celebration with one year behind us and the new one looming over the horizon. It is also a time of year when trees are in full bloom which makes villages look extraordinarily pretty.

This is one of the trees known as the ehela tree. I just learnt that it is the national tree of Thailand. It blooms spectacularly during the month of April in Sri Lanka. A row of these trees is an amazing sight.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindelll

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

1924 in New York. The world is changing rapidly and particularly for women the changes are tremendous. There is a great amount of freedom in the air, particularly freedom of choice and many young women are grabbing the opportunity with both hands.

Our Rose is an orphan brought up by nuns and she does understand the uncertainties of life and position. You could be up or down in an instant and she tries not to forget this.  Thrust into modern life she tries hard not to be swayed by present day thinking but succumbs eventually. Rose works at a modest job - a typist for the local police precinct. A job which provides her income, modest but somewhat boring. Enter Odalie - it is she who makes us aware realize that however much we do not like to admit it, economics and the privileges it brings in its wake are so different to someone born without it. Money is so important and it provides some people with an aura of power, choice and privilege which can be fascinating for someone born without.

It is only after Rose accepts Odalie's offer to move in with her and when she does she is dazzled so much by the comfortable lifestyle and the luxury that accompanies it, that only later does she realize or even stop to think why someone who is obviously so comfortable, take such a mediocre job in a police station.  

More than this would take away the unusual ending. Unusual read and good for a debut novel. Again a recommendation from Cornflower Books.