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Monday, May 30, 2011

Mailbox Monday - 30th May 2011

Mailbox Monday is a meme sponsored by Marcia of The Printed Page. It is presently on tour and for the month of May is being sponsored by Mari of Mari Reads.

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.

I am in Australia so I thought I'd give Aussie authors a fair go and try this one out. I will never be able to get this back at home so thought I should read some.

Christopher Fowler's name has come up several times on Sakura's blog. I follow this blog religiously! I thought I'd give it a try.

I always like to read (for me) unknown South Asian authors. This will also go towards my reading for the South Asian challenge conducted by S. Krishna.

What was in your Mailbox this week?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review - Diane Chamberlain's THE LIES WE TOLD

I have no internet access at home so blogging is only limited to when I come into the library. Hopefully this will be a temporary thing.

I wanted a light read over the weekend and got this book when I was looking for another title by the same author.

Maya and Rebecca 14 and 18 respectively lost their parents in a horrific shooting where both were witnesses to the event. Twenty years later Maya is married to Adam and Rebecca is ensconced in her career. The scars of that incident have left their toll and both suffer from it. Maya, Adam and Rebecca are all doctors and this is the thread that binds them through the story. Maya and Adam are trying to have a baby and after three miscarriages Maya and Adam are desolate. Rebecca working for a disaster relief organization thrives on the nerve edge work she does while at the same time looking for love and still not finding it.

The story is set against a disaster of hurricanes and floods - a makeshift camp where the total idea is to help as many as possible effected. Maya and Rebecca despite being sisters are like chalk and cheese. Maya the timid one and Rebecca the dashing, brave one. Adam on the sideline is adventurous but held back because of Maya's inherent quietness.

The author deals with issues of family ties and feelings and how one never can say that you do know a person very well even members of one's own family! There are always secrets that are not told and this was part of the story. A very enjoyable read and an author I will go back to.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Review - Jenn Ashworth A KIND OF INTIMACY

I first read about this book on Cornflower Books and I was intrigued. The book was definitely a fascinating read from start to finish. It was also a strange book.

Annie has "different " perceptions of herself. She genuinely does not see herself the way others would. Annie Fairhurst opens the scene with her packing her belongings and moving to a new house. The first chapter itself will indicate that things are not what they seem. She massacres a sofa as it was the one on which she sat whilst her husband proposed to her. After doing this she calmly moves on.

Moving into her new house Annie decides on improving herself with a list of self help books and also very importantly for Annie getting to know her neighbours. Upto now you know that Annie is off center a bit, but you put it down to being eccentric. But very very soon you realize that we are dealing with someone here who has gone beyond eccentricity into a world of make believe, delusions and worse a pathological liar. One who can twist her own ideas and views into beliefs beyond imagination.

This is one book which draws you in. You do want to know what Annie is going to do next and you also know that it is going to be worse than the last and that all these little incidents are going to be drawn together into an explosion of the worst kind.

A debut novel of absolute black humor and a lot of satire. Very enjoyable.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


My second read of Sue Gee - very different from Reading in Bed. Set in 1860 we have Richard taking up his first position as a young curate in this village of Herefordshire. His father himself had been a vicar and Richard is very keen to follow his father's footsteps in the best manner possible. But, Richard falls in love unfortunately with the vicar's wife. He falls in love the first moment he sees her and it is reciprocated and therein lies the problem.

The book at a much slower pace than expected somehow felt for me suitable for the time, the story told and the pace of life at that moment. Everything fell in slow motion as it were and you knew you were being led to a climax and a downfall from the word go. I felt the sense of doom surrounding Richard and Susannah even at times of much joy and merriment like at the first wedding which Richard officiated at. The moment Richard started writing in his journal his feelings for Susannah I wanted to cry out and tell him no no - do not write it down. This is going to be your downfall. I always seemed to be holding my breath at every chapter as I felt that this peaceful part of the book is going to come to an end and all hell is going to break loose. There seemed to always be a strong contrast of feeling at every turn - light and dark, happiness and sorrow - this was throughout the story.

The story is very sensitively told, no brashness about it at all. I loved the descriptiveness of the countryside first in winter which was bitter and harsh, and then in the spring with all its beauty.
For me maybe since I live in the tropics, this description of seasons is very evocative and interesting specially as we do not have distinct seasons!

I am so glad that I found this author and also liked the contrasts between the two books I read.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This is my second try at this post. The first got swallowed by Blogger.

Lexi is someone who has a lot going against her. For years in foster care abandoned by her mother who is a drug addict Lexi finally seems to find light at the end of a tunnel in the form of a long lost Aunt who gives her a stable home. Fast forward a decade and Lexi has found a niche, a best friend, a boyfriend who is the best friends twin brother and a family who kinds of takes her in and makes her feel at home. Just one slip, one mistake and everything is ruined for Lexi and everyone around her.

Hannah handles sensitive topics in this book - teens, drinking and driving, teen pregnancies and these are well handled. The difficult part to handle was the character of Jude - an overbearing, dominant mother who insidiously gets her entire family to dance to her tune. This becomes worse after the incident and you see the complete disintegration of a family - a lovely, warm family becoming dysfunctional, brittle and withdrawn. How one person can influence so many was horrible.

This was my first read of Kristin Hannah and it was not a comfortable one. On the other hand books are not always there for us to be totally comfortable. It is also there for us to think for ourselves how maybe we would do something different in similar circumstances. I hope I took a lesson from this never to behave the way Jude does!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review of Linda Francis Lee's EMILY AND EINSTEIN

This was another surprising, quirky read. Of course not unreal as who are we to say that this is real and that is not. At the beginning I thought it would be a story of a couple, husband dies unexpectedly in an accident and of course there is the wicked mother in law and so forth. But no it does not even begin like this.

The trouble with this review is that the moment you say very much you spoil the whole novel for everyone else. Lets say it is a chance of a second chance, sometimes a thing we do not always get to right a wrong, to set things straight. Also, when you do get that second chance you should grab it right away as there may not be a third one.

A story set in the world of publishing for Emily and how things turn out to be manageable and life turns out to be more positive than it did at the beginning.

It is a totally unexpected, strange way how life turns out for Emily after her husband's death. I was not totally put off by it - let us just say cultural influences from birth and keep it at that. I think I have been mysterious enough for now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Review - Sarah Winman's WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT

Two things drew me to this book - one it was a review on Savidge Reads and second the quirky title. I just could not imagine the connection and wasn't it a surprise when I finally did get to read it.

In this debut novel, Elly our chief spokesman almost is surrounded by her sort of hippy parents, happy go lucky who have their children's best interests at heart, her friend Jenny Penny who smells of chips and is different, an aging tap dancer also quirky and queer, an Aunt who is a film producer/film star, and of course a pet rabbit called God. The much bigger than life figure in Elly's life and who remains a constant forever and forever is her brother Joe.

Cross continents moving from the States to rural Cornwall to New York once again and back again to the safety of home in Cornwall this is a childhood story moving into adulthood spanning four decades and the ties that bind us. Childhood friendships, sibling love over ride everything else and these will continue to the end. The description of this book that it is a book about love in all its forms is quite true. Deep affection and love pervade the whole story and it makes for a very very good book.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mailbox Monday 22nd May 2011

I missed last weeks mailbox though I did keep an eye on what was posted. Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia from The Printed Page which is presently on tour and being sponsored for May by Mari Reads.

All books are courtesy of the library in Melbourne where I am at present (and desperately trying to read as many books as possible for the month I am here). All books were from reviews of the books from blogs which I admire.

The first one (I also liked the quirky title). This was from Savidge Reads.

This was one on several blogs.

This came from Cornflower Books and I loved the first Sue Gee I read (Reading in Bed - review done) so this follows.

Have a good week everyone from chilly Melbourne!


I like books with an Irish background and this is my first read of this author. I understand there is a whole series of books with Father Tim so am looking forward to the next!

The Irish seem very family conscious, very gregarious and also very insular! (almost Asian I think!!). The story starts with Cynthia and Tim's sojourn in Ireland - a holiday much looked forward to and planned with a careful itinerary and planned excursions. It all goes up though with a series of adventures or rather misadventures - Cynthia twisting her ankle as a result of

a rogue jumping out of her from a cupboard, a theft of a valuable painting from the house, and general mayhem including family secrets that the two somehow get embroiled in as if they were part of the family themselves.

What captures your interest in this book is the easy going but profound attitude that Tim shares with others about God and his ability to calm and counsel without seeming to do so. The extent to which human beings will hide secrets even to their detriment and the need to confess seems equally strong. The little bits of information of Mitford was nice for me as I have not read any of the other books but it is the descriptiveness of Ireland and the Irish that held me in thrall.

A very nice read for a Sunday afternoon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Review - Sarah Moss's NIGHT WAKING

I read about this book on Cornflower Books. This was not an easy book to get into but once I did get in after about 40 pages I couldn't put it down and read through the night almost and finished it in one go.

Anna and Giles parents of two children - two exhausting children by the way - are on an island with Giles monitoring puffins and Anna trying to finish a book. Anna is exhausted by just looking after two hyperactive kids, solitude of being on an island, no getting away from anyone or anything and the fact that her husband wants to be carbon conscious, eco conscious, green conscious if there is a word like that but does not want to lift a finger to help her bring up these children. I felt for Anna so very much - she would kill for an hour of sleep but there does not seem to be an end in sight. The tyranny of very small children is repetitive and you could well understand Anna's frustration and rebelliousness despite her knowing that there is no way out for her (just yet).

There is a mystery to solve, a dead baby from times past, an arrival of a family with an anorexic daughter and an ambitious mother in the form of a holiday let. The fact that Anna is in the midst of research into Victorian childhood and the rise of institutions seems slightly ironic given the state of affairs in this household. Anna's daily chore of making bread from scratch despite her dislike of it just because Giles wishes it to be so, makes one wonder whether she had no mind of her own over this and so many other niggling, irritating details. There does seem to be some point where you hope that Anna will just say no to the huge list of chores which seem superfluous when you can so easily have an alternative and easier way of doing things.

All the men in the novel from the littlest one Moth to Raph to Giles are seen as tyrants - feudal almost where Anna does not seem to be in any better position of a woman from centuries past.

I liked the book though I disliked Giles intensely. I was in turns cheering Anna on and then feeling hopeless along with her. I also wanted to shake not Moth who was a toddler but Raph with his incessant questions (the boy needs help fast!) on engineering, computers, the economy and ecology in turn.

A difficult book to read but a good one.

Book blog hop - 20/5 to 23/5

The meme sponsored by Jennifer at gives us an opportunity to meet up with like minded bloggers and readers and gives you an insight into books which may be new to you.

This weeks question :

If you were given one chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book) which book would it be from and what would that place be?

A tough one to answer. I like so many real places in books that I dont think I need a fictional world at all. Provence, Tuscany, Varanasi all are top favourites!

Please visit Jennifer's blog and see what interests you. There are so many blogs linked to this meme that you will make new friends. You will also like the surprising answers thrown up by this question!

Review Madhur Jaffrey's CLIMBING THE MANGO TREES - A memoir of a childhood in India

Madhur Jaffrey is my icon for Indian cooking and I loved the friendly, easy going style adapted in her book which was a huge tome of receipes from all over India. Reading her receipes was not just for the idea of food, it also gave one an insight into the area of India which the food represented along with small snippets of information which were very interesting. So when I saw this memoir of her childhood in India, I grabbed the book.

The book covering her life in India takes us back to an era of pre Independence as well as post Independence in India. The turmoil of Partition leading to the death of a million people, the destruction of home and property and the disruption of thousands of lives which would never be the same again is also shown in this book. How administrative officials just drew a map dividing a country without thought of anything other than convenience and how people had no option but to just go with it are simply unimaginable. I think if you do this today, there would be open revolt.

The story is almost idyllic because Madhur Jaffrey came from a privileged background. There was obvious wealth, not flaunted but enjoyed. I liked the huge supporting cast almost of an extended family going from grandparents to uncles, aunts and cousins - true in these days of personal space and privacy this may be abhorent to some but there were plenty of advantages as well. Children grew up with a lot of love and kindness around them with playmates aplenty and none of the fears that we would have today about security, safety and whether we would allow the same to our children.

The fact that I personally would be very cautious about sending my very young children unsupervised amongst a huge clan of family is sad but Madhur Jaffrey and her cousins all have come out of this unscathed and unharmed. Maybe it was the period in which they lived that children were considered sacred and to be nurtured by all. Linking all the memories is a saga of food and its preparation, all meticulously done and all done to a set method done by generations past.

This was a nostalgic read, a going back in time read which was very nice (though Sri Lanka is so close to India geographically we never had the extended family that obviously existed in India as close as the 1930's). The importance of family ties, the importance of tradition and food particularly is pronounced throughout the memoir and the receipes at the end are scrumptious.

This is part of reading for the South Asia Challenge 2011 hosted by S. Krishna.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review - Sue Gee's READING IN BED

Cornflower Books had a review on a book by this author (Last Fling) and I liked the review very much. I was not able to get that book but got this one instead.

Dido and Georgia two sixty year olds have had a lifetime of friendship between them. Both ladies seem to have led very uncomplicated lives with just a few obstacles in their path - pleasant, easy going partners, children apiece, lovely evening entertainment and dinners amongst friends and very nice holidays abroad all in a very convivial environment. Our first encounter with the pair is after a festival - one going back to her husband Jeffrey and York and the other back to an empty house since Henry the fourth in the pair has died a year ago. This is the only dissident note that creeps in and the grief left behind by his death pervades the entire book.

Georgia still bereft tries to get to grips with her life as best as she could. Her daughter Chloe battling her own grief plus the fact that she has just begun to realize that her thirty first birthday has come and gone and that she is still single and that the single life does not appeal as much as it did a couple of years ago. The mocked married state seems very enviable now with its husband and children.

Dido on the other hand complacent with her husband and her two children is facing the bombshell of her life. Jeffrey the quirky, bicycle riding professor is being charged with sexual harassment by a student of his and Dido is having periodic black outs finally diagnosed as a brain tumor.

The story so beautifully told by this author delves into the two women's lives - from books and book readings and book clubs so integral to their lives, to the fact of mortality and how it does appear in everyone's life at some stage or the other and of course unfaithfulness and how deeply it effects one.

I loved the style of writing in this book - so down to earth and at the same time so philosophical. I do hope I will be able to get to the other books by this author.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review - I'd know you anywhere by Laura Lippman

Eliza is married to Peter two children, a stay at home mother who enjoys being a housewife and mother. Go back twenty years where Eliza known as Elizabeth then was abducted and held for five weeks by a manipulative man who ultimately raped her and then surprisingly let her go. The one who got away almost as it were as he did murder all the other girls he abducted.

Now Walter is on death row with just weeks to go for his execution and he is trying to use everything he can including Eliza to get a stay order on this execution. Even after twenty years Walter does know how to manipulate people very well and counts on Eliza's innate goodness to get his own way.

The book confronts one with many questions. Are our memories always reliable - do we only try to remember what we want to remember. I tend to go with this as everyone does not like to remember the niggling, painful bits which we prefer to store away as if it is not there. Secondly, how does one get over such a huge stumbling block and get on with our life the way Eliza has done. She is to a great deal very comfortable in her situation as a wife and mother - as a daughter to her parents, as a sister to Vonnie who dominates and resents her in turn and yet Eliza remains above it all. Is this possible?

The story is not an unusual one but it is the handling of the story by this author that takes it out of the ordinary. One thing I did learn from the book is that not taking a decision is also an option and also a kind of decision in itself. You do not always have to choose and decide. You can also just let it be.

This was my first read in Melbourne. I tend to go crazy in the library when I see all the books available but this time I am pacing myself so that I also read and enjoy the books.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two short reviews

These are going to be my last of the Morland series for a month as the rest will have to wait for my return. Both reviews are short ones since I am still trying to pack stuff to take. Just by the way, no Sri Lankan can ever travel without masses of luggage, always overweight and taking everything under the sun! I am no different. Despite stringent laws in Australia over import of so many items, we still manage to pack a good deal of things. As a result till I clear Customs I am always uneasy regarding the extra baggage! Apart from cashewnuts devilled at home (fried cashews with salt and chilli powder) there are heaps of curry powders to be taken all sealed, labelled and hopefully passing muster at Customs!

The Flood Tide - the time is 1772 and a period of peace in England under George III. However it also marks the beginning of the American War of Independence and the American cousins of the Morland clan are upto their necks in it. We also have an offshoot of the family in Paris having a gala time irrespective of troubles elsewhere. The Morland family under the strong guidance of Jemima and her husband Allen are on a very good path.

It is 1501 - the beginning of Henry VIII and the turbulence he will bring to the entire country. Needless to say the amorous nature of Henry VIII and his permanent look out for a wife who will produce the elusive son and heir is very much part of this story. How Nannette part of the Morland clan starts life at Court with Anne Boleyn and then eventually moves on to the court of Katharine and the tumultuous times they lived in are very much part of this book.

I never get tired of reading about the Tudors - and this book details the very beginning of the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth before rivalry for the crown sours the relationship. It also shows the manner in which Elizabeth was brought up which is a period I was not very familiar with. Both Princesses did not have much to be happy about - at times both declared illegitimate, unrecognized and without even royal patronage to provide a decent education and even clothes. A facet of their lives which was very sad.

On another note, I am so glad that my meme which disappeared into thin air reappeared. It was a lovely meme sponsored by Thomas from Stuck in a Book which I followed.

Friday, May 13, 2011

One book, two book post

My lovely post following Stuck in a Book is gone! Swallowed by blogger!

so sad!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

One book, two book, three book, Four and Five!!!!

This meme from Stuck in a Book is a fun one!!!!

1) The book I am currently reading!

Set in 1501 Henry VIII and the turmoil of his reign is just beginning.

2) The last book I finished

This was a long read but a very interesting one. This time frame pre WWI is one I like to

3) The next book I want to read

Miss. Buncle's Book by D E Stevenson. (the end papers are wonderful!)

The book has such fun reviews all over the blogs. This is one I am hoping the Carnegie library will have. Am going to Melbourne on Monday and just waiting to hit the library there.

4) The last book I bought -

for the princely equivalent of just over one dollar!

5) The last book I was given - The Group by Mary McCarthy - this was a win from Rachel who was kind enough to send two books!!!!

Loved doing this meme!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review - Winifred Holtby 's SOUTH RIDING

The book was a gift from Thomas of My Porch and I am so appreciative that he took the trouble to read my posts which whine on and off about the lack of English print books in Sri Lanka. Thank you ever so much for this book Thomas.

The cast of characters set out at the very beginning of the book could be a bit daunting for anyone - till one realizes that there are just a few predominant characters and the others are sort of supporting actors. It was an unusual introduction to a story as they are all listed.

Sarah Burton just 39 years old, with a burning ambition regarding the education of girls arrives in South Riding back to her roots as headmistress of the school. She herself is from humble beginnings (a blacksmith's daughter) and this is her first setback. There are those in the upper classes of South Riding who never forget this nor will they allow her to forget it.

The details of local government are meticulously described in the book as some of the principal characters are alderman or council members. They are striving in whatever way possible amidst a financial crisis to try to come to grips with poverty and unemployment and provide some form of benefit to those who deserve it the most. Into this comes Sarah fighting for better buildings, for more facilities for her girls and at every turn she is obstructed by Councillor Carne.

At times the reader will feel that Sarah Burton will be too overwhelmed by the job she has taken in hand and will just up and go but Sarah is made of sterner stuff - she is determined that someone will get educated in South Riding and her emphasis is on someone who may otherwise be neglected due to social stigma, or poverty or just neglect. The story of Sarah Burton mixed with a bit of romance in the form of Robert Carne (who incidentally is the only one on the Board of Governors of the school who opposed Sarah's appointment) just reiterates the hackneyed idea that opposites do attract. One is heartbroken along with Sarah when her blossoming romance is dashed but that would be a spoiler.

The book is a big one of 492 pages in an font which was passable! The book though set in another time would be easily understood by anyone today. The feelings of love and passion, the frustration of unrequited love, the poverty, and the dignity of a poor person not wanting to beg and the wanting to maintain standards despite the lack of money are features in all levels of society even today. That has not changed.

I enjoyed the book though I took a longer time to finish it as it needed slower reading on my part to appreciate the nuances of the story.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review - Cynthia Harrod Eagles - THE DREAM KINGDOM

Like another blogger, I am wondering what I am going to do when I get to the end of this series and end it will come. I have around twelve more of the books to read and review and then I am going to miss it like crazy.

This is Edwardian England. 1908 the beginning of a new age and a new century but with plenty of old world customs and style - Jessie and Violet make a sparkling debut. The consequences are not quite what is expected but both will settle for what they can get. Women of this age and of this strata in society do not think about anything other than making an advantageous marriage and I was disappointed that Venetia (Violet's mother) who was so progressive where her own career was concerned took the same view of disposing of Violet to the first eligible man who came her way.

Each of the books tend to deal with a couple of characters and the others are a sort of supporting cast for them. In addition there is sometimes a very strong theme as it were in the book. This was one of those which emphasized the Suffragette movement - the enormous effort put in by a few women to obtain the franchise for all, the sacrifice and humiliation, the imprisonment and even abuse by the police was an eye opener for someone who got the franchise on a platter.

The development of railroads and the beginning of Aviation and the skepticism which faced the initial people who ventured into this new business - and the amount of opposition people had to face to progress with the development of airplanes is surprising. I suppose anything new has to be opposed before it could be accepted.

Apart from Anne and her involvement in the Suffragette movement, the other contrast was the young lives of Jessie and Violet - best friends till marriage and how their lives developed in two completely different ways - one baffling the other with its emptiness and being seemingly barren of affection and love, whilst for the other the position of glamor and aristocracy seemed more important than anything else.

The period was beautifully depicted - the position of the time being on the eve almost of the First World War - is very pronounced. Most people seem aware that change is in the air, but lots of people in society seem oblivious as to what is to come.

As usual a beautifully written novel.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a meme which originated from Marcia of The Printed Page. It is presently on tour and this month's sponsor is Mari Reads. It is very good reading to visit the blogs which link up for this meme as they are so varied and interesting as well as from giving you suggestions for books and of course making one green with envy!

My mailbox for this week is only those from the Morland dynasty by Cynthia Harrod Eagles. Sadly, they are the last of the lot!!! I still have quite a few to get through as well.

On another note, on Sunday I will be leaving for Melbourne and apart from seeing my children, I am looking forward to my library in Carnegie! I have so many recommendations of books to read that I doubt I will get through the lot but it should make a good dent in my reading lists (I hope).

Have a good week everyone.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Review - Elizabeth von Arnim's ELIZABETH AND HER GERMAN GARDEN

The book I received was a win from Martha. A very plain cover and a smallish book of just over 80 pages and my pet peeve a smallish font.

I had read several reviews of books from this author and they impressed me and this author went on to my to be read list - of course with books like this it could be years before I get to it, but sometimes as luck would have it I win the most unexpected books and that of course is a godsend.

This particular story was very interesting to me personally as we just bought a country property in what we call in Sri Lanka the up country meaning a much cooler climate than the tropical, humid streets of Colombo. I felt very much at home reading the book and the writers idealistic views of her garden, not just the layout but how it will eventually look because I am falling into the same category of endlessly dreaming of how my garden is going to eventually look.

Back to the story - it is actually a memoir set in a period of April to May and it is not a diary indicating strictly what happens on that date but just an indication of how life is almost drifting by in the most pleasant way. The story set in Germany deals with a house (very little of household matters and only on the periphery as it were) but mainly the garden and how Elizabeth would like to garden, how she would like it to eventually look, and most importantly the peace and tranquility that she gets from just being in the garden.

The funny part of the book was that Elizabeth did not get down and dirty in her garden. It was not the done thing for ladies of her station to do anything like digging, manuring and planting and everything had to be only instructed and supervised with the result that there was a lot of disappointments when things were not done well.

Descriptions of spring and summer - the beginning of the planting season, and how Elizabeth envisioned her garden - always positive, always beautiful was uplifting. There is also a beautiful description of the frozen winter and even at this time of the year Elizabeth's description of the garden and the forest beyond (14 miles of pine forest must be something very vivid) is beautifully told in the story.

The easy going pace of Elizabeth's life - her love for her children but not a clingy mother - she was quite dispassionate about each child which was honest and funny at the same time, her relationship with people of her little village, and her easy going relationship with her husband described always as The Master of Wrath made for a light read.

Enjoyed this book.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Blogger Hop 6th May to 9th May

This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

The meme is sponsored by Jennifer at

"Which book blogger would you most like to meet in real life?"

Tough one to answer - having wanted to meet quite a few. Tania from Backwards in High Heels, Simon from Savidge Reads and Thomas of My Porch.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Review - Cynthia Harrod Eagles - THE RESTLESS SEA

Each book in the series though linked through the Morland dynasty can very well stand alone. The book will emphasize one or two characters who are the major stake holders in the book with a supplementary cast of actors as it were.

This particular book deals with the period 1910 onwards - where England and Europe though aware of the growing Nazi menace were not aware of the rapidity with which the war would come upon them. Life continued apace of course with huge strides in several fields. The development of Aviation was one - where flyers as pilots were called were considered eccentric and by the end of this book, aviation was here to stay. Towards the end of this book, the war seems to loom very close and conscription is spoken about and requisition particularly in the Morland context of their beloved horses.

The biggest story in this book for me was the suffragette movement and the struggle of women in England - from Mrs. Pankhurt to Anne Farradine to everyone big and small who fought, and indeed died in the process of trying to get the vote for women. This part of the story affected me very much because here in Sri Lanka we women did nothing, and still got the vote handed to us on a platter. The struggle through which all categories of women went through to fight the unfair attitude of the ruling aristocracy and the government who considered it just not right that women should not only have the franchise but also for fair wages which was even worse in my opinion. The Cat and Mouse Act which referred to the arbitrary persecution and imprisonment of women who then went on a hunger fast and who were then quickly released in case they died in prison and within ten to fourteen days were then again taken into custody where they continued their struggle is highlighted in this book.

It was horrifying to read about police brutality as somehow in my naivety I never thought about British police and such acts. I thought these were confined to our part of the world only! It was difficult to visualize this particularly in England of that time. It was an eye opener.

The story of the Titanic - from the inception of its design to the actual voyage is very much part of this story and the Morland connection of Teddy Morland who supplied all the linens for the liner and who made the maiden voyage along with his niece Lizza and Ashley and their family who were going to America in search of a new life is very much part of the story. The story of the Titanic hashed and rehashed so many times over, gets an absolutely new twist in the story but that would be a spoiler.

Unlike the other books the story of the Titanic and the Cat and Mouse Act dominate the story - of course with people from the Morland clan.

As usual an extremely enjoyable read. I am going to be sorry when I come to the end of all the books.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Review - Tana French's THE LIKENESS

This was a win from Martha and I loved the book. My only complaint is the font. It was tiny and I do wonder why publishers do not think about the ease of reading!!! Is there anyone to complain to?

I did not know that this was a sequel so I did not w hinge about the lack of Rob (which most people have done). I liked Cassie and the superb role she played in this book. It was audacious, difficult and took a great deal of good acting to carry it out to the end.

Lexie is dead stabbed to death by whom? she is also the carbon copy of Cassie (physically) and how to unravel the mystery is the work of Sam and Frank from the Murder Squad. How they make out that Lexie is alive and recuperating and then how they return her to the house is a marvel.

The story is one of so many ghosts - the several ghosts of Lexie who is haunting the house despite her being sort of alive through Cassie, the ghost of the house itself which has a tortured tale in the village and where hate and revenge for so called past wrong doings can be carried on for decades and where one has to pinch oneself to think - yes this is Ireland in the 21st century not in the 19th century.

The life of Cassie in the house is at times idyllic to the extent that Cassie forgets that she is basically an imposter. The closeness and ties that bind five strangers seem difficult to understand and how they keep all outsiders out and their little world intact is also difficult to fathom.

The book was a big one 560 pages, the font was horrible but it was a gorgeous read. Full marks on this one and I am getting back to Tana French definitely.

Mailbox Monday - 2nd May 2011

Mailbox Monday is on tour - the original host was Marcia of The Printed Page. This month's host is Mari Reads. The books thrown up from the blogs are so interesting because you do find what you like in your own genre and then the wanting to read it begins!!! makes for interesting times.

This weeks Mailbox was a bit late as I went out of Colombo and have just returned home. Today is a holiday as May Day fell on a Sunday!!! so glad for these additional days.

Read her books before and who wouldn't want to read something as titillating as this.
I was looking for Iris Murdoch for simply ages. This just popped up and though its been around a while I still liked the title! I think its the convent educated part of me still lingering on.

Have a good week everyone.