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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George


The last Elizabeth George I read disappointed me. I felt sort of let down. Came to this one with a bit of trepidation and was hoping against hope that I'd love it. So glad I got over the initial hesitation and picked this up.

As someone said in a review this author likes dysfunctional families. They are definitely not what they seem though on the surface everything seems fine. I thought that was a bit harsh because I think all families have their eccentricities and quirks which everyone has got used to - to the point that they are not quirks or eccentricities to them!

We have an accident - a boating accident on the wharf itself and the head of the family somehow feels that it is not quite an accident despite very competent coroners ruling it as one. Inspector Lynley is called in but going over the head of his superintendent leaving her with no idea of what he is upto. Does not make him very popular with his boss this one. Lynley's hands are tied as the orders come right from the top, to go in sort of incognito as it were, no Havers at hand no no one to help out with the plodding work of detection. Lynley is not comfortable with the situation but he ropes in his friends Simon and Deborah to help.

In Cumbria each detective seems to be going on a separate path. Deborah is having to deal with particular demons of her own and this blinds her to the facts in front of her and sends her not only haring off in different directions but also causes in turn the death of someone which could have been easily avoided. Lynley himself seems perturbed by the turn of events as the family that called him in to investigate has not been truthful with him from the start (they never are). Everyone is covering up family secrets and no one wants to be the one to unravel family skeletons. 

The plot is twisty and complicated. The characters are all interesting because they are so varied and unexpected.  The detectives are still the suave Lynley, the bumbling but efficient (paradox if ever there was one) Havers and the interfering but good intention ed Deborah. I personally wanted to wring Deborah's neck but it is not to be. She will be there in the next book I know!

I have been reading a fair amount of books set in the English countryside of different periods and this was a change from that. True its still England but being a murder/mystery added to the change. 

Today is a public holiday and we are being lazy. For me it is more reading!

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant #5)

I have had this author on my TBR list for years. Never found a book upto now. I now have this site called Open Library and they have all the books I have been looking for!!! I just download and away I go. I tried to read this on audio but I found the sameness of tone throughout the reading monotonous and switched it off. 

A detective story with historical fiction in full overload. I've not come across the mix of genres before and I doubt anyone could do it more justice than this author. 

Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is laid up after an accident (after ignominiously falling down a hole in pursuit of a robber). He is laid up. He is not a good patient either. To assuage the boredom that is heavy on him, he takes on the very cold case of Richard III. The wicked uncle who did away with his two innocent nephews. 

From a hospital bed with nothing other than voluminous books on history (from different angles of course) he pieces together the story of the much maligned Richard III. You (definitely myself) are convinced that Richard was innocent of many of the heinous crimes attributed to him. By a series of deductions and methodology of timing of events Allan is able to put together a totally different picture which would send all history books into a tailspin.

How much is historically accurate I wouldn't know but the book kept me so engrossed that I had to finish it in one sitting. All the work scheduled for this morning has gone by the way!

For anyone with a love of English history coupled with detective skills this is the book for you. Now that I have Open Library at my beck and call every book seems a possibility. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden

The Greengage Summer


I have been fascinated by this author. The books I have read upto now are based in British India just at the time the British were planning to leave India. They are so full of detail and so descriptive of a way of  life which is now gone forever.

This had a different setting. The narrator here is just thirteen and a very simple innocent thirteen. The setting is post WWII. The place Champagne in France.  We have a family of Mother and several children intending to holiday in this hotel in Champagne. See the sites and particularly the cemeteries as the Mother wants her children to know of the sacrifices made by thousands so that they could live. The whole plan turns on its head because from the moment of arrival Mother falls seriously ill, has to be hospitalized and she is more or less out of the story altogether.

We now have Joss our eldest - who comes into her own as a young woman new to the knowledge that she can seduce and bewitch. We have Hester and Cecil the next two girls who are bewildered by the change in Joss and then the littles who are far too small to be aware of anything. We also have the only boy Willmouse who is definitely not what the average boy of the age is.  The discovering of sensuality is not totally sexual. The children brought from a stodgy English background to the earthiness of rural France. From the manner of dress for the ladies - they could not understand bare arms and necks to their first taste of Champagne, everything was an eye opener for this lot. Though the book is about children it is not a children's story. 

Apart from the Grey family we also have a mystery. The French police have been on the lookout for a swindler. The English children have provided the perfect camouflage.  With the only adult in hospital, the only available Englishman around becomes their guardian. What could be more natural? What a perfect cover up. The story also is about the maturing of the elder children - when they came to France they were very innocent and childlike. They are now aware that life is not that simple. That responsibilities have to be taken on, shared and that they must not burden their mother with everything the way they did before.

The story so descriptive of everything in daily French life, from the food to the light, from the description of the surrounding areas to even the description of the characters which make up this story, this was a good book.

Monday, April 28, 2014

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


My Mailbox has nothing very much to report. Just a few Amazon downloads.




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Reading a couple of books on the go


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The first is a murder mystery and the second is military/warfare genre. Very interesting so far.

Granddaughter left today with her parents. There is a distinct void! On another non book note the rains have started. Rather too little now. I do wish we could have heavy rains for two or three days!



Saturday, April 26, 2014

Next of Kin by Joanna Trollope


I wanted a book that I could read online while watching the cricket!!! I found another free e book site and since I've always loved Joanna Trollope once I found this one, I had to read it.

Like all her stories, this deals with human relationships of the closest kind. Mother, father, children, siblings. The most basic one because it is one we are born with and so with adulthood these relationships can disintegrate, dissolve or simply disappear. Sometimes the bonds formed by birth strengthen sometimes they do not. Trollope always makes me think of these relationships long after I've put the book away. This was no exception.

Set in a farming family we have Harry and Dilys and their two sons Robin and Joe. Each with their own farm, each very much loving the land and everything it involves. Events unravel with the death of Caro Robin's wife of cancer. Further unraveled with the totally unexpected suicide of Joe - random and seemingly without meaning so soon after Caro's death. The disintegration of the businesses along with the breakdown of the strength of the remaining family members complicated by small town gossip and attitudes adds to the story.

How families and individuals cope with the heartbreak of loss is part of this story and of course the final survival of all which is the very human part of the story.

Trollope at her entertaining best.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Burning Air by Erin Kelly

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Like most of other reviewers I do not know where to start. The book starts in the present, goes back and then ends in the present itself. When reading it it is not confusing it is the review that is a bit difficult to start!

The MacBrides are the normal family. They have always got together and gone for Bonfire Night to Devon. That has been a family tradition. This time there are several things going awry. Lydia the mother and someone who kept everyone glued together is dead after a trying bout with cancer. Sophie is trying to repair her marriage and Felix for the first time has brought a girlfriend to what is family time and things are a bit awkward.

From the beginning you do know that Kerry is not going to fit in. You really cant put your finger on it but you know that something is off. The entire smokescreen of course is elsewhere. 

Along with the MacBride family we have a parallel story of Darcy and his mother. Their long running feud with a prestigious school The Cath is acrimonious and bitter. They have focused their hatred on its Principal now retired. They will not let go. It is almost a jihad with them. 

How the two stories mesh and blend and when you begin to see the light of how the stories are evolving it is almost at the end of the tale. A book that will keep you turning the pages as you have to know what happened to the baby, what happened to everyone. And most importantly the reasoning or the madness behind it all.

My first read of this author. Not my last! Thank you Jackie for sending me this one.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Three wishes for Miss. Winthrop by Shirley Kennedy

Three Wishes for Miss Winthrop

This is the kind of book I desperately need when I have had my share of murder, psychological thrillers and general mayhem. 

There is a Lord and a governess who definitely knows her place. There is the all important mother of the Lord with the eye on the main chance and that includes a very suitable marriage with the lady of her choice. The son seemingly seems to be going along with the plan very amicably until the Governess catches his eye, makes him see the wrongness of his ways in bringing up/ignoring his three children and upsets the entire apple cart of the Granville household.

One other character which came into her own in the story was the invalid sister of the Lord who has also been kept under the thumb of the autocratic mother. She finds love and the courage to go against the mother which I found very comforting!!!

Nice read.

On a non book note, reading still erratic because I am busy doing the baby laundry and baby sitting!!! quite enjoyable but it is going to be dull post Sunday when they all leave.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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


Mailbox Monday is late all due to my little grand daughter taking all our time!!! A nice change though from the routine.

Books which came this week are


Kindle edition of this book. I like the cover as well.



Military cum history - a new genre for me so looking forward to this read.

The Cinderella Debutante


A Regency romance. I need this after all the hard work.....

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A mystery/crime book a new author for me. Just to add some mix to the dish!

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Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.



Three Wishes for Miss Winthrop


In the middle of this one. Light and frothy!





Saturday, April 19, 2014

Two Short Reviews - Born of Persuasion and 1932



1832 is not a good year for women. They are considered property of their husbands, fathers and brothers.  Julia is orphaned and finds herself in the hands of an unknown guardian whose plans are to send her to far off Scotland and more ominously it seems plans an unexpected accident and an inconvenience could be quietly forgotton.

Julia has a childhood sweetheart in Edward and she has two months to try to find him as he is missing and then to get married to avoid the empty future spreading ahead of her. Finding Edward she also finds him bitter and a vicar which is totally unexpected and completely at odds with the person she knew before. She also finds out that several people whom she trusted knew about the circumstances and manner of Edward's turn of mind but never bothered to tell her. 

Offered a way out by a shrewd dowager of finding a partner Julia finds herself as a pawn and cats paw in a game between several characters. Her father who upto now has been unknown who also turns out to be her guardian, Lord Macy a suitor for her hand, Edward her former love .  Julia is uncertain of her own heart now as she is strongly attracted to Macy and now must decide whom she would love and most importantly trust.

Lots of detail and description this was a good book.



I like spin offs from P& P - this is a really unusual one. Set in 1932, we have Mr. Bennet as an English literature professor who has just lost his job. With that he is in financial difficulty having lost the means to pay the mortgage. The only option is to go back to farming - land which his brother owns. He takes his brood (fortunately Mrs. Bennet is not given to much drama in this one) and the children and goes back.

We find our Mr. Darcy here again a land owner of vast acres, Mr. Bingley an owner of a store (I couldn't get over the "trading" part), the Misses Bingley are portrayed as his spinster aunts but still trying to rule him totally and Elizabeth, Jane and all the girls now working in whatever ways possible to eke an income.

For the first time I've read of the love of Darcy for Elizabeth but for Elizabeth the acceptance of Darcy is as a marriage of convenience. She certainly likes him, she admires him but she is not in love with him - at the beginning anyway and this difference added a certain piquancy to the story. Every story of P & P has the immediate attraction between Elizabeth and Darcy. A gradual onset of love on the part of Elizabeth has never been seen before!!!!

This was a good variation and I certainly enjoyed it.

Our long ten days holiday comes to an end with Easter. Happy Easter to all.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

HAWTHORNE by SARAH BALLANCE

Hawthorne Author Sarah Ballance

Noah has never forgotton Emma. I also did not know it was a ghost story till the end. Maybe because I do not read much of this genre I was quite unaware of what was happening!

The story proceeds with Noah at the Hawthorne Manor discovering a document that may cost him everything. The house is full of secrets but this document that he discovers will allow Emma to walk away free but the cost to Noah was immeasurable.

Emma returns home only because of her grandmother passing away. She hopes to find peace and closure and discovers an old love, a very mixed up family history and a wrong that she only can set right.

This is a ghost story also a love story dealing with two characters and you want them to reunite and be together. The ending is brilliant. I was not the only one who was stupefied by it!

This was another free Amazon download. I have been very lucky with the free downloads. Have got so many good reads.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Towers of Tuscany by Carol M. Cram

The Towers of Tuscany

Medieval Italy and its a men's world. Sofia the only child of a famous painter in San Gimignano is a talented painter herself. She knows it herself, her father himself knows it though he never wants to acknowledge it, she not being the longed for son whom he never has but he cannily knows that her talent is useful to him in advertising his business. Her paintings are beautiful and she has the "touch" that only a gifted painter has.

Fast forward to Sofia growing up and her desperate need to be a painter in her own right. She knows this is impossible as it is prohibited. Sofia's first error is persuading her father to let her marry someone of her choice - she falls in love with him and the marriage turns out to be disastrous. She does not provide him with the longed for children and this becomes the point at which the marriage disintegrates. Throughout her marriage though she continues to paint secretly for her father and you know that her talent and manner of painting is improving by the day.

Sofia feels stifled by her life and seeks a way out by disguising herself as a young man and escaping to Siena to the painting house of someone who was known to her father. This happens after her father's murder due to a vendetta and the general mayhem that follows in San Gimignano.  Luckily for her she is accepted at the painter's house where his wife also helps Sofia in continuing her disguise as a young man. Sofia is very happy with her life though she has always got to be on guard that her gender will not be discovered. It will spell death for her and destruction to the house that has give her employment.
Falling in love with a client and being discovered by him did not fall into her agenda and this is where the story unravells.


Beautifully descriptively told, meticulously researched history and the story of an unusual woman in turbulent times. This was another book from Amazon which I was able to download free (thank you to all those bloggers who put up these posts re the free downloads). I would never have got to this book otherwise. 

The holidays are surely but slowly coming to an end. Buses are once more on the road and people returning to their urban homes. Life proper will start on Monday and offices as well. It has been a very lazy week for me. Tomorrow my eldest daughter, husband and most importantly the baby will be coming on an Easter break from Melbourne!!!! 

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.

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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

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


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

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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.

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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. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Family Interrupted by Linda Barrett

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The worst nightmare facing any family. The death of a 12 year old daughter by accident. Though an accident Claire blames herself for dawdling at an art class, then speeding, then getting a ticket which delayed her return home. Ian her son blames himself as he feels his mother blames him totally. He was supposed to do homework with his sister but they were playing ball in the driveway. Jack our father was not directly involved right then but this is a family issue.

We go through with the Barnes family of two years of hell. Each one in their own private hell. Claire just cannot come to terms with the loss of her little girl. She is resentful that others in her family including the extended family seems to have moved on. She wants to wrap her memories of Kayla her daughter and keep it in a time warp because that is all she will have. She realizes that she will have no grown up memories of Kayla and she will remain a twelve year old always. Claire neglects more than her husband her son Ian, driving away a very clever boy away from home. Ian takes up an internship in the petroleum industry fifty miles away just to get away from home. He feels he cannot live with the atmosphere there and no amount of talking by his father is going to bring him back.

Jack as the father tries to keep his business alive, thriving and going forward. Desperately missing his daughter, he seeks solace in work and in building on the business he himself founded and preventing it going under. Claire looks on this as indifference to her loss and the loss of their daughter and does not see that this is Jack's way of coping with his personal tragedy.

The story was a difficult one but it was not overly sad in reading. Humour aplenty especially how Claire's mother and sister try to get their sister out of her depression and for her to start living again. How each person copes with survival after a death like this forms the crux of the story and how a family almost broken into smithereens comes together again. Also very important is the other side of the coin. The actual driver of the car which killed Kayla. An average mother with two children - no speeding, no alcohol, no drugs just an accident with the sun blinding her whilst she took a corner. How this lady copes or rather does not cope in the aftermath of the accident is the other part of the story.

A good read. I think I am going to keep away from death and sadness and now look for something fluffy and light!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope

The Small House at Allington


The image to this cover epitomizes the entire theme of the story. The sense of gentility, softness that pervaded throughout the book is brought out in this cover.

We have the Victorian book - a family story - widowed mother with two grown up marriageable daughters but this mother is no Mrs Bennet. She does not wish to see her daughters married for the sake of marriage though she is well aware of how important money, status and position are. Despite this she is not one to impose her views on her children and any reservations she has regarding her daughter's choice of partners is kept hidden from them though known to the readers. I thought she was the perfect mother (specially for the age in which she lived)

We have the light hearted Lily who has fallen in love with the dishonourable Crosbie who within two weeks of getting engaged to Lily breaks off the engagement and gets engaged to Adrianna the daughter of an earl because he feels that this is more advantageous to him. Bell our other daughter is the steadier one, who you know from the onset is not going to get into any kind of trouble. Both girls do not suffer from any dearth of suitors!

We have so many other characters - and at times I felt too many characters because their stories themselves were detailed and meticulous. If they were just characters on a sideline it may have made the reading easier, but they themselves were intricate ones from Eames the sorry lover who never could make headway with Lily to Bernard, even Lord de Guest and Lady Julia no secondary characters at all but very much part of the story.

As someone said maddening to read (about Lily) but so beautifully put together by the author that one has to finish the book.   A great deal of detail, lots of analysis of characters and a very good book for those who like old fashioned literature.