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Monday, June 29, 2015

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

I missed out on Mailbox Monday last week so this is two weeks worth!

Cry of the Peacock

Fell in love with the cover!


All Netgalley sends! all look very very good.


Reading The Island Escape. The Island Escape

Am doing this post on Saturday as otherwise I will never find the time and miss out again on the meme. Weekends are also busy!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Color of our Sky by Amita Trasi

This was one book which I couldn't put down. I finished it in one go. It was a good thing it was a holiday so there was no work as such to get through.

An unlikely friendship imposed on Tara by her father bring together two little girls from two very different worlds. Mukta born to a caste which practices Devdasi - marrying a girl to the temple goddess. In other words becoming a prostitute of the temple being forced into this life, despite whatever wishes she may have to be different. Tara's father rescues children and eventually sends them on to various orphanages. What makes Mukta different that she remains in Tara's house despite the antagonism and dislike of Tara's mother who treats her as a menial and a servant.

Family secrets remain hidden till midway in the book when once beginning to unravel you start to understand why this happens and why that doesnt. How a person can pretend/remain in a fugue about events that have happened in your life, close your eyes and pretend  that events did not happen and like an ostrich we hope the problem goes away. So many people in this story acted like this and finally Mukta became the victim.

Tara and Mukta's life diverges when Mukta is abducted from the Bombay flat she lives in with Tara's family in Mumbai. Eleven years later, Tara knows that she has to do something. Returning from her life in Los Angeles, Tara tries hard to deal with the bureaucracy of the Mumbai police, the apathy of the detectives who could help her, the mafia and thugs who control the brothel trade and with the help of NGOs and a journalist who is trying to reveal the massive tentacles of the girl trade, they all try to trace Mukta and get her out of the brothel in which she is imprisoned.

Culturally so very descriptive of life in Mumbai, a small village on the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka and Los Angeles, the story brings to life a problem that is still a major issue in India. Emotionally haunting till the very end.

This book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Bloomhill Books.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

Marin is 37 years old and lives in a flat in Boston. She only does take away and ramen noodles. Overnight she becomes the guardian of a fifteen year old. Someone whom she has seen just a few times and someone with whom she does not have any kind of relationship. Rebecca is the daughter of Marin's father and his second wife and the feelings between the two groups have been tense, strained
and distant. Marin feels that with the death of her mother at the age of eight, her father abandoned her to strangers and that with his second marriage the few bonds that were there, were ultimately severed.

With their sudden death in a car accident, Marin becomes Rebecca's reluctant guardian and the feelings are mutual on both sides. Rebecca wants to move away from her familiar surroundings and on a whim whilst passing a Cumbrian house, Marin and Rebecca decide to buy a house in the Cumbrian village of Goswell.

Totally different to what both women were familiar with, both have to get to grips not just a different
environment but with each other. At the same time, the house itself seems to have secrets of its own. A hidden door in the garden leads to a walled garden, overgrown full of thorny trees and brambles but Marin feels that there is some history and story behind this garden.

Told in two time lines, 1919 going on to WWI and the occupants of the house and to the present two, the story unfolds two family sagas, both fraught with sadness, loss and eventual hope. The earlier story encompasses the occupants of the vicarage - the onset of the war brought about loss of the most difficult kind - the loss of their son almost at the end of the war, it also brought love to the youngest daughter, but love which caused disruptions in the family due to her falling in love with someone unsuitable.

The two stories are both emotional, very descriptive and the book was an enormously satisfying read.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley via Lion Fiction. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Lavender House in Meurse by Gail Noble-Sanderson

This was a beautifully told story. Taking us through the quiet, sedate, protected childhoods of Solange and Marie Chagall and their Papa in Marseille was idyllic. Papa was a sea farer away from home all the time and despite the lack of a mother, both girls were very ell brought up, well educated far beyond their times and had an understanding way beyond young women of their era.

Being of Jewish ancestry the girl's father knew hat troubles were coming. Persecution of Jews had started and he knew he had to protect his daughters at any cost. In the meantime WWI breaks out and Marie much to the dismay of family decides to volunteer as a nurse and with their support joins the nursing hospital attending to victims from the Battle of Verdun. Surviving the battle against all odds, Marie returns to a world changed. Marie herself has changed.. She seeks solitude, is depressed and when faced with the news that her father has decided to consolidate his assets and move to New York and that Solange has decided to go with him, Marie realises that she must decide on an independent future.

The Lavender House bequeathed by her mother proves a welcome solace though at the onset Marie feels that she has been abandoned by her family. Using the house as a base and a protection, the environs of the house and the opportunities it provides, proves a balm to Marie's spirit.

Beautifully written, sensitive to human emotion and feeling specially to the despair of Marie's spirit, I was very touched by this book. Descriptive of its surroundings it captures the essence of this part of France, evocatively.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Gemelli Press.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Even in Darkness by Barbara Stark Nemon

Based on a true story, this again is a book about persecution of the worst imaginable and the subsequent survival of a family.

Beginning in 1895 Klare Kohler was a happy familied woman. She came from an affluent family in Germany never considered herself anything other than a loyal German. Then came Hitler and his persecution of anyone he considered non Aryan and with it Klare's life as she knew it was never the same. Those of her family who could emigrate did but Klare's husband Jakob always thought that the idea of Nazi rule was an unimaginable one and then it was too late for them. The story of how Klare arranged and got her two children out of Germany - one via Switzerland to Palestine and one to England through different escape routes, the myriad non Jews who helped people escape at the risk to their own lives and families and finally to Klare and Jakob's imprisonment in a camp and how they were two of the lucky few to have survived forms the story.

Survive they did but with scars which would never leave and the trauma was always hidden whilst Klare got on with her life. Klare was a wonderful human being, compassionate and always ready to help others. Klare faced tragedy after tragedy head on. Bruised by the death of her 21 year old son in a terrorist attack she nevertheless never gave up.

After Jakob's death Klare made a life for herself with Ansel a Catholic priest as his housekeeper. This unconventional choice must have raised eye brows at the time but she knew that this was where she found comfort and solace.

To have had an ancestor like this would make anyone very proud. A woman of such courage and compassion is hard to find. The story is very delicately told despite the ugliness and bestiality that is part of the Holocaust. Suffering of every kind, man's inhumanity to man, the division of families and at the same time the kindness of strangers, the support of neighbours and man's support to man in times of adversity are all played out in this book.

This book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of PR by the Book.

Monday, June 15, 2015

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

Policy and Passion (Dodo Press)          Image result for lady byron and her daughters      Circling the Sun

As They Slept (The comical tales of a London commuter)

My books are a real mix of genres this week. Policy and Passion was a recommendation from Fleur
and the others are recommendations by bloggers on FB and elsewhere. All are free downloads.


I am in the middle of several books but Circling the Sun is very very good. The setting of Kenya and the timing of the story is fabulous.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites

I received this book from Jackie of Farm Lane Books blog awhile ago. I had read about this but I knew that the possibility of me getting to this book was remote. Atmospheric books like this are never going to be sold in Sri Lanka! so thanks Jackie for this.

The story is set in 1829 based on a true incident of murder and subsequent execution. The setting, the houses, the characters themselves seem bleak, grey and cold. The overall feeling of coldness and deep icy surroundings are constantly with you. This was not an easy read. It takes time and effort and you have got to immerse yourself in the characters and the story for this book to appeal.

A debut novel by the author the story of Agnes, Sigga and Frik who stand charged with the murder of Natan by bludgeoning him to death. Each person is sent somewhere and Agnes is sent to this remote farm to await her sentence. The family who have been put in charge of Agnes are horrified by their charge but they can do nothing about it. The head of the household is a government employee and has no way of avoiding this charge. How Agnes's stay in the house changes the attitude of all its members towards her and the mellowing and understanding her character, and how she got involved in this case becomes the entire story.

Descriptive not only of Iceland but also of the workings of the bureaucracy in Iceland at the time, it was astonishing how much detail was recorded by local officials and which would have made research into this book so fascinating.

I am also hopeful that hereafter my reviews could be posted with images! for some reason my ipad refused to allow me to post images and all my posts were rather dull. I have updated most of my reviews so that an image of the cover of the book would also be visible. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Murder in Court Three by Ian Simpson

A glittering function is not the ideal place for a murder to take place especially since police officers and more so the top brass are all around. How did this murder take place in such a crowded place. On top of it all the murdered QC had an eye for the ladies and was having an affair with the wife of a senior police officer.  The lady in question was blatantly open about the affair, despite all the damage it could do to the officer's career.

This delicate operation has been handed over to Inspector Fortune and Sergeant Chandavarkar who have to face interrogations with people who can remember only that much, religious groups and the media which is being set up by an ex Inspector who wants to see the present force look like fools.

Kept me guessing till the end.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Troubador Publishing.

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

The Heart Goes Last (Positron, #4)       Warning, The By Sophie Hannah

             Wouldn't Change a Thing           6.41

The above are downloads from Netgalley and Edelweiss. Two of them are free Amazon downloads.


The meme is inactive right now but we continue with it nevertheless.

        The Heart Goes Last (Positron, #4)

Two opposite sides of the coin.

One is whimsical, quirky and I still dont quite get it. About fifty pages in. The Atwood on the other hand is so impossible, it is quite probable and keeps me on edge (as usual). Almost done with it.

Came back mid day on Monday and trying to catch up.

Have been here. Thats' a waterfall in the distance!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Sound of Glass by Karen White

The Sound of Glass

I was very glad I got this book after I read many reviews which were very positive on the blogs.

Set in two parallel lifetimes we alternate between the late Edith Heyward who kept her secrets hidden to the grave and the young Merritt Heyward, equally secretive with her history and shying away from anyone who shows her the slightest kindness and affection.

Merritt has been widowed. Her husband Cal has been left a house and this has now been inherited by Merritt who now decides to make the change from Maine to South Carolina exchanging lifestyles and attitudes which are not easy for the reserved New Englander. Moving to a dilapidated house she now faces friendly neighbors on top of the surprising arrival of her step mother the glamouress and loving Loralee along with her son Owen, who is Merritt's step brother.

Unravelling secrets hidden for decades this story of family and the spirit and determination to survive despite over riding odds is one that fascinates. The human spirit is strong and not willing to give in or give up. The Heyward women epitomize this and the power of good over evil is also distinctly seen. The need to protect one's own at all costs is a striking feature of this book.

I received this book from Netgalley courtesy of Penguin Group Berkeley NAL/Signet Romance DAW

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The West Winford Incident by John Parker

Based partly on a true life incident this story starts on a very non technical note. The year of Neil Armstrong 's landing on the moon was equally momentous for Dave and Sue who are moving to rural Wiltshire where Dave is taking up a new job and Sue is hoping that she can get a new job and change her way of life, becoming more independent and hopes that her two daughters will adapt well to a new environment.

Whilst Dave enthusiastically embraces his new job and dives in, Sue initially finds country life humdrum and routine. Left alone for long hours she is bored. Meeting with Pam who is full of life and who introduces her to Peter who shares Sue's passion for searching for ancestors, one sees the rift in the marriage beginning as small cracks beginning to appear.

An incident at the plant resulting in the destruction of a turbine (extremely technical) leads to Dave's total involvement in work and work only.

At this stage the technicalities of turbines, metal and corrosion was far too much for me. The survival of marriage itself is the subject here, when pressures of jobs, outside relationships, growing up of children and extraneous factors come into play. The book became a bit slow for me as I was hoping to see how this was going to effect the two of them as a couple. Nothing happened which was a bit of an anti climax!

The book was a download from Netgalley courtesy of Troubador Publishing Ltd.

Monday, June 1, 2015

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




All the above are from Netgalley.  


Set during WWI told in alternate time frames the book is very good reading.

Am back for these two memes after almost three months. Nice to be back.