Saturday, February 28, 2015

"The Sheen on the Silk," by Anne Perry

"The Sheen on the Silk," by Anne Perry
Arriving in Constantinople in 1273, Anna Zarides vows to prove the innocence of her twin brother, Justinian, who has been exiled to the desert for conspiring to kill a nobleman. Disguising herself as a eunuch named Anastasius, Anna moves freely about in society, maneuvering close to the key players involved in her brother’s fate, including Zoe Chrysaphes, a devious noblewoman with her own hidden agenda, and Giuliano Dandolo, a ship’s captain conflicted by his growing feelings for Anastasius. As leaders in Rome and Venice plot to invade Constantinople in another Crusade to capture the Holy Land, Anna’s discoveries draw her inextricably closer to the dangers of the emperor’s treacherous court—where it seems that no one is exactly who he or she appears to be.

One of the member's of our book club gave me this book to read.  I don't claim to know much about that period of time in history and honestly this book didn't clear much up.  This book is complicated to say the least and at first trying to keep up with all the leading characters is hard work.

BUT, once you get into the book, you are hooked.  I had to keep reading it as I had to know what happened next.  The story line twists and turns throughout the book and as the last line in the synopsis says: "no one is exactly who he or she appears to be." 

The character Zoe is very memorable and I kept thinking how exhausting it would to be her....LOL  Anna/Anastasius is a truly selfless person and what she/he does is above and beyond.  However, right to the very end I found some of the storyline confusing.  Maybe that was just me as I am not familiar with this author's work.

Stars out of 5 : 4  You HAVE to concentrate when reading this book.  It does hook you in and the storyline itself, has so many twists and turns to keep you entertained.  It is well worth persevering to read this book and I will be reading more of Anne's work in the future.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"The Trouble With Patience," by Maggie Brendan

"The Trouble With Patience," by Maggie Brendan
Patience Cavanaugh has lost hope in romance. The man she yearned to marry is dead and her dreams are gone with him. Now she is consumed with restoring a dilapidated boardinghouse in order to support herself.

Despite Patience's desire for solitude, Jedediah Jones, the local marshal with a reputation for hanging criminals, becomes an ever-looming part of her life. It seems like such a simple arrangement: She needs someone with a strong back to help her fix up the boardinghouse. He needs a dependable source of food for himself and his prisoners. But as she gets to know this "hanging lawman," Patience finds there is far more to him than meets the eye--and it could destroy their tenuous relationship forever.

This is the first book in Maggie's series called "Virtues and Vices of the Old West."  It was a very nice book that I read over a couple of afternoons.  It kept me interested and it's a book, where you will figure out quickly what will happen in the end.  The lead up to the ending makes for good reading.  There is a bit of a mystery going on and again you will figure out what's what.

Stars out of 5 : 3.5  Will I remember this book next month; no.  It's one of those book's to read when you have a few hours to fill.  It's a pleasant read that won't stress you out and you can be thinking of other things.  The epilogue was a surprise in a sense as I thought Emily's quest to find love would be another book.  Again the author's note at the back provided a couple of interesting facts, worth reading.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite booksel
ler from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"Major Pettigrew's Last Stand," by Helen Simonson

"Major Pettigrew's Last Stand," by Helen Simonson

In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countryside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. 

Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, the Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. 

Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and regarding her as the permanent foreigner.

Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition? 

What a wonderful book this is.  This is our book club choice for the month of March.  I just loved everything about this book, from the way Helen described the Major's personality, to the way she described how the other residents treated Mrs. Ali.  

The way the class system works or worked in this small village was not unusual for me to imagine or even read about.  The way she described the actions of the "American''s" and what the locals thought about them, were things I had seen and experienced before.

It is a wonderful love story that makes you believe in love whatever your age.  

Stars out of 5 : 5 If you like a love story; a truly British story, that is both sad at times and funny you will love this book.  I cannot do this book justice with my review, you really need to read it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"The Biscuit Girls," by Hunter Davies

"The Biscuit Girls," by Hunter Davies

Ivy, Dulcie, Barbara, Ann, Dorothy and Jean all had different reasons for applying to work at Carr’s biscuits, but once they had put on their overalls and walked through the factory gates they discovered a community full of life, laughter and friendship.

To those who didn’t know, the biscuit factory that towered over Carlisle might look like just another slice of the industrial North, a noisy and chaotic place with workers trooping in and out at all hours. For the biscuit girls it was a place where they worked hard, but also where they gossiped, got into scrapes and made lifelong friends. Outside the factory walls there might be difficult husbands or demanding kids, and sometimes even heartbreak and tragedy, but they knew there would always be an escape from their troubles at Carr's.

Some, like Barbara, only applied because she needed the extra cash, until things got a bit easier at home. Her supervisor cross examined her about who would be looking after the kids while she was at work, but let her have the job. Like many of the women who joined up ‘temporary’ Barbara went on to stay at Carrs for 32 years.

Beginning in the 1940s, these heartwarming and vividly-remembered stories have all been told by the women themselves to Hunter Davies.

I bought this book while in Britain as it's about Carr's Biscuits in Carlisle which was where I was born and have family to this day.  My aunt I think was a "cracker packer" for a short time probably in the late 50's or very early 60's, so was interested to read what went on there.  My dad remembered having a tour of the factory when he was a school boy.  I just remember it always being there whenever we were in Carlisle.

Although it talks of the experiences of all the women interviewed, it does also go into the history of the factory and the founders.  I would like to read a history of the Carr family themselves at some point.

Although both Barbara and Ann are a few years older than me, I found there memories and stories making me remember things from when I was growing up.  I used to stay at my Nana's in Carlisle often so many of the places mentioned were also familiar to me.

Stars out of 5 : 4 I am not sure if the general public would find this book interesting.  I found it interesting because I came from the area, so things and names meant something to me.  If you are interested in Britain and the way people lived and the history of biscuit making then you would probably enjoy this book.  If you're from the Carlisle area in Britain you will thoroughly enjoy it.