Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Cherry Harvest by Lucy Sanna

The setting is idyllic. Wisconsin- the area famous for its cherries, shipped throughout the state and this part of the county also a tourist attraction with its myriad orchards.

A close knit family-  Charlotte mother and ready to steer and protect the family, Father quiet, unassuming, Ben their son and Kate daughter.  The family like many in Door County is facing a manpower shortage. The young men have all enlisted and there is no one to work the fields.

Taking an initiative from another state, the County decides, with much opposition to employ POW - German prisoners under armed guard to work their fields. The story actually starts from there - and whilst work goes smoothly, under currents run deep.

How antagonism changes to much stronger feelings, how family secrets are kept hidden, how families divide over hidden agendas and finally the story of survival despite all odds.

The POW working in the States was news for me but then my knowledge of American history is scanty. I liked the setting of the story and the description of a life which one knew was changing.

Sent to me by Edelweiss.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Secrets of the Tower by Debbie Rix

The story is set in alternate times - 1171 and 1999. That alone made it an interesting read. The background added to it. The city of Pisa in 1199 was an important trading port. A gateway to two worlds East and West making it a real hub for wealth and business. Pisa today still a hub in a different way - a tourist attraction and still adding to the wealth of its inhabitants. To this mix add two contrasting women. Sam a product of the 20th century, a has been career woman now balancing a family. Berta an unusual woman for the 12th century. Independent, artistic and wealthy, given free reign by her husband to pursue her artistic and architectural interests. What both stories have in common is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. How historical fiction can be combined with two life stories of two such diverse women have been done with this book. Rich in detail of the actual construction, and completion of the Tower it never gets boring or too bogged down in detail. Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Bookouture.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell

My reviews remain short as I am posting from my IPad and from areas where the Internet is sketchy.

This one a download from Edelweiss was a gem.  Posted as a mix of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes it did not disappoint.  Like Moriarty it kept you guessing almost to the end, and upto the end kept you even when you knew who did it, on the edge. You did want to know what Daddy would do.
So glad I got this one.

Adrian has it made. His third wife Maya gets on very well with Susie Wife No 1 and Caroline Wife No 2. So well even I felt uncomfortable. It was not quite right. It didn't sit well with me that two adult children, three littlies and three wives could all be so smooth and comfortable.

Yes, dig deeper and the cracks are showing. Adrian (don't want to stereotype) but like most men, don't see what is apparent to all. Maya was not happy. She tried to conform, she wanted to be accepted so she bent over backwards to please. And please she did but everyone had reservations and then it began to show in small, niggling ways  and then it began in nasty, biting emails. All vicious, all very knowledgeable and all pointing in one direction.

The characterizations were brilliant. Each one individual and different. The storyline great. Finished it in one go.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Inside The O'Briens by Lisa Genova

As usual I am not able to paste the image of this book which is a pity. My second read from this author the book held me in its thrall throughout. Joe the macho, father figure, stalwart and strong struck down with Huntington's disease in his mid forties. The diagnosis is very bleak. A neurological disease its progress is relentless ending in death. The side effects are not told - the effect on family, the loss of a career at the best part of your life, the loss of dreams for all you planned to do and the worst case scenario that you may hand over this gene to your children who have a fifty fifty chance of inheriting the disease. The story takes us from the initial onset of Joe's disease and the disbelief and shock of both Joe and Rosie to its gradual worsening and the actual physical deterioration which happens. The horror of his eldest son being diagnosed with the gene specially since his wife has just become pregnant adds to the emotional stress of the family. Meghan, the elder daughter, a dancer with the Boston Ballet is also diagnosed with the gene and Katie is left undecided whether she wants to know or not specially as she is at a rather mixed up point in their lives. Patrick is the other son who does not want to know. The manner of the handling of each character each different - one loud in their misery, the other introverted, Rosie trying to keep the family together And herself not knowing how to go about this. Each one wanting to be a support for their father in their own way, however they do not know how to be a support to each other though they are all feeling each other's pain. A story of growing up fast in the face of misfortune, family bonds and the power of enduring love very beautifully told. The book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Valley, Threshold Pocket Books.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer

Sophie unconsciously does know her marriage is in the doldrums but it still comes as a shock when her husband lays down new ground rules. Susie her old friend has a bungalow in Nantucket and she thinks a separation will allow her to think clearly, what has to be done. Unknown to Susie, her cousin has given the house to a friend of his - Trevor and his son. Trevor and the boy are trying to come to grips with their life after the tragic loss of Trevor's wife and Leo's mother.

With no contracts to bind them both parties decide to live together and the arrangement seems to be working very well. What no one envisaged would be the attraction that develops between Sophie and Trevor.

This is a simple story of the break up of a marriage and finding love once again. Very simply told, almost too simple it would seem at times.

This was a book kindly sent to me by Edelweiss.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear

A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs, #11)

This was a download from Edelweiss and aren't I so very very glad I got this.

Set in Gibralter at a time of major conflict - Germans, Americans, the British, the Italians and the Spaniards are all at war with each other. Maisie Dobbs is on her way back home, but emotionally dead. She has lost her husband in a tragic aviation accident and also lost her baby when she was almost full term. She feels she cannot face her family as well as James's family back home and decides to take a break in Gibralter to gather herself, her thoughts and her physical self.

Discovering a body of a photographer was the impetus Maisie needed to get working again. Using all her skills as a private investigator, she puts together pieces of a puzzle which everyone else including Scotland Yard is desperate to cover up. Dealing with the different communities in Gibralter and trying to fathom as to what actually happened is the best part of the story. Apart from the murder and the solving of it, the historical details as to what happened in Gibralter and the various characters who manipulated situations to suit their own countries is very well told.

I liked the detail in this story though for some it may detract from the actual story which is the murder and its investigation. I felt the details added the depth to the background as well.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bless Me Father by Neil Boyd

The story was so full of droll humor that I kept smiling throughout my read. It would help to be Catholic to understand fully the nuances the announcements made by our senior Father. I am and I was still surprised by some of the stuff.

Father Neil is in his first pastoral appointment. Mild mannered and soft spoken he is the ideal foil to our gruff but crafty and cunning Father Duddleswell who knows exactly how to handle humans - and in this case a village of Irish immigrants. Known for their traditions and beliefs, Father Duddleswell  knows what buttons to push, when to speak out and when to remain perfectly quiet. He never crosses the line, does not put a step out of line but still comes out tops whilst never bending the rules.

This was a really good read for anyone to understand how to handle people successfully. Father Duddleswell does it simply and efficiently showing the green Father Neil how it's done. This book should be good for HR specialists. They may get quite a few pointers from him!

The book was sent to me by Netgallley courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media many thank