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Greaders please review Feb - March 13 books

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AnninGlos Report 30 Mar 2013 15:59

Please review all books that you have read from the list for feb/March 2013. Plus any others you care to tell us about.

Kate Atkinson Behind the Scenes at the Museum 111
Ravenscliffe by Jane Sanderson 111
Trunk Music .. by Michael Connolly. 111

The Dream House by Rachel Hore 11


AnninGlos Report 30 Mar 2013 16:05

From Perse

Review of Ravenscliffe

Oh dear I am now waiting for the next book.. I do hope so.. I want to see Edward working for Eve.. Eve's child arriving.. how Clarissa and her new husband fare and definitely what happens now that there is no chef and will Tobias be able to manage Netherwood Hall?
Silas nees his come uppance and then there is Absalom who has had his but still feel there is more to come. But most of all Henrietta.. how does she fare in the emancipation of women.
There is so much more that is needed before this story is finished.

However, I enjoyed the read of Ravenscliffe, sorry to lose Teddy from the story but this would probably equate with life and death of the era they lived in.. especially with the death of more miners. There is a little bit of fanciful thinking re Anna going off to paint Netherwood and forming a bond with Mrs Powell-Hughes.. but a little bit of fairy tale is rather nice.. even if the pineapples didnot fare well for Seth.

I checked on line and a new one will be out called Eden Falls a stand alone novel but third in the series....

Michael Connelly Trunk Music

My favourite book of his would be The Poet written back in 1996.. it won an award, not a Harry Bosch novel.. but it was well reviewed by radio here which caused me to read it after the listening to an interview with the author.
Following this I read quite a few of his .. have a couple in my book pile to read.. I had read Trunk Music and it is up there with his best.. Connelly on the whole writes well and keeps you interested nearly all the way through.. tended to drop away from it a bit but then it restored interest again towards the end... He would be one of your better cop story writers... this is from my memory of it.

The particular sadness of lemon cake by Aimee Bender

What a strange book.. I couldn't come to grips with it, put me right off Lemon Cake.. and part way through found my copy of Kate Atkinson's... Behind the scenes which was in storage.. and decided to go with someone I like even if I had read it 15 years ago.
Lemon cake was disconcerting in that this is the first time I have struck an author who does not use speech marks.. so I was not sure for awhile who said what... is this a lazy style of writing or something one is supposed to appreciate with time? Maybe it was a bit esoteric for me.. and possibly arty people might like it. So it did not get finished.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

I remember reading it when it first came out.. it was on the best seller list and was "the book to read". I don't normally read a book twice, and whilst I could tell what was going to happen I still really enjoyed it... first time around I wondered who Pearl was, and why was Ruby responsible for a death and thought they meant that right little blighter Gillian. Also thought Alice was dead long before she was... I loved the telling of the generations all from Ruby's view, but it became like it was also your own view. Atkinson draws you into the story and you feel like you are there watching it all unfolding. Her words flow beautifully and you become fascinated and absorbed. And to think she is also equally as good writing about crime.

Now a couple of catch ups..

Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd

I wasn't getting very far with One Hundred Names and OH arrived at the hospital where I was recouperating and gave me this one... I started it that afternoon and what an easy read it was and as I had to have anitbiotics at midnight and the constant wakenings to take BP etc.. I finished it in one fowl swoop.

I felt sorry for Jeanie and for her letting it go on as long as it did... but in all the reviews I have read of this book no one has understood George's side of it. This poor bloke kept this untold damage which was done to him locked up in the recesses of his mind until the unfortunate meeting with the perpetrator. I can understand his suffering to manifest itself in other outward signs that do not give way to the truth. At least it stopped with him and he did not continue the cycle by abusing someone else in turn which does happen quite a lot.

I thought Alex was a selfish pratt but he to had issues and if his wife had not had enough insight to be able to get him to face his demons etc her marriage could very well have gone the way of her parents.

Jeanie was lucky to meet someone like Ray and Ellie was an absolute delight and probably kept her grandmother going and enabled her to cope in her own relationship as the years of sleeping apart had by then become the norm.

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

I got home from hospital and had not picked the book up again, then I had to go back to hospital and so I carried on from where I left off and then the magic of her writing took over and I found meal times a bit of an interruptions whilst I was reading it.

What a lovely tale (I was worried I had suggested a not so good book to read) ... and as she brought it all to a close near the end I found I even shed a tear or two. Definitely gold star reading.


AnninGlos Report 30 Mar 2013 16:06

review Ravenscliffe by Jane Sanderson
Carrying on the story, started in Netherwood, of Eve and Anna and their children Ravenscliffe is a slice of social history. It covers mining and the start of trade unions in Mining, the start of the labour party when their aims were to improve the lot of the working man. And it also touches on the Suffrage movement, Sylvia Pankhurst and the rebellion of the suffragettes. At the same time Silas, Eve’s brother is starting up a passenger line from Bristol and importing bananas from Jamaica.
We have glimpses of Edward VII and Alice Kepple, a young Winston Churchill and Keir Hardy. The well known characters are woven easily and believably into the story making it come alive.
The story is full of social history with the contrast constantly drawn between the upper social classes and the working man/woman.
I enjoyed Netherwood so it was almost a given that I would enjoy Ravenscliffe and I wasn’t disappointed. I love Eve’s character and could imagine her producing her pies and being a mother to her children. I also like Anna and thought it was great to give her the abilities of an interior decorator and dress maker, the descriptions of her work, murals, wedding dress etc were lovely and easily imagined. Then also Daniel’s work on the garden which rang true to how it must have been when a gardener wanted to try something new, a canal running through the lawn, very advanced to them but normal nowadays. It all emphasised how things were different then and how change was brought in.
Yes, I loved the book, and I think the ending was left so that a follow up could be on the cards, I hope so.


AnninGlos Report 30 Mar 2013 16:07

Review behind the scenes at the museum

A family saga, telling the story of the family of Ruby Lennox over two generations.
At first I found it a bit confusing as I kept muddling up the children from the two generations but it grew on me.

It is very cleverly written with a lot of humour, some pathos and some sad parts, in other words it covers all the aspects of life as Ruby struggles to know who she is.

I did like the paragraph where Patricia says the past is what you leave behind and Ruby says 'nonsense, the past is what you take with you'.

It was different, sometimes hard to read but in the end I was glad I had read it. A story to make you think and a clever first novel.


AnninGlos Report 30 Mar 2013 16:09

Greaders Review The Dream House by Rachel Hore
I do like her books so was looking forward to this one. At first I thought I was going to be disappointed as it seemed to be a slowish start and no ‘meat’ in it.
However the pace picked up and it was an enjoyable tale. Quite a light read really and ideal for holiday reading which is what I was doing.
I liked the link back to Agnes’s life and all the descriptions of her life back then.
One thing RH is good at is descriptive writing and I loved reading about Agnes’s collection, her paintings and miniatures etc
The story was really about relationships and communication, did Simon really understand why Kate wanted to move? Was he really selfish? Or did they not communicate about where they wanted to live? Some of the story, especially the ending was predictable, I guessed where it was going long before the end. But that didn’t spoil the story for me because it was crafted so well.
I have to say I loved the sound of the cottage but wonder if it was a bit unbelievable for it to have 6 bedrooms? Maybe not.
Anyway, I did enjoy the read, all the characters were believable and most were likeable. I did want to give Simon a kick up the backside though, blaming Meredith for his betrayal!!!


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 30 Mar 2013 17:31

Will be back (when I have written up my homework). ;-)


Pammy51 Report 30 Mar 2013 20:08


At first I had forgotten some aspects of Netherwood (the previous book) but as I read I began to remember more and more details. I enjoyed this just as much as Netherwood with the the stories of the different characters entwined just as skillfully. I studied this era in my history 'O' levels (showing my age!) but had forgotten most of the political intricacies. Some historical fiction seems to include facts just for the sake of it but Jane Sanderson uses them to further the action of the story very naturally. I love her precise and vivid use of descriptive language – 'spiteful, unruly gangs of hawthorn' building pictures in your mind. Looking forward to the sequel.

Trunk Music

What a contrast to Ravenscliffe! This is the first Michael Connelly book I have read and it was really intriguing. Although it is set in the very glamourous location of Hollywood the book starts with the seamy underbelly of the city. Connelly is good at building pictures of the characters right from the beginning. Harry Bosch is a fairly complex character, cultured enough to recognise Sherazade but still quite earthy. Some of the references I had to work hard to follow (Rodney King and the LA earthquake)- I suppose they are buried in the American psyche. Although I had worked out the murderers before the end it was still a good read.


Pammy51 Report 30 Mar 2013 20:24

The Dream House

I was halfway through this book before it clicked that this was the author of The Glass Painter's Daughter and the Memory garden – both of which I enjoyed. This book drew me in right from the beginning – which of us hasn't pictured our own dream house at some time in our lives, perhaps this is why so many of us watch programmes about new homes? I agree with Ann that communication (or rather lack of it) was one of the driving forces of the plot, between Kate and Simon, Simon and his mother and between Kate and her parents. A lovely story, combining happiness and sadness in equal measure but with a happy ending (I'm a sucker for those!) it was a shame though that Kate had so little time to talk to Agnes before she died.

I'm still waiting for Behind the Scenes at the museum from the library.


AnninGlos Report 30 Mar 2013 20:32

Thanks Pammy.


Berona Report 31 Mar 2013 06:40

Behind the scenes at the Museum.

I didn’t enjoy this book. It was too mundane for me. Seemed like a diary of someone who has had a very ordinary life – and jumping back and forth from one generation to the other, was done in a confusing way.

Trunk Music

I like detective stories, and normally like Michael Connolly, but this one was “just another one” and had very little to hold my interest.

Jill in France

Jill in France Report 31 Mar 2013 12:07

Trunk Music
I have read most of his books but was not gripped at all with this and put it to one side, don't think I will bother finishing it.
Was going to download Behind the scenes of the Museum as now have my I pad but after reading reviews, I think I will read The dream house

xx Jill


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 31 Mar 2013 17:23

TRUNK MUSIC by Michael Connelly,

I had read Harry Bosch books by Michael Connelly before and enjoyed them. This time I didn't feel that I got "the essence of Harry" quite as much, but thought that the mystery was okay.

Didn't find anyone that I gelled with or had sympathy for, so this knocked the level of my enjoyment down a few notches.
Had worked out "why now" quite earlyon in the story, perhaps because Connelly WANTED to give the reader a " feel good" moment well before the reason was revealed.

I did keep reading to the end, wanted to make sure that I had got it right, no supersurprises though.

Not a "you really must read this" book, but okay for a bit of escapeism.

i.e the life lead by the people in the book is nothing like mine!



Even the title of the book got me wondering!

There is no museuem, the "Museum" in question is the life of Ruby and her ancestors.

I was captivated from the opening sentences (Ruby trying to make sense of her early life) to the last. (when some of the questions have been answered).

A gripping story, well told, in a novel way (pun intended.)
A story of family secrets and the impact they have. Even on future generations, rather a case of cause and effect.

There was a bit of swapping from one generation to another, from one person's part in the family history to another, but I quite liked this.

I don't want to say too much about the plot/saga because I want each reader to unwrap every tiny morsel as they come to them.
As in real life it is a story of sadness and joy, and tears caused by both of them.

Ruby, the main narrator is a gem of a story teller, putting together memories and tales heard from the past and trying to make sense of them.

I would highly recommend this book and will read it again myself.

Kate Atkinson did not disappoint.


AnninGlos Report 31 Mar 2013 17:32

Thank you Tess thatw as a good description of behind the scenes, I don't think I did it justice as I was reviewing on my IPad while away.


Greenfingers Report 31 Mar 2013 17:33

Ravenscliffe'having read the other reviews, I feel i have nothing more to add, except to be honest, it is of a genre that I read in the past, and although it is a good story, I have moved on, if you know what I mean

Trunk Music by Michael Connelly

I am a big Harry Bosch fan, and have read all of them and now including this one..why they have not been made into a series I have no idea. I did not know that Trunk Music refers to the Mafia. Its all in a days work to Harry, who likes to bend the rules, but is a charismatic character. He is not a happy bunny when he is taken off the case, but in his typical fashion does not let that get in the way. Excellent, love him to bits.


AnninGlos Report 1 Apr 2013 14:21

From VintagefineMaid (Dee)


I had wondered if I would find this book difficult to get into as I hadn’t read Netherwood, but the book seems to stand alone.

I found it a very hard to put down and its portrayal of the social history of the period was excellent, so often authors don’t research the period sufficiently well.

I loved the bit where they just shut the cook in a cool place and got on with preparing the meal for the Royal visitor, I could well imagine it happening

I had read somewhere before that families expecting Royal visitors faced huge bills when they made improvements to their homes so they could impress the visitors, and the last minute changes made to the big house must have caused all sorts of chaotic problems.

Altogether a very enjoyable read, with believable characters, and I look forward to the next one in the series

Behind the Scenes at the Museum

I found the references to footnotes in this book very confusing at first, but it soon became clear that it was a way of linking the various incidents and generations. I quite enjoyed it, and certainly wanted to find out how it would end, but I won’t be looking out for more books by this author