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Greaders Review the books for June/July 13

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


AnninGlos Report 18 Jul 2013 16:40

Please review

The Garden Party by Sarah Challis
The Devil’s Music by Jane Rusbridge
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Mourning Wedding by Carola Dunn

I know this is not due until Saturday 20th but I shall be in and out both days so putting it up early. :-)


AnninGlos Report 18 Jul 2013 16:47

review The Garden Party by Sarah Challis.

At first I found this book quite bland, almost boring. But after a while I could see where it was going. It was all about family relationships. Parents reaching pension age, children with families and all their problems. The families were maybe a bit more complicated than most with several steps, and second marriages, expected babies etc.
The garden party of the title is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the marriage, retirement and 60th and 62nd birthdays of the parents and is to bring the whole families together. But is the marriage one to celebrate? Are they all too wrapped up in their own lives, depending too much on one person, Alice?

I did, in the end, enjoy the book and thought it was well written with good insight into the problem of relationships. A good read.

review the Devils Music by Jane Rusbridge.

A strange book told through the stories and events related by various members of the family. Andrew, the eldest child who has been taught rope making by his Grandfather a rope maker, and is obsessed with knots, Susie his next youngest sister, his mother and his father. The youngest child is mentally disabled and unable to speak.

Some of the descriptions at the beginning of the book of days on the beach, the rattle of pebbles etc evoked childhood memories for me.

The story about knots and rope making I also found interesting, having visited the museum in Bridport where rope making was a main occupation in times past

I did enjoy the book, if enjoy is the right word as at times it made for uncomfortable reading with a bully for a father for Andy, a very disabled child who Andy thought he'd killed and a broken marriage. I was almost sure that Andy was autistic and thought his character was well researched and written. All in all a good book, different to those I would normally read but I am glad that I read it.

Greaders Review The Summer Season by Julia Williams.

This was a good holiday read. JW writes in the style of Erica James or Katie Fforde.
An old house in a village is inherited by widower Joel who has a baby, Sam. Sam is looked after by Lauren, Mum to twin girls who was left by their father when they were born.

Joel's house has a hidden knot garden.

Kezzie moves to the village, she is a guerrilla gardener. She is escaping from a failed relationship.

The village is planning a fete day and intends to put on an exhibition about Edward Handford who designed the love knot garden for his wife and other gardens. Kezzie wants to rebuild the knot garden. A hunt for the original designs ensues, and a bid to solve the mysteries surrounding Joel's ancestors.

I really enjoyed the book which is well written with good, well formed characters.

review too close to home by Linwood Barclay
Jim, Ellen and Derek cutter's next door neighbours are killed. Teenager Derek is a witness. Did the killers go to the right house? I thought this was a good thriller and was good holiday reading because this type of book is better read in large chunks rather than a page or so at a time. LB is a very good writer and I enjoyed the book a lot.


Greenfingers Report 18 Jul 2013 17:13

I have long been a fan of Linwood Barclay and too close to home lived up to usual expectations .

The hotel at the corner of bitter and sweet, captured my imagination by its title and it did not disappoint. The main character Henry Lee is totally believable, and as I am going to Seattle later in the year, I almost expect it all to be there. The whole book is a revelation and I loved it

I also read Kate Atkinsons one Good Turn.I is described as being like a set of Russian Dolls, and that description is right, an excellent read, with many twists and turns



AnninGlos Report 18 Jul 2013 21:18



AnninGlos Report 19 Jul 2013 09:10



Persephone Report 19 Jul 2013 12:12

The Garden Party by Sarah Challis

A book with lots of characters and I did get a few of my names mixed up Alice and Anne and Sadie and Sabine. However, once I settled into the story and followed the ups and downs of all the members of the family and they came close to fitting into that well used label of 'dysfunctional.' This included the husband who seemed to be going through a bit of his own marriage crisis (40 year itch) and deciding to have a clandestine affair with a friend which does not eventuate despite an overnight stay with her. The story wended its way to culminate in a garden party. Seemed rather strange to say that Sadie thought her partner was not an angry person as he was the one person that showed more anger than anyone and the only one that swore. I thought it to be a rather mediocre read and not up to the standard I expect from this author.

The Devil's Music by Jane Rusbridge
I liked the interspersing of the characters stories Helen when she was younger and then older and Andy in his childhood and later when he returned from Crete. His relationship with his grandfather and Aunt Jean and his horrific treatment by his bully of a father. Each time the character who was telling their story would provide us with a knot, different ones for younger and older, giving instant recognition as to who you would be reading about. I found that helpful as they would be talking in first person and you could get quite aways before realising who and when. The narrative was interwoven like strands of rope as were the relationships. Andy's autism presented itself more as he got older and I thought the character Sarah was a very calming sort of person for him to be with. The story is very believable and so beautifully written. The excellent prose was a pleasure to read. A lyrical story if ever there was one and the latter pages of hopping from one character to the next and back again had me reading intensely and the ending was not what I expected at all.

One Summer by Roisin Meaney
A delightful read from beginning to end, I romped through it at a rapid pace. The characters were wonderful and when Walter died and young Andy found him and was so upset I too shed a little tear. You sort of knew how it would all pan out and the only one I got annoyed with a bit was Laura with her twins. She was just a bit too full on to be amongst the rest of them on the fictional Island of Roone.

I also read..

Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

This is a first book by Giovanna and it is not too bad. I was going to give up when I finished part one as thought it would be too predictable an outcome. I changed my mind soldiered on and was glad as there was a bit more to it than I thought and it was a better read than The Garden Party. The author is an actress and probably drew on her own experiences for the story. It's a little bit soppy and the main character Sophie is a tad self centred but maybe I was seeing Billy (a heartthrob actor) being played by David Tennant so the visuals kept me interested. It had a sad teary bit and yes it had a happy ending/cut off point. Don't think I would read another of her books though.



TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 19 Jul 2013 13:04

Have read three of the books.
Will be back later.


Pammy51 Report 19 Jul 2013 21:24

Only managed to read one book this time but finally got Kate Atkinsons 'Life After Life' so will revue that when I've finished it.

The Garden Party by Sarah Challis

I usually enjoy Sarah Challis' books and this was no exception, although it is not one of my favourites. She always seems to take an everyday event, put a different twist on it and produce an intriguing, engrossing story. I love the way her characters develop, both young and old, and the humour she brings to even distressing events. What a complicated family they are! Alice's husband David appears weak and boring, perhaps his strength has been sapped by Alice's 'organising', but his life soon becomes more exciting as he is almost led blindly into an affair. All Alice's certainties seem to be shaken until at the end they fall back into what we hope will be a better pattern.


AnninGlos Report 20 Jul 2013 10:38

Up to the top again, may have to send out reminders later. :-)


Persephone Report 20 Jul 2013 11:13

I will be back in morning should still be your 20th..


AnninGlos Report 20 Jul 2013 11:27

Think it is going to be slow going anyway Perse.


Mersey Report 20 Jul 2013 13:42

Mine i in the process of being done....finishing it right now :-D


Mersey Report 20 Jul 2013 14:32

Review - The Devils Music - Jane Rusbridge

The storyline for this book is based on family relationshios especially the bond between a mothers and her children. The characters came across strong when reading especially Andrew the on. It has it all in this book, love, secrets, twist and turns, and misunderstandings.

The book took me by suprise, after reading it I realised this wa the authors first book. I would recommend it and it is a very easy to read and very poignant at times....


Mersey Report 20 Jul 2013 14:40

Review The Garden Party - Sarah Challis

I wasn't too sure on this book when I first started reading it. I think the reason was that it was abit too complicated , too much going on for me, and there were times I could not keep up with it.......

The book tells the story of the Baxter family. Alice the mother of the family aims to hold/host a party for her 60th birthday and to coincide with her and her husband's 40th wedding anniversary. There are all kinds of plot going on in the book but Alice seems to be the main link them all in it.
Relationships can be fragile at times especially among families and this book doe portray that very well.

Just an ok book for me....

I was also going to review The Mourning Wedding -Carola Dunn but I gave up ...apologies


AnninGlos Report 20 Jul 2013 14:59

Thank you Mersey The Garden party was very involved wasn't it?

Don't forget your suggestions if you haven't done them already.


Mersey Report 20 Jul 2013 15:01

okey dokey :-) :-)


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 20 Jul 2013 16:38

Sorry I haven't done my reviews yet. Will try my best to do them after my grandsons go to bed tonight.

Have just posted my suggestions.


AnninGlos Report 20 Jul 2013 16:47

No rush Tess, thanks for suggestions.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 21 Jul 2013 00:47

Note to self -
I really must write review of each book as I finish it, instead of waiting for review date and then feeling overwhelmed by the task.


First review.

A Mourning Wedding.
Can't remember if I have read any of the Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries before, but her name seems familiar.

Despite the subject (murder) this was quite a 'light' book - shortish and easy to read.

It drew a picture of how the 'other half'' lives between the wars. ((1920's) I almost expected a friend of Bertie Wooster to turn up.
Set in a Counrty house and peopled by the well-heeled, with marvelous descriptions of breakfasts eaten and clothes worn. Eveyone is gathered for a wedding, many family members (including people not liked by the brides family), sitting around and gossiping ... Then along comes a murder!!....
Not too thought provoking - except for 'who dun it?' However the family relationships got a bit confusing so I was grateful for the family tree at the front of the book.
It ashows just how much times have changed since then - especially as we now have (apparently) equal op's for everyone.
Quite an interesting read - both because of the murder mystery and the period setting.
I could quite easily become a Daisy Dalrymple fan..

Will try to get back with my other reviews tomorrow (Sunday) i.e
The Garden Party and
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.


Persephone Report 21 Jul 2013 09:45

Nudged for Berona... she is around now...