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Greaders review Feb/April 14 books

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AnninGlos Report 8 Apr 2014 16:41

Please review
The Real Katie Lavender by Erica James
The Twins by Saskia Sarginson

and any others of the list that you have read. :-) :-)


AnninGlos Report 8 Apr 2014 16:47

The Real Katie Lavender - Erica James

Katie is a loveable character from the word go in this book. She receives news
from her solicitor with shocking consequences.
The Nightingale family have plenty of secrets and skeletons in their closet, but
once Katie gets to know them, she really takes them to her heart. There are
so many ups and downs along the way. I adored the Grandmother, she was the
best character in the book I thought. Secrets, lies and love all rolled into one.
This is the first Erica James book I have read and now I am hoping to read more
Loved it!! Loved it!!

The Twins - Saskia Sarginson

The story is of twins Isolte and Viola. One who is fighting and eating disorder,
the other leading a somewhat happy life style set in the 80's.
The story goes back and forth from their childhood and the events that
happened to them and tries to show the twins revealing tragic events which
lead up to the present day.
I have to say I was somewhat confused with this book and was ready to give
up but I persevered. There was far too much hopping around with the story
line for me. A dark read.


AnninGlos Report 8 Apr 2014 16:52

I only read one of the first 2 as Twins was not my sort of book at all. I did however, read the two I suggested so I will review those

the real Katie Lavender by Erica James

Two marriages in trouble, one with disastrous results, affairs, an illegitimate child. Relationships good and bad, the inability to communicate and the consequences resulting from various actions. Katy Lavender founds out that she is not who she thought she was, when her Mother dies a letter causes her anguish and she sets out to solve the problem she thinks she has.

Erica James is excellent at creating characters and weaving a tale. She creates women who end up being strong, and strong men who are not so strong in the end.

I enjoyed this one as I do all her books so thanks for the suggestion.

Season of storms by Susanna Kearsley
This is an excellent book. I suggested it for Greaders but nobody picked it, I read it anyway.

It is one of those books that sucked me in as soon as I started reading it. In the early 1900s a playwright, Galeazzo D'Ascanio lived for an actress Celia Sands, his muse and his mistress. She was the inspiration for his most stunning, original play. The night before she was to take the lead she disappeared. Did she run away? Was she murdered.
The story is told mostly in the present day with short flash backs to link it with the past life of Galeazzo D'Ascanio and Celia Sands the first.

In the present day, her namesake, (Named after the older acress by her mother also an actress) Celia Sands also an actress, is asked to star in a remake of the play at Il Placere near Venice once the home of Galeazzo D'Ascanio in the rebuilt open air theatre The play will be directed by Rupert, one of a gay couple who practically brought Celia up when her Mother was travelling..

The book is very atmospheric, I have never been to Venice but the descriptions have made me determined to go there sometime. It is a beautifully written book, there was always that ‘on edge’ feeling of something about to happen. With spirits and menace, murder and a solving of the long ago mystery I was sorry to reach the end of it even though I couldn’t put it down.
I shall now order one of her other books for my kindle.

voices from the sea by Evelyn Hood

I think this is the 4th book by Evelyn Hood that I have read and she always weaves a good story with believable characters. This one was no exception. I am not usually keen on books that have parts written in dialect but, once I had learnt to ‘hear’ the scots words it was fine and lent something to the story.
The book is set in the Moray Firth in Scotland, Eppie is a young widow whose husband, a fisherman was lost in a storm. She has a young daughter who at the start of the book is living with her parents, her father being headmaster of a school and her sister a primary school teacher. Eppie works at the farlins sorting and putting the herrings into barrels. She then sells herring door to door. This all changes when she gets the post of housekeeper to Alexander Geddes, the widower owner of a marble quarry and his young son and daughter (who is a handful spoilt by her father’s mother). It is a tale of romance, friction from the older woman, trouble when the son rebels against his father and runs away, trials with the spoiled young daughter and tragedy among the fisher folk. The characters are well written, Eppie is an upright and likeable character, while Alexander’s mother is not, she is a snob and domineering, used to running her son’s life.
I enjoyed the book very much and, as she has written many more I shall look out for them


Berona Report 9 Apr 2014 05:31

The Twins.
Unusual reading for me. It was sad to see how the girls raised themselves. The result of a mother who drank and loved the hippy way of life and no known father. I was interested in the story, but I didn’t enjoy it, knowing that there are children who do live like that. I was a little depressed by it.

The Real Katie Lavender
I have seen similar situations in real life and they don’t always work out. It’s natural for people like Katie to want to meet their biological relatives, but they need to be careful how and when they approach them as this showed, it happened at an inopportune time. The family had enough to accept with their uncle’s suicide and all that went on to cause it, without learning secrets his brother had held for thirty years. Thankfully, after a little more time, it was good to see their acceptance of it all.

Jill in France

Jill in France Report 9 Apr 2014 20:13

Only read The Real Katie Lavender and was very bored with it, was a Mills and Boon type for me. Knew from the start they would not be blood cousins and would fall in love,, found all characters very see through and kept waiting for it to change and surprise me but could of read first few pages and last and still know what is was all about.
I did find my birth father so could relate a little but sorry, not my cup of tea

xx Jill


Pammy51 Report 9 Apr 2014 20:51

Review of Katie Lavender

Although it was quite lightweight I enjoyed this book and the characters were interesting, although I'm not sure how many I would want as friends! Katie's thoughts when she was told some devastating news by her solicitor chase around all the aspects of her life, trying to fit them into a new, unknown pattern. The story details how she makes sense of her new knowledge and how that affects the lives of her new family. As the book developed I wondered how there was going to be a satisfactory ending (happy of course) but this rounded up the ends rather too neatly. Rosko changing his mind because of a conversation with a new girlfriend, daughter Scarlet suddenly becoming caring because she is a new mother, rather hard to believe!


Pammy51 Report 9 Apr 2014 20:59

The Twins

A story based around two pairs of twins, Isolte and Viola, girls brought up by a hippy mother, and Michael and John, two boys with an abusive father, all four living a wild childhood. The book swings between the present and the past, gradually revealing why Isolte and Violas' lives took different paths. I felt the sections of the book relating to the present were more realistic than those set in the twins' childhood. Some of the actions and thoughts of the children did not seem appropriate to their age. An uncomfortable book but at least it seems to end on a note of hope.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 20 Apr 2014 14:51

Managed to read both books this time.

The Real Katie Lavender by Erica James.

Even the name of the book (and main character ) points to a light hearted story.

On the face of it, this is a story of romance, where boy meets girl, they fall in love, a few obstacles are thrown in their path, but love triumphs and all live happily ever after.
The people we are guided to like are all good looking, talented and relatively well off.
Okay for a relaxing holiday read but not really engaging the "grey matter" .

On further reflection it is also the story of deceit, betrayal, favouritism, embezzlement, despair and suicide.

The more I thought about it (instead of getting on with the review) the more I thought that the reader was guided subtly (or even manipulated) by the author (via Cecily) to forms likes and dislikes for the people in the story.

Cecily has two daughters-in law and two grandsons. She has made it clear to one of her daughters-in-law (Gina) and grandsons (Rosco) that she preferred the other daughter-in-law and grandson.

If Gina and Rosco had always known that they would always be second best, no matter what they did, it is not surprising that they felt badly about Pen and Lloyd.
Pen, although a lovely person, did not do all the things that Gina did, to make sure that family functions were well taken care of. She was even too wrapped up in her garden to be a decent house manager, or to work towards family unity. She was well loved by Cecily, whatever she did. Her son Lloyd, (again a lovely person) did
his own thing, going off and making his own choices in life, he too knew he was loved.
Rosco, who seems to have sought approval (but didn't get it), was jealous of Lloyd, perhaps always feeling second best made him envious. Perhaps if he had felt that his grandmother liked him, he wouldn't have shown dislike for Lloyd - "your even a real Nightingale"

The double shock of Neil's suicide and dishonesty and Katie's appearance at a family do (and the eventual realisation that she was the result of Sterling's long-term affair while Rosco was a baby) must have been a double whammy.

In a real life situation, I would not have expected Gina and Rosco to have behaved well.

Would love to hear the story from Gina or Rosco's point of view - wonder if my opinions of the people in the story would change.
Just a word about Scarlett, "Daddy's little girl" who had lived up to that role - but was understandably upset upon finding that she wasn't Daddy's only little girl.
In the end this gave her the chance to step out of the "little girl" role and become a loving caring woman.
Would love to hear what she has got to say on the subject too.

Sorry it is so long winded - perhaps I shouldn't think so much!


AnninGlos Report 20 Apr 2014 15:31

Lol Tess a good review. Wonder what Erica James would make of it!! Wonder if she thought she had just written a light holiday read!


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 25 Apr 2014 12:10

The Twins Saskia Sarginson

It wasn't what I was expecting. Somehow I thought that it would be about the sort of people that appear in Celeb. mags.

The story is in two parts - the before the death of Rose - mother of the twins Isolte and Viola, and after her death. These "parts" are intermingled.

The "before" story when speaking about "we, she, me" etc. is told by Viola, the one I think of as the girl in the bed or as she thinks of herself the fat one.
Viola is stuck in her childhood - initially it seemed carefree and wonderful, Isolte and Viola meet a set of boy twins- they spend a lot of time together and enjoy themselves, much of the time. Gradually it was overtaken by reality, the brutality of the boys twins father, the new relationship of Rose and all that involves. Culminating in the horror that leads to the death of Rose.

Isolte tries to make a new "normal" life trying tofit in with her classmates. She choses a career with "the beautiful people" in the fashion world. However she is haunted by a nightmare of her mothers death.
It takes many years and lots of pain before the twins discuss the past and Isolte is able to confront it (mainly on Viola's behalf).

A gripping story, well written, I was interested right to the end.
Would also like to know what happens next.
I wonder if the author will write a follow up story, or will it be left to our imaginations?


AnninGlos Report 25 Apr 2014 13:45

Thanks again Tess.