I am putting this thread up early as there was a change of date that some may have picked up and some not. The original date was 13th May, the final date 23rd May. If you have read the books please review them. If not, maybe you could tell me and the thread can wait until 23rd. I will do the same with the suggestions thread, the difference being, I will do the vote when all suggestions are in but probably not until Monday 18th as I will be away over the long weekend.
Please review any of the following that you have read
The King's Sister by Anne O'Brien
The Little shop of Hopes and Dreams by Fiona Harper
The Winter guest by Pam Jenoff
Small Island by Andrea Levy
The Knot by Jane Borodale
Indian Summer by Marcia Willett
She Only Wore White –Dorthe Binkert ( Lesley Schudt translator)
The Next Time You See Me - Holly Goddard Jones
Review Small Island by Andrea Levy
(who wrote, amongst others) The Island about the Leper colony on an Island.
2005 Orange prize for fiction.
Small Island is a tragicomedy set in postwar Britain, with a flash back to wartime Britain and the joining of the RAF by Members of the Caribbean islands. It is about the first encounters between these people and white indigenous people and also it describes the apartheid that existed among American black and white troops and their reaction to the Caribbean servicemen mixing freely with white British.
After the war one ex RAF man, Gilbert, from Jamaica returns to make a new life in Britain and finds it is still run down after the war. He is joined by his wife, Hortense, who expects great things of life in Britain and is disappointed. Hortense as a child was sent to live with cousins because her skin was too golden and not black. Her childhood best friend was her cousin Michael Roberts who leaves to join the RAF.
A well written book and illuminating, showing the prejudice against black people (in those days referred to as coloured) who were apparently good enough to fight for us in the war but not welcomed back afterwards. Gilbert and Hortense are taken in as lodgers by Queenie whose husband Bernard, a racist, is still away even though the war has ended, she has no idea where he is.
review the Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff
I have read quite a few stories about the war and the resistance and the terrible fate of the Jewish people. This story though was different, focusing on the finding of a lone American soldier lying injured after having crashed and ejected from the plane carrying him over Poland. There is romance and heroism, starvation rations, determination and much sadness,
The story starts in a Jewish retirement home in America with a report of bones having been found in Poland. The story then continues in a flashback of the Jewish lady’s life story.
It is an excellently written story that quickly drew me in and it was a hard to put down story as I wanted to know the outcome of what happened. PJ is a great story teller. This is the second book of hers I have read and I shall be getting more.
Indian Summer - Marcia Willet
The story is based in Devon, and surrounds the story with so many colourful characters , with friendships so big and that have lasted through the years.....
So many characters to talk about but Mungo made me laugh, imbetween his
secrets, sexuality and out and out cheeky sense of humour, all tongue in cheek and so much fun.......
James a self published author, he had me in stitches, showing and talking so much about his litetary talent....very funny......
Such an easy read, friendships going back decades, a lovely story...I will defintiely be passing this on for a great read to others....... :-D
The Knot - Jane Borodale
I am sorry to say I did not finish this book. The story is set in the 16th century based in the west country...Not only did i find the parts I read long winded I literally could not connect with the book...apologies to those that enjoyed it
Indian Summer by Marcia Willett
For me it was like delving back into the stories I so love from this author with the added bonus that it is a carry on from where we left off of Kit Chadwick's relationship with Jake. However, even for someone who has not read about the Chadwicks this is a lovely story with interesting and intriguing characters set in Devon. Mungo is a delightful gay rogue, and I kept on seeing Ian McKellen in that role. He certainly saved the day in this story.
I was going to say that with Marcia Willett's stories we don't have any murders or detective work, but that is not entirely true there is a dead body in the orchard.. and I hope we are going to hear more about this when Archie and Camilla's son takes over the family land.
Review of She Wore Only White by Dörthe Binkert
The author spins this story from an article in the New York Times on August 3rd 1904; "Woman Crosses Ocean in an Evening Gown Without Another Dress"
The characters in the book reveal snippets about themselves, their transgressions and bits of their lives before their travel as the journey progresses on the "Kroonland" from Antwerp to New York, where the first class passengers are taken to New York and the steerage passengers of whom we hear little about go on to Ellis Island to be processed.
The other characters in the story are fascinated by Valentina (the woman in white) a stowaway who because of her appearance is given a state room. She is treated well and leaves her diamond earrings as collateral to cover the expenses of her journey which she will repay after her arrival in New York. She shuns the Captains advances and for this transgression(?) on her part she too has to go to Ellis Island and is turned away and has to return to Antwerp. The captain does return her earrings.
The disappointment is that once the passengers all disembark we no longer know what will happen to them. The journey has definitely changed the lives of some of them. I enjoyed it immensely.
So thank you Mersey for suggesting that, and am glad I did not get out The Knot even though I suggested it, based on how good her Book of Fires was.