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Greaders please review Oct/Nov 2015 books.

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


AnninGlos Report 3 Nov 2015 14:46

Please review those you have read from the list.

A Summer Affair Elin Hilderbrand 1
Victoria Hislop The Sunrise
The Haunted Hotel. Wilkie Collins.
The Wedding. Imraan Coovadia
Fairfield Hall - Margaret Dickinson 1
Sarah's Key - Tatiana De Rosnay 11
Two Fridays in April by Roisin Meaney 1
The Lies You Told Me by Jessica Ruston 1
The Ballroom Cafe by Ann O'Loughlin 111
Before She Was Mine by Kate Long 1

So the First onne to review should be The ballroom cafe
second is Sarah's key Then any others from the list.

Putting this up early as i will be busy after Friday and want to get the next books settled.


AnninGlos Report 3 Nov 2015 14:49

review a summer affair by Elin Hildebrand

I don't think I have read any books by this author before but I will be looking for others by her.

Her characters are really realistic and her descriptions of Nantucket made me feel I was there. I enjoyed too how she described the interiors of houses etc. And a plus was the description of the glass making carried out by Claire. The main story concerns how giving in to feelings and carrying on an affair can cause stress to all parties on so many levels. The jealousy felt by Claire when she saw Lock out with his wife and daughter and her knowledge that she was never going to have that was described beautifully showing the distress that can be caused by a moment of madness. She also demonstrated by writing Justin's character as a person only interested in the mundane of TV programmes, albeit a good father, that in his way he was instrumental in the potential break down of the marriage


AnninGlos Report 3 Nov 2015 14:51

review the Ballroom cafe by Ann O’Loughlin

Two sisters Ella and Roberts O'Callaghan living silently in their mansion and unable to pay the mortgage. The two having fallen out over a family tragedy and now not speaking after many years. Ella opens a cafe in the Ballroom. Debbie visits the cafe and starts to help out while searching for her birth mother. I found it a bit disjointed at first but once I got accustomed to the time shifts I found it an excellent story. Sad in places and not really a happy ending but a very engrossing read, a tale well told.


Mersey Report 3 Nov 2015 21:40

The Ballroom Cafe.....

The story is set in a mansion, where two sisters are living totally seperate lives,
secrets from their past which have caused such grievence , so they had not spoken for many many years.In a desperate move due to debts which either sister cannot afford , one of the sisters Ella decides to open a Cafe in their ballroom of the mansion much to the disgust of her sister. As the story unfolds of the secrets kept from the past, Debbie a lady arrives at the cafe and befriends Ella. Debbie is in the midst of searching for her birth mother, and helps Ella out as she continues with her search. Alot of unravelling happens within the storyline and I have to say I was totally gripped. I did find it very dismal and sad in places....An enjoyable read:)


Mersey Report 3 Nov 2015 21:46

Before She was Mine.........

This is a story of Freya who has two mothers. Total opposites to each other. She
has her adpotvice mother who is prim, no nonsence type of lady where her birth mother is much more madcap and mad impulsed . Freya struggles as she is torn between the two of them....Its a story of fighting for ones love, attention and time and also to try and let go of the past. For me personally I cannot say it was a great read but I did finish it , just abit too long winded than I thought it would be.......


AnninGlos Report 3 Nov 2015 22:14

Thanks Mersey :-)


Persephone Report 4 Nov 2015 19:03

The Ballroom Café

Ella (Bette Davis) and Roberta (Joan Crawford) are sisters who communicate by writing notes. Debbie (Andie MacDowell) an American arrives on the scene not long after Ella has been told by the bank manager that she must come up with the money to save her large and rather worn home in Ireland. We do not see or hear from the bank manager again after the first scene. Debbie is in search of her birth mother, a task to be completed before she dies of pancreatic cancer. She turns up at the hall and ends up helping Ella open the Ballroom Cafe which is a resounding success despite Roberta not wanting the cafe or Debbie's presence. When you put all this together you can see a tangled web being woven. Despite the rather strange way that Ella talks to people, she does pull through. And the writer has opened up that touchy subject of unmarried mothers and the adoption of babies from Ireland going to the US to live. I read it fairly quickly, was interested in the main characters and how all would be resolved, despite the woman from the post office gossiping and interfering and the size of the pieces of cake it was a good story.


Persephone Report 4 Nov 2015 19:04

Fairfield Hall by Margaret Dickinson

An easy read about Annabel Constantine daughter of a self-made man who had ideas that one day his daughter would have a title and a grandson that would inherit an estate. He rids himself of one of his workers that Annabel fancies and buys his daughter unbeknown to her, into a position in society. Annabel arrives at Fairfield Hall only to find the village is derelict the outlying farms and tenants have mostly gone, the school is closed and everyone is starving. The sizeable dowry has been used to partly pay for debts that the estate owes the bank. Annabel is business savvy and sets about rectifying the village. The villagers are dubious at first but she wins them all round. She is loved by all except for her husband's sister Dorothea, who does everything she can to ensure her son will inherit the estate including leading her brother to believe that Annabel and husband James son is not his. It is a page turner and then slows down when the three cousins (Annabel's son, Dorothea's son and the illegitimate son of the deceased elder brother) attend the same boarding school and later enter the army together. The cousin's all leave a will and after two of them die during the war Bertie the illegitimate son inherits the estate. The story is rather rushed at the end as it moves forward by a century and you have no knowledge of those in between that make up the family tree, other than the males names. It's no wonder we end up with our trees where the male line ends up with marrying a wife unknown.
My favourite line in the story is when Dorothea is spitting tacks when she finds out that Theodore's school pals are indeed 'his cousins'. She says she will have words with the headmaster. To which Theo shrugs and says their fees are paid and then looks his mother in the eye and adds quietly. "By the same person who pays mine."


Persephone Report 4 Nov 2015 19:05

Two Fridays in April by Roisin Meaney

A great read, one you wanted to stay with and plough through. The story is told through the eyes of each of the four main characters, Una, Daphne, Isobel and Mo.

We are given the background of Una (Finn's stepdaughter) Daphne (Finn's second wife) Mo (Finn's mother) and Isobel (Daphne's mother who left Daphne and her father when she was around five or six).
The day is Una's 17th Birthday and the 1st anniversary of her father's death.
Each character has their own view on how to handle the anniversary and it certainly makes you think about it.


Persephone Report 4 Nov 2015 19:07

The Lies You Told Me by Jessica Ruston

The opening pages of this book are about the postman delivering a package to Klara, upon opening the package she receives a key and a note telling her that now was the time for Klara to find out about her mother and what happened in the last 24 years and the letter is signed NR. She asks her father to tell her again what happened to her mother when she was six. He repeats the same stories over and over again and unfortunately some of the story does go over and over what is happening.

The story being that her mother left when she was six to keep up her modelling career and died when she was 12. It is an interesting story and has lots of twists and turns, and a bit of a surprise ending and even the NR who wrote the letter is known to Klara by another name. It is good but you do get to a point where you just wish Klara would go through all her mother's stuff which is kept in a lock up, a lot quicker.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 5 Nov 2015 13:01

I wasn't able to get The Ballroom Cafe from the Library. Now that I've read the reviews I shall be looking out for it from other sources.

The Library did however have Sarah's Key. by Tatiana de Rosnay.
Sarah's. Key tells the story of the round up of the Jews in Paris by the French police on the 16th July 1942.
It is told "as it happened". to Sarah and her family in 1942, painting a horrific account of the sights, smells and sounds of the round up and imprisonment of the families. When the police call at Sarah's home she encourages her younger brother to hide in cupboard in their bedroom, telling him that she would come back for him before locking him in. She believed that she would be back soon but instead the family and all the other Jewish families were marched away enmasse.

The story is also told by a journalist, living in Paris in 2002. It is the 60th anniversary of the " great round-up at the Velodrome d'Hiver". Julia, the American journalist, married to a French man and living in France, is asked to write an article about the Vel' d'Hiv. She is good that thousands of Jewish families were held in the famous indoor stadium, locked up there in appealing conditions then sent to Auschwitz, and gassed.
Julia sets out to find out more about what happened and sets out yo find out more from records, witnesses and survivors.

The two stories cross as Julia finds out a little about Sarah. She tries to find out what happened to her, Was she one of the thousands of French born children who were gassed at Auschwitz?

A moving, horrifying, utterly unbelievable story ...except that it is true.

Reading about the people who stood by as it happened and did nothing, makes me wonder if I would have been brave enough to speak out or to TTY yo to something.

Well worth reading this book, but have so
me tissues handy, you will need them.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 5 Nov 2015 13:41

I wasn't able to get any of the other books on the list, except the ones I had suggested
The Haunted Hotel. by Wilkie Collins, which was a bit of a disappointment, and
The Wedding. that was interesting when it began, dragged out a little, then finished rather suddenly leaving me dissatisfied with the details.

I looked at previous suggestions, from when I couldn't access Genes Reunited.
Noticed that "Small Island". by Andrea Levy was on the list, a book that I already have.

REVIEW. Small Ireland.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. Soon got used to the story being told from different peoples point of view. Perhaps I was influenced by knowing a man from the a west Indies. who came to " the mother country" in war time, joined the RAF (he was a rear gunner) and settled here after the war.
I wish that I could have shared this book with him. He might have told us more about his war time experiences.

I felt that the characters were all believable, even holier than thou, Hortense, who was a victim of her upbringing. She seemed to mellow slightly as she got more used to England and I like to think that she would come into her own when she had a home that she could use her skills and determination on.

A kitchen sink sort of story, the warts and all tale of war time, rationing, post war deprivation, immigration and prejudice.

Some of it made me laugh, especially the story of Elwood and the mule! And the story of Arthur's eyebrows and his gift at playing cards or monopoly. While others made me sad and or angry, eg the death of Arthur, the attitude to the evacuees.

Although a book of fiction, the story rang true, the language used was "bang on" and helped to make the story real. I felt that I got to know the main characters they were very real to me, I wish them every success in the future.

So much has changed in the UK since then, a lot of it for the better. This book has made me count my blessings!

I through my enjoyed it, will keep it on my bookshelf so that I can read it again in the future.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 5 Nov 2015 14:17

While in the Library last week, I glanced at the "new books". shelf and there I saw Without a Trace" by Lesley Pearse. I had tried to get this book for the previous review without success.


I can just about remember the Coronation as I was four at the time. I wanted to know more about what life was like from an adults point if view.

However, although the story was interesting, for me it was spoilt by the language used. "Mixed race". was not in the vernacular of the time. I am pretty sure that " Militant ". was not used to describe a woman who wanted equality. There were other words or phrases that grated with me as zI read them, I just can't recall them now.

Having just read Small Island where the words used were realistic this book, with its more PC words was a bit of a let down. PC had not been heard of at that time.
I know that when I read books set in the more distant past, the language has been modernised, but if it wasn't we wouldn't understand it.
This book is set in living memory, if the author wants to make her story believable she should have taken the trouble to make the language believable too.
If she had, I would have been more positive about the story.

I' m pretty sure that I've read other books by this author ,(can't remember which one/s)
So might read some more, however my comment about this one is " could do better,

P.S. When I came to live in Birmingham in 1961, following a two-and-a-half years in Malaysia, I had long dark hair, dark eyes and skin, I was NOT called mixed race by those that thought that I was! "half-caste". would have been too polite for the people that objected to people of my hue living in their neighbourhood. So I know what I am talking about. This happened to me eight years after Petal went missing, and in a city that according yo Lesley Pearce, it was easy for " mixed race" children to blend in.


AnninGlos Report 5 Nov 2015 14:38

thank you for the reviews, sorry you didn't enjoy without a Trace Tess. I do notice when words are used out of their time but I can usually push them to the back of my mind to enjoy the actual story. there seem to have been too many for you to ignore in this one. I don't think I would have known that the phrase mixed race wasn't used then, probably because I didn't know any such people.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 5 Nov 2015 15:28

Ann if the correct terms had been used I would have really liked this book. If I hadn't realised that the words used were around 40 years before their time (in the inner city area of Birmingham anyway) I, like you, would have enjoyed it. I just think that if an author is going to write a book set in the very near past, they should take the trouble to get things right.
Now that I have read other reviews I confess that I too, didn''t realise that Charley was homosexual, it came as much as a shock to me as it did to Molly.

However, if I Without a Trace was made into a film and I was watching it, I would have been shouting. "don't go!" to Molly when she was persuaded by Sebastian to go to his friends house.

Am I pleased that I read it? Yes I am!


Pammy51 Report 5 Nov 2015 20:13

Sorry, I'm all behind with my revues, will try to post tomorrow.


AnninGlos Report 5 Nov 2015 21:13

No problem Pammy


Pammy51 Report 7 Nov 2015 21:21

The Ballroom Cafe

I got a little muddled at the beginning because of the format of the story, moving from past to present but once I sorted this out I began to feel involved in the different characters. There was a lot of sadness in this book (the 'if only' factor) with the wasted years of the two sisters Ella and Roberta and Debbie's childhood and illness. The basis of the story is one that has become public over recent years, as in the film Philomena, but still seems unbelievable that it actually happened within our lifetimes. A good read in spite of the sadness.


Pammy51 Report 7 Nov 2015 21:38

Before She was Mine

Perhaps it is me but I found the beginning of this book muddly as well until I sorted out who was who and what relation they were to each other. The story revolves around Freya, torn between her two mothers, Liv her adoptive mother who is a conservationist and her birth mother Melody who often behaves as if she is younger than Freya herself! Although Freya is 23 she is still really in the process of growing up and when Liv finds she has cancer and Melody that she is pregnant Freya has to find the strength and maturity to help them both. An OK book, with well crafted characters but not one I want to hang on to.


AnninGlos Report 7 Nov 2015 22:27

Thanks Pammy