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Greaders please review Dec/Jan books

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 27 Jan 2016 20:56

Please review Diamonds in the Dust,
Then an Eye for an Eye
Then any others you have read.



Sorry this is a bit late, thanks to Persie for reminding me. :-)

Persephone

Persephone Report 27 Jan 2016 21:08

Well as I could not get either book..

A rather untidy review of
If You Go Away by Adele Parks

On the back amongst other commendations says 'will captivate you from the first page'... well no it didn't, however I decided to stay with it and yes it is a good read. The main character Vivian appears in the first chapter, a rather fluffy debutante going to dances early 1914 with the sole purpose at 18 to meet her husband to be. She is infatuated with a bit of a cad and makes a fool of herself. Shortly later she accepts a proposal from a bloke she is not interested in, but at the behest of her mother. Then we meet Howard who works with a theatre company and the chapters alternate between Vivian and Howard, and you can't help thinking these two will end up together. War breaks out, her husband signs up and is off training and Vivian is pregnant with "the cad's' child. Howard is not interested in going to war but he does go to the front with a newspaper reporter. The reports that flow back to England are nothing like the way the British are being massacred. Howard returns home, and refuses to sign up, mainly because of what he has seen and the futility of it. He falls in love with Vivian and she him, and as a result decides to go back to the front. His commanding officer is Vivian's husband (surprise surprise) but it is an intermediary in the chain of command that causes the most trouble and he opens all of Vivian's letters to Howard and keeps them. The outcome is the husband dies as does the intermediary and Howard gets to return a hero. I have made it sound a bit flippant but there is a lot of good reading in there and a lot of other characters that make the book interesting.

Persephone

Persephone Report 27 Jan 2016 21:11

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is so well written almost up there with Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mocking Bird". I had seen a lot of recommendations on this book over the years and I kept thinking I must read it. The main character Lily is a strong minded child and she survived where many others would have failed. You almost think it is not fiction, it is so believable, for some people it might be seen as semi-religious but you look way beyond that to a warm heartfelt story that has such beautiful descriptive passages. The writing is superb, and yes Lily is a white girl amongst all these black women but it goes way beyond racism. I guess I was expecting it to be more like "The Help" but it is nothing like it (though I loved "The Help"), and there is not that much really about bees.... you could say the bees are the simile for the relationship between Lily and the women where she goes to stay all because of a label on a jar of honey, and its connection to her mother.

Persephone

Persephone Report 27 Jan 2016 21:13

The Flower Arrangement by Ella Griffin

Like Marian Keyes says, Ella Griffin can make you laugh and then cry in the turn of the page. I enjoyed lots of laughs in this book but it also brought a tear to my eye a few times. The ending was a little sad but I suppose you can think that it may turn out alright. Loved that each chapter had a flower heading. Enjoyed the connections between people and there were times that I would have liked maybe, some more to come of some of these. But it was like life you can't have everything "rosey" all the time, things do get left unsaid and when you hear things about you in the case of Rebecca you don't go and correct you let them go but they do niggle you.

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 28 Jan 2016 09:20

Greaders review Diamonds in the Dust by Beryl Matthews

An easy read story, set post WW1, three children, eldest a girl, Doris, 17, mother doesn't return from work. She had told them she worked the night shift at the local factory. They enlist the help of Stan, a twenty something ex soldier with bad injuries to his leg and shrapnel wounds. To find her. It was a good read for sitting around after Christmas. Interesting to note one similarity with the present day. The number of ex service men minus limbs. This served to highlight the difference between the treatment then and today, as it wasn't until a doctor opened a centre for them and helped them to accept that prosthetic limbs would work that more of them were able to walk. It underlined the advances made when today they can choose what sort of limb to have, even one with a blade for running. Another thing brought to mind was the fact that losing your job meant no money at all coming in. Doris goes to work with the doctor at the centre.

The diamonds in the title refer to a necklace found among the mother's belongings one of very few clues they had to go on in their search.

One thing that did concern me was the assumption that Doris's eighteenth birthday was an important one and that she would be allowed to look after the children as she would be considered an adult. I am not convinced that this would be the case in the 1920s, I am sure that she would not reach her majority until she was 21.

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 28 Jan 2016 09:21

Greaders review An Eye for an Eye by Maureen Lee

I think I preferred this one to Diamonds in the Dust. A snappy way of writing, a good page turner, good characters and a lot of suspense. I think to lay out the plot too much might give the story away to anyone who has not read it, but if you like a mystery I would recommend it. A private school Dean in USA who runs a draconian girls school, disappears and nothing is heard of him for 9 years. Three of the girls at the school who were the best of friends leave with a pact not to see or speak to each other ever again. Liz a reporter with a paper that exposes various things such as the disappearance, takes on the story with the agreement of her boss and good friend Jim.

I was disappointed that the story appeared to end abruptly, leaving us wondering what happened to Liz. However, I did enjoy it, good reading for curling up on dark wet winter afternoons of which we have had many

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 28 Jan 2016 09:23

Review if you go Away by Adele Parks

Vivian a deb with a pushy mother, she is involved in a scandal and marries Aubrey, a suitable man who is a farmer and new money. WW1 breaks out and he joins up. Howard, a playwright, does not agree with the war but travels to France with a correspondent to see it at first hand. He finds it worse than he imagined and can see no sense in all the killing, he returns home just as conscription happens, he becomes a conscientious objector and it imprisoned and threatened with death which he is saved from by going to work for Aubrey.

I didn't like her style of writing at first but got used to it after a while. It was a good insight into the war and the lives of conscientious objectors and a good story. However the war parts dragged a bit for me and I am not sure that I really enjoyed it or if I would rush to read more of her books.

AnninGlos

AnninGlos Report 28 Jan 2016 09:25

Precious Time by Erica James

Love her characterisations. Set in a small village in Derbyshire, Gabriel Liberty an old grumpy, lonely widower who lives in a very large house called Mermaid House. Clara Costello, gives up her job to spend a year driving round UK in a motor home with her four year old son Ned before he starts school, works for a week cleaning for G Liberty. There are three Liberty offspring, Jonah, the youngest, born when Gabriel's first wife died and twins Caspar and Damson. Other villagers are woven into the story, and relationships between the siblings are explored and explained.

I always enjoy her story telling and this was no exception. A very good tale which I enjoyed.

Mersey

Mersey Report 28 Jan 2016 11:26

If You Go Away - Adele Parks

The story is set in 1914, its about Vivian when after marrying into a
marriage that was not endeared for love but just to cover up a
terrible scandal.
On the day of the wedding itself war is declared, so Vivian ends up
having to run her husbands estate while he is away. She meets up
with Howard a young playwriter and after Howards mother persuades to
take him on at the farm and estate to help her, their connection with each other
is almost immediate. There are twists and turns within the relationship and also
complcations which could damge those around them. I loved the story,
heartache and friendship all rolled into one. I thought it a little different
from her other books but still it certainly was a book for me......

Diamons In The Dust - Beryl Matthews

I have read quite a few of Beryl Matthews books and this one did not
disappoint. I adored all the different characters and the story line regarding
Dora is so lovely. I do not want to mention too much about the story as I think
in the case it would certainly spoil the storyline.
Dora and her family go through so much and all the heartache that follows
Dora realises there are so many secrets within and they need to be unearthed...

Another lovely easy read for me

**Stella ~by~ Starlight**★..★..★

**Stella ~by~ Starlight**★..★..★ Report 28 Jan 2016 11:55

The Secret life of Bees:
i don't know whether this story has been made into a film , but with all the colourful imagery and wonderful story line i am sure it would be easily adaptable .
Two very unlikely friends escape a hard life on a peach farm belonging to the father of one of them not really knowing where they are going except for the name of a place written on the back of a cross with a picture of a black Mary. The theme of bees runs all the way through this incredible story leading a wonderful journey of friendship between the two.They do eventually find the place and the truth of so many happenings lies there.
I enjoyed this book , it was funny, heartbreaking and joyously happy all at the same time.

Diamonds in the Dust:
I always enjoy stories from this era and this was no exception, it started with intrigue and had so much humanity in it i couldn't put it down. Three very strong and brave children try to survive alone when their mother disappears only to find that she was not the person they thought she was. The theme mostly is around the oldest girl who befriends a disabled neighbour and that friendship turns her life around as she matures into a lovely, caring young woman.
A wonderful read <3

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 28 Jan 2016 15:00

I wasn't able to get An Eye for an Eye. I got The Last Kingdom. by Bernard Cornwell instead, however I still have eighty pages to go! Will be back with a review in the next couple of days.

Only a short waiting list for Diamonds in the Dust by Berly Matthews, so have now read it all.

Diamonds in the Dust. Review.

I have mixed feelings about this post WW1book. As long as I didn't think too deeply about the story line I really enjoyed reading about the Bentley children and the people they met during their search for their mother and Dora's working life.
Throughout I wanted to know what happened next, what had gone on before the story opens. So in many ways an interesting and gripping tale of adversity,
determination and solidarity. A family beset by misfortune but determined to stay together.

However, when thinking a little deeper, I thought that the neighbours and friends showed little or no awareness of the dire financial position a seventeen-eighteen year old girl would be in in trying to support herself and her two younger siblings, to the extent of eating food supplied by Dora, instead of bring food to her!
I don't know if I am just being fussy, but I couldn't help feeling that every bit of food eaten by a non-family member, was food taken off the young Bentley's.

Tommy also seemed very grown up for a twelve year old boy. And did I read correctly that six year old Lily made a pot of tea for visitors? (or was I reading too fast and the pot of tea was made by someone else?). If it was Lily, then I think that the adults who were there were irresponsible.

There endith my moans. .,,.

I liked reading about the aftercare given to the man who had been effected by the war. All very interesting and informative.

Like others researching family history and on the track of B.M.D Certs. I am grateful for his easy it is now tracking down certs. co pared to 1920's. but wondered why Lily's birth cert. wasn' t the first thing they would look for.

I reckon that the story was left with us wondering what the future would bring. - and therefore there might be a sequel. If there is I would like to read it (despite quibbles)!

So in summary. a good book, with interesting characters. Worth reading.


Pammy51

Pammy51 Report 28 Jan 2016 20:03

Stella – the Secret Life of Bees was made into a film in 2008.

Diamonds in the Dust

An enjoyable book which really made it easy to empathise with the characters. It covered an aspect of history I didn't know much about, the development of prosthetics after WW1. Although I agree that some of the actions of the two younger Bentleys didn't always seem to tie in with their ages they did make a lovely family.

More revues to follow tomorrow

**Stella ~by~ Starlight**★..★..★

**Stella ~by~ Starlight**★..★..★ Report 28 Jan 2016 20:48

Thanks for that Pammy , i thought it would be good film material..

Pammy51

Pammy51 Report 29 Jan 2016 21:11

The Last Kingdom

I watched the television series which covered the first two books in this series and really enjoyed it. The story was the same but covered in greater depth in the book. It cocerns the story of Uhtred, son of the ninth-century ruler of Bebbanburg (modern day Bamborough) . He is orphaned at the age of ten and taken prisoner by an invading Dane, Ragnar. Ragnar brings him up in Danish ways and eventually adopts him as a son.
As he gets older Uhtred is caught up in the struggle between the Danes, who want to take over the whole of what is now England, and Alfred, King of Wessex, the last independent King, and must decide where his loyalties lie.
An absorbing book, pretty bloody in places, Bernard Cornwell as usual brings history to life.
I've already got the next book, The Pale Horseman, ready to read.

Pammy51

Pammy51 Report 29 Jan 2016 21:32

An Eye for an Eye

Right from the start of this book you knew that, as Julie, Cornelia and Sam left Cullloden, their exclusive boarding school, for the last time they knew more about the disappearance of their headmaster than they should. They each go home to their different walks of life, promising not to contact each other again but, of course, not everything goes to plan, and they don't reckon on a stubborn reporter investigating the disappearance.
I enjoyed reading this book and the ending did come as a surprise, although I agree with Ann, I would have liked to find out what happened to Liz, her story did seemed to be dumped in favour of Jim's.

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 3 Feb 2016 17:57

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.


I read this book before watching the TV series.

I voted for this book and as I was unable to get An Eye for an Eye, I read this instead. Although interested in history I knew very little about the times between the Romans left Britannia and the Norman invasion.
I found the story difficult to get into at first, possibly because the narrator is a warrior, the early chapters telling of his childhood and his wish to become a great warrior/killer.
Was not able to put myself in his place. However, I eventually became more interested in him (Uhtred) and his story. Enen the battle tactics became interesting, as they told so much about the people involved.
At one time the warriors, Dane and English/Saxon. i.e. Pagan and Christian were equating the earthly battles with the battles of their God/s in "heaven"!
Was also interested in the inclusion of " King" later Saint Edmund, who would later become the Patron Saint of England (till the Normans foisted the Turkish? St George on us). He died trying to prove that the Christian God could work miracles!
I found the story increasingly interesting and intriguing in the latter chapters, and was pleased that I had carried on reading to the end.
So although an unpromising start, overall this was a good story. In fact an ideal (in my opinion) historical, with its mix of fact and fiction, real people and fictional ones.
I will read further books about the hero, Uhtred, if I can find them.

P.S. Since first writing this, I have watch most of the series of Last Kingdom, which was on TV Nov/Dec 2015, Unfortunately I hadn't recorded the first two episodes. I would have liked to know how the film makers portrayed the young Uhtred (aka Osbert). Have yet to watch the last episode. Will do do soon.

If you like your history warts and all, no punches pulled, then read this book.

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget

TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 3 Feb 2016 17:59

Just read Pammy's review.

Now I know what to look for in the library!

Pammy51

Pammy51 Report 3 Feb 2016 20:12

There are now nine books in the series (the ninth coming out in paperback in April) so that should keep you busy for a while :-D