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Greaders review Dec/Feb 2017 books

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AnninGlos Report 1 Feb 2017 15:10

As we have visitors and brain is all over the place. In case I forget on Friday, I am putting the threads up early.
The results were:

Lavender Road by Helen Carey 1
Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley 11
The Last of the Mohicans by J. Fennimore Cooper. 1
The Mistletoe Murder and other stories by PD James
Belgravia - Julian Fellowes 1

So the winner was Last dance in Havana with 2 votes. Then if you wish, review any of those with one vote.

And also please review the book you chose as the one you are going to suggest this time. .


AnninGlos Report 1 Feb 2017 15:24

review last dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley

I have read two books by RL before and both were good so I looked forward to reading this one, and I was not disappointed.
She writes her characters so well that you can immediately picture them. I don’t know any Cuban people but Elisa rang true, reminding me of the Spanish and Tenerifians I have met on holiday, her love for colour and her ability to talk non stop. Duardo too was very well depicted, impetuous, loud, loving to dance. Then we have Philip, damaged by disappointment and Grace not really knowing who she is or where she belongs and Theo the magician..
I, to my shame, knew very little about Cuba, beyond the fact that Fidele Castro was a dictator since winning position after the revolution in the late 50s. I had not really thought that winning the revolution would not improve their lives but worsen them, while there was more equality there was also more poverty, less food. Interesting to read how tourism opened up some opportunities but it didn’t matter if they had money if there was nothing to buy. I loved the descriptions of Cuba and was convinced RL had actually been there. It was quite a disappointment and yet a revelation to realise that she had never been but read it all up in many books etc.
I loved the part of the story set in Bristol as I knew the area that it was set in quite well and could follow them as they walked the streets. And then when they went to West Bay, Just one of my favourite small places. Stories are always so much better when set in places you know I feel.
I really enjoyed the book, a great story teller with the added bonus of a geographical lesson. I shall look out for more of her books.

review Lavender Road by Helen Carey

Lavender road, an ordinary street in London with ordinary residents and the story of what goes on behind their front doors, from Joyce whose husband and son are in prison (thank goodness as far as she is concerned), her younger children are evacuated and her daughter Jen only dreams of becoming an actress. To Pam Nelson who takes an Irish lodger and whose husband finds it hard to get war work. To Celia Rutherford, her daughter Louise and husband Greville from ‘the big house’. And to many others in the road. The story of their lives in the first years of the war.
I did think it was going to be a simple story, an easy read. OK it was not difficult to read but there was more ‘meat’ in it than I expected.
It touches on the problem of the IRA, the fear of the Jewish people and their relatives left in Poland. Most of all it brings home the suffering and fear of the ordinary people of Britain in the war years, the rationing, the blackout, how they went about their ordinary business with a sense of humour. How frightening it was for those left in London, and how they feared for the lives of their men. How they wanted to help. It made me realise how spoiled we have become, how we moan at the slightest things we are deprived of and I wonder how today’s population would cope under enemy fire.
It sort of felt ‘unfinished’ at the end but I realised when I read the pieces at the back of the book that there is more than one story about Lavender Road and this was the first one. I shall have to read another one.


AnninGlos Report 1 Feb 2017 15:25

Reviewed for suggestion Feb.
The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
First of all from the cover.
Mais D’Apliese and her five sisters gather at their childhood home of Atlantis – a fabulous secluded castle situated on the shores of lake Geneva – having been told that their beloved father, the elusive billionaire they call Pa Salt, has died.
Maia and her sisters were all adopted by him as babies and, discovering he has already been buried at sea, each of them is handed a tantalising clue to their true heritage – a clue which take Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Once there she bgins to put together the pieces of where her story began.....
80 years earlier in the Belle Epoque of Rio, 1927. Izabel Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is working on a staue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision.
Izabela – passionate and longing to see the world – convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. There, at Paul Landowski’s studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.
From the very first page, I was hooked as the story unfolded bit by bit firstly with the gathering of the sisters, the description of their home and the background of their lives. Then the realisation that there was a possibility of tracing where they had come from.
The sisters are close but, of course, being adopted, all have different characteristics and personalities. Two of them are extremely close which causes some concern to the others as one dominates the other. We have Maia’s story first as she is the eldest.
The story has many layers, many mysteries to be solved and, besides being a good saga, it is part travelogue, part history book. Rio in Brazil, Paris in France, all come alive with the wonderful descriptions. Then also the description of how the statue of Christ which stands above Rio was thought of, designed and sculpted. The story has fictional characters interwoven with real characters.
Along with all the above it is two love stories as we move from 2007 back to the 1920s
I was really immersed in this story and even more thrilled to realise at the end of the book that there was more to come, if I am right, each sister will have her own book. I loved it.
I have read books by Lucinda Riley before (eg the light behind the window) and she never fails to grip me with her story telling.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 2 Feb 2017 00:12

Oh dear! I'm all behind!

Have now got Last Dance in Havana, but haven't even started reading it.

Trying to finish my review/suggestion book. Still got quite a bit to go. The book is. The Venetian Betrayal, by Steve Berry.

Will be back tomorrow, probably in the late afternoon.


AnninGlos Report 2 Feb 2017 08:53

OK Tess, no worries, the thread is not due up until Friday.


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 2 Feb 2017 20:00

I pi led this book. " The Venetian Betrayal " by Steve Berry because i've been to Venice once and thought that I would like to read a book about it. Also when I saw it on the library shelf I noticed that it had the symbol for "Thriller" on the spine and fancied something other than my usual Historical Novel, Social Conscience book or Who'dun'it mystery.

Well, Venice did appear in the story, but so did other places in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
It is peopled with a large cast of characters, from various backgrounds, and from different parts of the world. Alexander the Great even has a part to play.
It is fast moving with many twists and turns to the plot. A touch of Indiana Jones with a large portion of The Da Vinci Code, and a whole lot more.

I have enjoyed reading the book, trying to work out what would happen next, and even what is happening NOW?! Is anyone who they say they are. What is the truth? Who can be trusted? Are the "good guys" actually " good guys??". lots of action but also some food for thought. Could (any of) this actually happen, has any of it already happened? (with a different cast of characters).
An interesting read that has managed to hold my attention and keep me guessing.
It would make a great action movie.

P.S. I am still guessing as I haven't quite finished it yet. ??


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 2 Feb 2017 20:02

Hope to start reading Last Dance in Havana tomorrow. But may take me about a week to complete it. Will be back with review asap.



TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 2 Feb 2017 20:25

Thanks Ann, as I had already made notes before I saw your message, I thought that I might as well do the review this evening.

Off now to finish the book. I really want to know what happens.

Then will be starting Last Dance.


Mersey Report 3 Feb 2017 13:18

The Last Dance in Havana - Rosanna Ley

The story goes from Cuba 1958 to England 2012. It follow Elisa who's love for
Duardo a suarve and charming man who illuminates her and the description of her love for him just bounces of the pages...quite touching in places. Duardo wants and needs to fight the cause for his country and bring the Castro name to the front.
Elisa has to leave her beloved country for her own safety and is torn and heartbroken
at having to go.
When the story than moves forward to England 2012 I was a little confused at first
as to where the story was going. Grace troubled and has an unsteady relationship
with her father and then begins to entwine between the two countries reached the
finale I was disappointed.
Not a book for me I am afraid to say, maybe because he storyline IMO
was separated and took its time for it really come together....


Mersey Report 3 Feb 2017 13:24

Belgravia - Julian Fellowes

This book was my own choice....a main story of the Bellasi family and the
Trenchards family .Complex characters and quite the opposite as to how the
Victorians made their money.
I actually read this is parts as it was offered this way on my Kindle at the
When starting this book I tried to put out of my mind "Downton Abbey" but
if I am truthful it does creep back from time to time. Was I disappointed ??? No
I certainly was not!! Love,Betrayal,money,family life in a different era ....perfect!!!


Mersey Report 3 Feb 2017 13:44

Reviewing for This month.....

The Secret Wife - Gill Paul

I finished this book last night...so thought I would put this one
down as a choice.....


Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance - and their lives - in danger . . .


Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather's remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret . . .

Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.

I adored this book, such a moving story and had me so touched in places.
Full of love and touching moments the pages just could not turn quick enough
for me.
Both timelines of the story literally flowed in the story, it actually reminded
me of something I had watched before but it certainly did not put me off.One
of those books I did not want it to end. I had read one of the authors books
before "The Affair" but will say it has no comparison to this one..."sighs"


AnninGlos Report 3 Feb 2017 14:03

Mersey, reading our two reviews you wouldn't thinkw e read the same book! How strange. :-)


AnninGlos Report 3 Feb 2017 14:05

From Perse

I did manage to get a copy of Julian Fellows Belgravia, nothing doing on the others sorry:

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
A little bit like reading a long version of one of M E Beaton's Regency novels. It was fairly predictable how the outcome would be though one did feel rather sorry that Sophia could not have lived to see it unfold and know that her lover had not duped her at all. (oh she of little faith) The fact that Edmund had joked about such carry ons regarding pretence marrriages could lead the reader into thinking that yes that is what happened but I was fairly sure from when it was revealed that she thought that Edmund had put one across her, that in fact he had not done so. I did feel a bit sorry for poor Grace having a) being married to a wastrel like Stephen and b) having a scoundrel of a son in John. I even had a liking for Susan who knew when to hold them and knew when to fold them and she may not have gambled in cards but she was good at gambling with life.

It also had a leaning towards a group of farces being carried out and as Julian Fellowes is a playwright (as well as an actor and a conservative Peer and a chap with such an intersting family background) you can see he is writing to titillate the audience and provide a good script for a film or television periodic drama. Having said that and despite it being over 400 pages it was an easy read and was completed in less than a week. I am not one for period dramas but having read quite a few since being in this group, have started to come round to being amused and bemused by them, the main thing with this story you felt that you were there even at the attempted drowning of poor Charles.

Aside my Great-grandfather's brother's daughters lived at Bishopsgate. My Great-Grandfather and some of his siblings were baptised at All Hallows London Wall and some of them were born at Shoreditch, quite a few places in my Family History.

I also have done a bit of a review of my one that was not chosen...

Mistletoe Murders and other stories:

Regarding P D James and her book of four stories. I liked them as they were tricky puzzles akin to a game of cluedo in some ways.
Her first story I take to be true and it was then that she decided to go on and write such novels, she was born 1920 and married in 1941 and the story is set Christmas 1940 and states she was 18 (which would be correct) and a war widow her husband was killed ( an RAF pilot) two weeks after her marriage. I see there are two or three Phyllis D James who married in 1939/40 and he is not mentioned in her bio on Wikipaedia so maybe not quite true at all. The story is a whodunit and we are left wondering whether it was her grandmother or her cousin.
The second story also has one wondering "A Very Commonplace Murder" and in it the wrong person is hung for the crime of killing his (married) lover. He was a young bloke infatuated with an older woman. The answer again could be one of two people, you lead yourself to believe who did it but then there is a tricky bit at the end.. and you think ???
The third one "The Boxdale Inheritance" was even cleverer and Adam Dalgleish actually keeps it to himself who really did it, other than discussing it with only one other person who knew and had kept it secret for years and years and paid dearly for it. The woman who stood trial for the murder was acquitted and no she did not do it.
and the last story called "The Twelve Clues of Christmas" .. well Adam Dalgleish sums it up at the end saying "My dear Aunt Jane, I don't think I'll ever have another case like it. It was pure Agatha Christie"
I did enjoy them but do not think I will read a lengthy novel of hers.


Mersey Report 3 Feb 2017 20:52

:-S :-S maybe I should reread


Pammy51 Report 3 Feb 2017 21:45

Review of book for Feb
It was meant to be the holiday of a lifetime.
But instead of a hotel, the O'Keefes spend the first night in jail, their youngest daughter in hospital, and her sister in care.
Willow O'Keefe has brittle bone disease, and without a doctor's note the breaks in her body look like the worst kind of abuse.
Back home, still reeling from their ordeal, her parents know something must be done. So when a lawyer offers to take their case, it feels like a lifeline.
Even though it means suing their closest friend - and claiming they wish Willow had never been born . . .
My review

I won't reveal too much more about the story as I don't want to spoil it for any one who chooses to read this.
The story of how the O'Keefes decide to sue over the birth of their child is told by each of the different characters involved, from Willow herself to the lawyer taking the case. It impacts on each character in various ways, a situation designed to make life better bringing moral dilemmas and conflicts. Jodi Picoult develops the characters well so that you feel for their worries and insecurities. I'm not sure I would describe it as an enjoyable read but it is definitely engrossing.

Review of Last dance in Havanna to follow tomorrow


TessAkaBridgetTheFidget Report 15 Feb 2017 15:00

Review of Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Key.

Had to wait a while before getting this book from the library but it was worth the wait. Loved the modern setting in Bristol area, as well as the story about Cuba, and the way they were linked.
Marvellous that many of the main characters were older people ( some older than me), Also, that love wasn't only for the young.
It is a book of fiction, with a history lesson interwoven into a story of music, dance, food and love - just my sort of story.

I haven't ever been to Cuba ( and am unlikely to go now), but remember some of the news coming from there when I was in my teens, including the trouble with the USA.
I really loved this book, with its well rounder characters, and was really interested in what had happened to them, and what was going to happen to them next. I was also captivated by the rights and sounds of Cuba.

Good luck to Elisa, Grace, Robbie, Theo and Durado, it was nice meeting you all. ? :-)