reading

REVIEW: Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff

ghostwritten-cover

The Back of the Book

She listens to everyone else’s story, but can she find her own? Jenni is ‘ghost’ writing the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well – still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others than to dwell on her own. Klara was a child in the Second World War, interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation. She has never spoken of her experiences there, but as she turns eighty, she knows that the time has come to share her extraordinary story of survival. As Jenni helps Klara to shed light on her childhood, and a neglected part of world history, she is forced to explore her own past, too. Can Jenni and Klara help each other to lay the ghosts of their pasts to rest?

My Thoughts

Originally this book landed on my doorstep from the lovely Hollie at Books on the Underground. After spreading her love on the underground for many lucky readers a copy winged its way to me and after the previous smasher of a book I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. At first look the book and title did not look like my kind of thing, however not being one to completely judge a book by its beautifully wistful cover I read the back. May I just say Isabel Wolff has a very interesting way with words that had me hooked from just the back. A secret fan of history and having travelled around the outskirts of where parts of this book was actually taken back to in the main story lines I wanted more already. Java here I come – fictionally of course!

Day 2 of reading and the pace was slow as work was heavy and time was thin on the ground. On my next day off I decided to push everything else to one side and just read and boy am I glad I did. Through tears of anguish, hurt and just pure joy this book was a roller coaster of emotions that if the reader can embrace will love the book just like I did.

Jenni being the main character has quite a story that I will not give away as you clearly want to read the book yourself (!). Whilst writing under a bushel and in the shadows of those around her (so to speak!) the other main character Klara as she gives up more of herself can see it happening it front of her eyes. When both parties realise that their encounter by a previous chance meeting is one that neither of them have ever forgotten and will never forget in the future a dear, close friendship is formed and the bond is one that seems everlasting.

The research that must have gone into this book seems immense as the facts just keep pouring in and the mind boggles as to how some of the people in those days got through such awful times. This book makes you grateful for the world that we have today and take a step back and take stock instead of taking advantage of all of the luxuries and wonderful opportunities we have in front of us that those fought for and never had.

A beautiful tale of how two very different people can feel very similar things from extremely different experiences but share something wonderful together. There is a lot of good feeling in this book but also a lot of gut wrenching story telling which Wolff really builds and leaves you in suspense just gagging for me.

Top read and highly recommended for the summer ahead even those snuggly evenings with a G&T when you just don’t want to leave the house.

I can see myself digging out A Vintage Affair and cracking on soon!

Rating

rating4* worthy fix

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

lemon-grove

Before I get started with this review let me tell you a bit about how I came across this book. After sifting through various sites online I came across the fabulous Books on the Underground. Now this is not a boring website – no, no! Books on the Underground is run by Hollie, she is friendly, helpful and ready to take this project to a new level. Spreading the bookish love by leaving little treats for the general public on the London Underground is only part of her arsenal of tricks – there is a book club now and being of part of it is just fabulous. Sadly I was unable to make it to the meet for the discussion of the book I am about to review. From what I gather however the word on the end of most tongues was ‘unconvincing’. We shall see . . .

Check out Books on the Underground

The Back of the Book says

Each summer, Jenn and her husband Greg return to Deia, on Mallorca’s dramatic west coast. This year the arrival of Emma, Jenn’s stepdaughter, and her new boyfriend Nathan threatens to upset their equilibrium. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by Nathan’s youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly charged liaison that puts lives and relationships in jeopardy. For Jenn, after this summer, nothing can ever be the same.

My Thoughts

From E.L. James to Sylvia Day the mummy porn section of the book aisle has expanded ten fold over the past year and a bit. This book would fit nicely in that area. With a softer side sexual exploration this slightly unbelievable tale of a step mother who seems to have tried her very best to fit into the family but goes off the rails. Now when I say off the rails do not get the wrong impression of a party animal young mum, think more along the lines of cradle snatching older lady. Be clear in your thoughts that I am not saying that it has not happened in reality and if it did then it is by no means my business (unless it is my son!) but the way the storyline pans out just makes you think out loud ‘REALLY?!’. This however did not make the book a disaster.

The first couple of pages with their descriptive text pulls you into a dream like state of fantasy with the sun beating down on you whilst you shelter in the titled Lemon Grove and flick through your latest read. The only thing on your mind being where you are going to get the next glass of Chianti and a recent dinner reservation. Then suddenly she remembers the imminent arrival of step-daughter Emma and her new beau Nathan. Big question being – when did she get old enough to have boyfriends joining her on holiday. Asthma pump at the ready and Jenn is suddenly wondering if the invite was such a good idea.

Enter sultry, sulky young Emma and her ‘Adonis’ beau Nathan and all of a sudden tranquility turns into turbulence. Not only is Jenn gobsmacked at the womanly sight of her step-daughter but her knickers need ringing out after the young pound of flesh known as Nathan parades around like the poolside is his catwalk. After much deliberation the debauchery ensues and Jenn has plunged into a seedy world that she must keep quiet and lives in fear of her nearest and maybe not so dear finding out. Can it continue? Well that is why you have to read the book.

Helen Walsh did well here, however it was just slightly too unconvincing with the description Nathan’s ultra manly physique when he was otherwise described as a young boy. Apart from this be prepared for a sizzler of a summer read that you may need a spare pair of pants and if you in the singles club your little black book may get a dusting off!

Rating

rating3* Mediocre Beans

REVIEW: The Vintage Girl (Swept Off Her Feet) by Hester Browne

The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne

The Back of the Book

When Evie Nicholson is asked to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive the family heirlooms, she jumps at the chance. Evie’s passion for antiques means that, for her, the castle is a treasure trove of mysteries just waiting to be uncovered.

But in each heirloom lies a story, and in the course of her investigations Evie stumbles upon some long-buried family secrets. Add handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit gala to the mix, and Evie’s heart is sent reeling with an enthusiasm that may just extend beyond the Kettlesheer silver…

My Thoughts

It has been a while since I finished listening to this particular book. I guess the best place to start is at the beginning.

This book may be better known as Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne. The writing was deliciously sweet and listening to the book gave it a completely different dynamic. My bug bear with audio books is that they take the imagination out of reading. When you pick up a book and really get stuck in the voices that you have in your head are yours and only that. When audio takes over you just have to go with it or stop listening. Luckily the reader was delightful and put on a variety of voices that fit the bill perfectly.

Evie is a thirty year old hopeless romantic who loves everything art, vintage, history and quite a bit of old tat. Everything has a back story which fascinates Evie endlessly. Driving her boss mad buying on a whim and hoping that someone will see the beauty that she has seen. Evie lands the opportunity of a lifetime (for Evie!) and she heads up to the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Her sisters other halves family live in the most beautiful (from description) castle in the middle of nowhere. Not everyone can say that they have been a welcomed family guest in a castle. Well some may be able to but I can safely say that I am not one of them.

Whilst taking in all of the beauty of Kettlesheer’s glory the family descend and we meet Duncan and Ingrid a pair that can only be described as nothing other than chalk and cheese. With Duncan’s hefty outbursts and Ingrid’s quite becoming conversation they really are a couple that if I met would be in awe. They say opposites attract and this a testament to exactly that.

This is the point where I just cannot forget Robert McAndrew. You will get to know throughout the story that there is some serious chemistry between Evie and Robert. Quite the modern young scotsman in London, a family man at heart but with his own life and outlook on it. A man that most woman seem to want these days – damn fiction! Between the reeling (dancing!) and shuffling through family heirlooms the build up of sexual tension is ferocious and you will most likely like myself scream at the pair of them to just make something happen and SOON!

There are lots of other delightful twists and turns throughout the book that if you like most chick lit you will most definitely enjoy.

Overall this book is worth the read and I would recommend it as a holiday read.

Thank you to Quercus books for sending me the lovely book and sparking my interest in the first place :D

Rating

rating3*

Mediocre Beans

#IMWAYR

IMWAYR

Yet another week has gone by and a little bit more reading has been achieved. Have I been listening, well . . .

Currently Reading

60 postcards

This book has been to so many places with me that I had to take off the wonderful cover in fear of more damage!
I am trying to pick it up at every interval I get and I am so close to the end now that in a way I don’t want it to end.

Finished

zero

It ‘s still early in the day and I am hoping to get to the end of 60 Postcards! Who knows it might be an audio week over here!

 

Currently Listening

mercedes king

So far I like the concept of this book but it really is just weird. I like a good mystery like most but this is a few steps beyond!

Song of the Week

 I have listened to this song so many times this week and each time I hit play I just smile.
On a recent walk to Wimbledon this came on and I just bopped along smiling and singing in the sunshine.
Don’t you just love it when that happens!

What are you reading this week?