Monday, 7 September 2020

Portrait of Stella by Susan Wüthrich

 This is I think the third book I read by Susan Wüthrich, mainly because it is in my prefered genre; historical fiction. But also because she tells a good story. This one was a complicated one spanning from 1943 to present day. Maybe at times trying too hard to keep the star crossed lovers apart by very unfortunate coincidence, but still a 5 star read. Here is the review:

What I like about Susan wüthrich’s books, is that it is historical fiction, but often not too distant history and ordinary people. Like here; when a woman in 1983 discovers during a passport application that her birth certificate is fake. Jemima is an ordinary young woman. Divorced she concentrates on her career. Then this chance discovery stops her in her tracks, suddenly work takes a back seat while she sets out to discover where she was born. With both parents dead and a period where her mother just disappeared makes it hard to find out what happened. Jemima does take some rash decisions and sets of to New Zealand on very vague information. It is a story of a woman discovering who she is and her awakening to the prejudice and injustice in South Africa. Well written in a series of flashbacks to 1945 and the following years, interwoven with Jemima story. A tragic tale of love, prejudice and courage. Recommended.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Fly on the Wall: Days of Solitude by Roger Kenworthy

This book took me a while to read. Not because it was bad but because of it subject matter. (A man thrown in prison and solitude for 5 years) and the way the writer chose to tell his story. (through a series of diary entries) So we remain stuck with one character in a cell, which made it at times a little hard to read and had to be in small doses. I gave it 4 stars.

This book would easily adapt to a stage play, one man thrown in a hellish Iraqi prison for 5 years. In a series of diary entries he reflects on his past life and the current nightmare he is barely surviving.
It is the story of an intelligent and educated man slowly descending into madness. It’s of course also a stern critique on Sadam Hussein and other despots who imprison people for just speaking their minds.
Dr.Abdullah is a character we can empathise with, well read and with a western education. We learn about his great love when on a break from college and his disastrous marriage. We know who he is and can understand him.
The diary entries are at time a little repetitive, but as chapters are short I kept reading. I enjoyed the parts about his youth the most, especially his voyage on motorbike through Iraq. This brought some much needed light and colour to the book. At times a tough read but recommended.  

Monday, 18 May 2020

Madame Fiocca: The Remarkable True Story of Nancy Wake by Suzy Henderson

You would have thought I would be churning out the reviews during this covid time. The airport is closed and I won't be going to work until at least June. Wrong, I've done hardly any reading, as reading is my lunch time or beach pleasure. Well beaches are closed and well work and hence breaks have stopped. It's been a great oportunity to start and finish some big projects. Like decorating a flat etc. Also going from a very active job to staying at home required a rethinking of activities. As we were in lockdown, walks had to be short.
With the help of excersise videos and short walks I managed to keep the weight down and am probably fitter than before lockdown.
France has since reopened and I can now again enjoy walks with a friend at 2m distance, the beach is also open but only for a swim. (so reading will not pick up for now)
This book took a while to read, not because it was dull but because of the above. It was a gripping read I enjoyed while doing 20min workouts on the cross trainer.
I gave it 5 stars.

War brings out the best and worst in people, and some go above and beyond. The true story of Australian woman Nancy Wake is a remarkable one and Suzy Henderson tells it well. The story starts with the early days of Nancy’s career as a journalist and her tentative romance to Henri. Nancy’s married bliss is like so many people at that time interrupted by war.  She chooses however to make a stand against the German invasion. A remarkable story unfolds about her time in the resistance and with the SOE, training and supplying the maquis.
The writer has paid great attention to the life and times of Nancy Wake and I’m pleased she put in a comprehensive prologue about her life after the war until her death. The book reads like a gripping historic romance and war time daring do, so you forget this was all based on fact. The writer has done an amazing job of bringing this amazing woman to life for me by giving her a heart and a soul. Recommended for readers of historic non-fiction and fiction.                                        

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Shadow Brokers: A Nick Borman Novel (A Nick Borman Thriller Book 5) by Robert Lalonde

Mr Lalonde has the honour of being the featured review on my 300th blog post. Wow that is a lot. I'm not sure if we ever get to 400 as I'm concentrating on a lot of other things. A new pasion has crept into my life; Painting. Back to the review. This is the second of Robert Lalonde's books I read and he does have an easy engaging style. I gave this 5 stars.
Click on the picture to take you to Amazon.

It’s been a while since I read the Borman factor; the first book in this series of contemporary thrillers, but I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. This book stands fine on its own. We are given a quick tour of Nick Borman’s background and the readers mind is concentrated on the plot at hand.
Nick Borman goes above and beyond the call of duty (and law) to keep a senator safe from harm. A senator who made some powerful enemies. It’s a riveting and nail biting ride as we find out who the powerful men that pull the strings are.
The plot was believable and rather up to date; we live in a world were corners are often cut to make money. I missed the humour of the first book, but I suppose our Nick has gotten older, wiser and more skilful, but certainly not too old to kick some biker’s butt.
This book is the fifth in the series, but as they stand alone I can now go back to 2,3 and 4.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

The Land of Good Dreams by T. S. Thompson

This is a real feel good Young Adult story. I think it will mostly appeal to teenagers that like their books a little more serious and challenging on an emotional level. The sort of book worm I was when a teenager. I gave this 5 stars.

Samantha is the shy teenager trying to find her place in a foster family after the tragic death of her parents. She is a character you immediately empathise with as anyone could understand why the thirteen year old is traumatised. She suffers from nightmares at night and feels awkward during the day as she feels the other kids just see her as ‘the girl that lost her parents.’   
Richard and Emma the foster parents are equally easy to empathise with. How do you deal with a girl that is so fragile and broken? But this is not a depressing book; it is about people rebuilding their lives, forming a new loving family and finding joy again.
I liked this book a lot and found the idea of there being a good place where you go in your dreams novel and fun. It’s a place where I think all children would like to be when they sleep; a place full of wonder, beauty and adventure.
Written with warmth, and a deep understanding of human emotions. A wholesome young adult read.