Married by mistake by Abby Gaines

Married By Mistake

This book has been hanging at the top of the free books for a while, so I had to have a look.  The story is pure romance, starting with maybe a stereotypical bad rich man and hard done by heroine. Thrown together, you know they’ll end up together, but enjoy the journey.

What I must say is, for all you amateur writers, read this book because it’s professionally crafted. The narrative is built to a gripping climax, and has a good end.  There’s no unnecessary flash backs, or the narrator intruding to give the reader spurious information.  The two main characters grow from their original places to fulfillment.  They are well-rounded and have the depth that so many lack.  Of its genre, its not the most original but technically it does it. Read and learn guys!

The Herb of Grace by Elizabeth Goudge

This book is also know as the Pilgrim’s Inn in the USA, maybe the English name is too complicated for them……haha!

So now we find out if Nadine has kept her vow to return to George, and has it worked out.  Set in the exhaustion of the years after the Second World war, the after effect of five years of  fear, loss, deprivation and lack of sleep set the tone for the book.  We meet Sally, who has met Nadine’s family and in a gentle way, we are so set up for understanding Sally that EG needs just to touch on her in the rest of the book, as Sally finds her love and a new life.  Unscarred by the war, she is a balm for all she meets, especially the now extended Eliot family. On her reconciliation with George, Nadine has borne twins, who are the most naughty, imaginative, fey children I’ve ever met in a book.  Nadine is exhausted, but mostly because she’s not let go of David and this is tearing her apart.

Enough plot relating!  Suffice to say, Lucilla is now openly interfering and meddling in her family’s life, which leads them to finding the Herb of Grace, an old inn on the Beaulieu river.  I’ve just come to realise why my dislike of this woman has risen.  This female patriarch rules the family through love.  I was brought up by my mother and Grandmother who openly loathed each other.  Gran had the money and in the early 1960s when my Mum left my dad, there was no state support and so Gran called all the tunes. Lucilla is what my Gran could have been, and that’s what smarts.

EG has used some author’s license in describing the way to the Herb Of Grace, I know the area well, but never mind.  I wish when we lived there, I’d had the courage to drive through the gate and explore the road through the wood.  Now its all expensive millionaires houses, all in secret.  If you Google Earth the river, there are a couple of places, which allowing for time and a stretch of the imagination fit the bill.There is a pub called the pilgrims Inn in Hythe nearby but when we visited, we could see no likeness or a link to EG.

The description of the house and its welcoming air is one of the highlights of the book for me as we go round it with the new eyes of the family. Anyone who has read my blog will know I have a fixation with houses  and people making new lives, so for me, it is indeed the ‘House of the Perfect Eaves.

As in all EG books, all is resolved, but not without some self revelations and moving on for all the characters.  In some ways, I think it’s a shame that she wrote a sequel, I would have liked to have left them there in their happiness.

Fallen Angel by Mona Ingram

Fallen Angel

As a romance this is ok, there’s a bit of narrative suspense and a twist.  I picked it up as it deals with people going through re-hab and due to my love of  Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes, I was intrigued to see another author’s treatment of the subject. I was left feeling that this was a lost opportunity.  You get Laura’s history, her rejection by her mother and her Over the Top reaction to the death of a child in her care when she’s a Nurse and then the drugs. Like wise you get Bradley’s awful experience in the military which leaves him dumb.  But its all written with so little depth, it could have been a much darker, passionate tale, for me they both recover too easily, fall in love too easily, get to the end too easily.  Their treatment is glossed over and Laura in particular swans too easily into her new life -maybe the spectre of Rachel was at my shoulder as I read.

If you enjoy a simple read, which doesn’t go into great depth and all is so easily resolved, this is for you, but for me, I felt it could have been a great book but it missed its opportunity -sorry!

Daisy Darling meets a Man by L.A.Dale

Daisy Darling Meets A Man

What a scream!  A complete short  fantasy to wallow in.  Dumped wife, meets stranger who has rescued one of her cute and cuddly lambs.  Turns out to be a Popstar.  Falls for her.  Substitute any star you like and dream. I could be cynical and call it unoriginal and predictable, but what ho -something to read as a bit of fun with that feelgood factor piled in!

The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning

The Furious Longing of God

The oxymoron of this title had me intrigued, and once I got past the rather long introduction, I was knocked over by not only Brennan’s  extraordinary prose but his deep, wonderful insight into the Father’s Love.   He has been there, down in the depths, he has revelation.  He is both scholarly and down to earth. This book touched me like no other has done for a long time.  I’m allowed to quote, and there are so many bits I’d like to, but you need to read this yourself and get ablaze, filled with that heady  wine of the love of the Father, that original excitement that we let grow rusty (well I speak personally) on our walk with Christ.  This is the one bit that really blew me away, llok at his use of adorable;

……..God is love is the fundamental meaning of the Holy and adorable Trinity.  Put it bluntly God is sheer Being -in -Love, and there never was a time when God was not love. The foundation of the furious longing of God is the Father  who is the originating Lover, the Son who is the full self expression of that Love, and the Spirit who is the original and inexhaustible activity of that Love, drawing the created universe into itself.

A world apart – Elizabeth Goudge

An aerial shot of the coast and Bucklers Hard

Each time I read a book, I find something new, born of how I’m feeling at the time, even how old I am, where I am in life.  This time, after being bowled over by her descriptions of Milford On Sea and Keyhaven in Hampshire, it was Elizabeth’s description of the matriarch, Lucilla that had me transfixed in ‘The Bird in the Tree’.  Earlier, I’d accepted her autocracy over the family, but suddenly, I could see her as the controlling dragon she was.  Of course, I read this not only as a more mature woman (!!!!), but also from the outlook of this new century where the family unit is ever weakened, and Grandparents have little power anymore over the fragmented family.

The family for some reason, worship the ground that Lucilla treads. When she decides to buy Damerosehay, no one dares to tell her that it just wasn’t affordable, they all just secretly chip in and let her think her pearls have paid for it. Elizabeth describes Lucilla’s beauty of lovely white hair and high cheekbones and good, trim figure with an admiration, that it is her vitality and grace that charms everyone.  Ok, so a charming old lady, but in the book, she manages to get David and Nadine, so deeply in love, to give up their dreams of marriage. Whether Lucilla is right or not I’ll get to another time.  Maybe the relationship is sort incestuous as David is Nadine’s ex- husbands nephew, but…..

She also complains when she thinks the children are not telling her something, and gets frustrated when they wont bend to her will – and often has a headache and takes to her bed.  There is also a laziness, an inertia, or is it a love? It happens in all three books is when someone gives her a hard cushion behind the back or an unwated rug, she wont remove it herself, but sits and suffers until someone perceptive removes this.

A true Victorian matriarch, building the unity of the family, yet one thing really spoke to me the loudest.  It was the feeling, knowing as I do, that Lucilla is based on Elizabeth’s mother, that actually she loathes this woman and her control over the family, but is too polite and scared to come out and say it directly!

August’s book of the month; The Illegal Gardener by Sara Alexi

The Illegal Gardener (The Greek Village Series)

What a thoroughly beautiful, tender book, that transcends the filth that is topping the book lists at the moment.  Set in a small Grecian village, we meet Aaman an Illegal immigrant who is hiding,starving and looking for work.  He succeeds in finding it in the garden of Juliet, an Englishwoman, creating a  life for herself  in a new land and language.

The cultural differences are spelt out so clearly when she forgets to  give her workmers food and water, but she learns quickly. Then the  gently growing friendship builds as each act as a sort of catalyst to look at their pasts and forgive and move on. 

Aaman is far more than just an ‘illegal’ he has dignity and pride, something our present culture does not necessarily admit.  This is also a love story with dignity and joy and compassion.  It has enough narrative tension and drama that you are carried with them to the end, while being, as I read, it a gentle  tale.

I would never have thought that I could read an entire novel in the present, but this works so well, its doesn’t jar and gives such an immediacy, that you are really pulled into the outlooks of both characters.

Dear reader, you will have to read it to find their story out!  Lovely!