At last!!!!!! Song of Songs by Beverley Hughesdon

 

GREAT NEWS!!!!  Newly released as a Kindle read by Canelo books,  AND at last Eve will be published, too, can’t wait!

Song of Songs  is my most favorite book of all time and I read it every now  and then.  I was given it in a proof edition with a bland cover, the one here I think spoils it. The story is far more noble than this trashy piccie!

Born into rich Edwardian family,  Helena is always the ungainly, awkward one, who loves her twin brothers, Robbie and Eddie.  In several traumas, she is recued by the footman Jem, which explains a lot of her later actions, although the text doesn’t make any hooks into it, so maybe its my interpretation.  Oh, how I wish I was born then, with no housework, allowed to sit about and read and write, waited on hand and foot, but most of all, horses to ride, at will, for pleasure,and no mucking out! The life in a way prefaces that of Downton Abbey. I’m telling a lot of the plot here,  but only because I need to explain how it relates to my enjoyment!

Helena grows to a teenager and after a misalliance with her cousin gets shifted off to Germany to learn music, as a punishment, which turns out into a blessing as she has a real ability to sing.  First world war arrives, and Helena trains as a Nurse – and the descriptions of this culture shock are wonderful, as are the accounts of her duty in the Hospitals on the warfields in France.  One twin dies, another survives but is damaged in his lungs.

Helena has this romantic fantasy about Gerald, her Officer love, who she does eventually get engaged to, but he is killed.  During the war, Helena meets  Ben, who is working class engine driver in peace time.  They meet after the war, and it is to him Helena flees when she helps in he suicide of her dying brother.  Ben takes advantage of Helena, coercing her into marrying him.  They begin life in his home town, another culture shock for Helena, but it is only when Helena finds out her Gerald was gay, she has a nervous breakdown, also born of her war work.  Recovering, she returns home, and through her healing, finally realises that she loves Ben and the book ends with the birth of  their son

This is a real beauty and beast tale, something which is in Beverley’s other books.   Helena is so human, but courageous.  Her breakdown is a way to healing.  Maybe I like this because I identify with her, in having earlier in life stupid love affairs, and then finding my own beast !!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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October’s book of the Month; War and Piste by Alex Thomas

War & Piste

How could I resist this book?  That it was written by someone genuinely in touch with Austria was clear from the early pages (e.g.Cheddar cheese smuggling), and the atmosphere of a buzzing ski resort sang from the pages.  Its one of the few books that I’ve ever had a real laugh aloud giggle with, as Alex builds the picture of life as a  ‘seasonaire’.  Her descriptions of skiing/snowboarding and the snow had me almost wishing I could ski too-and for those of you who know how that terrifies me, that’s no mean achievement.  The love story within is great, well crafted, with little hooks that show what’s coming but nevertheless a good twist.   Poppy going through the process of denial to self realisation is so well intertwined with the busy ski season that the book is rich in depth and progression. I personally would be poleaxed by such a job, such energy had I once a long time ago! Of course my reading is coloured by my living in Austria but even so this is  great chick lit on skis!

The Archivist of Dunstibourne Hall by L.P.Fergusson

The Archivist (Duntisbourne Hall)

This is a great study not only in self deception but also of human nature.  Believable, flawed characters and a great ending where nothing is tied up  but is concluded, if you see my difference.  The Archivist himself is at first the stereotype you would expect for an old man working in a stately home, but his character becomes both artful, evil and sad. You get impressions of him viewed through the other characters, but the whole dialogue is so well balanced, that, dear reader, you have to make up your own mind is he a loveable old git or a villain.

It’s also a good suspense story, will the artifacts be found, just what happened to them?  The narrator also slips in little cameos of the country side and words I’ve no idea what they mean, making that voice both an academic and yet poetic one. Its well paced and well written, enjoy!

………my only problem is that I was a fan of the comedy series, called Tittybang bang  where the stewards at a national trust house are all either trying to kill each other just off scene or seeking attention.Catch phrase ,’don’t look at me I’m shy ‘- this book just had echoes of this -great!

July’s Book of the Month; The Tower of Babel by G.T. Anders

The Tower of Babel (Vaulan Cycle)

Exciting, new, fresh, a complete surprise!

Having been asked to review this book, I was looking forward to a dip into Science Fiction  being a child of the Asimov generation, but not having read much SciFi for years.

A dying world, where a new Tower of Babel is being built.  A hero who is an artist and a sort of  mystic and a  call to go back to complete a mission.  What’s going on?  I’m not going to tell. Suffice to say, this is a book with a plot that is fulfilled in all the literary ways.  It has drama and great suspense, and it’s unique.  The words of the hero Austin are often more poetic than prose. G.T Anders has experimented with new ideas with prose, and they work, they aren’t intrusive, they build this fantastic, sad world. There are monsters and mysteries and bad baddies and a narrative that spoon feeds you nothing. No long-winded explanations, you have to work at it like the characters but you are carried along.   The ending is beautiful in it’s technique and the final divine love that comes through.

Amazing.  This book needs to be picked up by a Publisher.  Now.

Below is the blurb from Amazon

Two letters making two demands. Two seeds: one growing, the other
dormant. Two allegiances—one high-profile, the other subversive. Oh, and one reluctant goal: the cleansing of the planet.This is the story of how Austin Feckidee and his three friends tried to change the world. It’s the story of L’Hermitage, the abandoned church that was the base of their earth-shattering work; and it’s the story of the Tower of Babel, the arrogant statement of human self-sufficiency that they sought to destroy.It’s 1967 somewhere in North America. Babylon is the greatest city in the nation (maybe even on earth), and to prove it, they’re building a veritable tower to heaven that would make even the denizens of biblical Shinar a little jealous. But far from the city, in the abandoned suburbs, Austin and the secret society are talking about the Tower again. Talking about how it must come down. How
the planet must be cleansed. And how divinity has chosen them to make it happen.

Titanic: Legacy of betrayal by Kathleen E. Kovach and Paula Moldenhauer

Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal

I’ve not really got into the Titanic mythology, so to read a book on this was really interesting.  Here, I found a really good mix between historical events and a modern love story.  The descriptions of the Titanic and the sinking are well depicted, giving the sense of the opulence, and what struck me most was the complete lack of panic after the iceberg was hit as no one quite understood what was going on, maybe it was so, no headless chickens running about, just people trying to protect their own. The dramatic tension changed position, from what was in the box, to the outcome of a love story, to who was the real villain, which kept me really interested.  The contrast between the happy modern family and the embittered tale teller Olive and her disempowered Grandson was a real black and white contrast.  That Ember manages to overcome the hurt in her life, and what some would call a generational curse spills into the Christian theme of reconciliation and healing that I found there.  Not all the ends were tied up for the damaged characters which was a neat technique to show the futility of those who have no faith.

So, I think its coincidental about the Titanic theme, I would almost ask you to ignore it and just enjoy it!

I was sent this to review, what an honour when I get them!

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes

Rachel's Holiday

I don’t think this lady needs my review, so I’m writing purely to express how this is my second most favourite book of all time.  Rachel’s narrative is so cleverly framed that you can believe her self-delusion about her drug taking until she begins to see the truth alongside her.

It’s another wonderful story of a woman finding herself and her true love, in the same way as Helena in Song of songs.  I could identify with Rachel, seeing the same personality traits in myself and could see clearly how they’ve affected my life too – though I’ve never been an addict except to books!

Luke has to be one of the hunkiest heroes, and is another beast into beauty case, the process shown so well  through Rachel’s’ eyes.  I do so love First person narratives when they  stick to one view-point, rather than dodging in and out of different consciousness.  The tale ended too soon for me, but its picked up in ‘Is anyone out there’. This is another masterpiece by Marian, dealing with another member of Rachel’s family, Anna, as she deals with grief. I’ve just re-read that too, and it’s so strange reading about Rachel as ‘other’ not the first person.  Still its a another really good read!

When I read the reviews on Amazon, I found even real recovering addicts were finding hope in this book, if that doesn’t prove a writer’s skill, nothing does!

Alone by T.R Sullivan

 

This book is so lonely, no beauty for a beast, but you never give up hope  for Ralph.As I’ve earlier blogged, I’m of the original generation to watch the French Robinson Crusoe series as a kid, and now have it on DVD. Its the same sense of loneliness here. Did you know there’s a second Robinson book, where he goes back to the Island? This is Robinson but without a shipwreck and for me a far more pleasant companion, Jason the dog. I’m going to try SO hard not to spoil the plot but make you want to read this!

No explanation is given for the disappearance of man from the face of the earth, which I find refreshing – as a Christian, I find so much end time speculation downright boring and mis-directing. The brotherhood of the dogs makes me think a bit of Dodie Smith‘s, ‘The Starlight  Barking‘ anyone read that?  I found Ralph such a practical man and how he coped enthralling.  Still, I couldn’t help wonder whether if the plot were set in the time of mobiles there could have been a whole new plot – especially when you read the epilogue!!!!!!!  Of course it was intrinsically sad and I don’t usually like that sort of book.  Its one that goes into the I will re read this one category which doesn’t happen with many books.

As a kid I loved to read Science Fiction short stories, and read one end of world one, where by chance a business man and a maid were locked in a closed air circuit room the night the Russians and USA blast each other with chemical war fare that wipes out man.  Nowadays the politicians would have hidden in such a bunker, but not thought of then.  The story was of how they made a family re introduce man – very inbred, but a story I’d love to read again too -fat chance of that though!

So, Alone, well written, good plot, sad, gripping, and haunting.  I’m off to download his short stories……..

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