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 !!!!!!!!!!!!



Absence of Grace by Ann Warner

Absence of Grace

Having enjoyed Counterpointe so much, and desperate for something good to read, I picked this up  and was so pleased I did!  This is a lovely, gentle story, but I’m afraid that I sussed the dark secret in Clen’s life quite quickly! This is maybe due of my pet book, Song of Songs by Beverley Hughesdon.

However, this so well written with the pace and characterisations keeping me going. They were enhanced by the descriptions of Alaska – in fact being a snow junkie, I would rather have liked some snowy scenes. Usually when there is a dark secret I get irritated at waiting for this to be found out, but maybe because I sussed it (but I could have been wrong!), I enjoyed the very real journey of Clem to self  awareness and healing. It was a ‘guzzle’ book in that I couldn’t put it down!!!!!!!!!

However,   the one thing is, is that the title is a complete misnomer, it’s entirely about Grace………

The Man Who Rained by Ali Shaw


This world  where fantasy exists alongside the mundane has me enthralled.  I’ve already read ‘The girl with Glass feet’, (Ali‘s first book) and was drawn into his fantasy world then. The phrase which started it all for me was when Midas saw photos in the woods and  saw them as haunting  and lurking inside, as if they are already there, just waiting for you to catch them.  It was this book which started me on the line to reviewing, though I didn’t review it at the time. Enough, I digress

In The Man Who Rained, Elsa Beletti is living in what is our normal world,but she is wrong for it.  Its only when she escapes to the amazing Thunderstown where the unreal taps at the edge of reality, that she becomes normal in this lost town.  It’s this transformation and her love for Finn that fills the tragic/magical narrative.  The world of weather and clouds, yet intertwined with God and family.  It’s Ali’s rare gift of extending and stretching the rules of personification that builds his worlds.  I wish I could write with this imagination.  The only, only, only thing that spoiled it for me, was that this incredible world and story was resolved though a plot device straight from the genre of Disaster films.  I knew what the ignorant townspeople would do right from the second we met Finn, although not the outcome.  But then again, maybe that’s the charm, that the characters could go through this hoop of predictability but come out the other side as unique as before and ready to go on………you must read this to see.

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!

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!

Hemingway Point by Nora Carroll

Hemingway Point

This is a well written novel, with believable characters and a plot which interweaves the dark hidden history of a family, with a really good twist to the end.  I did sort of guess it though.

It was a book I would have liked to have enjoyed more, but once again, sloppy presentation ruined it for me. The dialogue punctuation is at first hit and miss and the disappears all together. It had me reaching to the end page as I wanted to find out the conclusion but couldn’t be bothered to try and sort the conversation out in my head.  Reading the end spoiled it for me as I still didn’t see how they got there, so went back and tried again but ended up speed reading to get the plot.

 Such a shame.  Come on writers, you bother to write the book, now bother to check thoroughly your printed version. I know the corrections will drive you nuts, but what if a publisher gives up just due to your presentation?

Charlotte Figg takes over Paradise by Joyce Magnin

Holiday time, and not so much time to read -seems ironic!  Sorry another repeat, but I  did enjoy it!

This book was a real pleasure for me and also quite a culture shock.  I know that I don’t go for thrillers and who dunnits and like my books at a reasonable pace, but not predictable.  I caught this while it was on free and thought I really ought to read some mainstream American Christian Fiction as I seem to spend so much time on at present.

At first reading I thought oh no, not another dead person as Charlotte Figg’s husband croaks in the first few pages.  On impulse she buys a trailer or what we Brits would call a mobile home, which turns out to be a wreck.  In her new life she meets some incredible people, a tattooed lady, a midget and a guy with one arm.  Now I know  from popular culture than Trailer park people are looked down upon, but are these guys representative?  Certainly there are plenty of ignorant red-necked husbands about, but there mix is really amusing, but fortunately doesn’t detract from the story.

However, what I liked about this book was its unapologetic Christianity.  It’s in the culture if the characters and the book part of life, and not overstated, though one character can always be relied upon to be praying. Its how life should be, not part of culture like here in Lungau where its more tradition than meaning, or England where every Christian is fair game. 

The tale has great drama, sadness and humour and I loved it.  Within its gentle frame it deals with real issues and real people. Should I also admit in the past I’ve read the Miss Read stories from England and this is a cultural contrast that  I loved? I certainly couldn’t see any of the Vicars or characters in  her books being so upfront about their belief.

Most of all though, what made it for me was Lucky, he rescues people, knows just whats going on in people’s head, and almost speaks – yes of course, he’s the dog!

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