Losing her mother six months previous means photographer Grace is back in Devon for the reading of her mother's will. Except it's not a really a willLosing her mother six months previous means photographer Grace is back in Devon for the reading of her mother's will. Except it's not a really a will and more a set of instructions for her to follow. Grace must journey across the British Isles, and Zagreb too, to find out more about her mother's life and who she really was. Not only this but she won't be traveling alone. Alasdair, a battered and weary Marine who has stayed at the retreat run by Grace's mother, will be traveling with her along with letters and some of her ashes.
Having lost my own mother I can completely sympathize with Grace's bewilderment at what she was being asked to do. Having known her all her life as one person she discovers that her mother was not who she said she was and exceedingly good at keeping secrets. Traveling from the Yorkshire Dales where Grace discover family she never knew she had, via the Scottish Highlands and a man who may or may not be her father, to Zagreb where it becomes apparent that Grace never really knew her mother at all. it becomes a journey to find both herself and love, just as Rosamund planned all along.
Worried that her daughter's career as a paparazzo is destroying her life Rosamund is determined for her to move on and she knows exactly who with. Seeing Alasdair's reaction to his first meeting with Grace Rosamund starts plotting and planning as she writes a series of letters to Grace before passing away from terminal cancer. It's her hope that Grace will fall in love with Alasdair along the way and he with her, taking both their lives down a different path.
Family feuds, marital affairs, Scottish weddings and some beautiful locations make The Wedding Cake Tree a great read. I had every intention of starting it, reading a few pages and putting it down. Three hours later I was turning the last page of the book having loved Grace, Alasdair, Rosamund, Jake and all the other characters with a lot of laughter and quite a few tears.
Beautifully written it felt almost like watching a movie rather than a book. The descriptions of all the locations Grace and Alasdair visited were so vivid, so real, it felt like you were there with them. Despite the crying I'm so glad I read this wonderful tale of grief, hope, and the relationship between mother and daughter and look forward to seeing what else Ms Hudson writes next. I'm also going to check out wedding cake trees!...more
I'm not sure what drew me to How To Be A Good Wife originally but it's become one of those books that burrows under your skin, for me anyway. The storI'm not sure what drew me to How To Be A Good Wife originally but it's become one of those books that burrows under your skin, for me anyway. The story of a wife trying desperately to make sense of things that she may or may not be hallucinating, HTBAGW is beautifully written, complex, eerie and chilling. After the first few pages I really wasn't sure that I wanted to continue reading but I pushed on and in the end finished the book in one sitting. I've since read numerous reviews and discovered that other people felt the same way, it is definitely worth persevering with. The relationship between Marta and her husband, Marta and her mother-in-law, even between Marta and her grown-up son seem to be teetering on the edge of something dangerous and make for a compelling read. By the time I reached the end of the book I was completely drawn in and terrified about what would happen by the time I got to the last page. It is impossible to say more without spoiling the the book so I can only say make sure you read a copy - and soon!...more
I wasn't quite sure what to expect with Stonefly and to be honest I thought it really wasn't going to be my cup of tea. How wrong I was! I was hookedI wasn't quite sure what to expect with Stonefly and to be honest I thought it really wasn't going to be my cup of tea. How wrong I was! I was hooked within the first couple of pages and didn't put it down until I was finished.
Stonefly is the story of Jacob, a seemingly normal young man until you he has some sort of curse that compels him to grant people's wishes but this isn't necessarily a good thing. If he fails to do this within six days the person who made the wish will die. Jacob develops his talent in a mental institution at the tender age of twelve after one of his classmates makes a wish about another student and commits murder. Returning to the town where the institution is located he soon becomes embroiled in another murderous wish, only this time the intended victim is somebody close to his heart.
This was such a surprising read for me, one which I completely loved and am now waiting impatiently to hear about the sequel as it's the first book in a series! Hillary's writing was superb, his characters were completely believable and well fleshed out. Jacob was fabulous, anyone who can destroy their own eardrums in order not to hear any more wishes is obviously in need of help. I loved his mother too, an executive with a high powered job she would do anything for her son including covering up the fact that his father was in fact a genie!
The story moved seamlessly between past and present as we learn more about Jacob's 'curse', his friends in the institution - especially Motown and his pregnant teenage girlfriend who both enter Jacob's life again in unexpected ways years later. I can't wait to find out more about Jacob, his father who made a brief appearance in Stonefly and about Lori, who is quite possibly the love of Jacob's life but we don't know if she feels the same way.
If you're looking for something a little bit different, that holds your attention from the first to the last page and is beautifully & provocatively written then you can't go far wrong with Stonefly....more
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love fairy tales and retellings which is why I leapt at the chance to read & review Mistress of the Wind, a rAnyone who knows me knows how much I love fairy tales and retellings which is why I leapt at the chance to read & review Mistress of the Wind, a retelling of the Norse fairy tale East of the Sun,West of the Moon. The original story is only about twenty pages long but gives plenty of scope for an expanded tale which is exactly what Diener has done, along with the added twist of making Astrid, the female main character, a more formidable girl/woman in her own right. Mistress of the Wind stays true to the original tale but more detail and background are given to make it a much longer read.
Bjorn is searching for the woman he believes will break the enchantment he has been placed under by the troll that married his father. He has one year to find her, in the guise of a giant white bear, and if he fails his future lies with the troll's daughter as her husband while she rules over his father's kingdom. Bjorn finds Astrid and as per the rules of the enchantment she accompanies him to his ice palace where she must stay for a year without laying eyes on him, either in his bear or human form. Of course, no-one can ever resist temptation and the inevitable happens, Bjorn is lost to her. However Astrid is not just your average girl from a fairy tale. In this version although she makes a lot of silly decisions she has power over the winds so with the help of Bjorn's allies & friends she sets out to find him. We then follow her journey to east of the sun and west of the moon, along the way she undergoes various trials and finally discovers who she is & how Bjorn seemed to know her. Although I loved the characters of Astrid and Bjorn, I think my favorites were the winds - especially North, who more than atones for his wrongdoings, and Jorgen the forest creature, a close friend of Bjorn's.
As Mistress of the Wind follows its predecessor so closely it's difficult to say much without giving things away but this was a thoroughly enjoyable retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon which is definitely worth reading either before or after this one if you're not already familiar with the story. Ms Diener's writing is delightful and so descriptive, especially in the latter half of the book when Astrid is traveling with the winds and I could have quite easily carried on reading for some time thanks to the wonderful world the characters inhabited brought to life by the author's writing style and obvious love of the original fairy tale. My only quibble, and the reason why I gave Mistress of the Winds four rather than five clocks, is that the story is described as an adult retelling but apart from one distinct mention of body parts, 'fade to black' scenes and numerous mentions of the word lover I can't quite understand why it's not classed as YA. Don't let this put you off though, it is one of my favorite retellings in the Beauty & the Beast/Cupid & Psyche vein and I will be buying a copy to add to my fairy tale collection and looking out for The Golden Apple, Michelle Diener's retelling of another Norse fairy tale, The Princess on the Glass Hill coming later this year. ...more