Ellie drops everything & jumps on a plane after receiving the devastating news that her best friend has been murdered. She travels across the Atla...moreEllie drops everything & jumps on a plane after receiving the devastating news that her best friend has been murdered. She travels across the Atlantic to London to be with her God daughter Sophie. A little girl who witnessed the 'accident' with her mother and has become mute. Ellie can't turn her back on this little girl and leaves behind her life in America to be there for Sophie. They share the children's book The Secret Garden to work through Sophie's trauma. Ellie also has a need to come to terms with her own history to enable her to move on.
I really enjoyed this book, I think the relationship between Ellie & Sophie was portrayed in a very realistic & honest way. The use of The Secret Garden as an additional character, made me want to go and read it with my children. The characters were realistic, they all had their flaws. Even Lucy who was murdered wasn't put on a pedestal, her misdemeanours came to light after her death too.
A great summer read, and a new author for me. I'll be looking out for future publications from Julie Buxbaum.
This book didn't start off well for me. I didn't like all the cute American family having breakfast scenario. However, it pays to stick with it. Mia i...moreThis book didn't start off well for me. I didn't like all the cute American family having breakfast scenario. However, it pays to stick with it. Mia is in her late teens, who has a decision to make about which route her life takes. Should she stay with the too good to be true boyfriend or follow her musical talent and go to University?
After a catastrophic car crash these decisions seem rather trivial. She has something much more important to make a choice about. Music plays a very important part in this book, almost a character of it's own, and in the end it is music which jolts her into making the life and death decision.
A very simply written story full of emotion, memories and love. A great teen/young adult novel, which I have passed onto my 15 year old daughter. (less)
Any pre-conceived ideas you may have from reading the blurb or the first few pages of this books are gradually and spookily dispelled. A young girl, I...moreAny pre-conceived ideas you may have from reading the blurb or the first few pages of this books are gradually and spookily dispelled. A young girl, Isserley is driving round the highlands of Scotland looking for a very particular type of hitch hiker. Young, strong, healthy male specimens.
The story then slowly reveals what it is she actually wants these hitchers for. I found myself Googling some of the terminology used in the book, assuming that they were real. It hooked me in and as scared as I was to find out what was going on the need to know overwhelmed me.
I'm not usually one for 'sci-fi' type books, but this reminded me of some of Margaret Atwood's futuristic novels, but without as much detail and background. It was much easier to believe that this was really happening as it had so much everyday happenings going on alongside the harvesting.
I have found myself thinking about this book on a number of occasions a while after reading it, it really does haunt you.(less)
Here is a great example of why going to a reading group is worth while. It means that you read books that never in a million years would you have pick...moreHere is a great example of why going to a reading group is worth while. It means that you read books that never in a million years would you have picked up from the cover alone.
Set in 1953 during the end of Stalin's reign, Leo Demidov is a war hero, a high ranking officer serving the State, playing his part in the perfect society. His belief in creating the perfect society is severely tested when he is ordered to investigate and denounce his wife, cover up the death of a child and witnesses the cover up of a botched investigation of an innocent man, sent to his death.
His punishment for not adhering to orders is to be demoted and exiled to the lowest rank of the Russian police. A communist Russia, with an ideal society where everyone is equal has no crime. So when a serial killer becomes evident, Leo becomes an enemy of the state for even daring to acknowledge this. He risks his and his family's lives for daring to track the killer down.
A compelling read, with a very frightening period of time as it's backdrop.(less)
This book was the reading group choice for July. I had taken it on holiday, and felt I had a duty to read for the group rather than a desire to, from...moreThis book was the reading group choice for July. I had taken it on holiday, and felt I had a duty to read for the group rather than a desire to, from reading the blurb.
How true is it never to judge a book by it's cover?
I loved this book. It was centred around a very modern house built in the 1920's in Czechoslovakia. How the house was commissioned, the part it played in the lives of the owners, and how they subsequently had to abandon it due to the onset of German occupation of Czechoslovakia and the persecution of the jews.
The story follows the lives of the owners, but also the role of the house, without them. It is occupied by a Nazi division who use it as a laboratory in the early phase of WWII. It then becomes a haven for Russian liberation troops. After the war it is used as an annexe to the local hospital for rehabilitation of children.
The lives of the people linked to the house is very well portrayed, there are many affairs and near affairs. It documents the struggles and hardships families had to endure to survive being displaced.
The house is based on a real building Villa Tugendhat, Brno in The Czech Republic, and after reading the book I spent a good hour looking through the site at photographs of the house. The author had used a lot of factual details about the house in the novel. There were obvious parallels between the historical facts and his fiction too. It was fascinating comparing the two. The house is now undergoing a huge restoration programme and will once again be open to the public on completion.(less)
An interesting premise for a novel. A middle-age copper having a mid life crisis finds himself guarding the body of a notorious child killer. His twel...moreAn interesting premise for a novel. A middle-age copper having a mid life crisis finds himself guarding the body of a notorious child killer. His twelve hour night-shift gives him too much time on his hands and he finds himself examining his whole life. I was amused by the references to local areas such as Widnes and Runcorn Bridge, as the piles of scrap metal descriptions were very accurate.
I don't think it is a novel that I will remember in detail in years to come, but it will provide some interesting points for discussion at our book group.(less)
I was quite shocked regarding some of the adult themes in the book, which I obviously didn't get at GCSE age, when read the first time. It is a brilli...moreI was quite shocked regarding some of the adult themes in the book, which I obviously didn't get at GCSE age, when read the first time. It is a brilliantly constructed novel, and you can immediately appreciate why it is used as a text for students. The parallels between events are obvious but believable. Fantastic in its brief completeness!(less)