One Man’s Empire is a delightful read with a swift pace and surprises around each corner. Set in the late 18th century at the height of the British EmOne Man’s Empire is a delightful read with a swift pace and surprises around each corner. Set in the late 18th century at the height of the British Empire’s rule, the story takes you to what was then known as Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). We follow John Butler, who, after inheriting his father’s coffee plantation finds he is unable to sell for a stipulated time period and so is forced to take over its management. But before Butler has time to swallow this bitter pill, a storm destroys every. All that is left is a small tea bush still growing under the debris. In debt and unable to afford the fare back to England, Butler sees the tea bush as his only hope for the future. So begins his struggle to make a success of his inheritance. He is not aware, however, of the obstacles he will have to overcome, the least of which, his neighbour, William Paget who is out for Butler’s ruin. Undaunted, John Butler carries on and builds his empire, changing the face of Ceylon....more
David George Richards has created a wonderful character in Helga Burbeck, a German countess who risks her life by smuggling Jews out of Germany duringDavid George Richards has created a wonderful character in Helga Burbeck, a German countess who risks her life by smuggling Jews out of Germany during WWII. The pace is fast as you are swept into Helga’s life and the dire situations she finds herself in. You will also meet Captain Taylor who loves Helga and searches for her after the war. This is a superb and gripping novella. I thoroughly enjoyed it....more
The Lady of the Rivers is part of Phillipa Gregory’s, The Cousins’ War, series. Set in France and England during the reign of King Henry VI, it followThe Lady of the Rivers is part of Phillipa Gregory’s, The Cousins’ War, series. Set in France and England during the reign of King Henry VI, it follows the life of Jacquetta of Luxembourg who is part of a family endowed with the ability to foresee the future, and descendents of the river goddess, Melusina.
As with The Red Queen, The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of the War of the Roses, but from the perspective of Jacquetta who, at the tender age of 17, finds herself married to the Duke of Bedford, a man twice her age. The Duke encourages Jacquetta in her occult abilities to foresee his military fate.
With a mixture of historical facts and fiction, Phillipa Gregory has woven a fascinating tale using both real and imaginary characters, providing a window in to their lives in a time of treachery, betrayal and war.
For me, The Lady of the Rivers was a page turner as I became captivated by Jacquetta’s life. Some interesting points it has sparked for me are, the illness suffered by King Henry VI, the history of the castle of Calais, the Queen, Margaret of Anjou, and a wish to read about Jacquetta’s daughter, Elizabeth.
The Cousins' War series encompasses the following books:- The White Queen The Red Queen The Lady of the Rivers The Kingmaker’s Daughter The White Princess The Last Rose ...more
On this 100th anniversary of the Great War (1914-1918), I found myself reading the first book in a trilogy called The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock. (On this 100th anniversary of the Great War (1914-1918), I found myself reading the first book in a trilogy called The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock. (First publishing in 1978.)
Set in both England and France this story opens during the summer of 1914 when the rumblings of the war to come is evident. Nevertheless, Anthony Greville, 9th Earl of Stanmore and his family continue on with their privileged lives at Abingdon Pryor. Alexandra Greville is embarking on her debutante season and her brother Charles is hopelessly in love with Lydia Foxe, the untitled daughter of an influential businessman. Martin Rilke, a cousin, arrives from America with plans to spend the summer touring England. Little do they know that the very fabric of their lives is about to change forever helped along when many of their servants leave to serve at the front.
This is a moving story with fictional characters interwoven with historical personages and events. The reader is taken from the English manor house into the trenches in France to witness the depredation and misery endured by those who fought. So many brave young men who went “over the top” perhaps to die minutes later, mowed down by machine gun fire as they ran toward the enemy through the mud encrusted landscape. Over 16 million died - 20 million were wounded. A whole generation lost.
Phillip Rock (1927-2004) was born in Hollywood, California. He spent his younger years in England with his family until the blitz of 1940. His adult years were spent in Los Angles.
Other books in this trilogy:- Circles of Time and A Future Arrived. ...more
Leah Flemming has written several novels among them The Captain’s Daughter and TheGirl Under the Olive Tree. The Postcard is her latest work.
Set in prLeah Flemming has written several novels among them The Captain’s Daughter and TheGirl Under the Olive Tree. The Postcard is her latest work.
Set in present day, South Australia and London, UK, the reader is quickly transported back in time to 1923 and post WWI Britain. There we meet Caroline (Callie) Seton-Ross and her Aunt Phee at Dalradnor, their home in the wild moors of Scotland.
Dalradnor is where Callie starts her fascinating and sometimes frightening journey through a life of not only privilege, but impoverishment and suffering. Through it all, however, one thing keeps Callie going, the thought of her son, Desmond.
There are several wonderful sub-plots to this fascinating story all woven into the main plot with the skill of an accomplished writer. The reader can look forward to a fascinating and enjoyable read travelling page by page through both countries and time, not to mention the mystery behind “the postcard”!...more
Never having read a Douglas Kennedy book before I didn’t know what to expect, but I wasn’t disappointed. With its many twists and turns, The Pursuit oNever having read a Douglas Kennedy book before I didn’t know what to expect, but I wasn’t disappointed. With its many twists and turns, The Pursuit of Happiness, kept me enthralled from beginning to end. Set in post war Manhattan in the aftermath of the WWII it is full of the unexpected. Definitely a book that you can’t put down....more
Set in both the present day and the summer of 1940, The Darkest Hour takes the reader on two journeys. One tells the story of Evelyn Lucas, a young waSet in both the present day and the summer of 1940, The Darkest Hour takes the reader on two journeys. One tells the story of Evelyn Lucas, a young war artist during the Battle of Britain, the other of Lucy Standish, a recently widowed art historian in the present day.
With Spitfires taking off from the Westhampnett air field and the Battle of Britain raging in the skies above the Sussex countryside, Evelyn records it all in her paintings.
Seventy years on, Lucy becomes aware of Evelyn and her work when she attempts to put the pieces of her own shattered world back together. Unaware of what has gone before, she finds herself inextricably caught in the tangled web of deception, jealousy and greed surrounding Evelyn’s life as she tries to unravel the mystery.
Full of twists and turns, with a colourful array of strong and wonderful characters, Barbara Erskine has told a fascinating story full of mystery, and cleverly woven around those brave young men who risked their lives in their Spitfires in the skies above Britain.
I became totally absorbed reading The Winter Sea. Set in north-east Scotland, it tells the story of Carrie McClelland, an author who starts writing aI became totally absorbed reading The Winter Sea. Set in north-east Scotland, it tells the story of Carrie McClelland, an author who starts writing a historical romance using her ancestor, Sophia McClelland and the exiled King James of Scotland as its background. The reader is swept back in time to 1708, at the height of James’s attempt to regain his crown from England, and Sophia’s entanglement in this affair.
Carrie, settles into her rented cottage in the historic village of Cruden Bay where she finds herself surrounded by images of the past, not the least of which is Slains Castle, in 1708, a Jacobite stronghold, and the focal point in her book. It’s not long, however, before the character in Carrie’s story start to take over her writing with surprising results.
If you enjoy reading history mixed with fiction and a smattering of romance as well as mystery, you will not be disappointed. ...more
I’ve just finished reading Kate Atkinson’s new book, Life After Life. It’s an unconventional story about a girl who lives different parts of her lifeI’ve just finished reading Kate Atkinson’s new book, Life After Life. It’s an unconventional story about a girl who lives different parts of her life over again. I wouldn’t say that it’s about reincarnation, although I must admit, it has left me wondering how, exactly, to describe what’s happening in this story.
Confused? Let me try to explain.
Ursula Todd starts out life in 1910 and promptly dies. She then starts out life again, also in 1910, and this time she survives. This sets the pattern for this book that presents a kaleidoscope of possibilities.
I started to think that the author was just presenting different scenarios of the same situations, but as the story continues, it’s clear that, at times, Ursula does experience déjà vu. Although, having said that, it’s never made clear to the reader whether she remembers her previous lives. This creates an atmosphere of mystery. At least it did for me.
It’s a rich story filled with the most wonderful characters, all interesting and unique. The story continues on through the First World War, the 1920-30s and into the Second World War where Ursula, now in her thirties, experiences the London Blitz. And so does the reader. It’s so marvellously written that I felt I was watching a movie. Hats off to Kate Atkinson’s wonderful writing!
This is a thought provoking book because it shows how the different choices we make in life, however large or small, create totally different outcomes. I enjoyed it very much even if I am left with a certain sense of confusion. I think I’ll read it again!...more
Well, what can I say other than I loved this book. Set in Guernsey in the aftermath of World War II the inhabitants tell, in a series of letters, abouWell, what can I say other than I loved this book. Set in Guernsey in the aftermath of World War II the inhabitants tell, in a series of letters, about life on the Island during that war. This the author has done brilliantly, showing the resilience and bravery of the islanders in the face of loss and depravation and, at the same time, conveying their wit with her eccentric characters. A book that will brings a tear to the eye at times, but is also uplifting. It’s definitely one that I will keep on my shelf to read again....more