this one takes several volte face turns so is not the straight forward story it began as. Divorcing couple with a slowly revealed history that lead to...morethis one takes several volte face turns so is not the straight forward story it began as. Divorcing couple with a slowly revealed history that lead to the point of miscommunication and conflict.(less)
Martin White lives with his son, John, and John's scatty wife Mattie. But Martin, in a forgetful moment loses the TV remote, then refrains from admitt...moreMartin White lives with his son, John, and John's scatty wife Mattie. But Martin, in a forgetful moment loses the TV remote, then refrains from admitting to the act. This begins the chance connections to realign the family constellations. Mattie and John host the annual get together with their children, Lily, Marie, Rory and the various extensions of husbands and children. At first it seems a tale of the usual family misconceptions carried into adult life that all families experience. Holiday stresses emerge. Family members struggle to define themselves beyond the intricate network of attachments and silly childhood conceptions formed in rash but defining moments. So Lily escapes for a break from the increasing family tension into her work. She has planned to combine a return to the family home to find the local residence of her next interviewee.
Lily interviews Rita Boothe, once a famous, wit & photo essayist, for a book on lost icons. During the interview she finds a side of her mother's youth unknown to the family. Rita remembers the photo image and shows Lily a portrait of Mattie in a pose of pleasurable abandon. Lily feels a flash of envious jelousy for the this ability to live without planning. She begins to dream of letting her control slip, of not being the responsible one, the eldest child.
Mattie's old infatuation with the glamorous Rita kindles a friendship after a chance meeting following Lily's interview. Rita and her son are just as disjointed in their family connections until this chance meeting changes the two families momentums. Then the limitations of imagined family alignments come clear when reflected back in revealing discussion of how each person really remembered those events.
Family connections poised to shatter, scattering the many people into disconnected, grumpy, dissatisfied groups is pulled back by the differing view points. Admirations of what is seen as desirable in depreciated family traditions causes old perceptions to slip. New ideas are allowed in, conversations and regrets discussed. Reflecting images of previous insults peel back and the two families start enjoying their own families again. Then the TV remote returns. (less)
Leila Aboulela – Tale of culture shock told in disjointed fashion. The disconnected manner may have been meant to help create the feeling of displacem...moreLeila Aboulela – Tale of culture shock told in disjointed fashion. The disconnected manner may have been meant to help create the feeling of displacement but I found it hard to follow. I kept checking back story to be sure I was sure of which character I was reading about.
Katie Agnew – Extreme opposites attract so need extreme help admitting their love. ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’
Abigail Bosanko – Diabolical & appropriate revenge against philandering husband.
Jenny Coglan – Dippy city girl like a half baked Brigit Jones goes to Glasgow for Fringe Festival, makes a friend after many stupid situations she works herself into. ‘Amanda’s Wedding’, ‘Talking to Addison’, ‘Working Wonders’, ‘Looking for Andrew McCarthey’
Carol Ann Davis – Serious - psychology of why people murder, dark novels & nonfiction ‘Women Who Kill’ 14 profiled female serial killers
Isla Dewar - ‘Dancing in a Distant Place’, ‘Keeping up With Magda’ This is my favorite author in this collection!
Muriel Gray – Vicious revenge implied for her child being victimized by neighborhood bully. She is international hit man not just an average ‘working mother’ so she leaves a set up to disclose all the bullies dirty secrets.
Jean Ross Ewing - Flowers Under Ice is not well written & is another overly sexed romance but she threw in a lot of interesting Scottish history.
Julia Hamilton – Coming of age with empathy for many things in the nature of becoming adult. ’Forbidden Fruits’ is another kind of coming of age even if it isn’t until middleage for the sons of the family patriarch however they do as do most of the people around them, Other People’s Rules’ this one was a darker story of corrupt power abusing children. Scottish aristocracy close class and a blind eye to the family the Earl Gatehouse. Murder mystery solved by daughter’s friend Lucy Diamond.
Morag Joss – Mother has a last lucid day with daughter. Good story but difficult style. Perhaps also to close to having lost my own mother.
Tania Kindersley – to weird so I skipped this author. Helen Lamb – Odd incomplete tale of differences between two girls but only one girl is explained the other is left unfinished.
Miller Lau – Great vernacular. Ghost story. Dead bank robber still haunting the vault find the computers now being used in the room respond to its abilities. He ‘pays’ his favorite data typist extra by adjusting her paycheck. One good act and maybe he could rest now. ‘Last Clansmen’ series: ‘Talisker’, ‘Dark Thane’, ‘Yiska’
Shari Low – Well told tale with the male female roles reversed. She wants freedom he wants commitment. ‘What If?’
Lennox Morrison – Old friends get together for a brief reunion. Compete, backbite, but for a moment reconnect once more. ‘Re-inventing Tara’, ‘Second Chance Tuesday’,
Sain Preece – Short story about revenge for ancient juvenile insults delivered in juvenile fashion.
Carmen Reid – ‘Friends Revisited.com’ Faithless husband expects deserted wife to remain rearing the near grown children and just as boring. Instead she seeks old friends and starts anew by insisting husband share the children while she sets up for herself. Very good! ‘Three in a Bed’, Did the Earth Move?’
Manda Scott – Slightly disjointed. Lesbian friend reintroduces old acquaintances so they can be lovers.
Sara Sheridan – Two fat friends agree to diet one summer only to find the stress leads to nasty tricks played by each on the other. But all works out well and friends find they can survive even the traumas of shared dieting. ‘Truth or Dare’
Aline Templeton – Good mystery, ‘Night and Silence’, The Trumpet Shall Sound’, Past Praying For’, ‘Last Act of All’, ‘Shades of Death’ was very dark and oppressive to read since the villain was like John Fowles' ‘The Collector’ (less)
Bridget Jones in the country as dirt doyenne. The character records her life in diary entries in first person but drops her personal pronoun. Will not...moreBridget Jones in the country as dirt doyenne. The character records her life in diary entries in first person but drops her personal pronoun. Will not belabor the point but seems odd at first go. Become a just divorced parent, cope with three children, a dog, a cat, and several farm animals plus a large garden to keep active. Some parts are lively and well portrayed but some episodes seem like they were grafted on. The story portrayal is often as chaotic as the characters lives. The one consistent thread is the linear time line. Certainly the best part is the accuracy of the gardening experience restoring calm after the stress of dealing with the very demanding job of rearing children while working.
I liked the horrified response she gave to her exs expanding corporation capitalizing on grief over the loss of a beloved pet by making pop up coffin toys.
A continuation of Venetia's diary following the garden and her life through another year. Much less about the garden in this book and definitely not a...moreA continuation of Venetia's diary following the garden and her life through another year. Much less about the garden in this book and definitely not a stand alone story. Her love life is sparse because David is off in Brazil building for a film company. The children are growing up and have no male role models. The ex, Charles, is less involved since his twins were born. Now he sees Giles, Felix, & the Beauty on holidays rarely for other occasions. Now even the younger brother is getting married. He has decided to use Venetia's farm house for his wedding but neglects to inform her until a couple of weeks prior to the event. Hysterical plans thrown together culminate in Desmond finally marrying Minna. As erratic and disorganized as Venetia sees herself she does manage to move forward into a new carrier and develops a line of clothes as idiosyncratic as Venetia is.(less)