This is the story of Henry Whitakker and his daughter Alma.
Henry is a British autodidact botanist who tries to surpass his competitors which work at t...moreThis is the story of Henry Whitakker and his daughter Alma.
Henry is a British autodidact botanist who tries to surpass his competitors which work at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens.
In order to find new horizons, he decides to move to America where he becomes a healthy and successful botanist in Philadelphia due to the selling of the Peruvian roots which were used to treat malaria at that time. He builds a magnificent house in a huge propriety where he starts to build his own gardens with plenty of glass-houses.
Alma is his only daughter who survived at the countless miscarriages of her mother Beatrix. By moving to America, the married couple decided to bring their own Dutch governess.
By telling the tale of the life of a woman botanist in the 18th century, the author keeps the reader’s interest even if in the middle of the book the narratives becomes a little bit boring.
Alma becomes fascinated by the mosses and she writes two books on this subject. She falls in love by a younger man, Ambrose Pike, who paints orchids and he will make a real turmoil in Alma’s life.
In order to overcome a disastrous marriage, he moves to Tahiti where he will die.
After her loss, Alma decides to donate her inheritance to her adopted sister and decides to travel to Tahiti in order to understand the final and tragical life of her husband.
By returning to Holland, he finds out the Darwin’s evolutionist theory with many resemblances with her own observations and she shares her old age with sharing her knowledge with another nature’s scientist.
A beautiful and engaging story even if sometimes the narratives extends beyond count. Sometimes we have the impression that the author will engage in a romantic story but the author manages to move back to the historical fiction.
This is the second book and final part of the Polland's saga in New Zealand.
In this book, the author describes the romantic involvement between Willia...moreThis is the second book and final part of the Polland's saga in New Zealand.
In this book, the author describes the romantic involvement between William Pollard and Jessica Spencer, a young convict doctor by the Australian authorities, who will help to treat the inhabitants of a country still to come.
One sees the maoris accepting the new comers since each part respect their own territory and different cultures as well.
In the meantime the grown-up Pollard's children take part of the forming society and also play an important role in the beginning of the English colonization in 1840 through the Treaty of Waitangi. The foundation of some cities are also described, such as Wellington for example.
A great work written by Aaron Fletcher, specially since the author knows how to separate the historical and the romantically aspects quite well.
Even if this series is composed by 6 books and I started to read through the fifth one, I am considering as reading the whole series. Nothing extraord...moreEven if this series is composed by 6 books and I started to read through the fifth one, I am considering as reading the whole series. Nothing extraordinary brings me further interest in completing the whole saga.(less)
From BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Drama: The play tells the story of the rise and fall of Bill Galpin (Spall), a flamboyant entrepreneur who pools his fortun...moreFrom BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Drama: The play tells the story of the rise and fall of Bill Galpin (Spall), a flamboyant entrepreneur who pools his fortune into backing risky inventions which are concerned with safeguarding the environment, while at the same time having a very tempestuous but poignant relationship with his two children Roxanna and Danny (Tapper and Streatfeild).
Playing With Trains is a moving family drama set over two decades, charting a "love affair" between father and daughter. It's Poliakoff at his very best, telling an intensely private story within a sweeping public drama.(less)
This is the first book of the series of the New Zealanders.
This is the story of William Pollard, a deserter from a Br...moreJust arrived from USA through BM.
This is the first book of the series of the New Zealanders.
This is the story of William Pollard, a deserter from a British warship bound for Australia and Tairata, a Maori princess who would betray her tribe for her love to Pollard.
The book describes the Maori's primate life in the South Island, New Zealand. At that time, the maoris didn't have weapons with powder guns and they survived with all the nature provided to them. Pollard is accepted by then and as a proof of his loyalty, his face is tattooed by them, in the Maori way of recognizing as their own tribe.
Once Pollard met a British mate, they travel together to Australia. There, Pollard will be introduced to Jessica Spencer, a very independent blind British woman. And then, their lives will changed forever.
A surprisingly good book even if the beginning it gave a false impression of being a historical romance book instead of a historical fiction.
Since I have the pleasure to visit this beautiful country a few years ago, I could deeply follow the description of the wild nature described by the author.
From BBC Radio 4: A new long-running drama series from G F Newman based on the characters from the multi-award winning writer's best-selling crime nove...moreFrom BBC Radio 4: A new long-running drama series from G F Newman based on the characters from the multi-award winning writer's best-selling crime novel. Spanning six decades, it plots the course of one family against the backdrop of a revolution in crime as the underworld extends its influence to the very heart of the establishment, in an uncomfortable relationship of shared values.(less)
The cover of this edition, provided by Wikipedia, is the following:
This book covers the history of the North American...moreJust arrived from USA through BM.
The cover of this edition, provided by Wikipedia, is the following:
This book covers the history of the North American east, mainly Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where the Choptank River flows into the Chesapeake.
By covering the historical period from 1583 to 1978, the author describes many historical facts and plenty of main characters, showing how the founders of 4 families will dominate the main plot: the Steeds, the Paxmores, the Caters and the Turlocks. Some strong and remarkable female characters play important roles into the plot.
The book is divided in 18 chapters, each one beginning with a voyage that will provide the foundation for the chapter plot and will describe a particular generation of people.
Some geographical points, such as Devon Island and the town of Patamoke , are fictional. There is an interesting link, Talbot County, which suggests an itinerary for this book.
The author also describes a large variety of central themes, such as religion, slavery, poverty, industry and politics, including the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Emancipation and the Watergate scandal.
Some typical wildlife animals are also described, starting with the deer, the Canadian Honker geese, the oysters and crabs as well.
A magnificent book and an unforgettable saga that certainly will captivate many readers. So far, this is the best book I have read by James Michener.
4* Hawaii 4* Alaska 4.5* Chesapeake TR Tales of the South Pacific TR Caravans TR Sayonara(less)
This is the third volume of the Tilly Trotter's tetralogy.
Tilly's saga continues, when she returns back home after her stay in Texas with her late hus...moreThis is the third volume of the Tilly Trotter's tetralogy.
Tilly's saga continues, when she returns back home after her stay in Texas with her late husband Matthew. She brings back her son Willy and her adopted Mexican daughter Josefina.
Old loves and enmities are still coming up as part of Tilly's faith.
Page 82: Last night she had lain for hour pondering on her life that could be said to be uneventful looked at from the outside, but which underneath the surface had been filled wit tragedy since she was a child: her father dying in strange circumstances; her mother fading away afterwards; then herself being brought up by her grandparents on stolen money that had lain hidden for years; her persecution by the villagers, through which, inadvertently, she had been the acuse of the death of two men; her succumbing to the love of the owner of this manor, and ghee constant attendance on him for twelve years until the day he died; then her bearing him a child, and finally marrying his son.
4* Feathers in the Fire 5* Katie Mulholland 5* The Black Velvet Gown 5* The Rag Nymph 4* The Black Candle 3* Colour Blind 4* The Dwelling Place 4* The Glass Virgin
The Mallen Trilogy: 4* The Mallen Streak 2* The Mallen Girl 3* The Mallen Litter
4* Feathers in the Fire 5* Katie Mulholland 4* The Mallen Streak 5* The Black Velvet Gown 4* Tilly Trotter 5* Tilly Trotter Wed TR Tilly Trotter Widowed TR Tilly Alone TR The Mallen Girl TR The Mallen Litter TR The Rag Nymph TR The Fifteen Streets TR The Maltese Angel TR Our Kate(less)
Even if the first part of this book is quite boring, making the reader to lose the interest of...moreThis is the final book of the trilogy The Passing Bells.
Even if the first part of this book is quite boring, making the reader to lose the interest of the plot, in the following parts the author managed to regain the proper narrative.
Location 2905: I trust my heart. I know there must be millions of people in Germany who are as dismayed by Hitler's excesses as we are. The nation of Goethe, after all, as well as Nietzsche. Those people must be encouraged to add their voices to the cry for peace.
Location 3232: Our General Dyer massacred Hindus at Amritsar in nineteen and now we let the Mahatma march past out armed cars and place flowers on the machine guns.
Location 4379: There is apathy in France. A shrug of the shoulder. A gesture with the hands. Hitler will take what he wants. There is no point in treaties. The Maginot line stands sullen and powerful from the Ardennes to the Swiss border. There is no danger to the west. Hitler would never bloody his legions against French cannon.
4* The Passing Bells 4* Circles of Time 3* A Future Arrived (less)
This is the story of Martin Rilke, a Chicago journalist and his British cousins, the Greevilles, w...moreTHis is the second book of the Passing Bells series.
This is the story of Martin Rilke, a Chicago journalist and his British cousins, the Greevilles, who live in Abingdon Pryory.
After the end of World War I, some characters must face their beloved lost during the Great War as well as to recover from acute shell shock.
A momentary feeling of peace and happiness occurs but the economical and political German situation doesn't bring the expected optimism: the inflation is quite high, there is lack of food and some political conspirators start to point out the rising of the Nazis.
Another heartbreaking story written by Khaled Hosseini.
In this book, the author makes use of flashbacks in order to describe the destiny of the main c...moreAnother heartbreaking story written by Khaled Hosseini.
In this book, the author makes use of flashbacks in order to describe the destiny of the main characters - a brother and his sister (Abdullah and Pari) who are torn apart as children by their father - in such a way that there are many stories intertwined which are told in parallel, like a mosaic.
As historical background, the story of Afghanistan is told in the last 60 years. The story moves also from Kabul to Paris, to San Francisco and to the Greek Islands.
When you finish the book, it is almost impossible to stop thinking about the main characters and their destiny.
5* The Kite Runner 5* A Thousand Splendid Suns 4* And the Mountains Echoed(less)
This is the second volume of the saga of the Rougon-Macquart.
Despite other readers, I am reading this series in the chronological order of publication...moreThis is the second volume of the saga of the Rougon-Macquart.
Despite other readers, I am reading this series in the chronological order of publication.
From Wiki: Les Rougon-Macquart is the collective title given to a cycle of twenty novels by French writer Émile Zola. Subtitled Histoire naturelle et social dune famille sous le Second Empire (Natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire), it follows the life of a fictional family living during the Second French Empire (1852–1870) and is an example of French naturalism.
The main topics os this novel, is property speculation and the social description of the Nouveaux riches under the Second French Empire.
The main characters are the following: Aristide Rougon (renamed "Saccard"), the youngest son of the peasant Pierre Rougon and Félicité; Aristide's young second wife Renée and Maxime, Aristide's son from his first marriage.
It was quite interesting to learn how Baron Haussmann's have made the reconstruction of Paris in the 1850s and 1860s.
— La transformation de Paris, continua Monsieur Toutin-Laroche, sera la gloire du règne. Le peuple est ingrat : il devrait baiser les pieds de l’empereur.
Le collège de Plassans, un repaire de petits bandits comme la plupart des collèges de province, fut ainsi un milieu de souillure, dans lequel se développa singulièrement ce tempérament neutre, cette enfance qui apportait le mal, d’on ne savait quel inconnu héréditaire.
A movie version The Game Is Over (1966) was made based on this book, directed by Roger Vadim with Jane Fonda, Michel Piccoli, Peter McEnery.
Pagina 179: Cada livro é um exercício. Vocês devem conhecer aqueles versos de John Donne que Hemingway popularizou recentemente, usando-os como epígraf...morePagina 179: Cada livro é um exercício. Vocês devem conhecer aqueles versos de John Donne que Hemingway popularizou recentemente, usando-os como epígrafe de um de seus romances. É mais ou menos assim: Nenhum homem é uma ilha, mas um pedaço do Continente...
Nenhum homem é uma ilha... O diabo é que cada um de nós é mesmo uma ilha, e nessa solidão, nessa separação, na dificuldade de comunicação e verdadeira comunhão com os outros, reside quase toda a angústia de existir.
Cada homem - prossegue este último - é uma ilha com seu clima, sua fauna, sua flora e sua história particulares. - E a sua erosão - completa tio Bicho.
Exatamente. E a comunicação entre as ilhas é das mais precárias, por mais que as aparências sugiram o contrário. São pontes que o vento leva, às vezes apenas sinais semafóricos, mensagens truncadas escritas num código cuja chave ninguém possui.
Pagina 181: Tenho a impressão - continua - de que as ilhas do arquipélago humano sentem dum modo ou de outro a nostalgia do Continente, ao qual anseiam por se unirem. Muitos pensam resolver o problema da solidão e da separação da maneira que há pouco se mencionou, isto é, aderindo a um grupo social, refugiando-se e dissolvendo-se nele, mesmo com o sacrifício da própria personalidade. E se o grupo tem o caráter agressivo e imperialista, lá estão as suas ilhas a se prepararem, a se armarem para a guerra, a fim de conquistarem outros arquipélagos. Porque dominar e destruir também é uma maneira de integração, de comunhão, pois não é esse o espírito da antropofagia ritual?
Para o Eduardo o Continente é o Estado socialista, ou a simples consciência de estar lutando pela salvação do proletariado mundial. Para outros, como para o Zeca, a Terra Firme, o Grande Continente é Deus, e a única ponte que nos pode levar a Ele é a religião ou, mais especificamente, a Igreja Católica Apostólica Romana. Há ainda pessoas que satisfazem em parte essa necessidade de integração simplesmente associando-se a um clube, a uma instituição, uma seita...
Pagina 182: Que tem sido nossa vida política nestes últimos cinqüenta ou sessenta anos senão uma série de danças tribais ao redor de dois defuntos ilustres? Refiro-me a Júlio de Castilhos e Gaspar Martins. Sempre foi motivo de orgulho para um gaúcho que se prezava sacrificar-se, matar ou morrer pelo seu chefe político, pelo seu partido, pela cor de seu lenço.
Pagina 183: Em primeiro lugar quero deixar claro que não me enquadro em nenhuma dessas posições. Em segundo, acho que tanto o homem que domina arbitrariamente como o que se deixa dominar perdem a integridade. Um entrega sua liberdade. Outro mata a liberdade alheia em benefício da própria.
Pagina 188: Vocês enchem a boca com palavras como justiça, fraternidade, liberdade, igualdade e humanidade. Afirmam que nada disso existe na Rússia soviética, apesar de nunca a terem visitado. Mas sejamos honestos. Oito anos de Estado Novo, a Câmara e o Senado fechados, os direitos civis suprimidos, as cadeias abarrotadas de presos políticos sem processo, a imprensa amordaçada... é essa a idéia que vocês têm de justiça e liberdade? Será humanidade entregar a mulher de Prestes, grávida, aos carrascos da Gestapo, que a mataram num campo de concentração? E que me dizem da polícia carioca queimando com a chama de um maçarico o ânus dum preso político? Ou enlouquecendo o Harry Berger com as torturas mais bárbaras, para obrigá-lo a confessar sua participação num complot que não passava dum produto da imaginação mórbida de Gois Monteiro? Isso é fraternidade? Que dizer também dos parasitas que fizeram negociatas em torno do Banco do Brasil, das autarquias e dos ministérios? E da nossa sórdida burguesia que durante a guerra se empanturrou de lucros extraordinários, mantendo o operariado num salário de miséria? Isso é justiça social? Isso é respeitar a dignidade da pessoa humana? Ora, não me façam rir! (less)
This is the second part of the second book of the trilogy O Tempo e o Vento.
The series tells the story of two families - Terra and Cambará -, and how...moreThis is the second part of the second book of the trilogy O Tempo e o Vento.
The series tells the story of two families - Terra and Cambará -, and how they evolve through 200 years of history, from 1745 to 1945.
The two volumes of O Retrato was written in 1951 and describes the life of the doctor, Rodrigo Cambará in the city of Santa Fé, Rio Grande do Sul in the beginning of the 20th century.
The plot decries how the life of the inhabitants becoming changing by the advent of the electrical light, the first automobiles, the gramophone, the cinema and even the appearance of Halley's comet is commented by the characters. However, all historical news, such as the World War I and World War II, arrive into the city by the telegraph and the newspapers.
The portray which give the title of this second part of this trilogy, was painted by an Argentinian painter who was able to show the real soul of Rodrigo Cambará.
The saga continues with the there volumes of O Arquipélago.(less)
What to say about this magnificent book? This is the first boot of the trilogy A Scots Quair.
According to George Malcom Thomson, to whom the book is d...moreWhat to say about this magnificent book? This is the first boot of the trilogy A Scots Quair.
According to George Malcom Thomson, to whom the book is dedicated, wrote that "this Chris of yours is surely the greatest woman character in Scottish fiction...She is intensely Scottish and yet universal".