An outstanding picture of farming in the Lake District.
I found this a compelling read and a lovely sympathetic story of the author's life and upbringiAn outstanding picture of farming in the Lake District.
I found this a compelling read and a lovely sympathetic story of the author's life and upbringing on a small farm in the Lake District. On a personal note, I found much of this story resonated with my own memories of my uncle's small farm in Cornwall back in the '50s. For anyone with an interest in the changing face of farming in the UK, and what could and can be done to ameliorate the effects of the dash for cheap food, this will prove fascinating. The fact that is written about one of my favourite parts of the English countryside makes it even better. ...more
Another superb read from the pen of a worthy successor to Dorothy Dunnett! A disparate group making the trip from Cornwall via Somerset to the Cinque Another superb read from the pen of a worthy successor to Dorothy Dunnett! A disparate group making the trip from Cornwall via Somerset to the Cinque posts and thence to the Holy Land and the untrammelled savagery of the Seige of Acre. John Savage, a foundling, but with an eye and a talent for drawing, Ezra, a girl using a boys identity, the enigmatic Moor and a crew of mummers and rogues find themselves despatched to Palestine for Richard the Lionheart's Crusade. A Palestine where Saladin has conquered Jerusalem, but who finds himself unable to relieve the Seige of Acre - an Acre where a young Jewish Doctor and a Muslim girl find themselves caught up in the terrible events of the siege. Jane Johnson has a superb eye for detail and the gift of impeccable research. A wide-ranging tale packed with emotions and events, with love and with savagery. Highly recommended by me. My own peripatetic existence has seen me spend a long time in the Levant. The author shows a wonderful feeling of "place" that I recognised instantly. ...more
Normally, I turn to Mary Berry for advice on cooking (always good), but a couple of years ago she mentioned that one of her prA Lovely Christmas Read!
Normally, I turn to Mary Berry for advice on cooking (always good), but a couple of years ago she mentioned that one of her prime requirements for enjoying a holiday was "the lastest Carole Matthews".
Well, it turns out that her advice on books is excellent too! This is the first Carole Matthews book I have read, and it certainly won't be the last! Full of engaging and likeable characters, all with flaws. Add a farm with alpacas, a surly teenager, a TV star luvvie and a hot mayor, and you have the makings of a cracking read. Carole Matthews weaves them all together into a lovely narrative that is highly readable - and highly recommended by me! ...more
Another outstanding historical novel by Jane Johnson.
This time she has set her story in her native Cornwall. A dual timeline tale, with Olivia, a veryAnother outstanding historical novel by Jane Johnson.
This time she has set her story in her native Cornwall. A dual timeline tale, with Olivia, a very elderly lady, in her nineties, who has more secrets in her life and family than most. In the Second World War Cornwall was the jumping-off, or arrival point for many visitors, some authorised and some not.
The Seagate is also a story of the tensions and fractures within families and within key relationships. Becky, the other main protagonist, has been living with an artist who is not what he might seem.
The author has set several of her previous books in and around North Africa. This time she has brought Africa to Cornwall, with great aplomb and authority, touching on a large swathe of modern North African history.
Even Chynalls, the house around which the story takes place, has secrets of its own. Some secrets are definitely too perilous to disclose. Nobody's history is what it may seem.
Great characters, engaging plots and a well-written and pacy read. Highly recommended by me....more
Loss, Heroism, Love and Romance in a Wartime Cornwall. Another deeply satisfying and emotional read from Melanie Hudson. The Air Transport Auxiliary prLoss, Heroism, Love and Romance in a Wartime Cornwall. Another deeply satisfying and emotional read from Melanie Hudson. The Air Transport Auxiliary provides a rich source of material in this excellent read. The pressures and dangers experienced by the women of the ATA are - to many people - unknown. For many people, the logistics of war remain unknown. Overlay the story of this heroic service with a poignant and tender love story between the Juliet of the title and Edward Nancarrow, a man with an enigmatic background serving at the deadliest and riskiest activity that WW2 provided, and you have an emotional roller coaster of a book. A dual time-line running through the story has Katherine, herself newly widowed and picking up the threads of her life in the depths of Cornwall. The village of Angels Cove provides a fine cast of supporting characters as both Katherine and Juliet come to terms with loss and grief, and move on with their lives. Recommended! A lovely read. ...more
A Fascinating Account of Growing up on Both Sides of the Gender Divide.
This was a wholly original take on the difference assumed gender can play on a A Fascinating Account of Growing up on Both Sides of the Gender Divide.
This was a wholly original take on the difference assumed gender can play on a person's life choices.
While the concept of a "Dual Time-Line" in a novel is well -known, this is the first time I have read a book with a "Two-dimensional" timeline. Two infants in a small New England mill town; one growing up as a boy, and the other as a girl.
All this with the demands that society places on us dependent on our gender, and a great picture of life in a small depressed town after the mill closes.
Beautifully written, as you'd expect from a Jullie Cohen book, thought-provoking and engrossing. Highly recommended....more
I read The Grand Duchesse of Nowhere just after its publication when its publishers had entered it for the Romantic Novel of the YAn exceptional book.
I read The Grand Duchesse of Nowhere just after its publication when its publishers had entered it for the Romantic Novel of the Year. Back then, I was embargoed from mentioning it or writing a review. However, I found it a deep and absorbing novel about characters caught in the carnage of war, and split between the conventions of the time, their responsibilities as part of a ruling class, and their own desires for emotional fulfillment.
The best book of that years reads, and one I felt that should have been shortlisted. ...more