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Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
by Carolly Erickson
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Study, 28 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Anne Boleyn (Paperback)
The first book I ever read about the life of Anne Boleyn. It still captivates me because it is beautifully and evocatively written. Although it may have been left in the shade by other books perhaps, it is largely conventional, it should no doubt be regarded as a classic.

Erickson has a gift for vivid writing and this rich book is delightful .

Inside 25 Cromwell St
Inside 25 Cromwell St
by Mae West
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Worthy Account of Life With Fred and Rose By Mae and Stephen West, 28 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Inside 25 Cromwell St (Paperback)
This is an engrossing read and in many ways heartbreaking. Because the book is largely interviews from the perspective of Mae and Stephen West, it gives a fascinating insight into life with Fred and Rose West.

It is shocking and at times upsetting but probably the saddest thing of all is in reading how the two West children appear to be trying to make sense of the nonsensical and inexplicable.

The book was evidently complied shortly after the death of Fred West in jail so the events are all so raw - and this shows in the interviews.

I wonder how Mae and Stephen would speak about it all now. It would be intriguing to know how life has been for them since. It's as if they are struggling to comprehend the incomprehensible - which they are.

Fred West suffered brain damage from a serious accident which drastically altered his personality (already dysfunctional) and Rose West (Letts) was "not right" from birth with a handicap that was more than just a learning disability. So in many ways, these kids did not stand a chance against the brutality they endured at the hands of their parents. The psychotic episodes that often gripped Fred and Rose West were not just symptomatic of their own dysfunctional childhoods (Fred was a paedophile who got his own sister pregnant and Rose was sleeping with her father from her teens upwards) but symptomatic of their own broken minds.

What is clear from this book is that the West children were victims too. They were inhabiting a living hell - a highly sexualised environment where extreme violence and sexual abuse was the norm. And the most horrific aspect for them was that it was the norm. One heartbreaking comment from Stephen (among many) seems to sum up the tragedy of these kids - when normal kids were being tucked up in bed by their parents, they were being "tied" to their beds.

This book details a story more fitting to a Hollywood horror movie or dark British drama - but it is real.

But I think that if this book makes you feel more responsible for vulnerable children then you will have gained something positive from all the suffering outlined here.

It's good to know that Anne-Marie (the oldest child, half-sister to the others) has grown into a dignified woman and I wish all the other children only the best.

If I could gather up the West children and hug them all (and rescue Heather from their clutches), believe me I would.

George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier & Diplomat
George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier & Diplomat
by Claire Ridgway
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lacklustre, 28 Dec. 2014
As has been noted by another reviewer, there is nothing new here.

The book is rather crass and sloppy and one gets the impression that it is just a cobbled together mish-mash of what we already know about Boleyn. There are no interesting slants to this book, it feels like a re-hash of found material. George Boleyn gets better treatment in other books which don't particularly focus on him such as Alison Weir's Lady in the Tower.

As noted "George Boleyn" is full of facts and dates but is rather lacking in depth and substantial material.

George Boleyn isn't fleshed out. Considering how important George Boleyn was and what an interesting person he was in his own right and how dramatic his downfall was - this book is a rather disappointing.

Nevertheless, I am sure there will be better books about George Boleyn to come so it will be well worth waiting for them.

Roc Hydra+ Hydrating Comfort Cream SPF15 40ml
Roc Hydra+ Hydrating Comfort Cream SPF15 40ml
Offered by Catwalk Beauty & Bags
Price: £9.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, 25 Dec. 2014
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This cream is a good one but the fragrance was very cloying and did not appeal to me. Roc has always produced great products but in recent years I have found it a shadow of its former self. Too many bland formulations and awful fragrance - what has happened to the chic Roc which really was fragrance free and had great ingredients in its nourishing creams. Things of the past now. In spite of the revamped image, there is something cheap about it now and belies the fact that it is a premium brand.

Okay but still waiting for Roc to pull it out of the bag.

Happy Like Murderers
Happy Like Murderers
by Gordon Burn
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Monumental Achievement, 24 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Happy Like Murderers (Paperback)
This is by far the most detailed account of the life and crimes of Fred and Rose West. It is truly a monumental achievement - brilliantly detailed and full of incidental facts.

Burn has outdone himself with this powerful book which lays out the whole terrible story in a unique way. Excellently written in vivid shades. You are carried along on a terrifying roller coaster which does not let you off.

This is a comprehensive book which will be invaluable to anyone interested in the horrific West story and those interested in true crime.

The most horrifying aspect to this relentlessly macabre story is that it is real. All too real - this really happened. Young woman were raped, tortured and murdered in the dark cellar of an ordinary terraced house. The extreme abuse of the West children will surely mortify the reader. Its unimaginable that anyone could ever behave the way the West's did. Rose and Fred West were two primitive people divorced from reality and the normal boundaries of human life. 25 Cromwell Street was their little kingdom - a living hell for their children and victims.

Gorden Burn should be commended for writing such an excellent book.

Its important that we remember the poor victims who suffered at the hands of the West's - not least Heather West whose story will make even the hardest heart cry.

Read this book then spare a a quiet thought for those West children and the victims who survived - if this book inspires you to a good deed then something worthy will have come out from this frightening story.

ROSE WEST: The Making of a Monster
ROSE WEST: The Making of a Monster
by Jane Carter Woodrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Horrendous Story That Should Be Retold For The Sake Of The Victims, 10 Dec. 2014
A brilliantly detailed account of the life and evil times of Rose West. Her upbringing was pretty appalling and shocking but it appears that Rose (or Rosie as she was called) character was formed early on with her appallingly abusive schizophrenic father, possibly compounded by a disability. It's impossible to feel much sympathy for her however, as she later reveled in the sadistic activities she engaged in with Fred West.

The sad fact is that had Rose - nicknamed "dozy Rosie" by her family - not met Fred, she might have almost certainly led a humdrum life as a Gloucester housewife. Sadly, she and Fred did meet and they made an explosive pairing, feeding off each other and exploring their sexual deviancy and sadism. Bizarrely they were known figures in the community who were well regarded. Their unremarkable terraced house in Cromwell street was next to a little church and the horrific activities within the basement of that house somehow passed undetected.

They were a terrible pair together and apparently unstoppable. 32 visits to hospitals did not convince anybody that the West children were being abused and there is a litany of failure from the authorities running through this tale. No healthcare professional followed up on Charmaine West for instance - who should have been registered on the vulnerable list - and several days after a hospital visit for a questionable puncture wound on her ankle, she was dead at the hands of Rose West. This kind of neglect riddles the sorry saga.

Fred and Rose were allowed to continue because they chose their victims carefully, knowing that few if any people would bother to ask after them. This is one of the tragedies of the tale.

Had poor Heather West's remains not been found, they probably would have continued torturing and murdering young women. Therefore, there is some satisfaction in knowing that it was Heather who somehow exposed her evil parents from beyond the grave.

Janet Carter Woodrow has done a sterling work here and a highly readable and engrossing book full of interesting details and facts.

Don't be surprised if you experience mixed emotions as you read on. You may well feel enraged, sickened and sad. It'[s impossible to avoid these reactions because the victims often passed without a trace and only few of the women were even reported as missing.

Its a truly horrendous story and however macabre, it should be retold if anything for the victims who should not be forgotten.

Fred And Rose: The Full Story of Fred and Rose West and the Gloucester House of Horrors
Fred And Rose: The Full Story of Fred and Rose West and the Gloucester House of Horrors
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Achievement, 8 Dec. 2014
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This is an absolutely brilliant book and an outstanding achievement - I have been riveted from the very first page. Sounes is an engaging and articulate writer who ably pieces together the life and times of Fred and Rose West and their many crimes. Factually and fluidly written this book will edify and possibly horrify the reader. It seems that the characters of this couple were formed in their severely dysfunctional family dynamics but if ever their were two "bad eggs" it is surely Fred and Rose. They come across as two rather primitive people given over to pain and sexual depravity. Together they made a blistering pair of amoral sexual deviants divorced from reality in their crude and cruel world. It is hard to read about the victims, young women with so much life ahead of them. But we must never forget them - these poor girls should not disappear from memory. The chapter about Heather West is particularly affecting. One can only feel immense sympathy for the families of these lost girls and those left behind. And one cannot but feel enraged by the ineptitude of the authorities who appear to have let many of the vulnerable people in this book down. The West children were taken to hospital 32 times (albeit different hospitals to cover Fred and Rose's tracks) and no connection was made or concerns followed up. This kind of thing just kept happening.

Howard Sounes has produced a sterling piece of work that deserves the highest of praise and will be invaluable to anyone interested in real crime and the life and evil times of Fred and Rose West.

Katherine Howard: A New History
Katherine Howard: A New History
by Conor Byrne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Commendable, 30 Sept. 2014
I have decided to rewrite this review after an error in which it appeared that Claire Ridgeway co-authored it.

In fact it was written by Conor Byrne - and as anyone will tell you, writing historical biographies particularly ones about a figure such as Katherine Howard is no mean feat

Therefore, although I may have found fault with this book in places I think it is a very commendable one.

And I look forward to reading future works.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2014 1:08 PM BST

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Try It!, 27 Sept. 2014
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A great remedy for panics and times of stress when we lose our balance.

Some people find it works, some people find a different remedy suits them better - and this is natural.

I would certainly suggest this if you have panics or for times of distress because they work and they are natural.

This is very trustworthy brand too, so you are getting a quality product.

I wish you well!

niceeshop(TM) Stainless Travel Compact Pocket Crystal Folding Makeup Mirror, Mintcream
niceeshop(TM) Stainless Travel Compact Pocket Crystal Folding Makeup Mirror, Mintcream
Offered by CZ-Sky [ships from HongKong]
Price: £2.76

2.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Unimpressed, 27 Sept. 2014
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Did not survive long.

Not a great product and in fact, the back of a CD made a better mirror.

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