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SusieH (Yorkshire)

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Jubilee
Jubilee
by Shelley Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.40

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secrets unfold, tensions build - a good read, 3 Feb 2012
This review is from: Jubilee (Hardcover)
Satish was one of several children featured in a famous photograph supposedly representing diversity in Britain. Taken at a street party celebrating the Queen's Silver Jubilee, this photograph continues to haunt Satish. When pressure is put on him to take part, decades later, in an updated photograph, he is reluctant. He has a secret which could jeopardise his illustrious career as a cardiologist.

Switching to and fro between the present day, and Satish's professional success, and the time of the Jubilee, we eventually discover why he is so reluctant to be part of an updated photograph.

There is a clever build up of tension, which made this book hard to put down.

Thoroughly recommended. A good read.


Suffer the Children: The Story of Thalidomide
Suffer the Children: The Story of Thalidomide
by London Sunday Times
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling read, 30 Nov 2011
A good example of the value of investigative journalism.

It seems that, at every step of the way, this was handled badly. Many vital tests and experiments were not carried out, or not analysed fully. If done correctly it would have been obvious that thalidomide was a danger to the foetus.

Even after the first babies were born with deformities, there were cover ups so that the drug continued to be marketed as safe for pregnant women.

This was certainly a very interesting read, but I found myself getting angrier as I read on - what a needless tragedy for so many.

Bravo to the Sunday Times team for a very clear expose of the thalidomide story.


Yesterday's Weather: Includes Taking Pictures and Other Stories
Yesterday's Weather: Includes Taking Pictures and Other Stories
by Anne Enright
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.88

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb collection of short stories, 3 Nov 2011
This is a truly superb collection of short stories - probably of more interest to women as the stories are about women at various ages/stages of their lives.

Some were very funny, belly-ache laugh type funny. Others were so sad. But you will definitely find at least some that you relate to.

Excellent


Promises, Promises
Promises, Promises
by Erica James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An easy reading page-turner - ideal for a long journey, 2 Nov 2011
This review is from: Promises, Promises (Paperback)
Ella fell in love with a widower with two children. One child accepts her, the other hates her and is as difficult as it is possible to be.

Maggie is married to a slob of a man, and suffers the tirades of a truly obnoxious mother-in-law who treates her badly.

Ethan is married to a trophy wife who loves his bank balance, and is only interested in showing off her wealth and superiority to anyone who might be impressed. She is cold towards Ethan, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, seeks physical and ultimately emotional warmth elsewhere.

When the lives of these main characters, and others, become entwined, life becomes interestingly complex.

Emotions are raw, the weak and oppressed become stronger, the downright evil get their come-uppance, and just occasionally love triumphs over all.

Difficult to put down.


Three Views of Crystal Water
Three Views of Crystal Water
by Katherine Govier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.64

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is stunning - and definitely one to read, and re-read, 2 Nov 2011
Vera is only a child when her mother dies, and her father has long since been absent. Her rather colourful grandfather eventually returns from his travels, complete with his Japanese lover, Keiko, a pearl diver. Vera lives with them, and visits him daily at work. Life settles into a comfortable routine until the grandfather dies.

After his death it seems that there is no longer any money to support Vera and Keiko. Vera writes to her absent father hoping he will take care of her, but she hears nothing. They have to find ways to earn a living, but Vera has no skills or experience, and Keiko has no relevant experience and a poor command of English. Their only option seems to be to live in Japan where Keiko can use her experience as a pearl diver.

There are fascinating accounts of the trials and tribulations of pearl diving, and the camaraderie of the pearl divers and their families. Life is lived according to the seasons, with all the community moving to the island from which they dive for several months, then back again when the pearl gathering season is over. Vera is the odd one out, the only blonde westerner, but she does eventually connect with another loner.

Over the years we watch Vera becoming an adult, and her changing relationships with Keiko and others.

Eventually Vera's father turns up, which changes everything.

With the anticipated start of World War II it becomes clear that Vera could be in danger.

What happens to Vera? What happens to Keiko?

I would definitely recommend reading this wonderful book to find out.


The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
by Aimee Bender
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual gift, 19 Oct 2011
Rose has an unusual gift. She can tell the mood of the person who has cooked her meal, and even know the location of the farmer who grew its ingredients. This gift can often be very distressing for her, as she is able to tell, from her mother's cooking, that her parents' marriage is on shaky ground. As mixed up emotionally as she is, she finds it very difficult to eat her own cooking.

Her brother Joseph undoubtedly has his own gifts and problems, and I would have liked to have had more explanation of them. Some of his behaviour was so weird and off the wall that it was uncomfortable to read about and difficult to understand.

Joseph's friend George is very supportive to George, and much like a big brother to Rose, initially.

A very interesting read.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2011 11:07 AM GMT


That Liverpool Girl
That Liverpool Girl
by Ruth Hamilton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 11 Oct 2011
This review is from: That Liverpool Girl (Paperback)
This was excellent, giving a real feeling of the difficulties and fears of living through a war, in an area that was definitely going to be a target for bombs.

Families need to decide whether to stay put, at risk to their lives, or to move to somewhere safer. Widow Eileen Watson decides that she must take up the opportunity to move her children to a more rural area - her three sons are always in trouble and they don't cope well when removed. Her beautiful daughter cannot move with them as she has a scholarship to an excellent school, and is the one who may be able to make something of herself.

Miss Hilda Pickavance, thought by all to be rather posh and unbending, turns out to be anything but, and her life becomes entwined with Eileen's family, to everyone's benefit.

There are always those who will abuse their position in life, and there are interesting examples of this.

This was a good read, really bringing to life the problems of wartime life, and some of the really tough decisions families had to make.


At a Time Like This
At a Time Like This
by Catherine Dunne
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ups and downs of friendships, 11 Oct 2011
This review is from: At a Time Like This (Paperback)
4 women initially meet at university. After university they go in their separate directions, they decide to keep in touch, with regular evenings together.

The four women are really quite different characters, and this sometimes leads to friction. Secrets may or may not be shared, and sometimes judgements are made not knowing the full story. The biggest secret, kept for a couple of decades, makes everyone completely re-evaluate their feelings about Nora.

There are of course love interests, which again sometimes cause conflict.

Interesting, but could have gone into more depth


Ape House
Ape House
by Sara Gruen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating insight into animal/human communication, 11 Oct 2011
This review is from: Ape House (Paperback)
It is very obvious that Sara Gruen has done her homework well.

Isabel is working with bonobos, teaching them how to communicate with humans. She regards them as family and they clearly adore her.

There are examples of truly horrible human behaviour - but the bonobos are able to use their communication skills to show their distress, and ultimately to identify the perpetrators of the crime.

A wonderful book, which I shall read again.


Death Sentence
Death Sentence
by Mikkel Birkegaard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb!, 30 Sep 2011
This review is from: Death Sentence (Paperback)
Superb! Probably the best crime novel I have read.

Frank Fons writes crime novels. To his horror one of his gruesome deaths is copied for real. Even worse, he had loosely based the character of the victim on a real person, and it is that person who is killed.

The killer finds a way to communicate with Frank, and to tell him who will be murdered next, again a character from one of Frank' novels, again based on a real person.

Why is this happening? How can he stop it happening again?

Frank needs to turn detective in the hopes he can avoid another death.

A well-crafted novel - difficult to put down. I shall have to get myself a copy of his earlier novel The Library of Shadows.


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