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The Secret Rooms: A castle filled with intrigue, a plotting duchess and a mysterious death
The Secret Rooms: A castle filled with intrigue, a plotting duchess and a mysterious death
by Catherine Bailey
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously intriguing and revealing, 1 Sep 2013
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Having visited Belvoir Castle many times (well worth a visit) I found this book really brought the castle to life and painted a tangible picture of the aristocracy there and elsewhere around the turn of the 19th/20th century. Whilst revealing and exposing the 'darker' and hideously selfish side of English tradition, hierarchy and politics at this time, it sadly didn't prove to be so shocking, but more despicable. Having recently published my grandfather's memoirs from WWI ('Wal's War' - available from - which also includes letters between him and his mother to and from the Front, vastly different to those between John and Violet!!) - those of a shy, humble and unassuming, ordinary man (a postal worker) - the contrast between his experiences and those of the aristocrats 'serving' in the war is stark and shameful. And yet, I found myself deliciously drawn into the mediocrity of daily life for those so privileged through inheritance. I could really feel the excitement Catherine Bailey must have felt as she cleverly pulled together the implications from the various pieces of the puzzle - many of them missing completely. What is so amazing is the vast number of diaries kept and letters that were written back and forth and so incredible that such history has been preserved over centuries it would seem. What is sad (or perhaps a relief for some!) is that all of our 21st century correspondence - emails and postings made on the internet - will vanish into the ether over time and we will never be able to readily put our hands on such valuable, day to day records in a hundred years from now. I have given this a 4 rather than a 5 rating only because I felt slightly let down at the end with the final weak-mindedness that explains why things had happened the way they had - and deeply disappointed, as John Manners himself so rightly felt. Couldn't put the book down though and highly recommend it for a good read.

Price: 0.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun and good driving music, 14 Aug 2012
This review is from: Dream (MP3 Download)
Long Road
We saw this band playing in the street at the Fete du Lac in Annecy, France on 4th August 2012 and they were great fun. Bought their cd and played it on repeat on the long car journey home - an appropriate album title. Lively, jazzy and a bit quirky. Enjoy.

The Mumsnet Rules
The Mumsnet Rules
by Natasha Joffe
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reassuringly amusing, 20 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Mumsnet Rules (Hardcover)
The Mumsnet Rules
I have really enjoyed reading this book - it's incredibly easy to read, very addictive, you can dip in and out of different sections and it had me convulsed with empathetic laughter on numerous occasions! Much of it relates to parenting of babies/toddlers/under 10s, with some smatterings for dealing with older children. I am now hoping that Mumsnet will produce the next version focussed on parenting of 10-15/16 year olds - my girls are 11 and 12 and I was hoping for a bit more guidance / reassurance on issues that dominate the preteens/early teens. Highly recommend this for all parents however as so much of it rings true.

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