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Plucked Highbrow (West Yorkshire)

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We Need New Names
We Need New Names
by NoViolet Bulawayo
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Displacement and heartache, 23 April 2014
This review is from: We Need New Names (Paperback)
Darling is 10 years old, living in a shanty town on the edges of an african city. There is little money, violence and crime are just below the surface and religion is the opiate of the masses. Everyone dreams of a better life in the West. Six years later Darling has that, she is living with her aunt in the US, but actually it is just another and different set of problems.

I found this book hard going at first, I just did not really engage with Darling and her gang. Part way through however, there is an incident set in an affluent area of town where a white couple are humiliated by a nationalist gang and their house it trashed - they may be white but they are natives of the country - so are the problems about race? As Darling grows up in the US she realises that she is more distanced from her old friends and that she cannot go back. Emotionally the emigres are pressurised to support more and more people 'back home' and social norms are so different. I adored the section about the wedding and enjoyed most of this book.


Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses
Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses
by Sarah Gristwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.89

4.0 out of 5 stars A good perspective, 23 April 2014
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The Cousin's War is the new Tudors, the period of history en vogue at the moment and fuelled by the Phillipa Gregory fans. In this book Sarah Gristwood attempts to follow the tangled lives of the women at the heart of the conflicts, all loosely related and within one generation of each other. Several became queen, several didn't, all were at the mercy of the wheel of fortune.

Gristwood is a confident writer who doesn't rely on lengthy quotes from obscure sources but know that stories she is telling are strong enough to stand on their own.


Rest Not in Peace: The Chronicles Of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon: 6
Rest Not in Peace: The Chronicles Of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon: 6
by Mel Starr
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Odd ending, 23 April 2014
I picked up this book as a review copy but it has taken me a while to get round to reading it. I don't think I missed much.

Hugh is a surgeon and bailiff working in Oxfordshire. When a visitor to his lord dies overnight, Hugh's preliminary investigations indicate murder. The story revolves around an impoverished noble family and revenge for family who were dealt hard blows in poverty.

The background detail is very good and the glossary very useful but the problem is the story. It's engaging enough but just wraps up too neatly at the end and some clues were not finalised.

An amusing and short distraction but not a book to remember or relish.


The Last Runaway
The Last Runaway
by Tracy Chevalier
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Well-researched and beautifully told tale, 21 April 2014
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This review is from: The Last Runaway (Paperback)
Honor is a Quaker from the West Country who has been jilted by her fiancee and wants adventure. She accompanies her elder sister to Ohio as her sister is to be married to a Quaker who has already emigrated. Unfortunately her sister dies en route and Honor arrives in a strange isolated backwater with no family and few prospects.

Honor is a talented sewer and makes her mark in this way, firstly befriending a local milliner and piquing the interest of her half-brother the slave hunter Donovan, secondly by attracting and quickly marrying a local farmer. Behind this Honor is passionately opposed to slavery and starts to help slaves escaping via the Underground Railroad but this leads to problems with her husband's family. Finally pregnant Honor is forced to choose between duty and belief.

Threaded through with quilting history and background this is a small but quite magical tale. So many themes come together - emigration, displacement, religion, morals, independence, emancipation - yet it is not a racy or pacy story. I have been quite cynical about Tracy Chevalier's writing in the past having read some of her previous work but this book has completely won me over.


The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves
by Stephen Grosz
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seems as though I am in the wrong job, 21 April 2014
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How frustrating some of these stories are! Self-indulgent people with too much money and no sense who just need to get a grip. Whilst some of the tales are genuinely heartrending, they tend to be the ones who, one suspects, Grosz treats on the NHS. People with genuine problems, the violent child etc. as opposed to the indolent, over privileged whiners - Mummy never loved me.

Perhaps I am just a complete cynic after meeting a psychotherapist on holiday the other year who was a thoroughly unpleasant human being but I must be in the wrong job. I deal with greater issues than most of these on a daily basis and none of my employees can afford this sort of self-indulgent therapy.

Having said that, the book has provoked a response!


Galveston
Galveston
by Nic Pizzolatto
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply disturbing, 21 April 2014
This review is from: Galveston (Paperback)
Roy Cady has never really belonged to society. After his stepfather died his mother didn't really exist and he was drawn into a shady world of illegal bookmaking and criminality. Graduating to become an enforcer for a Louisiana crime boss Roy does what he has to do to survive fuelled by alcohol. Diagnosed with terminal lung cancer Roy is sent to do a job which is actually a set-up, his boss wants him out. Against the odds Roy survives and goes on the run with Rocky, a teenage prostitute he rescues from the scene. Travelling to Galveston Roy is forced to confront reality as he tries to help Rocky and her little 'sister' Tiffany. Unfortunately the past catches up with him and he is lucky to escape with his life.

Slipping between the present day where Roy is now a drifter and the violence of his past this novel is very reflective. Did Roy ever stand a chance? A final meeting with the now adult Tiffany shows him that he managed to help one good thing happen in his life.

Nic Pizzalotto is the writer of an acclaimed TV series 'True Murder' and often screenwriters find it difficult to transfer their ideas from picture to narrative. Pizzalotto doesn't have this problem. The writing is spare, the story compelling and, whilst there is a sense of redemption, there's no happy ending as such. A brilliant novel.


A Very British Murder
A Very British Murder
by Lucy Worsley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.60

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The re-Invention of Murder, 20 April 2014
This review is from: A Very British Murder (Hardcover)
OK, accept the fact that this book has great overlaps with a book called The Invention of Murder. So what, just about every detective story is a rehash of another and just about every murder is because of the same few reasons!

This book was a tie-in to an interesting TV series and it also sits on its own as an interesting read. The development of fictional accounts of murder alongside real life murder and detection is fascinating. Our national obsession with detective novels is not going to stop.


The Scent of Death
The Scent of Death
by Andrew Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and evocative, 20 April 2014
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This review is from: The Scent of Death (Paperback)
Edward Savill has married a woman for her family connections and, whilst he loves their daughter, the marriage is stale. He uses his family connections within Government to secure a posting to New York as part of the American Office dealing with loyalist refugees. On arrival in New York he is billeted with a retired judge and his family including the beautiful but distant Arabella. During the War of Independence Arabella's family home was attacked and she lost her child. Arabella's husband was lost in battle and the family is poor. Edward comes across the body of murdered Englishman and is charged with investigating his death. There are links to both the judges family and also to a renegade slave with a scarred face. Edward is not sure who to trust and the complex plot involves slavery, loyalty and honour.

Andrew Taylor is an assured writer of historical fiction. His work is supremely researched and his plots buzz. This book is fascinating and engaging, heavy with detail yet the story races along.


Ladies Marge Simpson Fancy Dress Halloween Party Costume Large The Simpsons
Ladies Marge Simpson Fancy Dress Halloween Party Costume Large The Simpsons
Offered by dazzink
Price: 32.06

4.0 out of 5 stars Very effective, 20 April 2014
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Bought for a school dress-up day this did the job brilliantly. the tights were way too small and the neckline a bit tight but overall it looked great.


DK Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide: Turkey's Southwest Coast
DK Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide: Turkey's Southwest Coast
Price: 5.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fulfilled a need, 20 April 2014
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When going on a package holiday you don't need a particularly detailed guide book and in that respect this book sufficed. There are glowing errors though - the Point Centre in Marmaris doesn't exist, it was scheduled to open but was never finished.


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