Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Girl With No Name - Marina Chapman

It all happened so quickly. One minute I was squatting on the bare earth. preoccupied with popping pea pods. The next, I saw the flash of a black hand and white cloth, and before I even had a chance to cry out it had sailed towards my face, and completely covered it.

In 1954, in a remote South American village, a four year old girl was abducted and then abandoned deep in the Colombian rain-forest.

So begins the incredible true story of Marina Chapman, who went on to spend several years alone in the jungle, her only family a troop of Capuchin monkeys. Using instinct to guide her, she copied everything they did and soon learned to fend for herself.

At around 10 years old, a completely feral Marina was returned to civilization by hunters, who sold her to a brothel. After being enslaved and beaten daily, she escaped to live the perilous existence of a Colombian city street kid.

Marina's life as a wild child wasn't over. In some ways, it had only just begun. This is her astonishing story.

Published by: Reach - Memoir
Year: 2013 - Paperback
Pages: 253
ISBN: 978-1-78057-654-1

Marina Chapman as she is now known was only a small child around 4 years old when she was cruelly taken from her parents home. For what purpose is uncertain as Marina was abducted only to then be left in the rain-forest.  She had no means or understanding of how to look after herself until she came across a troop of Capuchin monkeys who then became her family for the next few years. Marina can only guess how long she remained in the jungle by letting her hair grow to the length it was when she left the jungle and monitoring how long it took to grow to that length which she guesstimates at approximately six years.  Eventually she is found and she hopes that this will put an end to her misery. Unfortunately she is then left with a women who runs a brothel. Initially she is used to look after the house but once she becomes a young women she soon realises that she will be expected to work like the other girls.  In the meanwhile she is subjected to terrible abuse by the madam who runs the brothel.  As time passes she befriends a neighbour who eventually helps her to escape this life by first taking her to a convent a few miles away and then to her own daughter who lives far enough away to protect Marina from the cruelties she has endure so far in her young life.

Marina's story was very sad, but stops at the point where she escapes the brothel and the madam who runs it.  You are left wondering how did she eventually come to the UK, where did she meet her husband. There is no mention of a sequel to The Girl With No Name so you are left somewhat wondering what happened next. 

Happy reading one & all


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Water Babies - Charles Kingsley

The story follows Tom in his land-life as a climbing boy for a chimney sweep and in his after life as a water baby, where he gains redemption from selfishness as well as from drudgery.

Publshed by: Dover Publications - Kindle Edition
Year: 2013
Pages: 225
ISBN: 1853261483

The Water Babies is my return to school read for April.  All I could remember was the fact that essentially it was a fairy tale written by Charles Kingsley for his 4 year old son about a young chimney sweep.  Tom who is supposedly looked after by the Chimney Sweep Grimes.  Grimes ill-treats Tom.

Tom thinks he is in trouble after taking a wrong turn inside a chimney and ending up in the wrong room and thinks he has frightened the little girl he finds there.  Tom runs away and sadly falls into the river and drowns.  It is at this point he starts his journey to become a water baby, but first he has lessons he must learn.  

I think I was probably about 13 or 14 the last time I read this book and at the time I really didn't find it of any interest at all.  I'm told now that it is one of the classics but it wouldn't be for me I'm afraid.  I had forgotten that it was a fairy tale written for the authors 4 year old son.  I'm not quite sure that a 4 year old would necessarily comprehend it's meaning or whether they would be able to follow the morals of the story or the story itself at a length of some 200+ pages.  I certainly don't think it would of been the highest on my list of fairy tales to read to my own children at such a young age. I think it may have frightened them or even worse think it's ok to play in water because no one dies in the our rivers do they they all just turn into water babies, which as we all no in the real world is not the case.

Once again I have satisfied my curiosity of re-reading this one at the age of 51 but I think it will stay on the bookshelf from now on.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Secrets of the Lighthouse - Sante Montefiore

Ellen Trawton is running away from it all - quite literally. She is due to get married to a man she doesn't love, her job is dragging her down and her interfering mother is getting on her nerves. So she escapes to the one place she knows her mother won't follow her - to her aunt's house in rural Ireland. Once there. she uncovers a dark family secret - and a future she never knew she might have. Meanwhile, Caitlin Macauland is mourning the future she can never have. She died tragically in what the village thinks is suspicious circumstances, and now she is stuck in limbo, unable to move on. And between the two of them is an old lighthouse - the scene of so much tragedy. Can each women find the peace she so desperately longs for? And can they find the way to live again?

Published by: Simon & Schuster - Fiction
Year: 2013 - Hardcover
Pages: 464
ISBN: 978-1471100956  

'Secrets of the Lighthouse' was my holiday read.   This is my number 11 from my bookshelf of books yet to be read and was my holiday read.  Ellen Trawton's mother had left her Ireland home many years ago and had never returned.  When Ellen decides she needs to get away from everyone and everything, she knows in going to stay with her aunt in Ireland it would be the one place her mother would not think to find her.  Whilst in Ireland Ellen meets Connor Macausland. Connor is a widow with two young children. His wife has died in tragic circumstances and there are those that blame him for her death.  Ellen's uncles are none too pleased when they hear that she has been spending time with Connor for they too blame him for the death of his wife. Will the truth ever come out as to what exactly happened the night Caitlin Macausland went to the Lighthouse and who was the man seen leaving the island just before tragedy struck.  No one really knew why Ellen's mother had left and why she had never returned.  Ellen was about to uncover the secret of her mother's past and find things out about herself that no one else knew until now. Could Ellen find happiness in Ireland and would Connor Macausland be the man to help her find such happiness.

This was the first novel I had read by Sante Montefiore.  I liked her style of writing especially as some of the chapters were written as though Caitlin Macausland's ghost was telling the story.  It was a very compelling read and as mother nature wasn't so kind with the weather whilst we were away it gave me an ideal excuse and plenty of opportunity to loose myself with the pages of this book.  I would certainly recommend this particular novel and I will be looking out for more of her novels in the future.

Happy reading one and all.


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Hurting Distance - Sophie Hannah

Three years ago, something terrible happened to Naomi Jenkins - so terrible she never told a anyone.

Now Naomi has another secret  her lover, unhappily married Robert Haworth. When Robert vanishes, Naomi knows he must have come to harm. But the police are less convinced, particularly when Robert's wife insists he is not missing.

Naomi is desperate. If she can't persuade the police that Robert is in danger, she'll convince them that he a danger to others. Then they'll have to look for him - urgently.

Naomi knows how to describe in detail the actions of a psychopath. All she needs to do is dig up her own traumatic past ....

Published By: Hodder & Stroughton - Fiction
Year: 2007 - Paperback
Pages: 408
ISBN: 978-1-4447-1092-2

This is the second psychological thriller of Sophie Hannah in which she features Sargent Cbarlie Zailer and DC Simon Waterhouse. The story is separated into three parts. In part one you learn that Robert Haworth appears to be missing and that no one seems concerned apart from his mistress Naomi Jenkins.  Whilst being interviewed by Zailer and Waterhouse Ms. Jenkins gives them a business card for Silver Brae Challets instead of her own business card for her sundial business. This error on Ms. Jenkins part soon becomes a significant lead to the identity of a serial rapist.  In part two you learn the secret of Ms. Jenkins past when she accuses Robert Haworth of attacking her three years previously what Ms. Jenkins didn't realise was how near to the truth she was about her attacker.  In part three comes the twist of the story and one that you will not have guessed up until this point and from then on everything that has happened in the previous two parts will fall into place.  

I had read Ms. Hannah's first novel 'Little Face' last year and I wasn't that struck by it at all and was left feeling that the story was quite weak and not necessarily very believable.  'Hurting Distance' is the tenth book I have read from my yet to be read shelf.  Having been disappointed with her previous novel I suppose I had just kept moving this one along the shelf in search of something better.  I was pleasantly surprised at the difference between the two novels.  I like the fact she continues to use her two main characters in Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse and believe she has continued with this vein in her future novels.  This was a much better read for me and far more believable and if her subsequent books have continued along the same theme I would be be tempted to read more of her work.  The content was so vastly improved that I could see a police drama series being bought to life featuring these two  main characters based on Ms. Hannah's Psychological thrillers. 

Have any of you read any other Sophie Hannah novels and would you have one in particular you would recommend?

Happy reading one & all