Monday, 26 May 2014

The Secrets We Left Behind - Susan Elliott Wright

She has built a good life; a husband who adores her, a daughter she is fiercely proud of, a home with warmth and love at its heart. But things were not always so good, and the truth is that she has done things she can never admit. 

Then one evening a phone call comes out of the blue. It is a voice from long ago, from a past that she has tried so hard to hide. Scott knows who she really is and what she has done. Now he is dying and he gives her an ultimatum: either she tells the truth or her will. 

And so we are taken back to that long hot summer of 1976 to a house by the sea, where her story begins and where the truth will be revealed.

Published by: Simon & Schuster UK - Fiction
Year: 2013 - Paperback
Pages: 374
ISBN: 978-1-47110-235-6

When that phone call comes out of the blue that Christmas everything she has worked so hard for and strived to protect for the over 30 years is put in jeopardy. In 1976 having lost her mother young Jo Casey decides to leave Newquay in search of a new life in London.  Once there reality hits that finding a job and a place to stay is not going to be as easy as she thought.  She manages to stay in  a hostel for a couple of nights but wakes one morning to find that all her money has been stolen and she cannot afford to stay.  After a night on the streets of London she is at her lowest point when she meets Eve. Eve is her savior when she invites her to come back to her squat in Hastings where she lives with her boyfriend Scott.  The three of them live out the summer of 1976 working for cash in hand and making what they can to sell to the summer tourists.  One night will change their lives forever, leaving them no option but to the leave the squat never to return.  Now that phone call has bought it all back and could ruin everything. 

Last year I discovered Susan Elliott Wrights first novel The Things We Never Said  and was absolutely gripped from the first page so you can imagine my delight when I discovered she was about to launch her new book 'The Secrets We Left Behind' on the 8th May.  Having completed my challenge of reading 13 books from 'to be read bookshelf' I decided I deserved a treat and picked up a copy of Susan's new book and eagerly started reading it on the way to work on Friday morning.  The one thing I do like about her books that they are made up of lots of small chapters. I had finished the first chapter by the time I got into work and was already gripped.  Poor D has been a book worm widow this past few days and I finally turned the last page at Midnight on Saturday.  When he bought me my cup of tea yesterday morning he did make a comment that it must have been a good read as he's never known me to be so quiet (cheek), but it really is a wonderful piece of writing.

It's definitely one I would recommend as your summer read.



Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Fry Chronicles - Stephen Fry

The Fry Chronicles carries on from where 'Moab is my washpot'  finishes and  covers the period of Stephen Fry's life from 1979 - 1987 from when he starts at Cambridge up to his thirtieth birthday.

Published by: Penguin Books 
Year: 2011
Pages: 464
ISBN: 978-0141039809

Having read 'Moab is my Washpot' I continued to learn more about Stephen Fry and his life up to the age of 30 in reading 'The Fry Chronicles'.   The Chronicles leads you through his life at University, his longstanding friendship with Hugh Laurie and  Emma Thompson to name but two. You will get to know the man behind the stage show 'Me & My Girl'. You will also get to read about the high and lows of Stephen Fry's life that will leave you wanting to know what has happened in the next 20 years of his existence.  Well I believe there is another installment to come very soon.  

If you are a fan of Stephen Fry or his work then both these books are worth a read. Personally I am looking forward to the next chapter.

'The Fry Chronicles' is my 13th and final book from my 'Yet to be read from the bookshelf' challenge. There are of course still a number of books still left on the shelf and therefore having completed part one of this challenge I think part two will be to see how many more of the books currently residing on the to be read bookshelf can be completed before the end of the year. 

Happy reading one & all. 


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Moab is my washpot - Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry is one of Britain's national treasures. Born in Hampstead in 1957. Following a troubled adolescence, he went on to study English Literature at Queen's College Cambridge.  Moab is my washpot chronicles the early life of Stephen Fry.

Published by: Arrow Books - Memoir
Year: 1997  - Re-issued 2011
Pages: 448
ISBN: 9781409007012

'Moab is my Washpot' is not a book from my 'Yet to be read from the bookshelf' challenge.  Some years ago now I bought D a copy of the 'The Fry Chronicles' and I don't think D has ever read it to this day.  Somehow it ended up taking residence on my bookshelf and was eventually included in my 2014 challenge to have read 13 books from the 'Yet to be read bookshelf' by the end of June.  For anyone of you who has been following this challenge you will know I had completed number 12 at the end of April.  I was therefore already to commence reading 'The Fry Chronicles' but two pages in I soon realised there was an earlier book and being the control freak that I am I decided I would have to read this one first so promptly downloaded a copy to my Kindle. 

'Moab is my Washpot' chronicles the early years of Stephen Fry's life.  From moving from Hampstead to the Norfolk Broads as a child. Attending boarding school with his older brother Roger and his relationship with his parents and sister Jo.. He was a very troubled young man never really settling at school which lead to eventual expulsion. His teenage years were just as troubled and eventually lead him to a prison sentence for fraud. At age 20 he seemed to turn his life around when he got a scholarship to Cambridge and this is where this chapter closes and another opens in the next installment from Stephen Fry in his book 'The Fry Chronicles'. Obviously there is a little more than that contained within the 448 pages of the book but then I wouldn't want to tell you everything and spoil it for you. 

I do admire Stephen Fry as a writer, comedian, actor and presenter, his talents are endless.  His book Moab is my Washpot is equally as entertaining and worth the time to read.

I'm now off to start and read my 13th and final book of my 'Yet to be read from the bookshelf' challenge which of course is going to be 'The Fry Chronicles'.

Happy reading one & all.


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Animal Farm - George Orwell

'All animals are equal - but some are more equal than others'

When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr. Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another. 

Published by: Penguin Classics 
Pages: 144
Year: New Ed edition (February 2000)
ISBN: 978-0141182704

I do not remember reading this at school but, once I started reading it I seemed to recognize the story and the characters within. From early on you discover that Napoleon has his own agenda. He is striving to become leader of the animals of Animal Farm. He soon becomes the dictator of everything that happens at the farm and no one is brave enough to question his judgement.  The one thing that became apparent to me was that whilst reading this story I could think of several people that I have come across in my working life that have done just that. Sacrificing all others in  order to get to the top. 

One thing you have to learn about getting to the top though,  is that once you are there it's hard to maintain that status and there is only one way to go.   

Did any of you read this one?


Monday, 5 May 2014

Someone to watch over me - Madeleine Reiss

Product Details
Two mothers must face their darkest fears. Will the truth destroy them, or can it set them free?

Carrie's life collapses when her five-year old son, Charlie, disappears on a Norfolk beach. She turns her life inside out to find out what happened but nothing prepares her for the most shocking discovery.  

Molly is desperate to protect her young son, Max, from his estranged father - a violent and unstable man. She can't do it alone, and time is running out for help to reach them.

Carrie and Molly's lives are about to collide - but will their love for their children have the power to heal?

Published by: Harper - Fiction
Year: 2013 - Paperback
Pages: 419
ISBN: 978-0-00-749301-2

Someone to Watch Over Me is the first novel by Madeleine Reiss. Carrie and Damon and Molly and Rupert have one thing in common their five year old boys.  They had never met until that day on a Norfolk beach when for one couple their lives would never be the same again. Max and Charlie had been playing in the sand together when Charlie had disappeared.  His mother took her eye off him for a split second in that split second he had disappeared forever.  The police came and for hours they scoured the beach and surrounding area to no avail.  Three years on Carrie still had to believe that one day her son would be returned to her.  Neither family had seen or spoken to each other again since that day. A lot had happened in those three years. Carrie now runs a  gift shop and by chance Molly comes to the shop inquiring about selling some of her painting Neither couple were in deed couples anymore.  Molly had at last escaped her violent husband or so she thought and was trying to raise Max by herself. Molly is concerned about Max he seems to of invented an imaginary friend who he refers to as Charlie. Everyone reassures her that this perfectly normal for a young boy. According to Rupert's mother he is now living in America but on Christmas morning there are parcels under the tree for Max that she didn't put there Rupert is back and believes that he, Molly and Max are still a family and for Molly her terror is about to begin.  Carries mother comes to stay and convinces her to attend a meeting where a medium will be in attendance.  Carrie reluctantly goes but from this night on her life will be turned upside down.  Molly and Max are in desperate need of her help and it is up to Charlie to get a message to his mother in whatever way her can.

'Someone to Watch Over Me' is number twelve from my Yet to Be Read Bookshelf challenge. This was truly a gripping novel and definitely a not put down-able, Madeleine Reiss describes every mothers nightmare when Carrie looses her only child. The despair of not knowing what happened to him whilst trying to carry on with her life and the not knowing whether she will ever find him or find out the truth of his disappearance. And then there is Molly desperately trying to protect her son from her violent husband.  Both scenarios that for some is a reality.  Absolutely brilliantly written and I cannot wait to see what she will produce in the future.