Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Year In Books March 2015

Well here we are again at the end of yet another month of glorious reading. By the time I did my post The Year in Books -  Spring Collection  on the 11th March I had already read my way through  Precious Thing & A Mother's Story from my book shelf  and The Legacy of a Cornish Spring and We Bought a Zoo from my kindle and was partway through Rosemary Penfold's A Field Full of Butterflies.

I have to say that the second half of the month continued at the same pace as the first starting with  Diane Chamberlain's  The Midwife's Confession the story begins with the death of Noelle. When her two closest friends Tara and Emerson start to sort through Noelle's things they discover a letter containing a secret about there friend. The letter reveals a secret that challenges everything they thought they knew about her.  Noelle had been a Midwife for many years, she was the women her two friends trusted the most to deliver their babies. Her suicide has shocked them both but what  they are about to uncover will shock them the most and sets them on a journey that could change their lives forever.  
I had never read a Diane Chamberlain novel before, this one was given to me as a Christmas gift. When I first read the back cover I wasn't quite sure whether this was going to be my kind of read but I couldn't have been more wrong and I really enjoyed every page and found I just could not put it down.  I have since purchased another novel by the same author to join the many others that are in residence on the bookshelf.

The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe -  is the second of the stories written by  CS Lewis  and was my March return to my childhood read.  I have at some stage read all the Chronicles of Narnia books but this one has always been my absolute favourite and it is most likely the reason for my love of myth and magic. 

PUSH by Sapphire is the story of Clarice Precious Jones a 16 year old girl who has never been outside of Harlem.  She has become pregnant for the second time by her father and has been kicked out of school. She is placed in a teaching programme where she will learn to read and write. Sapphires novel went on to be made into a film called Precious. I have never seen the film but the book certainly is very emotive and at times hard to follow as it has been written in the language used by the kids slang.  It is very graphic in places around the abuse that Precious endures and I'm not sure that it would be everyone's kind of read.   I had purchased The Kid by Sapphire sometime ago only to discover that this was the sequel to PUSH . I therefore decided I would have purchase and read PUSH first.  The Kid is on my list of Spring reads but I'm not sure that I am ready to tackle another emotive novel such as this just yet as I am sure it will be just as explicit in it's content as PUSH. 

The Oyster Catcher - Jo Thomas is set within the Oyster farming community of Galway in a little place called Dooleybridge.  Fiona Clutterbuck finds herself stranded in this little community. when her husband has barely let the ink dry on the Marriage Certificate he announces that he cannot live a lie and runs off with the best man. The only thing Fiona is left with is her sequinned shoes and a crashed campervan.   When the opportunity arises of a job working for Sean Thornton local Oyster Farmer she jumps at the chance hoping this will give her the spring board to a new life and a chance to forget her extremely short lived marriage.   I found this a light relief after PUSH it was a little slow in places but overall it was a good read and would may be have suited someone of lesser years than myself. But would still recommend it especially as a holiday read you could definitely pick up where you had left off with this one. 

Goodbye Dearest Holly - Kevin Wells. I feel sure that everyone within the UK and possibly even beyond will remember the horrific murder of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells. These two ten year old girls left Holly's home on the 4th August 2002 never to return alive.  This is Kevin Wells account of what happened in the days following the girls disappearance, the discovery of their bodies and the fight to get justice for the girls making sure that Ian Huntley received the sentence he deserved. 

As always I like to pick a book of the month and this month I have to say I have struggled to make that decision as I have read so many good books this month. 
I still think the one that stands out for me this month is


                                                A Mother's Story by Amanda Prowse. 

Don't forget, if haven't done so already,  you can still take part in Laura's Year in Books Project by clicking the link below

The Year In Books

That's it for now and I look forward to seeing what everyone is reading in April. 

Happy Easter one & all.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Year in Books Spring Collection

Last weekend was spent Spring cleaning as we are now in the month of March and Spring is all but here.  With the change in season comes my new collection of books to read through over the coming months of Spring.

I had started reading Precious Thing by Colette Mcbeth in the last week of February but I didn't finish it until the 1st March so I am including it in my March reads (just).  Did you have a very best friend in school. Rachel and Clara met when Rachel moved to the area and was the newbie in the class.  They immediately hit it off and became firm friends throughout their lives, or so it seemed.  When Clara was about to turn 18 something happened that would change all that, but still Rachel stood by her friend.  Now in their late 20's they arrange to meet only Clara doesn't turn up she has disappeared and it is feared something has happened to her. Rachel is beside herself with worry after the police contact her wondering what could possibly have happened to her friend.  Appeals are made and an appearance on Crime Watch by the local detective. One name keeps coming up as a possible suspect, what Rachel hadn't bargained for was that it would be her name and that  it would be she they suspected of harming Clara.  This turned out to be a very good read.  I'm not normally one for Psychological thriller type books but there were so many twists and turns in this one that I ended up not being able to put it down. 

As well as all the books you see in the photograph there are quite a few on my kindle waiting their turn for reading.   I had for sometime had a book on there called The Legacy of a Cornish Spring by Chris Wetherell. As we are more or less into Spring mode now I thought it was high time I read this one.  It is based around a small Cornish village where everyone has lived there forever.  Incomer's the Pascoes move into a little cottage which they are going to renovate.  When they start tackling the garden they find an old satchel containing a broken doll and a little broach. They make it their mission to find out who the little broach belonged to with the hopes they could return it to it's rightful owner.  I can't say this one was a page turner but it helped filled the time when sat on a train.

When we returned from our trip in London there on the dining table was my latest acquisition A Mother's Story by Amanda Prowse.  I am a big fan of Amanda Prowse novels since her very first Poppy Day and I can't praise her books enough.  They are always about very real subjects that some of us have dealt with in our lives.  In this her latest novel Amanda tackles the subject of Postnatal Depression, something I have had the misfortune to have experienced first hand with two of my own children.   Her description of how her character Jess feels like she has a black cloak over her is something I can definitely relate to and the more I read the more I could resonate with the story. Fortunately for me my experience of the illness was not as extreme of that of the character within her book but as with most of these types of illnesses I was only a few steps away from being that person. Like any mental health related issues PND  still feels like is a very taboo subject.  I can remember being told by my then  MIL that I just needed to buck up and get on with things. If only it had been that simple.  At the time I felt totally alone and inadequate and a complete failure as a mum and I certainly wasn't going to broadcast the fact.  I'm hoping in writing this story that Amanda will help people to recognise the symptoms within themselves and others and get the help they need.  It is definitely one I would recommend for reading but warn you that a large supply of tissues may be needed. 

Having felt like I had been put through the mangle I decided my next read should be something a little lighter. I picked Benjamin Mee's We Bought a Zoo.  I had seen the film starring Matt Damon based on Ben Mee's book but I wanted to know the real story behind Dartmoor Zoo. In the film version Ben's wife Catherine has already died and he is left to raise his two children alone, (as they do in Hollywood). In reality Catherine, although diagnosed with a brain tumour had at that time undergone treatment and was very much a part of the decision to buy the zoo along with other members of his family, including his elderly mother. The book describes the up hill struggle they went through to turn a run down zoo in Dartmoor into a thriving tourist attraction.  Unfortunately Catherine did relapse and her disease progressed and she lost her battle against her illness within months of the zoo opening.  I have never visited Dartmoor zoo but it definitely left me with a sense that if I should get down that way again that I would definitely have to visit the zoo and see all the families hard work for real.  

I am now reading my way through Rosemary Penfold's A Field Full of Butterflies. I was originally drawn by the title alone but I am enjoying her memoirs of the Romany culture and growing up within a Romany family. 

So here we are almost half way through March already and although the mornings are still a little chilly with the occasional frost at least the mornings are now light and I am beginning to feel less like Mrs Mole.

Happy Mother's Day to all those who will be celebrating this Sunday.