Book review: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Monday, February 25, 2019 Permalink

I enjoyed Kelly Rimmer’s Before I Let You Go, released last year. At the time I described it as genre-less. In a good way.

The blurb for her latest mentions World War II and the 1940s which had me worried as I’m not a fan of historical fiction. I do however, read books that flick between timeframes, as per Kate Morton and Natasha Lester, which is exactly what The Things We Cannot Say does.

It’s a book in which Rimmer tackles a couple of weighty subjects: WWII and Nazi Germany; as well as complexities associated when parenting children with disabilities and learning difficulties.

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four-stars

Book review: Bright Young Dead by Jessica Fellowes

Saturday, October 13, 2018 Permalink

Last year I reviewed The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes…. which I described as ‘faction’…. a fictional account of a murder set around real life characters and events.

I’d not heard of the Mitford sisters at the time and was somewhat intrigued.

More interesting though was that the main character wasn’t one of the sisters, but rather their nursery maid or companion, Louisa. And in my review I commented that the Mitford sisters, particularly the elder, Nancy seemed to play a bigger role on the mystery-solving front along with an ambitious young police officer, Guy Sullivan. (And – at the time, as it was billed as #1 – I wondered who might feature in the next book in the series….)

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three-half-stars

Book review: Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys

Saturday, July 21, 2018 Permalink

I don’t tend to read historical fiction unless it’s intermingled with the present, so this book didn’t jump out at me when it arrived (despite the Australian edition’s beautiful cover). However, I decided I’d give it a go as there was something about the blurb that made me think about Agatha Christie’s A Caribbean Mystery, Evil Under the Sun or The Mystery of the Blue Train.

Fatal Inheritance by Tammy Cohen (writing as Rachel Rhys) wasn’t really a hardcore whodunit requiring a Belgian detective or woolly but whip-smart spinster however. Instead it’s an intriguing story with delightful characters and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.

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four-stars

Book review: The Key by Kathryn Hughes

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 Permalink

I’ve struggled lately with my blogging. Not the actually writing, but more the content. I’ve got a folder full of half-written posts that all seem ridiculously pointless when I revisit them to tweak for publishing.

One of those posts is about the TV series, The Alienist. Well sort of. It’s about things that meandered around my little mind as I watched The Alienist and that’s partially to do with the subject matter – namely the way in which we treated clients of mental health services. It’s a long time since my undergraduate psychology degree, but… I currently work in a health service so my colleagues deliver mental health services and I’m vaguely connected to some planning around a new inpatient mental health facility.

Which is why books like Kathryn Hughes’ The Key – about archaic medical practices – are of more interest than they may otherwise have been. (Plus, and as an aside, I’ve remained a little perturbed about that stuff since seeing An Angel At My Table, about the life of NZ author Janet Frame, a few decades ago!)

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three-stars

Book review: Eleanor’s Secret by Caroline Beecham

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Permalink

I’ve talked before about the fact that I don’t read historical fiction. It seems however that I DO occasionally read historical fiction… particularly when intertwined with the present, which is the case with Caroline Beecham’s latest novel Eleanor’s Secret.

I read Beecham’s Maggie’s Kitchen in 2016 and realised how little I knew about wartime London. In particular she introduced me (and other readers presumably, though I am probably more ignorant than most!!!) to the Ministry of Food and British Restaurants – set up by government to provide low cost hot meals to residents.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Permalink

I enjoyed Natasha Lester’s second book, Her Mother’s Secret, but I’d really really loved her first book, A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald. At the time I very much appreciated the insight it offered into the plight of women who’d come less than a century before me – not just through career-limitations but also through society’s beliefs and values, and sadly, its norms.

I reflected on this as I steamed through The Paris Seamstress. It’s most certainly saga-like. It doesn’t centre around topics as heavy and lesson-laden as Lester’s debut novel and yet I adored it and could not put it down.

I was rivetted. By the story of Estelle – a wannabe fashion designer in the 1940s – and her granddaughter Fabienne, a young woman wanting to make her own mark on the world.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 Permalink

Jessica Fellowes, I discovered, after picking up this book, wrote ‘companion books’ for the popular Downton Abbey TV series. It seems to be an indication that the author and journalist is a fan of history and enjoys researching times-gone-by – which is very evident in her latest novel The Mitford Murders.

And something I hadn’t appreciated until I actually reached the end of this book, was that it’s a form of ‘faction’…. facts mixed with fiction. Or fictionalised facts. Or something.

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three-half-stars

Author Q & A: The Traitor’s Girl by Christine Wells

Thursday, May 25, 2017 Permalink

I usually shy away from historical fiction, although have made a few exceptions in recent times. I also find that I can cope with novels unfolding in two timeframes, commonly adopted in Kate Morton’s books for example.

The latest novel by Brisbane-based author Christine Wells offers readers dual timelines (so, the best of both worlds – appealing to historical fiction and contemporary fiction lovers alike). It’s the first book I’ve read by Wells and I very much enjoyed her characters and the plot unfolding in the ‘now’ as well as the detail included about the work of female spies and government agencies during the second world war.

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