I follow West Australian author (and farmhand) Fiona Palmer on social media so she’s writing what she knows in her books set in rural Australia. I do usually steer clear of rural romance, just because I’m not a fan of romance novels, however… my love of Jane Austen outweighs my meh-ness for romance so I found myself ploughing (ie. reading quickly and eagerly) through Palmer’s new release, Matters of the Heart, which is based on one of Austen’s more famous books, Pride and Prejudice.
I’ve (virtually) known author Jodi Gibson for a number of years via the online writing and blogging world so was very excited she decided to independently publish her debut novel, The Memories We Hide. It’s an enjoyable read which reflects her warm and relatable writing style as well as her familiarity with small town Australia and country life.
I’ve read a couple of Nicky Pellegrino’s books, One Summer in Venice and Under Italian Skies, and I enjoyed both. Of course it had long been my dream to travel to Italy. It was my big bucket list item and since reading those books I’ve been able to tick it off my list as I spent just over 3wks in Italy last September / October including a fabulous week at a Tuscan villa.
Pellegrino lived in Italy (and England) before settling in New Zealand and her passion for Italy – its culture and cuisine in particular – shines through in each of her novels.
I hadn’t requested this book when it was first offered as I think I assumed it was a romance novel or about babies / childbirth. Both of which are kinda sore points for me much of the time.
It wasn’t until later I discovered it was about the recipient of a heart transplant and the wife of her possible donor. It’s a subject I know a little about as my father had a heart transplant (in December 2000) when he was 61, and it gave him 11 additional years with us until he passed away in late October 2011.
Oh my goodness oh my goodness. Well usually I’d say something far more blasphemous but I’m trying to start this review in a vaguely professional manner so too many ‘f’ words first-up might be a bad thing.
I broke my ‘no reading during the day’ rule for this book. I’d been doing chores and got sweaty, so decided to pop into the bath for a soak and a very short half-hour read before getting into my afternoon plans.
Three hours later I closed this book.
I’d had this book for a while before I read it as I’m participating in a blog tour for this latest release by Natasha Lester, The French Photographer. It means I’ve seen a few reviews around, including a negative one in mainstream media which Lester shared just after the book’s publication.
I was surprised by that as this is possibly my favourite book by Lester; although it might be a toss-up between this and A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald, and I think that is because the subject matter is ‘meatier’ than her two more recent novels. (If that makes sense!)
I wasn’t sure about this book as it’s a bit outside of my usual reading genre. I don’t read a lot of women’s fiction and stay far far away from historical fiction.
I do however, often read books that alternate between the past and present (a la Natasha Lester, Kate Morton etc), which this book does and I was thankfully engaged in this story and drawn to the characters from the get-go.
Fans of Big Little Lies will adore this book. I actually didn’t really ‘love’ Big Little Lies but I still really liked this book. It’s got the whole mother vs mother thing going on, but this time it pits friend against friend, or rather long-term friendships vs motherhood. Kinda.
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.