Recent comments

The anchoress / by Cadwallader, Robyn,

Publication: . 314 pages ; 24 cm

This is a well-researched book about a way of life long forgotten. It is fascinating in its detail, becoming more engrossing the further you read. The heroine and narrator is a 17-year-old girl living in an English village in 1255, locked in the room where she is to remain for the rest of her life. She is an anchoress, a holy woman maintained by the lord of the manor in a small stone hermitage attached to the village church, where she spends her days and nights in prayer for her community. . She has two servants, who bring their own stories and those of the village as well as food and embroidery to pass the time between prayers. Priests come to hear her confession once a week, although a curtain veils her from the gaze of men. The book is not about exciting events but absorbing in its exploration of a world so different from our own. Added 11/05/2015 by Heather

The last dance / by McIntosh, Fiona,

Publication: . 416 pages ; 24 cm.

A nice enough story but suffers a little from lack of research which I've noticed in previous Fiona McIntosh novels. e.g. 2 pound 50 in the 1930's instead of 2 pound 10 shillings. Added 01/05/2015 by Kath

Tell the truth / by Howell, Katherine,

Publication: Sydney, N.S.W. : Pan Macmillan Australia, 2015 . 326 pages ; 24 cm. Date: 2015

Last book in the Detective Ella Marconi/Sydney Paramedics series. Excellent multi-layered story with a happy-ish ending. Added 28/04/2015 by Kath

Blood, wine and chocolate : a novel / by Thomas, Julia,

Publication: . 340 pages ; 24 cm

This is currently topping the NZListener's Top 10 Selling books - and with blood, wine and chocolate in the title that's not a surprise! Its divided into five Parts - and the last three reflect the title. For me this is where the story got going. The first two parts set the scene, introducing the characters first as children, then as they grow up. I found this drawn out but I'm glad I persevered as once the 'real' story kicked in it was a real page turner. I look forward to reading Julie Thomas's other books. Added 12/04/2015 by Kaye

The skeleton road / by McDermid, Val,

Publication: . 406 pages ; 24 cm.

My first Val McDermid novel and I was expecting a 'who dunnit' with a Scottish setting. I got that - and more. This story is baou the Balkans War and the crimes it deals in are more complex and far reaching than a 'simple' murder. Its about justice, revenge, loss and death. The war history is revealed as it is entwined with a current Scottish murder investigation. Not an easy read but worth it. Added 06/04/2015 by Kaye

Laughing all the way to the Mosque : the misadventures of a Muslim woman / by Nawaz, Zarqa,

Publication: . 221 pages ; 23 cm

A book which is both amusing and informative, as it tells the story of a girl born in England and her fight to be more Western than her conservative Pakistani parents but also at the same time more Islamic - defending both women's rights and her faith. Added 06/04/2015 by Heather

The beautiful mystery / by Penny, Louise,

Publication: London : Sphere, 2012 . 376 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2012

This is an amazing story - I couldn't put it down. Music, love, murder, the Catholic church, long-lost monks - it's all here. I have read previous books in this series but none of them match up to this. Added 03/04/2015 by Kath

In touch with Grace / by Pattrick, Jenny,

Publication: Auckland, N.Z. : Black Swan, 2006 . 222 p. ; 20 cm. Date: 2006

Yet another great book by this New Zealand author. This one is set in a middle class suburb and concerns the life of Grace, an elderly widow. She belongs to the local bowls club and this is where she finds most of her social interaction but she also has a very good friend in Mildred, another widow. She comes across an old flame and breaks the calm flow of her very even life when they become friends in the nicest possible way. The author brings her characters to life and the reader becomes their friend, so well does she capture the ups and downs of old age. A lovely book and very highly recommended

Heartland / by Pattrick, Jenny,

Publication: . 328 pages ; 24 cm.

I've read two earlier books by Jenny Pattrick (The Denniston Rose and The Landing) and thoroughly enjoyed them both but I found this book very, very different from the those two. Heartland is set in a very typical, rural, very small town in the centre of the North Island and concerns the lives of the residents as they interact with each other. Filled with great characters, all close to the breadline, they help each other wherever they can. The characters are beautifully and sympathetically drawn with great good humour. A lady who cooks dinner at home and then carries it, in a wheelbarrow, to a lonely friend on the other side of the town, three elderly spinsters and a rather simple young man. As you read, you cannot help but become friendly with all these somewhat odd characters who are getting on with their lives in the best way they can. Lovely snatches of comedy enliven this lovely book. Very highly recommended.

The emperor far away : travels at the edge of China / by Eimer, David,

Publication: . 322 pages ; 24 cm

A fascinating book! Full of information about people and places well beyond the usual traveller's writing. David Eimer has become familiar with the distant regions of China as he has visited them over the years and records his personal encounters with people and his understanding of the political changes of the past as well as present developments. Well worth reading but needs concentration! Love the cover - look at it carefully then read the back cover to identify it. Added 08/03/2015 by Heather

The girl in the yellow vest / by Hill, Loretta,

Publication: . 384, 10 pages ; 24 cm.

This is the first romantic novel of Loretta Hill's that I have read, she sets them in an engineering background which is unusual but her knowledge of this world allows her to write about being a woman in this mainly men's domain. It was a predictable storyline but easy to read and while away a few hours. So if you are looking for romance in a different setting and based in Australia look out for this author she has written three of these novels so far . Lynne

Added 01/03/2015 by Lynne

The Italian wife / by Furnivall, Kate,

Publication: . 376 pages ; 24 cm.

I have just finished reading this gripping novel. It is set in the early years of Mussolini 's Italy around 1930s and has a lot of historical background. There is a romance at the heart of the story but there are also sub plots, treachery and intrigue . Once I started I had difficulty putting it down so be warned . I am off to see what else this author has written.

Added 06/02/2015 by Lynne

The Italians at Cleat's Corner Store / by Riccioni, Jo,

Publication: . 336 pages ; 21 cm.

Set in England and Italy in 1949, the arrival of an Italian family in an English village intrigues a young shop assistant and opens her eyes to a wider world and greater ambitions. She becomes aware of the cruelty of local gossip and entranced by the mural painting of one of the Italians. The story also reveals the horrifying impact the war has had on Italian civilians. Written with a carefully observed sense of history and setting. Added 05/02/2015 by Heather

Dinner at Rose's / by Hawkins, Danielle,

Publication: Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Arena/Allen & Unwin, 2012 . 409 p. ; 20 cm. Date: 2012

I loved this story it was full of great characters and well set in New Zealand. It was natural and easy to read and I hope this author has written more novels. It dealt with a feisty aunt who calls a spade a spade - and her niece who is recovering from a broken engagement. Cancer raises it's ugly head too but in a realistic manner. Well worth reading give it a go over summer. Lynne Added 29/12/2014 by Lynne

Personal / by Child, Lee,

Publication: London : Bantam Press, 2014 . 432 pages ; 24 cm. Date: 2014

A very satisfactory tale of international intrigue and more dead baddies than you can shake a stick at! Added 14/12/2014 by Kath

Rosalee station / by Magro, Mandy,

Publication: Camberwell, Vic. : Penguin Books, 2012 . 281 p. ; 20 cm. Date: 2012

Not much to say about this book but do Australian farmers really talk like that? Not the ones I've met. This book consists of more slang than standard language and I found it very hard to cope with. No more, please!

Chocolate cake for breakfast / by Hawkins, Danielle,

Publication: Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Arena/Allen & Unwin, 2013 . 360 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2013

A romantic and humorous yarn telling the story of a young and somewhat unsure of herself, lady vet and a gorgeous young man who is an All Black and a male model plus being an all-round nice guy. Despite the somewhat unlikely setting, this is a great book. Ms Hawkins has a very deft touch and the humour had me laughing out loud on occasions. The country vet bits are very true and she seems to have a spy in the All Blacks camp. Well done, Ms Hawkins, please write some more!

Beneath an Irish sky / by Connor, Isabella,

Publication: Camberley, Surrey : Choc Lit Ltd, 2013 . 414 pages ; 20 cm. Date: 2013

Isabella Connor is the pen name for a writing duo and quite new to me. This book chronicles the storyof the wealthy and almost aristocratic Stewart family and their involvement with the Kiernan family of Irish tinkers or travelling people. Jack Stewart's wife, a Kiernan, had left him shortly after their marriage some twenty years ago and now has been killed in a road accident, leaving a 20 year old son, Luke, who hates his putative father, Jack Stewart. With a few, easily followed, flashbacks we slowly come to understand the reasons for the strong feelings which both these men hold. With the help of friends, especially an Irish counsellor, the difficulties and misunderstandings are slowly resolved. Well written in a style easy to follow, this is a very believable tale. I will be looking for more from this author (s). Well recommended

Around India in 80 trains / by Rajesh, Monica,

Publication: London : Nicholas Brealey, 2012 . xix, 248 p. ; 22 cm. Date: 2012

This book is a delight! Monisha has largely grown up in England, but returns to India to embark on a 40,000km adventure in all sorts of trains - city commuter-crowded, rural hospital, mountain tiny, large luxury - all sorts! She meets all sorts of people too and they tell her all sorts of stories. Well-written, witty humorous and enjoyable . Added 19/11/2014 by Heather

Nest / by Simpson, Inga,

Publication: . 296 pages ; 21 cm.

Jen is an artist who returns after some personal difficulties to the small town where she grew up. She lives in a property where she enjoys the garden and the birds. She has a drawing student who tells her about a little girl who has gone missing. This brings back uncomfortable memories for Jen and leads her to finally work through some personal issues. A heart-warming and lovely book Added 19/11/2014 by Heather

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