Sunday, 9 March 2014

Close to the Wind

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Close to the Wind by Zana Bell
Published October 15 2013 Choc Lit
 
 
Poor Georgiana da Silva finds out her fiancée is only marrying her to get control of her brother's gold mines in New Zealand. If her brother met with an 'accident', the gold would be hers or more accurately in Victorian England, her husbands. Dastardly isn't it?
 
Never fear! Plucky Georgiana has a plan. She disguises herself as ship's boy George and is soon setting sail for New Zealand to warn her brother. Tally Ho George!
 
George is working under the fiercely swoon-some Captain Harry Trent (think Errol Flynn swashing and buckling about the deck). Its not long before George's game is up and Georgiana is discovered. What will Captain Trent do with her and will she ever save her brother?!
 
I LOVED this romantic action-packed trip on the high seas! Harry is a great male lead, strong yet sensitive; a rough diamond. Georgie is fun, high-spirited and mischievous. The plot twists and turns had my head spinning and as I got near the end (very late at night) I put the book down to savour the ending rather than rushing through when tired - a sure sign I was hooked!
 
Romantic shenanigans on the high seas? Aye aye Captain...anchors aweigh!

Behind the Scenes at the Museum

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Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
Published January 3 1998 Black Swan
 
 
With this book, I felt I came late to the party as it won the Whitbread Book of the Year in 1995. However, I picked it up after reading the blurb on the back:

 
"Ruby Lennox was conceived grudgingly by Bunty and born while her
father, George, was in the Dog and Hare in Doncaster telling a woman
in an emerald dress and a d-cup that he wasn't married."
 
I was hooked.
 
This book is nothing short of genius and yet so...ordinary, so accessible. It describes the daily lives of the Lennox family through the eyes of their daughter Ruby. The highs, the lows, births, deaths and marriages. Through war, fire and philandering it is a no-holes barred view of the life of a working-class family in York interspersed with snapshots of life for the Lennox ancestors showing us what had been, what could have been and why - to some degree - the Lennox family are the way they are.
 
Extremely well written, addictive and laugh-out-loud funny with extraordinary characters. It is now one of my favourite books. Read it, you won't be disappointed.  
 

The Baby and Fly Pie

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The Baby and Fly Pie by Melvin Burgess
Published August 2 2012 Andersen Press
 
First, please take a moment to appreciate the cover of this YA novel. Don't you just love it? Clean, elegant with that shiny electric blue bursting out from it. Gorgeous!
 
Now don't put off by the title. This is not a cannibalistic tale of a pie made of babies and flies.
 
Fly Pie is an orphan, working for Mother Shelley by sorting rubbish in a London of the future. These kids look for food, metal, even precious things like jewellery that ALWAYS get handed in to Mother Shelley.
 
One day, Fly Pie finds something he didn't expect. A baby. A baby worth 17 million pounds! Can Fly Pie and his friends keep the baby safe and claim the reward before the Mothers find out?
 
The Baby and Fly Pie is the first Melvin Burgess novel I have read. While the story engaged me, I didn't feel a connection to the characters and felt let down by the ending. See what you think.

Hidden Wives

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Hidden Wives by Claire Avery
Published June 8 2010 Forge Books
 
 
While reading this book, I found I had forgotten it was fiction. We have all heard or read about polygamist families - this novel is set in the Utah Blood of the Lamb community. It tells the story of sisters Rachel and Sara who are both due to be married under the orders of the Prophet. They are fifteen years old.
 
Sara is to be her Uncle's fifth wife - and is distraught. This and other events lead her to question the life she leads and her beliefs.
 
Rachel has fallen in love, but the Prophet's announcement of her marriage leads to a shocking and violent conclusion. Can the girls escape before its too late?
 
Gripping, moving, shocking - this debut novel packs a punch.
 
**Warning of: rape, racism, incest, domestic violence and suicide**