Last October I asked my husband for a whole stack of Daphne du Maurier books for my birthday. I’ve been reading my way through them slowly, discovering old favourites I haven’t read for years, as well as Daphne du Maurier books I previously knew nothing about. The House on the Strand is one of those books I knew little about before reading. I went in without expectations and was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It’s a time travel book, but written in such an original way. I found it fascinating. It has firmly cemented Daphne du Maurier in my eyes as an author who was the master of any genre. Continue reading
I wanted to read The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See as soon as I heard about it. Set on the island of Jeju, off the coast of South Korea, it’s a historical fiction novel about two women Young-sook and Mi-ja. It follows their friendship through a time of turmoil encompassing Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 40s, World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath to 2008.
Young-sook and Mi-ja are both haenyeo, free divers who are part of a collective of female divers who harvest the seas off Jeju. While the men stay at home and take care of the children, the women go to sea and dive, catching octopus, abalone and sea urchins to sell. They dive without oxygen. In the old days, they wore light clothing and dove all year round in freezing waters – even when pregnant. Continue reading
The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes caught me by surprise. It has now become my favourite Jojo Moyes book apart from Me Before You. I’ve been reading a lot of Jojo Moyes’ backlist lately, ever since my husband gifted me a whole heap of her books. I wasn’t in a huge rush to read this one. Then I read her collection of short stories — Paris For One — and there was a short story about a young married couple living in Paris, just before the outbreak of World War One. I really enjoyed their story and was thrilled to discover it was continued in this book. Continue reading
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. As part of my quest to read more Daphne du Maurier books this year, I finally got around to reading it.
The story is written from the perspective of Philip Ashley, a young man on the cusp of turning twenty-five who has a lot to learn about the world and a lot of maturing to do. Philip was raised by his cousin, Ambrose, after the death of his parents, and grows up on a beautiful estate in Cornwall. But Ambrose suffers from ill-health so must spend the winter months over in Italy where it’s warm. Continue reading
My husband bought me a whole stack of Daphne du Maurier books for my birthday. Over the years I’ve read Rebecca, Jamaica Inn and Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier. But I wanted to read more of her books. The King’s General is set in 17th century Cornwall during the time of the English Civil War. Even though this book is called The King’s General, and he features as a character in the novel, the story is told from the point-of-view of Honor Harris.
When Honor is eighteen she is passionate, beautiful, reckless and the spoiled youngest daughter of a large family. She reminded me a bit of Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind. Honor meets Sir Richard Grenville, a soldier who cares only for fighting and not about the feelings of those around him. Richard is a bit like Rhett Butler, only meaner, and he is dedicated to fighting for his king. He’s really not a likeable person but is a brilliant soldier. When Richard meets Honor something clicks. Her family is against any match between them and sends Honor home. Richard follows her and they meet in secret and eventually become engaged.
But then tragedy strikes days before their wedding and Honor sends Richard away. I won’t tell you what the tragedy is but it’s a good twist and changes Honor’s life forever. It’s rare to find a novel told from the point-of-view of a person in her situation. Continue reading
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is such an amazing novel with beautiful writing and powerful themes. It starts in 18th century Ghana and tells the stories of two sisters – Effia and Esi. Effia is married to a white British soldier who works in slavery at the Cape Coast Castle. Her sister Esi, who she never learns about and who grew up in another village, ends up being captured and sold into slavery and is taken by ship to America to work on a tobacco plantation. Continue reading
I automatically buy Tessa Dare‘s books as soon as they come out. She is one author whose books I love to read and I’ve read them all. So when The Governess Game was released the other week I just had to buy it on my kindle.
Tessa Dare writes historical romance and her books are pure entertainment. If you like reading books about sexy Dukes, rakes and cads and independent, feisty, take charge women, then you will like these books.
The Governess Game tells the story of Alexandra Mountbatten, a comet chasing, clock-winder spinster who goes for an interview to wind up the clocks in the home of Chase Reynaud — a rakish libertine who is in line to inherit a Dukedom. Continue reading
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer is a book I’ve been hearing about for ages that everyone raves about. So when I saw it in a second-hand bookstore recently, I just had to grab it. My expectations were huge going in to read this book and I have to say that it mostly lived up to all the hype.
Set during World War II it tells the story of a young, blind French girl named Marie-Laure who must navigate war-torn France and all its dangers without being able to see them. Her father works at the Museum of Natural History in Paris and helps Marie-Laure find her way around by carving a replica of the city streets for her to memorise. Continue reading