The Things We Cannot Saywas my first book by Kelly Rimmer and it won’t be my last. The story unfolds over dual timelines – Poland in World War II and present day Florida. It’s an emotional account of family secrets, the effects of war, and love in its many forms.
In the present day, Alice is having trouble coping with her demanding autistic son Eddie and the lack of support from her husband. Her beloved grandmother has been hospitalised and can no longer communicate verbally. But there’s something she desperately wants Alice to do for her before she dies. In the summer of 1939 in Poland, teenagers Alina and Tomasz are childhood sweethearts. The night before he leaves for college, Tomasz proposes marriage. But when their village falls to the Nazis, Alina doesn’t know if she will ever see Tomasz again. Meanwhile, in the present day, Alice must journey to Poland to uncover the story her grandmother is desperate to tell.
I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid back in January. This book was being hyped-up everywhere, so I decided to jump on the reading bandwagon. And it didn’t disappoint! In fact, I went into reading this book not knowing anything and came out feeling pleasantly surprised.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo tells the story of legendary, fictional movie star Evelyn Hugo, who lived and worked in the golden age of Hollywood. A bit like Elizabeth Taylor, Evelyn is known for having been married many times. In her old age, she chooses rookie magazine reporter Monique to interview her and write her memoir. Monique has no idea why she is being chosen by Evelyn, but she jumps at the opportunity. As Evelyn tells her story of making movies and marrying men, Monique finds that her own life is connected to Evelyn’s in a way that she never imagined.
City of Girls was my first historical fiction read by Elizabeth Gilbert. (I read Eat, Pray, Love a long time ago). I had seen City of Girls around and wasn’t sure what to expect. But I was interested enough to buy a second-hand copy from a book sale. City of Girls is set mostly in 1940s New York. It’s protagonist, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris, has just been kicked out of school and is banished by her parents to New York to stay with her Aunt Peg.
Aunt Peg runs a crumbling theatre which puts on cheap musical plays for its working class neighbourhood. It’s not up to Broadway standards, but the shows are entertaining with singing, dancing, a bit of a plot, and beautiful showgirls. Vivian is captivated by her new environment and easily swayed by the showgirl’s high life of drinking out every night and going home with no-good men. Continue reading →
Regular readers of my blog will know how much I love anything written by Jojo Moyes. So I was excited to get my hands on her latest release The Giver Of Stars. I pretty much devoured this historical fiction book set in 1930s Kentucky in a day. I just couldn’t put it down!
Set in Baileyville, Kentucky, during the Depression, it tells the story of a remarkable group of women who form part of the WPA’s horseback mobile librarian programme – bringing books and reading to people living in remote mountain areas.
Though the characters in this book are fictional, they are inspired by the real life women who took part in this scheme which ran from 1935 to 1943. Jojo weaves a fascinating tale of a small community where many welcome the spread of books and reading, while others oppose the idea of women promoting literacy. Continue reading →
Jojo Moyes is an automatic buy author for me. Foreign Fruit has been sitting on my bookshelf for quite some time, so I was happy to finally get around to reading it. Set in the 1950s and present day (early 2000s), Foreign Fruit takes place in the seaside town of Merham. It’s a place where people don’t like change — even when it’s greatly needed.
In the 1950s section of the book we meet two friends: Lottie Swift and Celia Holden. Lottie came to live with the respectable Holden family when London was evacuated during the war and then never went back to live with her mother. Continue reading →
I’m a bit late to the reading party for Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while, only I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to all the hype. But as soon as I started this book I knew I was in for a treat. I devoured it over a couple of days and loved every minute of it. The writing was superb, I was 100% invested in the story, and it made me feel so many emotions. All in all it was a 5 star read for me. It’s one of those rare books that reads like a classic and you know it will endure with time. I loved it! Continue reading →
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 →