Florence Saint Claire is a former child star from a famous, musical family. These days, she works for a horticultural group based in a library (?!), alongside Albert Flowers, who seems to have his social life sorted, unlike Florence. It’s about overcoming fears, fitting in, connecting, and kindness. A sweet, gentle, quirky read, for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
Having read Sally Field’s autobiography earlier this year, I thought it was time to revisit the movie from which I know her best. It was a delightfully nostalgic movie. Set in the American South, in the 1980s, it is full of fabulous actors (Dolly Parton!), and is funny, sweet, heartbreaking, and whimsical.
It took a while for me to enjoy the story, but eventually I had to keep reading to find out how everything turns out. The characters are not all likeable, but all need the courage to take steps in their lives to be happier. Not a fantastic read but overall I enjoyed it.
Set in three time periods – 1920, the royal visit of Edward, Prince of Wales, 1981, the engagement of Diana and Prince Charles and 1997, the death of Diana, this was a lovely crafted novel. We only find out in the few final pages the connection of these dates. I found the characters jarring to begin with but once into the rythm, the story was an enjoyable read.
I thought the film was pretty bleak, so I wanted to read the book to see if it was different. If anything, it is significantly more bleak, but also simpler, and somehow more affecting. Florence Green is a widow who opens a bookshop in a small, not especially lovely, coastal English town. It’s not a happy story, not even a little, and it isn’t about the power of books, really, either. It is, however, a quietly powerful story of relationships, strength, and quirky personalities.
A short, dark tale about a group of people on an experimental archaeology exercise. There are students and a professor from a university, and a family whose father is obsessed with ancient Briton, and the environment and immersion in the time, has unintended consequences for some. It is a creepy, atmospheric, and timely story about growing up, the abuse of power, and identity.
Set between 2011 and 2015, this is the story of Marianne and Connell whose relationship begins in secret while they are at school, and how it and they change as they leave their small town and go to Dublin for university. It’s about class, communication, love, abuse, mental illness, friendship and the struggle to find one’s place in the world as an adult. It’s very modern, and made me feel old, but it was very compelling.
Annabel Grey has lead a charmed life, but now her mother has gone away and she is left with her elderly aunts, who own a magic shop. All of a sudden her world is turned upside down as she is a witch, and finds herself on a dangerous quest. It is a dark tale about a fight between good and evil, and the power, bittersweet consolations, and hope of friendship.
A story that reimagines the beginning of the little mermaid story, full of friendship (love), revenge and magic. The pace builds throughout the story, making the second half of the story more enjoyable.
The landscape of Tasmania is wonderfully described in this story, being both wild and comforting. There is mystery, friendship and love in there but the overiding message is all about the environment. While this is an important message I think it could of been handled a little more subtlety and let the story and characters shine more.