Jewel of the north by Tricia Stringer

Cynthia Jewel of the NorthIt was so nice to revisit the Bakers and the Wiltshires and share in their stories of life in the Flinders Ranges. This is the tird novel featuring these characters. There is hardship, joy, sorrow and survival. The Australian landscape can be beautiful and also cruel. It is a lovely insight into what pioneering farming families had to achieve and how communities were built.

Find in library

Stars across the ocean by Kimberley Freeman

Cynthia Stars Across the OceanA foundling chasing her mother around the globe, a mother’s heartache at losing love and her daughter and a daughter coming to terms with her mother’s illness. Each of story is told well, but I finished the book feeling that I wanted so much more depth to each of the characters.
The ending was a surprise and I loved the way that Kimberley concealed it throughout the story.
I have enjoyed all of Kimberley’s stories that I have read and will continue to seek them out as I know I will get an interesting set of characters to read about.

Find in library

Golden earrings by Belinda Alexandra

Cynthia Golden EarringsThis was an intereting historical novel, covering historical events that I did not know about beforehand. I did get a little lost in the politics of the Spanish Civil War which lessened my enjoyment of the book and Belinda does not hide from the brutality of war adding to the novel’s setting. The characters were interesting and made me continue reading the story – showing the great storytelling ability of the author. Throw in the history of flamenco dancing, a bit of a mystery and a bit of romance and it became a worthwhile read.

Find in library

Save

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

Cynthia The Chilbury Ladies' ChoirTold through letters and diary entries this was a glimpse into English life at home during war. There was love, mystery, death and hope. I think the most eye opening part of this novel was the idea that you should not have a choir without men – who would of thought! The strength of the women to carry on and make decisions about their own lives – how the war changed them was a central theme. Although told through the eyes of several people the storyline continued seemlessly and was an enjoyable read.

Find in library

The insanity of murder by Felicity Young

Cynthia The Insanity of MurderAnother solid story in this series of books about Dody, a female autopsy surgeon in Victorian London. This story focused on the suffragette movement and the treatment of female mental patients. The story made me squirm in places as practices towards female patients was rudimentary, the thought that female mental health was totally connected to their sexual organs and removal of those organs did wonders is preposterous! There was not as strong a story line in this volume but I enjoyed learning about early medical practice and am glad times have changed.

Find in library

Fava beans for breakfast by Suzanne Salem

Fava beans for breakfastAn immigrant story that covers dreams and hopes, secrets, friendships and community attitudes. Life in a small coastal town is described well – with all the secrets, both shared and hidden that can exist there. Suzanne Salem’s use of language gave Nayeema’s story authenticity. I loved her journey to find a place where she felt she belonged. I also loved that the story was set in the seventies with coastal development, strikes, communes and fashion all playing a part in the story. This was an enjoyable story.

Find in library

My Italian bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith

Cynthia My Italian bulldozerThis was a little slice of Italy. When food writer Paul arrives in Italy to finish his book and finds his car rental booking nonexistent, he finds himself hiring a bulldozer instead. It is the characters that Paul meets that make this story, more than the fact that he is driving around Italy on a bulldozer. They are quirky and interesting and make for a story that is a little off centre but enjoyable.

Find in library

A curious beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Cynthia A Curious BeginningVeronica Speedwell is such an unusual women for Victorian times. She is knowledgeable, outspoken, sexually aware and determined and is not afraid to let everyone know that is all that! Being such a strong character, by the end of the story she unfortunately becames a bland character for me – there is no development or frailty. The book had a strong sense of place – Victorian London was well described. As for the mystery, even though it was quite outlandish, I did have to keep reading to find out what happens, and I have the feeling that it is not fully solved yet.

Find in library