The wicked city by Beatriz Williams

Cynthia wicked cityI loved the story of Geneva in prohibition in New York. Beatriz created a distinctive voice for her that transported me to the era of bootleggers, clubs and prohibition enforcers. There were a few twists and turns in the story which kept me interested. The only downfall to the story was the dual storyline of modern day Ella. This story was not as strong as Geneva’s, it was only a fraction of the story and could easily not of been included.

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Jarulan by the river by Lily Woodhouse

Cynthia Jarulan by the riverI was looking forward to reading this book based on the blurb; Australian – Family – History, all the things that I love to read. Lily’s descriptive writing gave me a good sense of place and what life was like at Jarulan. There was an overall sense of uneasiness and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen with the family. Then came Rufina, a character that I could not feel anything for, and this let the story down for me. I was also disappointed about not finding out the full story of the ghosts that would appear at the appropiate times, but not fully explained, and this made the novel feel a bit unfinished.

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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 third 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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