Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review - The Provincial Lady in Wartime

It feels a bit wrong to adore a book about the beginning of WW II in England, and to especially enjoy it's humor, but with this endearing diary, it cannot be helped.

Having read several other Delafield books, I knew that I enjoyed her humorous tongue-in-cheek style.

This book centers on the late months of 1939 before the war, when children were beginning to be evacuated and people not in the military were seeking ways to do their part toward the war effort. Delafield gives us an idea of what was transpiring, but with that clever British wit that I love.

Book Review - Greenbanks

Greenbanks.Greenbanks. by Dorothy Whipple

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very good story about the life of an English family beginning in the very late 1800's.

With issues of unfaithfulness in marriage and also illegitimacy, most of the characters react in the proper modes of the times. Some of them see another side and that makes for conflict. A mother's love for one son more than another also adds fuel to the fire.

Rachel is the beloved granddaughter of Louisa, the family matriarch. Rachel keeps rooms at both her parents home and her grandmother. We follow her through the years from a very little girl until she is 20 and has fallen in love.

Dorothy Whipple has written a number of good book and this is one of them.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Triple Book Reviews

Lady Audley's SecretLady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautifully written Victorian mystery with colorful characters to admire and dislike.

Lady Audley is at the center of a story that involves love, longing, pain, deceit and regret.

Mary Elizabeth Braddon was a contemporary of Dickens and Willie Collins and quite successful at her writing. This bestselling story is a great read and makes me want to read more of her work.

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Greenery StreetGreenery Street by Denis Mackail

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Life on Greenery Street of the 1920's is full of fun and adjustment and angst of proper manners and worry about money and much more for the young married couples who live there.

Engaging a property there is indeed very desirable and deemed quite a coup. So interesting to read about this time when every action every day was scrutinized for it's propriety.

A very fun read.

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A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas NovellaA Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Liz Curtis Higgs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A somewhat fluffy little story, but with great purpose; a man seeking forgiveness for great harm he had inflicted years ago.

The gorgeous cover draws you in to the beauty and comfort of a snow-filled Christmas in Scotland in the late 1800's.

A nice change from heavier reading with a beautifully packaged finish tied up with a beautiful bow.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review - Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in EnglishMr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this book! It seems to have all the parts to make it a great story and such an engaging read.

Jack and Sadie are Jewish Germans who emigrate to England in 1937. Jack is determined to be everything a British man should be, adhering to all the principles in a pamphlet given to him about how to assimilate into the culture.

After a time living in London and beginning a rug manufacturing business, Jack decides he needs to move to Dorset to a country home with lots of land. The reason? As he yearns to be the ultimate Brit, he decides to build his own golf course, after being refused by so many clubs for membership. He does not tell Sadie of his plans until their home is sold and they are on their way. The kicker is that he does not even know how to play golf! Sounds a bit far-fetched, but within the story, it really works.

Their thatched home is in need of repairs, but all Jack truly wants to do is to work on his golf course. Sadie is depressed, not only at the state of their marriage, but still sad over losing her family in Germany. She uses baking and cooking as her way of working out her sadness.

It is not until a near tragedy that Jack realizes what is most important in his life.

As Jews they are treated by some with disrespect, but by others are seen for who they are and treated as friends.

I felt an array of emotions as I read; sympathy, disgust, joy, understanding and just plan fun. I love the idea of having a goal and not letting yourself veer away from it no matter what.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review - The Railway Children

The Railway ChildrenThe Railway Children by Edith Nesbit

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A perfect English children's book from early 1900.

Three children and their mother must move to lesser quarters in the country after the father has to go away leaving them quite poor. Their home is near a railway station and they are in love with the place from the beginning. They are smart and active children, and very well behaved, but they do have a number of exciting adventures.

While their mother is at home writing stories to sell for their income, the children make many friends at the railway station and among the people in the nearby town.

At the storey's end, the whereabouts of their father is known and the family is happily reunited.

The story is fun, educational and promotes good character traits. I loved it.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book Review - The Lady's Money

My Lady's MoneyMy Lady's Money by Wilkie Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I adore Wilkie Collins. As a friend of the well-known Charles Dickens, I think he was a bit overshadowed by him. 

This is a delightful tale of a woman of means who becomes the victim of the theft of a 500 pound note in her home. There are a number of possible suspects and she obtains help in pursuing the perpetrator. She retains a young girl as her companion and as she is of much lower rank and may be looked on as the possible thief, she is sent away to her Aunt, Miss Pink, to live until the manner is resolved.

The book is full of colorful characters and the action is fun and such an interesting look at the times of the mid to late 1800's England.

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Book Review - The Story of Jessie

The Story of JessieThe Story of Jessie by Mabel Quiller-Couch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A simply precious story about a 5 year old girl who is sent to live with her grandparents by her mother, wants a better life for her. Jessies' father is mean and abusive and was not who the grandparents wanted for their daughter to marry.

Jessie and her grandparents are so happy together until word comes that her mother has died and her father comes to take her away. He has remarried and only wants Jessie to help his wife run a boarding house.

Jessie is distraught, but tries to make the best of things. She has great faith in God and meets a sweet woman where she lives who also has great faith and encourages her to think of her time there as what God wants for her; to have a positive effect on those around her.

After a few years of hard work, Jessies' father dies, leaving her free to return to her grandparents. They are reunited in joy.

A simple story, but told so sweetly and with her wisdom.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review

The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna BannisterThe Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister by Nonna Bannister

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have read many stories and accounts about the holocaust perpetuated by the evil Hitler, but never one about someone from Russia.

Nonna was from a very well-to-do family in the Ukraine. When the Germans declared war and descended on Russia, her family was torn apart. After her father was beaten and died, Nonna and her mother forge their own way any way they can. They eventually make the decision to go to Germany and are placed in forced labor camps. Their day to day life is desolate and their living conditions are bleak and meagre.

Nonna tells her story from written bits and pieces that she had saved throughout this time. She also saved many pictures and documents that she kept in a hand sewn package kept close to her chest for many years.

After the war, she become a nurse and then was sponsored to the United States, where she married and had 3 children. It was not until many years later as an older woman, that she decided to tell of her past in this book, most of which even her family did not know.

Her great faith in God as well as her positive outlook on life gave her the strength to endure and tell her story.

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