Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow

The blurb (from the author's website)

‘As I walk ever more falteringly through the hallways, echoes of my life –mundane and strange, joyful and dreadful – are like shadows, always there, following my footsteps.  Now that he is gone, I am determined to make a new start.  No more guilt and heart-searching.  No more ‘what-ifs’.  I need to 
make the most of the few more years that may be granted me.’
Sixty years ago, in the darkest days of the Second World War, Lily Verner made a terrible mistake that, she believed, led to tragic consequences. Now recently widowed, Lily decides to pack up the house she has lived in for 80 years. As she does so, long-buried memories start to emerge: of how she reluctantly became a silk weaver, of her passionate but forbidden affair with a Jewish refugee, of the woman who loved her, and how she found herself in charge of producing vital wartime supplies of parachute silk. Now in failing health, she is forced to confront the events that have haunted her all these years.

Did I like it ?
The story begins with Lily as an old woman attending the funeral of her husband. Once her family have left her alone we are taken back in time and told the story of a wartime love and the struggle and destruction of that time.
I have said before how much I enjoy books that are set during the war years and this has been no exception, I loved it. We are drawn into the lives of Lily, her parents and brother, her best friends and the workers at the silk factory as well as some Jewish refugees. Life was so unfair then and tragedy around every corner.
At the beginning of every chapter are some facts about silk production and the making of parachutes for war use. I found these little snippets so interesting, I never gave it a thought before what a complicated business making silk was.

Liz Trenow lived next door to her father's silk mill just as Lily in the book does which gives the story more authenticity. This is the author's first book and she has two more planned for next year,The Forgotten Seamstress and The Poppy Factory and I am so looking forward to reading them.

I cried buckets at the end of this book as we are returned to the present day and Lily finishes her story for her granddaughter. I have goose bumps just thinking of it again.
If you like stories set in that era and love a good cry then this is the book for you.
I give The Last Telegram *****
The Last Telegram for kindle on Amazon £3;99 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Daisy's Secret by Freda Lightfoot

The blurb (from Amazon)
Can helping evacuees make up for losing her own child?

‘Don’t think for a minute that you can carry on as if nothing had happened. Not after behaving so shamefully. We’re done with you now, Daisy Atkins. You’re no longer any daughter of mine.’

Abandoned by her sweetheart and rejected by her family, Daisy feels she has no choice but to agree to being evacuated to the Lakes at the start of the war. Still grieving for the baby boy she was forced to give up for adoption, she agrees that he will be her secret - a precious memory but spoken of to no one.

She seeks consolation by taking under her wing two frightened little girls. Together they suffer the hardship and insecurity of poor billets until finally settling at Lane End Farm near Keswick, the home of her Aunt Florrie, where she collects a few other lost souls in need of a sympathetic ear.

When she meets Harry Driscoll, a young airman, Daisy hopes to have a second chance at love; little does she know that her secret is about to come back to haunt her.

Did I like it? 
With the author being Freda Lightfoot what's not to like? I was looking on my kindle for a book I could be drawn into straightaway and when I saw this one I knew it would fit the bill.
Part of the story is as above about Daisy and is set during WW2 it goes between her story and that of her granddaughter Laura who inherits Daisy's farmhouse after she dies. Laura has an overbearing husband and father to contend with as well as trying to find out as much as she can about her grandmother's life.
I loved both parts of the story both and felt quite sad that grandmother and granddaughter had never really shared any of their lives with each other.
I raced through this book as it was a really easy read, my only criticism would be Laura's love interest being the farmer who lived next door, I'm not giving anyuthing way as the attraction between them was so instant and I can't imagine someone escaping from one long relationship from her husband straight into the arms of another man.
Daisy's secret is revealed at the end but the book did finish suddenly and I found myself reading the bonus chapter of the author's next book at the end thinking it was part of the story. Once again I feel sometimes authors end their book in a rush.
However I loved this book and I'm giving it ****.
Daisy's Secret is on Amazon  for kindle priced £1:96

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? (From Amazon)
 'What are you thinking, Amy?' The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: 'What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?' Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife? And what was in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war...

This is not my usual type of read. I received this book from Gransnet website as it is their book club book this month. I liked the sound of the book and looked forward to starting it.
 It was really hard reading the first half of this book and if it wasn't for a stay in hospital I think I would have given up but as I had nothing else to do I kept going.
First we hear part of Nick's story then we read Amy's diary, so far so good but it is all just very boring and there are no characters that are likeable. I am used to reading books that jump back and forward to different eras or from different characters point of view so that wasn't my problem and I just can't put my finger on why I found this first half boring except to say that many people on the Gransnet book club forum have said the same thing. The author will be answering questions on the forum at the end of the month and I cant wait to read her answers.

Starting round about the second half of the book it picks up pace and we start to really get into the story, and my, what a story, what complicated lives some people lead. I couldn't put the book down I was so desperate to get to the conclusion.
The end! Yes, that is what happened, the author became bored or tried to be too clever and didn't give her readers a decent ending. I was quite upset about this but I expect some stories just do not have an ending.
This is the first book I have read by American author Gillian Flynn although it is her third published book. I would say it's a psychological thriller or at least part of it is. Her other two books seem to be alone the same lines.

Do I recommend this book? Well, I did pass mine on to my daughter to see what she thought of it, but she has still to get back to me. Yes it's worth reading for the second half but you will be annoyed at the ending. I give this *** for the second half.

The Mum Who Got a Her Life Back by Fiona Gibson

When her 18-year-old twins leave for university, single mum Nadia’s life changes in ways she never expected: her Glasgow flat fee...