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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Lady Clementine A Novel by Marie Benedict

Marie Benedict brings the independent and feisty Clementine Churchill to life in this lovely epic novel. Surprisingly, although Clementine was aristocratic, she came from a very troubled background and she had to work for a living, as well as cope with strange parents and early family tragedies. This probably gave her the strength to become Winston Churchill's 'rock,' and help her handle his constant demands on her and exceedingly dominant personality.

Benedict captures the significance of the historical times, and makes readers aware of quite what an admirable woman Clementine Churchill really was. For example, during the Second World War, she would tour bombed-out sites practically every night, and she made it her mission to make air-raid shelters more comfortable, as well as doing a lot of other war work.  I was imagining Kristin Scott-Thomas in the movie about Clementine, instead of Winston, while reading this book!

It's certainly an inspiring and enjoyable book to read during these extremely stressful times. I look forward to reading Marie Benedict's other books.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Unravelled Knots: The Teahouse Detective by Baroness Orczy

When the young woman journalist sees her old friend, the teahouse detective, in the cafe, she wants to avoid him. However, this strange creature with baggy trousers, horn-rimmed glasses and claw-like hands exerts a strange fascination with his mystery tales, and she can't help listening again...

Although, Baroness Orczy was one of the pioneers of women's detective stories, and these are well-written and meticulous, her Scarlet Pimpernel books are really the ones to read.  These became rather dry, repetitive and detailed.  I liked some of them, but I am not sure whether I will read any more of these books.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Friday, March 13, 2020

How to Wash the Dishes by Peter Miller

This is a very useful book if you want to improve your washing-up. Mine seems to need more work
according to the book. When I have more time, I will write lists of what I should buy and study this again.
The author also suggests ways to relax while washing-up.

I received this ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Pray Fully by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet

Do you really pray, or do you just rattle off a rote prayer before bed and go to Mass?  This book contains excellent suggestions for praying more fully, and having a meaningful relationship with Jesus. These include telling him all your worries, staying quiet and waiting for answers, and spiritual exercises, It is also important to follow the example of the saints, and to pray more profoundly during Mass. The authors explain how these will help clearly and concisely.

Prayer requires time and effort, and this book will assist you to develop the practice.

I received this ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Dressmaker's Gift by Fiona Valpy Amazon Publishing UK General Fiction (Adult) , Women's Fiction

Harriet, traumatised by her mother's untimely death, arrives to work as a PR assistant at a fashion house in Paris. Haunted by the story of her grandmother's mysterious time in the war, she is anxious to find out more about it. The book then flashes back to Harriet's grandmother Claire and her friends who worked as seamstresses. These brave young women secretly worked for the French Resistance...

Fiona Valpy describes France beautifully, and captures the exciting but dangerous time of The Second World War. The characters are all very real, although Harriet doesn't play a big part in the book.  It's a lovely book, although one part is extremely harrowing, and I will read more of Fiona Valpy's books.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Elizabeth Widville, Lady Grey Edward IV's Chief Mistress and the 'Pink Queen' by Dr John Ashdown-Hill


I am sorry to say that this book really annoyed me.  Although Dr John Ashdown-Hill was a distinguished historian, and very knowledgeable about the Woodvilles, he really disliked his subject, and his arguments failed to convince me. Even the pre-contract with Eleanor Talbot seems tenuous.
Much of this book is pure speculation, I thought.

Ashdown-Hill accuses the Queen of being involved in several murders and mysterious deaths without much evidence.He also includes fairly snide passages, for example, about her ordering meat during Lent and whether she was considered an 'Essex Girl'! I actually felt sorry for her, and anxious to read a nicer book about her in the end!

I bought the book because I didn't download it from NetGalley before the archive date.

A House in the Mountains : The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism Caroline Moorehead

Ada Gobetti. Unknown. The original uploader was Gian- at Italian Wikipedia.. [Public domain]

Four young Italian women all came from Turin, a city in the Piedmontese region, which had a long history of independence and rebellion. They would need this more than ever to face Mussolini's harsh laws and the viciousness of the Nazi occupiers. These young women and their friends in the Italian Resistance had to cope with 'death, air raids, violence [and] penury' instead of the quick victory promised by Mussolini.  These women and thousands of others printed underground newspapers, organised escape routes, helped to sabotage transport, stole explosives and even became commanders of bands. Although the Italian Resistance didn't receive much help from the Allies for various reasons, they formed a united force and managed to liberate Piedmont and the north on their own. The heroines of the book also stayed actively involved in politics.

This book is quite harrowing and upsetting, but fascinating, and it should restore the reputation of the Italian Resistance, and it informs readers about the little-known and hugely important role of the women involved in the Resistance. Sometimes, there are lighter moments. For example, Ada went to a political meeting, and she was only one of two women not dressed as if to go to a party! It seems that Italian women retain their sense of style even in the midst of chaos.

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

Sir Francis Bryan Henry VIII's most notorious ambassador by Sarah-Beth Watkins

This is a very factual book about this diplomat and soldier, who was nicknamed the 'Vicar of Hell' because he liked womanising and drinking. It's hard to feel as if you really know what he was like from reading the book, but it is filled with interesting details about the sixteenth century, Henry's court and Sir Francis's heavy involvement in The Great Matter, and it includes extracts from letters and other documents.

I enjoyed it, but not as much as the author's other books.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

EDITION    Paperback

ISBN           9781789043419

PRICE        $12.99 (USD)

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Drawing: Colored Pencil Basics Learn to draw step by step by Cynthia Knox

This is a great introduction to using coloured pencils. Cynthia Knox shows readers the basic materials and techniques and she includes beautiful exercises to attempt. It is a very short book but useful and the pictures are inspirational.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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