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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Manderley Forever by Tatiana de Rosnay

This sensitive and evocative biography of the wonderful Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of her novels. De Rosnay walked in her footsteps, talked to her descendants and reimagines her life in  this beautifully-written book. I could hardly put it down!

De Rosnay vividly describes the important places in Du Maurier's life, including beautiful and calm Hampstead where she grew up, romantic Paris and the dramatic cliffs and sailboats of Fowey in Cornwall. This is where she found Menabilly, the famous house in Rebecca, and the scenery and history which formed the background to most of her novels. The author also skillfully brings to life the people who helped to form her character, such as Gerald, her sparkling actor father who, unfortunately was unfaithful to his wife and descended into drunkenness.

This is a lovely book to read even though Du Maurier had much tragedy in her life. It is an excellent study of the famous writer.

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

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Shine Like The Dawn by Carrie Turansky

Maggie sees a bleak future ahead of her, working in her grandmother's hat store. She longs for the happy life she knew as a respected architect's daughter and misses her family terribly. She and her sister Violet are the only survivors of a boating accident. When Nate, an old friend, enters her life again, Maggie has many conflicts. She is attracted to Nate but angry with him because of his treatment of her after the incident. She also discovers new information about the tragedy - was it an accident at all?

I liked the main characters of this book by CarrieTuransky and the historic atmosphere and plot were well-done. However, I found the writing rather stilted and I skimmed the end.

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thomas More by John Guy

Was Thomas More the wise man who died rather than disobey his conscience as portrayed in A Man For All Seasons or the fanatical heretic burner of "Wolf Hall"? Perhaps he was both?

I though that this was a biography of Thomas More and, indeed, John Guy does relate his life story. However, the purpose of the book is really to examine his legacy and the different versions of his actions. Guy examines More's writing, especially Utopia, portraits of More, and his canonization, for example. I found the account of his canonization and the English attitude to it especially interesting. Some of the book was rather dry - I would have preferred a biography.

This is well-worth reading for anyone interested in Tudor history.

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

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Wedding in Italy by Tilly Tennant

Kate lives in Rome, rents a flat, and she has a wonderful Italian boyfriend. However, she has many problems. Her landlord is troublesome; she hasn't got a job; and her boyfriend's old girlfriend and his sister want to make life difficult for her. How will she get through all this?

This was perfect light reading while in Italy with a beautiful Italian setting. Kate and Alessandro are like able and the setting is described charmingly. However, I found the writing rather wordy. Tighter editing may have helped.

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

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Art Deco Interiors by Henry Delacroix Dover Publications

These designs are a modern minimalist's dream! They include pictures of living rooms, salons, bathrooms and furniture. They are mostly rather stark, sparsely furnished and brightly-coloured. I much prefer the more ornate Art Nouveau and several of these rooms struck me as rather mannish. I am also far from being a minimalist. However, these images are so modern that they are still suitable for buildings today!

Some of the bathrooms, salons and dressing-rooms are quite pretty and Parisian. This book is certainly worth buying, if only for these pictures. It is an excellent book for historians of interior design as well.

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


Saturday, March 04, 2017

Art Nouveau Architecture R Beauclair, M I Gradl

These beautiful plates feature wonderful aspects of this revolutionary architecture including Grand staircases, wrought iron balconies, ornate mantels and intricate storefronts. Bright colours, floral and insect motifs and fancy apartment facades are also shown.

Anyone interested in art and the Edwardian era will enjoy this book.

I received this free book from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The I Factor How Building a Great Relationship with Yourself Is the Key to a Happy, Successful Life By Van Moody

This is a helpful book which uses anecdotes and stories from the Bible and real life to get people back on the right track.  Van Moody has a theory that people who crash and burn or just fail at life generally have a problem with their 'I-Factor'.  This 'I-Factor' is about managing yourself and your life well.

Moody includes chapters on  the importance of finding your identity, regaining your passion and forgiving yourself and others. He provides examples of how people have done this and gives wise advice.  This is an extremely religious book which emphasizes prayer and faith, so it may not be suitable for everyone.  I found it quite useful and inspiring.

I received this free eBook from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.