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Monday, February 24, 2014

Survivor by Lesley Pearce

This sweeping saga published by Penguin Australia is exactly what I needed.  Easy to read with interesting characters, this story will keep you up late into the night!

The tale concerns young and headstrong Mariette who stupidly gets involved with a nasty man.  Her parents decide to send her away to England to get her away from the gossiping small community of beautiful Russell in New Zealand.  Mariette loves her new sophisticated life in London, but when the war arrives her life changes instantly.  Mariette faces great loss and danger as she puts her heart into helping the war effort.

Mariette's love affairs are also diverting.  She certainly has a lot of trouble separating the 'wheat from the chaff', and I like the way that she learns to stand up for herself.  Will she be able to return to her beloved homeland and live the life that she wants with her true love? Read this book and find out!

This is the first book I've read by Lesley Pearse and I can see why she's so beloved, although I found parts of the novel a bit grim.  I will certainly read more!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The President's Ladies Jane Wyman and Nancy Davis by Bernard F. Dick

I found this a bit dull, because I was really interested in the story of Ronald Reagan's marriages to these women.  This book concentrates on their acting careers and goes into detail about their movies.  I didn't finish it.

The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes

JoJo Moyes is one of my favourite authors, and her writing is so clever and sensitive that I can see why her books are bestsellers in the UK.  However, although I found The One Plus One a riveting story, I didn't like it as much as her other books, because much of it is just sooooo depressing.

The One Plus One raises an interesting moral issue. Does doing the wrong thing always have consequences?  Jess is about to find out after she 'borrows' a large sum of money from Ed Nicholls when she is in a desperate situation.  A divorced cleaner who lives on a housing estate with two children, she struggles to earn money, and she wants to give her brilliant child the chance to win a scholarship to go to a private school.  The family also has to deal with the incredibly nasty and bullying neighbours.

Ed is also in despair.  He got involved with a manipulative go-getting woman, and he's now faced with charges of insider trading.  He could lose everything.

When arrogant Ed and broken-hearted Jess travel to Scotland together so that Tanzie can compete in the Olympiad, they have a lot to learn.  Jess is desperate but she is always optimistic.  Is she right?

This is a moving love story but it also paints a grim picture of modern life. It's worth reading and I recommend it (although it's a bit rough at times), but don't read it if you want to escape!

Is Three Always A Crowd? My Review of Three's A Crowd by Edwina Darke

Elan, an Australian editor in New York, should be living the life of Riley.  She certainly has a great job, plenty of friends, a handsome American boyfriend, and a great night life.  However, she also faces dealing with the boss from hell, a recalcitrant Englishman who refuses to write, and a bitchy potential mother-in-law. When an old flame from the past shows up, he really throws a spanner in the works!

In spite of all this, Elan, a warm-hearted heroine manages to remain cheerful and resourceful. But how is she going to choose between Hunter and Luke?  How is she ever going to get Rox to write his book?  How is she going to help her best friend Lily?

This was just the book I needed to make me feel better! Sassy and well-written with a likeable heroine and an interesting hero, it kept me entertained until the last page.  However, I thought that it was a bit too long.
I especially enjoyed reading about Elan's work and life in New York.

I look forward to reading more novels by Edwina Darke.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Presidential Picture Stories by Dennis Brack

I really enjoyed this look at the presidents through the eyes of a former White House photographer. Although the writing didn't flow at times, the book was full of charming and amusing anecdotes.  The one that I especially liked was the tale of the woman photographer who continued to go on press trips after her husband died even though she had no clients! She sounds like a real terror.  She barged into the ladies at one stage and found all the stalls occupied, so she opened one, and 'ripped' the poor lady off the toilet, yelling at her that she was on a deadline.  On another occasion, she refused to pay the bill for the mini-bar, and she emptied all of the bottles from it onto the reception desk.

Presidential Picture Stories may change your opinion of some of the presidents.  I was surprised to learn that President Carter regarded the photographers as 'little people' and never acknowledged them, and that Nixon was surprisingly nice to them even during the Watergate scandal.

This is recommended for anyone who likes reading about American presidents and American history.