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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Ties that Bind by Lexi Landsman

Jade stays to defend her beloved olive plantation in country Victoria even though her grandmother and father leave.  She has to eventually run for her life and almost dies but a handsome young firefighter saves her.  He helps her rebuild the property and recover her shattered life, but Jade is also troubled by family secrets.  Why did her mother leave her? Why did her grandmother hate her mother so much?

Courtney and David live in Miami, on the other side of the world.  When their wonderful son is afflicted by an extremely dangerous form of leukemia, Courtney, has to make tough decisions.  Courtney, who was adopted, is also troubled by secrets, especially when when she starts looking for the truth about her family.

How do these two stories intertwine?

This is a riveting tale about the importance of family with likeable characters and a moving love story.  The effects of the terrible fire in Victoria are vividly described and the beauty of the Australian countryside springs to life with Landsman's exquisite writing. I did find both stories rather harrowing, however.

I will certainly be looking out for more novels by Lexi Landsman.

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Nobody Said Not To Go The Life, Loves and Adventures of Emily Hahn by Ken Cuthbertson

When Emily Hahn was asked why she risked her life in the middle of fierce fighting to spend a weekend in Nanking, she said: 'Nobody said not to go!' This indicates the kind of woman that she was.

Emily (Mickey) loved to disobey the rules. This famous writer travelled in Africa alone in the 1930s and caused scandal almost everywhere she went. Expats in China were especially shocked by her having a Chinese boyfriend in a gown and pigtails who was married, and her constantly appearing with her gibbons, Mr and Mrs Mills.

This is a fascinating story which certainly led me to want to know even more about Emily Hahn.

I received this free ebook via Net Galley

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

One Day in France Tragedy and Betrayal in an Occupied Village by Jean-Marie Borzeix, translated by Gay McAuley, with a foreword by Caroline Moorehead

This is a harrowing account of atrocities committed by the Nazis in the Haute-Correze district of France.  Borzeix's research into four men who were shot there on Holy Thursday led him to discover the stories of other Jewish people, including Resistance fighters, and a search for descendants scattered across the world.

It's a moving but very sad tale which shows the importance of memory and discovering the truth. The Nazis had an obsessive desire to cover up their crimes, so finding out the names of those who were killed and providing them with memorials constitutes a triumph.  I also liked the descriptions of Borzeix's research and his meetings with the family members.

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

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde

After midwife Emily has an argument with a doctor over home births, she decides to accept her friend Rebecca's offer to work on her boat as a cook.  She enjoys the work and the beautiful Scottish coast and her independence.  After being unsuccessful in love, she is certainly not anxious to have her heart broken again! But she finds herself struggling with her attraction to Alasdair,, a handsome doctor. However, he has a mysterious past life...

I once read that reading Maeve Binchy's books was like having a relaxing cup of tea.  Katie Fforde's sweet romantic novels are similar.  I didn't like this one as much as most of her others, unfortunately.  I loved the vivid descriptions of the vivid Scottish scenery, but I started to find the romance a little bit dull towards the end.  I think that this novel was a bit too much like a long short story.

When I was overseas, I read The Rose Revived and I enjoyed that more.

Katie Fforde on Romantic Fiction

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

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Bonjour Kale by Kristen Beddard

 (http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2011/08/06/kale-growing-in-garden/)

When Kristen Beddard  first arrived  in Paris with her husband, she quickly started getting depressed.  She missed her high-powered life in New York and drinking with her girlfriends.  She struggled to speak French and she started having arguments with her husband because she wasn't the career girl with whom he fell in love.  She was also very sad about her mother-in-law who was dying of cancer.

The fact that she couldn't find the kale that she loved didn't help matters! Kristen had been brought up to eat healthy foods and her mother made delicious recipes. Many of them included kale. She tried bringing back lots of kale from New York but it turned into a disaster because her luggage was lost so it turned putrid and smelly! It was dreadful to go to the markets and see beautiful thin green asparagus and piles of green peas still in their shells but no healthy kale. Kristen eventually got so fed up with the situation that she decided to do something about it herself and she began The Kale Project.

I don't actually like kale - I just love spinach - so the title put me off a bit at first.  I was even upset when I had to buy kale instead of spinach the other day! However, I loved this enchanting story about living in a different country, learning a new language and finding a new opportunity. The recipes also look tempting. It's also a moving love story with a surprising amount of depth. The blog looks great as well.  I may even start liking kale now!

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

This is a great clip but read the book first.

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