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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid

Anne tore out of the house with her hair streaming and without her hat although it was freezing and Marilla called after her. She felt the 'fierce energy of winter' on the beautiful, snowy Prince Edward Island. Like her creator, Anne loved all of the seasons although Lucy Maud may have been affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder  in the long, dark winters at times.

This beautifully-written book by Catherine Reid with its gorgeous photographs is a welcome addition to the collection of writing about L.M. Montgomery. It relates how Lucy Maud's love of the seasons and the different landscapes of P.E.I. led to her luminous descriptions and how she used it in her scenes in her books. For example, Anne had her last walk with Matthew in the spring making the scene especially poignant.

This is a must-by for any lovers of Anne and L.M. montgomery's writing!

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

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Despair of Monkeys and Other Trifles by Francoise Hardy

I didn't finish this autobiography because it was just too meandering and I found it a bit dull. However, her philosophy was interesting and I enjoyed reading her opinions of famous people, such as Mick Jagger.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

Estella is upset when her mother sends her to New York to get her away from Resistance work and the dangers of war. However, the young and beautiful seamstress soon finds friends and sets up her own sewing business. But she is puzzled by many mysteries. Who is the handsome spy she keeps meeting? Who is Lena and why is she the image of her? Who is her real father? What does the tragic Evelyn Nesbitt have to do with it all?

Fabienne, Estella's granddaughter, also must solve mysteries. Who was her real father? What did Estella do in the Resistance?

This story sweeps between France, New York and Australia in a fast-paced manner and kept me riveted to the page.   Natasha Lester deftly combines the worlds of Second World War fashion and the dangers of the Resistance. Esttella and Fabienne are lovely characters while the villain is frightening and the men are handsome and intriguing. I liked the way in which the historical information was cleverly intertwined with the story.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for a free review.mm

Monday, March 05, 2018

Renoir's Dancer. The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon by Catherine Hewett

Suzanne was once called 'the terror of Montmartre'. The pretty golden-haired child of a single mother climbed out of Windows, played truant from school and associated with vagabonds. After joining the circus, however, she suffered a terrible accident and focused on her drawing. Once she became an artist's model for illustrious artists, such as Renoir, she was on the road to success.

She became respectable married woman, the mistress of a large house with her own studio and servants. But she had trouble with her son's inclination to drink. Would she give it all up for a handsome and much younger man...?

This is a fascinating tale about the wild-child of Montmartre and her talented son with vivid
descriptions of the bohemian lives of the famous artists of the late 19th century. I felt that I had a birds-eye view to the charm and glamour of the  Paris of the time. Suzanne Valadon has been neglected so this biography is a welcome addition to books about these artists.

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

Friday, March 02, 2018

Breakthrough by Fr Rob Galea

When he was a teenager, Fr Galea suffered an existential crisis. Bullied at school, he sat alone in his room night after night, and he eventually turned to bad company and even shoplifting. He felt abandoned although he had a good and loving Maltese family. Eventually, he decided to join a Catholic youth group which changed his life and led him on the path to bring a priest in Australia.

In this book, Fr Galea tells his life story and the pitfalls on the way to his becoming a priest. He had to overcome several obstacles, including depression, while he was studying. He also fell in love before hearing the call, and had to choose between his girlfriend and the priesthood.

I found Fr Galea's description of his parish and the people in Australia the most interesting part of the book. He was surprised that we are such a secular and agnostic society compared with Malta which is very religious. His struggles to bring young people back to the 
Church sounds very tough but his decision to 'take the church to the people' is an excellent one. He also inspires people with his music.

I also liked Fr Galea's helpful suggestions about prayer and the Sacraments.

This is well-worth reading, especially for young Catholics.

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