So it may not have escaped your attention- if you follow me on twitter, Facebook or Instagram, that I have been on holiday in Italy this last week. The weather was unseasonably cool for the time of year, though still far warmer than the wet grey London we left behind, but I still had lots of time on the beach with the children. But when we were tucked away in our beautiful temporary home at ValleCoppa, there was plenty of time to catch up on a) sleep- the drug of all parents and b) reading. See a).
In no particular order, here’s our thoughts on the holiday reading material.
Manuscript Found in Accra was sent to us to review and I passed it straight to DH who is a lover of Paul Coelho books. I was sad therefore when he put it down after a few days’ reading, and after only 60 pages and said that he couldn’t continue. This is a man who always reads a book to the end. It just didn’t grab him, he said. It isn’t really a story but a collection of philosophical witterings written in the context of a city under seige, with the random elder offering monologues on topics such as ‘courage’. A bit too much like reading twelve long sermons.
In the Shade of a Mulberry Tree was recommended in a post written by Tim Atkinson, himself an author of a selection of books. And I am loving the story of Catharine Withenay’s first year living abroad as an expatriate wife. Growing up as an ‘ex-pat brat’ I can relate to a lot of the challenges she faces, from employing staff because it is ‘the done thing’ to trying to work out where to get food you recognise. If you have lived overseas at all, or wonder what it would be like, this is absolutely the book for you.
A Year of Doing Good is another book by a fabulous blogger. On a whim as her New Year’s Resolution, the author decides to do a good deed every day for a year. This book is more than just a list though- it’s the tale of life in Northumberland with children, of friends and neighbours who have had more that their fair share of tragedy and challenges. It’s the story of Good in many forms. It’s funny and sad and full of hope and it has made me seriously consider whether I am a Good Person. Highly Recommended.
Nightingale Woods is written by a very popular blogger, Crystal Jigsaw, who actually has a cameo in the above book. This book however is pure fiction. I found the characters in this ‘down-to-earth’ romance annoying: how did they not see what would happen? But that is the great thing about a great writer- they don’t write for you to be comfortable and happy. Sometimes they create characters and story-lines to drive you nuts. To quote a friend, who recently texted me as she finished the book ( I recommended it): OMG I so did not see that ending coming!!!
What Have I Done? The story of Kathryn, rebuilding her life after being trapped in a nightmare life for too long. Saddening, distressing and yet uplifting too. I read this in a day. I couldn’t put it down.
*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Manuscript in Accra for the purposes of writing this review. I paid for all other books featured*