Books, Reviews

My September/October Reads

I combined my September and October book reviews as I just didn’t get time to read as much as I’d have liked in September. Isn’t it funny how life can get in the way of such simple pleasures sometimes?

Summer at Hollyhock House by Cathy Bussey
A NetGalley Review

Following her separation with Rob, Faith returns to the village where she grew up and to her best friends home, Hollyhock House.
Hollyhock holds many memories, secrets from Faiths youth, in fact, this is where her heart is.
The author captures the beauty of Hollyhock, I could picture it and longed to visit. This is a lovely feel-good story, though quite slow I felt in parts, but enjoyable none the less. Faith is strong and feisty, but very vulnerable too, I really liked her.

The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

Dolly Lane is a young girl with a dream. Loretta May is living the dream, or so she would have her adoring public believe.
As Dolly moves to London and acquires a job at the Savoy, London’s most glamorous hotel,  she carries secrets in her heart and a longing for a better life. She knows her friend Clover thinks she’s daft and cannot fathom why Dolly isn’t happy with her lot but Dorothy Lane is a young woman with a gritty determination.
Fate introduces her to Perry Clements and from there Dolly’s life takes an unexpected turn.
I really enjoyed The Girls from the Savoy, the author portrayed the heartache of post-war life as the characters gathered the fragments of their lives and tried to piece them back together.

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees

Baby Amy Snow is found abandon on a bank of snow by young  Aurelia Vennaway. Aurelia takes the baby back to Hatville Court, her family home. Aurelia’s parents are most unwelcoming and the servants quite cold, but Aurelia, despite being a child herself is smitten with Amy and insists the baby be looked after at the estate.
Aurelia and Amy are quite inseparable, with the older girl taking Amy under her wing, they share a deep bond and many secrets.
Tragedy strikes as Aurelia dies young. Amy must now leave Hatville and all she knows. What the masters at Hatville, Aurelia’s cruel parents, don’t know is that Aurelia has looked after Amy and left her with a series of letters, a treasure hunt and fortune to make a good life for herself at last.
I really enjoyed this book; the descriptions of Victorian life, the different characters, the twists and turns along Amy’s journey, it really was difficult to put down at times.

Darling Blue by Tracy Rees
A NetGalley Review

I had enjoyed Amy Snow so much that I moved onto another Tracy Rees book, Darling Blue.
Blue Camberwell lives quite the charmed life. Then at her 21st birthday party, her father Kenneth sets the young men of Richmond the ultimate task. Impress Blue by letter and earn her hand in marriage. What a way to start, what becomes a most eventful year in the young lady’s life.
While Blue is the central character to this novel, set in 1920’s Britain, two other women have big roles to play too. Blue lives with her family at Ryan’s Castle, a plush house in Richmond. They are well to do but not blind to those around them. The Camberwells are a close-knit family but not without their issues. Blue’s stepmother Midge should be on cloud nine, married to Kenneth and stepmother to Blue and her sister Merry who both adore her. Instead, Midge is insecure, feels like she’s living in the shadow of Kenneth’s first wife and questions how he could love her. Add to this, a huge heartache, and Midge is truly a woman on the edge.
Delphine Foley has found the strength to escape her vicious husband. When her escape route doesn’t go to plan she finds herself in Richmond, having been rescued by Blue, Merry and their friend Tabitha. She tells them her story and she is quickly moved into Ryans Castle and under the wings of the Camberwells.
I loved this, the supplementary characters all had vital roles and added such depth. The descriptions of 1920’s Britain, the lifestyle and the role of women were wonderfully portrayed. The author had twists and turns but what stood out most for me were the feelings depicted. A thoroughly enjoyable read that I would definitely recommend.

How to be Human: The Manual by Ruby Wax

 

 

I’d seen quite a few positive reviews about this book so when I saw it was available on Borrow Box (highly recommend the local library app for reading books) I borrowed it straight away.
Written with input from a Buddhist Monk and  Neuroscientist, it was fascinating to read the conversations and perspective of the three. I felt like I was listening in on a very deep conversation in a café.
It’s much more than a mindfulness book I feel, though I do love the addition of the mindfulness exercises. This book gives pause to think about life and why we are the way we are.
I was fascinated by Ruby’s thoughts about her time on Who Do You Think You Are? Her familial history is something else and gave her such insight into her own character.
I’d recommend it certainly, the camaraderie between the three is lovely, there are witty one-liners and some very deep moments. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised with this one.

The Visitor by Zoe Miller
A NetGalley Review

Is he really who he thinks he is?

At first glance one would easily assume this is a light, fluffy Christmas read. The tagline may somewhat dispel that myth!
Izzie Mallon is facing into her first Christmas alone following the death of her beloved husband Sam. She tells her friends and family she is going on a yoga retreat. The truth is, she plans to shut herself away in the home she shared with Sam in Henrietta Square.
A festive snow storm interferes with Izzie’s plans, however. A stranger arrives at her door, Eli, her late husbands best friend, stranded in Dublin because of the weather.
Izzie’s neighbours, Florence on the ground floor and Tom, along with his son Noah on the second floor aren’t convinced about Eli.
What is Eli up to and will the perceptions of her cares be proven correct?
This was a really good read, with plenty of twists.

 

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, all of the books I mention in these monthly posts are bought and paid for by myself or borrowed from the Library. Anyone can join NetGalley and provide reviews in exchange for books. This post contains Affiliate Links, further details about Affiliate Links can are available on my Disclosure page.

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