I won’t lie. Reading has been difficult over the last few weeks. I have found it so hard to concentrate. Slowly but surely, I can feel my reading mojo come back to me. That makes me happy, I needn’t tell you!
Adele by Nicola Cassidy
Written in five parts, this book, which Nicola Cassidy describes as bio fiction, takes us from Audition straight through to Encore. In California, in the ’70s Ellie Morgan is on a mission to research the life of Adele Astaire, sister and original dance partner to Fred. Ellie wants to tell her story, to highlight her time in history. From their childhood in Nebraska to her teenage years in New York. Adele’s friendship with her lady’s maid Patricia Ryan and her married life in the stunning Lismore Castle in Co. Waterford here in Ireland. It is all captured between these pages, where Nicola portrays a young determined child, an ambitious, spirited young woman. She captures the happy carefree wife and the utter devastation of a young mother. Nicola Cassidy is an eloquent writer who has an innate ability to draw you into the time and place of the period she’s writing and to feel the emotions of her characters. Fact interspersed with fiction has delivered a wonderful book that will take you on an emotional trip around the dancefloor.
Read a more detailed review of Adele here.
Stealing Roses by Heather Cooper
‘You keep grumbling about not having any freedom, Evie, but you will find that as a married woman you have a great deal more freedom than you do as a spinster.’
‘Your sister is right; a happily married woman, with a rich husband, is the most fortunate of creatures,’ said Mrs Stanhope.
Eveline Stanhope is growing up on the Isle of Wight in 1862. She’s a rather modern young woman much to the discontentment of her Mother. Mrs Stanhope and Eveline’s sisters would prefer the young woman was concentrating on marrying a wealthy man. Eveline, on the other hand, is interested in learning new skills and campaigning for better conditions for the new railway line workers. Eveline’s head is turned by railway engineer Thomas Armitage, but is there a future for them?
I found this book hard going, but I suspect this was more my frame of mind than the book itself.
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
As Laurel Nicholson’s mother approaches the end of her life, Laurel is haunted by mystery and memories from her past. Recruiting her younger brother Gerry to help her, Laurel embarks on a journey to discover her mothers’ story and why did that event in 1961, when she was 16, really happen?
Flitting between the late 1930s, early 1940s and 2011, The Secret Keeper tells the story of three people whose lives are intertwined, Dorothy, Vivien and Jimmy. The story is beautifully told, with an abundance of detail which only adds to the imagery of the tale. Whilst I found Vivien and Jimmy most likeable, Dorothy was a much more complex character making her hard to warm to.
This is a long book, I listened to the audible version via borrow box and it accompanied me on many walks. Once I got used to the narrators’ style I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English
Following the death of her husband Johnny, Katie Carroll decides to deal with the box in her wardrobe. The box is from her days working in a mother & baby home in the west of Ireland. It homes a notebook with details of the young mothers and their babies along with tiny paper identity bracelets.
Katie enlists the help of her niece Beth and together they embark on a mission to reunite the bracelets with their owners, and in turn reunite mothers & babies. Along the way, they encounter heartache, family strife, resentment and pure joy. Is Katie ready to deal with her own past as well as those she’s trying to help?
This book, inspired by events that occurred throughout Ireland for far too long is an emotional tale that cuts so close to the bone. To think what countless young women and girls went through is rage-inducing. Highly recommend this book.
Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, all of the books I mention in these monthly posts are bought and paid for by myself, downloaded from NetGalley or borrowed from the Library. Anyone can join NetGalley and provide reviews in exchange for books.