Thursday, December 7, 2017

Trespass by Rose Tremain


Paperback: 372 pages                                                                                                 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Vintage Books
Source: My bookshelves, forgotten original source!
First Sentence: The child's name is Melodie.
Review Quote: "Taut ... full of suspense ... above all it is the sense of "wild nature", woods of holm oak, beech, chestnut and pine, with the river running through them and the threat of heavy rain hanging above, that she captures so bewitchingly ... this is a dark book" (Observer)
Literary Awards: Man Booker Prize Nominee for Longlist (2010)
My Opinion: This is the first time I have read a book by Rose Tremain, not sure what I was expecting but it was certainly not this strange at times, somewhat dull read!  Two sets of brother and sister siblings, all drawn together in remote France over the sale of a house, I did not find myself connecting with any of the characters and the storylines covering childhood abuse, lesbianism and homosexuality just all added to it all feeling rather depressing. I have no idea if this book follows the normal style of this author's writing, if this is the case I am not sure that I will be reading her work again. Maybe I was just not in the right mood, what do you think?

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

In a silent valley in southern France stands an isolated stone farmhouse, the Mas Lunel. Aramon, the owner, is so haunted by his violent past that he's become incapable of all meaningful action, letting his hunting dogs starve and his land go to ruin. Meanwhile, his sister Audrun, alone in her modern bungalow within sight of the Mas Lunel, dreams of exacting retribution for the unspoken betrayals that have blighted her life. Into this closed world comes Anthony Verey, a wealthy but disillusioned antiques dealer from London. When he sets his sights on the Mas, a frightening and unstoppable series of consequences is set in motion.


Video Trailer for 'Trespass' Courtesy of YouTube





Author Profile


Rose Tremain, born in London in 1943, was one of only five women writers to be included in Granta’s original list of 20 Best of Young British Novelists in 1983. Her novels and short stories have been published worldwide in 27 countries and have won many prizes, including the Sunday buy cheap bactrim Express book of the Year Award (for Restoration, also shortlisted for the Booker Prize); the Prix Femina Etranger, France (for Sacred Country); the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award (for Music & Silence) and the Orange Prize for Fiction 2008 (for The Road Home). Restoration was filmed in 1995 and a stage version was produced in 2009. Her latest novel is the acclaimed The Gustav Sonata which sees Rose ‘writing at the height of her inimitable powers’ (Observer).

Rose lives in Norfolk, England with the biographer, Richard Holmes. She is the mother of one daughter, Eleanor and has two grandchildren, Archie and Martha. She was made a CBE in 2007 and in 2013 was appointed Chancellor of the University of East Anglia.


Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Goodreads Author Profile   Rose Tremain - Official Author Website    YouTube Video

Amazon Author Page

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani


Paperback:  470 pages                                                                                                
Genre: Romantic Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: My bookshelves, forgotten original source!
First Sentence: The scalloped hem of Caterina Lazzari's blue velvet coat grazed the fresh fallen snow, leaving a pale pink path on the bricks as she walked across the empty piazza. 
Favourite Quote: “When you lose someone, they take a bigger place in your heart, not a smaller one. Every day it grows, because you don't stop loving them. You wish you could talk to them. You need their advice. But life doesn't always give us what we need, and it's difficult.”
Review Quote: 'I've always loved reading Adriana Trigiani, but The Shoemaker's Wife is something totally new and completely wonderful: a rich, sweeping epic which tells the story of the women and men who built America dream by dream. I don't know how Adriana goes into her family's attic and emerges with these amazing stories, I'm just happy she does. If you're meeting her work for the first time, get ready for a lifelong love affair. The Shoemaker's Wife is utterly splendid.' --Kathryn Stockett, bestselling author of The Help
My Opinion: An epic and beautiful love story taken from the real life experiences of the author's grandparents.  Set in the Italian Alps and America in the early twentieth century the story follows the protagonists Ciro and Enza in alternating chapters as their lives progress from childhood to old age in this sweeping saga. No real surprises but definitely a feel good read if you enjoy this genre.


Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.

Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.

From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.

Lush and evocative, told in tantalizing detail and enriched with lovable, unforgettable characters, The Shoemaker's Wife is a portrait of the times, the places and the people who defined the immigrant experience, claiming their portion of the American dream with ambition and resolve, cutting it to fit their needs like the finest Italian silk.

This riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write, one inspired by her own family history and the love of tradition that has propelled her body of bestselling novels to international acclaim. Like Lucia, Lucia, The Shoemaker's Wife defines an era with clarity and splendor, with operatic scope and a vivid cast of characters who will live on in the imaginations of readers for years to come.



Video Trailer for 'The Shoemaker's Wife' Courtesy of YouTube



Author Profile


Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for her bestselling novels, including her latest, All the Stars in the Heavens, the instant bestseller of The New York Times, Barnes & Noble, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and Indie Booksellers nationwide. She wrote the blockbuster The Shoemaker’s Wife, the Big Stone Gap series, the Valentine trilogy and Lucia, Lucia.  Trigiani’s themes of love and work, emphasis upon craftsmanship and family life have brought her legions of fans who call themselves Adri-addicts (a term coined by book maven Robin Kall). Their devotion has made Adriana one of “the reigning queens of women’s fiction” (USA Today).

The New York Times calls her “a comedy writer with a heart of gold”, her books “tiramisu for the soul.” Her books have been translated in 36 countries around the world. Adriana has toured many of the countries, including South Africa, with annual visits to the United Kingdom.

Adriana wrote and directed the film adaptation of her debut novel Big Stone Gap, produced by the Academy Award winning producer Donna Gigliotti, shot entirely on location in her hometown, with an all star cast including: Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, John Benjamin Hickey, Anthony LaPaglia, Jenna Elfman, Jane Krakowski, Judith Ivey, Mary Pat Gleason, Dagmara Dominczyk, Mary Testa, Paul Wilson, Chris Sarandon, Jasmine Guy, and introducing Erika Coleman and Bridget Gabbe, with music by John Leventhal, and songs performed by his lovely wife, Rosanne Cash.  Glorious local talent perform on the soundtrack and act in the movie, sharing their gifts beyond the peaks of the Appalachian mountains. The soundtrack is now available on iTunes and in stores.

Read more on her website


Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Goodreads Author Profile   YouTube Video   Author's Official Website   Amazon Page

Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope




Paperback: 414 pages                                                                                                 

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Black Swan 2008
Source: My bookshelves, forgotten original source!
First Sentence: Toby's mother said that when Eleanor came he'd have to go down to the ground floor and help her with the lift.
Review Quote: "An entertaining novel" (Independent on Sunday)
My Opinion:  This year I have been trying to catch up with some of Joanna Trollope's older titles that are still sitting on my bookshelves waiting to be read!  Friday Nights is the third I have reviewed on the blog this year Brother and Sister and Second Honeymoon  I thought the first one was ok and have been progressively been more disappointed with the next two. Such a disappointment as I have been a long time fan of Joanna Trollope's writing but have felt in reading these that she somehow does not write like she used to, or maybe I have just outgrown this style of somewhat formulaic storylines. I suspect I will continue to read her novels though, just in case, I have chosen titles that just do not appeal to me personally recently! I thought I would have enjoyed this one more as the author herself likens the circle of friends that meet up on 'Friday Nights' as like a Book Club, but with out the books. Did I just leave it too many years to read this one, or fans of her writing were you like me disappointed? If you have yet to read this author, I do not recommend you starting with Friday Nights.



Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:


Friday nights, the best night of the week, the night they all looked forward to more than they cared to admit - talking, drinking, laughing and crying together.

They were six female friends, different in age and circumstances, but with one common need: the warmth and support of their Friday nights. It was a time to share secrets and fears, triumphs and tragedies and, above all, to feel safe in the company of women friends. But things never stay the same forever, especially when a man is introduced into the mix...

Video Trailer for 'Friday Nights' Courtesy of YouTube





Author Profile


Joanna Trollope was born on 9 December 1943 in her grandfather's rectory in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, England, daughter of Rosemary Hodson and Arthur George Cecil Trollope. She is the eldest of three siblings. She is a fifth-generation niece of the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope and is a cousin of the writer and broadcaster James Trollope. She was educated at Reigate County School for Girls followed by St Hugh's College, Oxford. On 14 May 1966, she married the banker David Roger William Potter, they had two daughters, Antonia and Louise. In 1983 they divorced, two years later, she married the television dramatist Ian Curteis, they divorced in 2001.

From 1965 to 1967, she worked at the Foreign Office. From 1967 to 1979, she was employed in a number of teaching posts before she became a writer full-time in 1980. In 1996 she was awarded the OBE for services to literature.She now lives alone in London.

A fuller Biography can be found on her website.


Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.



YouTube Video   Official Author Website    Joanna Trollope - Facebook Profile

Goodreads Author Profile   Amazon Author Page    Wikipedia - Joanna Trollope


Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble



Paperback: 376 pages.                                                                                                
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Publisher: Alma Books Ltd 2015
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentence: Prologue: There was no particular sense of urgency about the first call that had come in.
Favourite Quote: “It's funny how, when you look back on the big things that have happened in your life, you realize that there were small things you might have done which would completely have changed the course of events.” 
Review Quote: Chilling and suspenseful, rich and human. --Lee Child
My Opinion: All is far from what it seems in this macabre thriller. The story is based on family relationships and the tricks that memory can play on the human mind. At times it felt a little repetitive but overall I liked this, although certainly I would not have chosen to read The Insect Farm had it not been a book club choice. Recommended to readers that enjoy a psychological thriller, as this was certainly an intriguing read.  




Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:


An eerie debut suspense novel that explores how little one man may know his own brother--and his own mind.

The Maguire brothers each have their own driving, single-minded obsession. For Jonathan, it is his magnificent, talented, and desirable wife, Harriet. For Roger, it is the elaborate universe he has constructed in a shed in their parents' garden, populated by millions of tiny insects. While Jonathan's pursuit of Harriet leads him to feelings of jealousy and anguish, Roger's immersion in the world he has created reveals a capability and talent which are absent from his everyday life. 

Roger is known to all as a loving, protective, yet simple man, but the ever-growing complexity of the insect farm suggests that he is capable of far more than anyone believes. Following a series of strange and disturbing incidents, Jonathan begins to question every story he has ever been told about his brother--and if he has so completely misjudged Roger's mind, what else might he have overlooked about his family, and himself? 

The Insect Farm is a dramatic psychological thriller about the secrets we keep from those we love most, and the extent to which the people closest to us are also the most unknowable. In his astounding debut, Stuart Prebble guides us through haunting twists and jolting discoveries as a startling picture emerges: One of the Maguire brothers is a killer, and the other has no idea.



                            Video Trailer for 'The Insect Farm' Courtesy of YouTube




Audio Book Trailer for 'The Insect Farm' Courtesy of YouTube






Author Profile


Stuart Prebble, Author and TV Producer was born on April 15th 1951.  He has worked in television since he left Newcastle University. You can read more about him on his website




Photographs, Trailers and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

YouTube Video Trailer      YouTube Audio Trailer     Stuart Prebble - Wikipedia

Author's Official Website      Stuart Prebble - Twitter      Amazon Author Page