Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Anita Burgh–The Person

This is a follow on from yesterdays post about The The Broken Gate. The information here is all taken from Video Google from an interview done for Chatshow Network show six years ago. There do not seem to be any copyright restrictions as it was available for embedding, so with thanks to them I am sharing by reproducing here this video and interview.
Anita Burgh has led a very interesting life, she was born the daughter of a housemaid and is now a Lady, do watch this video to learn more or read the interview below. It explains so much about where her inspiration for her novels really comes from.

This video is entitled part one but there was no sign of a follow up being available.
The happiest years of Anita Burgh's childhood, were the years during the second world war which she spent at Lanhydrock, Cornwall, the estate of Viscount Clifden. Anita describes her life there as idyllic and says "Lanhydrock was the entire world to me, a magical, wonderful, beautiful world." It was also a house and family stuck in a time warp, that of Victorian England and would prove to be an immense source of inspiration when, much later in life, Anita began writing novels, many of which are set in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. When Anita, whose origins were then considered to be quite lowly, married her husband, a member of the English aristocracy, it caused an outcry. In fact she had no idea until they became engaged, and she was taken to meet the family, that her fiance was the future Lord Burgh. They had met on a houseboat, albeit in Cheyne Walk and lived on kippers, so she had assumed that he was a penniless student. However, it was visiting the family estate in Scotland and where Anita encountered class distinctions, that was to prove invaluable material, when Anita came to write her first book. After watching an interview with a Mills and Boon author who earned £250,000 a year, Anita decided that would be the answer to all their financial problems. She sat the family down and said we had better write a best seller - three hours later she was the only one left and her career as a novelist had begun, because as Anita says "It was such fun". Since then she has written twenty novels and her latest "The Broken Gate", is the first part of a trilogy, so there are at least two more in the pipeline! Anita has overcome many difficulties, including problems on both sides of the family when she married, her father accused her of being a traitor, whilst his family looked down their noses at her and then the subsequent breakdown of the marriage. She has also overcome dyslexia, which is no mean feat for a novelist. Anita is in the rare position of having experienced life from "both sides of the tracks". She grew up listening to her mother and grandmother's stories of life in service and then her own marriage into the world aristocracy; all of which Anita draws upon in her writing and which makes for fascinating reading.   (Transcript from the video interview)
Now we know where and how Anita Burgh got her inspiration from for the twenty novels she has had published since she was fifty! What an interesting lady.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Broken Gate by Anita Burgh



Just like my previous review this is an author I have been reading for many years since 1994 in this case, when I read ‘Overtures’

‘The Broken Gate’ is the first in a trilogy and was published in 2004 but I have only recently managed to get hold of a copy via Bookmooch another great aid for obtaining books as an ex-pat. I will read the next two when they come my way but I will not be actively hunting them down, only because I already have a huge number of books waiting TBR (to be read). An enjoyable enough read but nothing spectacular, certainly not my favourite from this author. I would recommend this to fans of Anita Burgh who like me want to keep up to date with her work or fans of historical romance.

The Broken Gate the first volume in the trilogy covers just the year of 1901 in the life of the aristocratic Creswell family who have owned and loved on a country estate in Devon for over four hundred years. They are entering a time of economic and social changes with the start of a new century and there is bitter rivalry among family members. The year starts with the senior member of the family Mortimer Cresswell on his deathbed already fighting over their inheritance. His daughter Hannah seems to be the only member of the family aware of the damage this jealousy is causing amongst them. The situation worsens when a member of the new generation of self made men, Stanilas von Ehrlich buys an adjoining estate causing an inevitable feud which is exaggerated when his daughter Esmeralda falls in love with a member of the Cresswell household. The second son Oliver,certainly not suitable for his precious daughter.

The families hurtle along a collision course for impending disaster.


Anita Burgh Courtesy of Fantastic Fiction


Anita Burgh writes a Blog where she has recently written some posts on Looking Back and Readership with reference to her writing that make interesting reading. Her Official Website is also worth taking a look at for more information on the author and to find out more about the long list of novels she has written. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I first started reading Anita Burgh’s novels in 1994 and it is just her earlier work published prior to then that I have not read.

Anita has led a very interesting life which I would like to reproduce here, but as this post is already long enough I will save the rest for tomorrow and publish as an author profile.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy


Each chapter is written as episodes in the lives of the characters and it all seems to link together into a relaxing if not a somewhat predictable read. If you have read previous novels by this author you will also enjoy catching up with characters you met earlier and once again visiting the restaurant Quentins, also a title of one of Maeve Binchy’s earlier novels. It doesn't matter if you are new to this author though as it stands alone easily as well.

It is not a novel that I am gong to rave about and say how fantastic it is or anything but it definitely has a feel good factor about it, a novel to relax with on the beach or curled up next to a roaring fire.

There always seems to be a large cast of characters in Maeve Binchy’s novels and this is no exception. The story hinges around Clara Casey, a cardiac specialist as she takes charge of a newly opening heart clinic in Dublin. As well as meeting her family, two daughters Adi and Linda, her ex husband Alan there are the staff and patients at the clinic, as well as the old friends I mentioned from previous novels. They are all ordinary people with sorrows and joy in their everyday lives and as you read you find yourself drawn into the events that unfold. Nothing dramatic or particularly thrilling to keep you guessing but tales that just reach into the Hearts and Souls of the characters.


Photo and biographical info courtesy of Wikipedia

Born 28 May 1940 (age 70)
Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland


Please note besides these novels Maeve Binchy has also written a large number of short stories, novellas, non-fiction and a play.

I have been reading Maeve Binchy’s novels since the early 1980’s and have read all but one on the above list, The Lilac Bus from 1984. Her latest novel Minding Frankie was published on September 30th and I have already added it to my wishlist of titles.

To find out more about Maeve Binchy and her latest novel visit her Official Website.

The video I have included will tell you more about Heart and Soul.

knopfgroup | 17 February 2009 Maeve Binchy, beloved Irish author, explains the premise of her new novel, HEART AND SOUL.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Point of Rescue by Sophie Hannah



Just as enthralling as the previous two novels I have read by Sophie Hannah. I stayed awake far too late at night reading this. Again it is a psychological thriller and the police officers Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer from her previous novel are once again on the case. It does not matter though if you have not read ‘Little Face’ as apart from the reappearance of some of the characters in the police force the story is unconnected.

The protagonist is Sally Thorning, if only she had not lied to her husband in the first place, she may never have found herself cheating on him. The past and her lies catch up with her and she finds herself embroiled in the most sinister of situations. Sally is watching the television news about the suspicious death of a mother and daughter and it shows the woman’s husband one Mark Bretherick and gives details of where they live. Sally knows this is not the man calling himself by this name that she met previously. However for the time being she has to keep this to herself as her relationship with Mark was never revealed to her husband. 

I am reluctant to say more as I am always careful not to write spoilers. Yet I had a comment recently, not on this blog, that although I write interesting reviews I often give too much away about the story.  So, I will say no more other than I was completely surprised by the outcome of the murder, not what I was expecting at all.

If you have not yet discovered this author for yourself, I do recommend that you try her, especially if you are not a great fan of this genre, as normally neither am I.

Sophie HannahSophie Hannah

As well as writing psychological thrillers, Sophie Hannah is a bestselling poet and an award-winning short story writer. Her fifth collection of poetry, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 TS Eliot Award. She won first prize in the Daphne du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her psychological suspense story The Octopus Nest. Sophie is married and has two children. More information about Sophie can be found at Sophie Hannah Official Website

While doing my research for this post I discovered that these novels are currently being adapted television.

I am also posting links to my reviews for the last two novels as I thought some of you might be interested.

Little Face by Sophie Hannah

Hurting Distance by Sophie Hannah


Lincolnshire Echo | 14 September 2007 Interview with bestselling crime novelist Sophie Hannah about Hurting Distance.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Girls by Lori Lansens


The protagonists and narrators of this amazing novel are Rose and Ruby Darlen.  These two girls are not just twins but they are the oldest surviving con-joined twins They are approaching not just their thirtieth birthdays but also their impending deaths as Rose has been diagnosed with an aneurysm in the brain, which will inevitably kill them both. It could be at any time in the immediate future, no one knows. The only definite fact is that they will not live to be old. The girls are dealing with dying in different ways, Rose wants to write about it but Ruby just wants to talk especially to her twin.

It is the story of Ruby, Rose, Aunt Lovey, Uncle Stash, the Merkels and others as told mainly by Rose but sometimes by Ruby and is a very special tale of two sisters who may never have been able to look directly into each others eyes or climb a tree but in their short lifetime they certainly scaled a mountain.

It is written in the style of a memoir and could so easily have been the true story of two sisters. Their birth, adoption by a nurse that delivered them, their relationships with each other and those around them as they tackle life experiences growing up in rural Canada. As conjoined twins it was certainly not the easiest of childhoods and was fascinating enough to make it interesting to read how these two girls, joined at the cranium coped with everything life threw at them. The descriptions of their physical appearance as well as the out pouring of feelings makes you feel that by the end of the book you have actually met these amazing girls.

It was maybe a strange topic to base a novel round but Lori Lansens has made it work, unique as far as I know and worth reading. Although be warned it is particularly poignant in parts.  In fact even though I finished reading this a few weeks ago it is still haunting me and I have to remind myself that this was fiction and not an autobiography. It certainly felt like that because of the way it was written with high moments when they were so hopeful, followed by dreadful lows of despair. A distressing but worthwhile read.

Lori LansensLori Lansens

Copyright Photo © Laura Starks

The video I have included here is an excellent introduction to ‘The Girls’

Courtsey of garethwrites

Author Information Courtesy of Wikipedia

Lori Lansens was a successful screenwriter before she had her first novel ‘Rush Home road’ published in 2002. Translated into eight languages and published in eleven countries, it received rave reviews around the world, was a national bestseller in Canada and a Globe 100 Book of the Year. Whoopi Goldberg’s production company has optioned the film rights. Born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, Canada, where both of her novels are set, Lori Lansens now makes her home in Toronto, Canada.

Her third novel ‘The Wife’s Tale’ was published last year and it is definitely on my wish list.