Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gone Travelling


              Keep Calm...


I am away for the rest of October and will not be posting any more Book Reviews until after my return. However I have left you with plenty of ideas over the last week, having finally caught up on writing and posting Book Reviews.

Hopefully you will find something of interest amongst this lot, do let me know.

Links to all of my October Book Reviews.

Reversing Over Liberace by Jane Lovering

Follies by Rosie Thomas

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

Ex-Pat Women Confessions by Andrea Martin

Coffee at Little Angels by Nadine Rose Larter

Economics of Ego Surplus by Paul Mcdonnold

Recipe For Life by Nicky Pellegrino

Trade Winds by Christina Courtenay

Happy Reading

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Trade Winds by Christina Courtenay



  • Paperback: 363 pages
  • Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction
  • Publisher: Penguin 2005
  • Source: Obtained via Bookmooch
  • First Sentences : ‘You have the devil’s own luck, Kinross, but it can’t last. Just one more throw of the dice and you’ll see I’m right.’
  • Review Quote:Courtenay has created a well-researched background for the romance ... And as the weather starts to turn here, it's a good book to snuggle up inside with. News of the World, October 3, 2010.
  • Awards: Short-listed for The Romantic Novelists' Association's Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction 2011.
  • My Opinion: It is novels like this one that are encouraging me to read more historical fiction than I used to.

    I have only recently been introduced to the writing of Christina Courtenay and that is because while I was reading other book blogs I came across a Prize Draw for The Scarlet Kimono another book of hers, it appealed to me, so I entered. What a lovely surprise it was when I won. Deciding to track down and read her earlier work first I obtained this copy of Trade Winds via Bookmooch.

    Just the sort of fiction I recommend reading if you are in the mood to be transported back not only in time but also to a far away place. It is novels like this one that are encouraging me to read more historical fiction than I used to.

    Reading the Authors notes at the beginning of the novel it appears that Christina Courtenay has done her research well for this novel basing it on the Swedish East India Company’s first journey to China in 1732. The protagonists of the story Jess van Sandt, Killian Kinross and their family and friends are all fictitious. However Colin Campbell and other crew members named in the novel were real people, whose lives she researched to enable her to write this realistic portrayal of a daring journey to the Far East. 

    The novel opens with Killian Ross a handsome Scot and professional gambler having a win that allows him to make dramatic changes to his life. Already disinherited by his grandfather Killian decides to leave his past behind in Scotland and try a to build a new life for himself in Sweden. It is in Gothenburg that he meets up with feisty Jess van Sendt, who on meeting Killian decides he might be just the man to help her prove that her stepfather is trying to do her out of her rightful inheritance. Killian is learning the art of trading in her family business and makes plans to join an expedition to the Far East. At first Jess finds Killian immensely irritating and he seems to find her just as infuriating. Intrigued with each other, Jess comes up with a plan for Killian to help her get possession of what is rightly hers. However I do not intend to spoil the story by telling you any more other than it does not quite work out the way Jess plans.

    This is a delightful story with two well developed main characters that come to life, as you get to know them. It is a good read with plenty of love and adventure that will take you away to times past for a few satisfying hours.


  • About ”Trade Winds” Reproduced Courtesy of Author's Official Website

    “Trade Winds” is a historical romance set in Sweden and China.  It is loosely based on the Swedish East India Company’s first journey to the Far East in 1732, but when I first started writing it, I had no idea this was going to be the case.

    Ideas for stories can come to an author in many ways – they might be triggered by seeing a picture, hearing a snatch of conversation, noticing a scent or reading something that catches your interest.  Usually, for me, one particular thing will make a scene form in my mind, but with this novel I was inspired in two very different ways.

    First of all, in May 2007 the Swedish ship “Götheborg” anchored in London for a couple of weeks, which was exciting to me (a) because I’m half Swedish and (b) because it’s not often you get to see huge sailing ships these days.  The “Götheborg” is an exact replica of one of the ships used by the Swedish East India Company to sail to China in the eighteenth century.  It had been on a journey to Canton and was on its way home.  Members of the public were allowed to go on board and have a look around, so I took the opportunity to do so.  It was fascinating and I couldn’t believe how cramped conditions must have been for the poor sailors in the 18th century.  They were truly brave men!  (For more information and some photos, please click here)  Out of curiosity, I began to read more about the Swedish East India Company, and the idea for my story took root.

    The second thing that inspired me was a music video – “Call Me When You’re Sober” by the American band Evanescence.  The video for this song is based on the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, but the wolf in this instance is a handsome young man who looks wicked and mischievous.  He happened to be dressed in old-fashioned clothing, which fits in with my historical writing, and this fired my imagination.  The beautiful singer of the band, Amy Lee, was of course Little Red Riding Hood and although she appears timid and naive at the beginning of the video, she starts to assert herself and ultimately triumphs over the wolf/young man because he is enthralled by her.  I decided my heroine had to be just as feisty.  (If you want to watch the video of “Call Me When You’re Sober” you can find it on YouTube at

    The wolf guy became Killian Kinross, a Scotsman who travels to Gothenburg in the hope of making his fortune.  Once there, he meets Jessamijn van Sandt, a girl who is being swindled out of her inheritance by her step-father.  They join forces for their mutual benefit and eventually end up together on the ship Friedericus Rex Sueciae bound for Canton.  This turns out to be an eventful journey in many ways, not least emotionally, and they have to overcome numerous obstacles before all ends well.

    If you would like to read an extract, please click here.

    Photo and Biography – Amazon

    Christina Courtenay lives in London and is married with two children. Although born in England, she is half Swedish and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan and she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East and other parts of the world.

    Christina is a committee member of the Romantic Novelists' Association. She has won two of their prizes - the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy for a historical short story in 2001 and the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2006. She has had several Regency novellas published by DC Thomson's 'My Weekly Pocket Novel' series, two of which have also been sold to large print.

    Her hobbies include genealogy, archaeology (the armchair variety), listening to loud rock music and collecting things.

    Christina Courtenay’s Novels

    The Scarlet Kimono is already on my bookshelves courtesy of me winning a signed copy in a Prize Draw, but I wanted to track down and read a copy of Trade Winds first. I prefer to read an author’s work in order or writing/publication if possible. I am planning to read The Scarlet Kimono very soon as on November 1st her new book Highland Storms will be published. I have of course added the title to My Wishlist already.

    Biographical and other information including photos and videos are courtesy of the following websites and from the paperback itself.

    Official Website - Christina Courtenay

    Amazon Author Profile

    Facebook - Christina Courtenay

  • Friday, October 7, 2011

    Recipe For Life by Nicky Pellegrino


    I have decided to post this today instead of on my return from our travels, as a tribute to Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011 as by coincidence he is quoted in the book as you will see if you read on. An amazing and erudite man that will be sorely missed but leaves us a lot to remember him by.

    Steve Jobs.

           Italy in Books - Reading Challenge 2011


  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Genre: Women’s Fiction
  • Publisher: Orion Books 2010
  • Source: Sent to me by another blogger Maggie of Normandy Life
  • First Sentence : ‘At Villa Rosa there was an old dog barking in the garden, running between the straggle of artichokes, chasing a bird as though he was still a puppy.’
  • Quote that Starts Part One: “Your time is limited so don’t waste it leading someone else’s life” Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple Inc.
  • Review Quote : ‘Set against a backdrop of love, life and friendship, the description of Italian food will make your mouth water.’ Cosmopolitan.
  • My Opinion: A pleasure to lose myself in for a few hours.




    The October post for the list of books that the other people taking part are reading this month has already been posted. October Reviews

  • A blogging friend of mine Maggie from Normandy Life joined this challenge after reading about it on my blog. I enjoyed her review of Recipe For Life which you can read here and in response she kindly sent her copy to me.

    This is the first title by this author that I have read and I doubt it will be the last as I believe they are all set in Italy. Although I am already here living the dream it was a pleasure to lose myself in the setting for this delightful novel for a few hours. A very relaxing read and the sights and smells felt almost real, it is obvious that the author knows those sights and smells for herself and is passionate about Italy.

    The story is told by the two main female characters, Alice and Babetta in alternating chapters. Alice a young British girl has had a traumatic incident in her life which has caused her to drop out of university and for her whole life to change direction. She wants to make the most of her life but seems somewhat confused as to how to go about this. The other protagonist is Babetta the typical Italian mama figure who has spent her life tending to her family’s needs. Babetta is feeling lost as her husband seems to have lost his zest for life. leaving her feeling useless.           One summer these vastly different women are brought together, thanks to the beautiful Villa Rosa. Despite not being able to communicate easily, cooking and growing fresh food enables these two women to build a special relationship.

    If you are passionate about Italy then there is no doubt you will enjoy this story. There is a lot of romance but there is also so much more as our protagonist discovers that life’s lessons are certainly not learnt easily.


    Nicky Pellegrino - New Zealand AuthorImage credit: New Zealand Woman's Weekly.

    Biographical Information

    Nicky Pellegrino was born in Liverpool on January 01 1964 but spent childhood summers staying with her family in southern Italy. A shy, tall, gingery child she never really fitted in with her exuberant Italian cousins and had a tendency to stay quiet and observe things.

    When Nicky started writing fiction it was her memories of those summers in Italy that came flooding back and flavoured her stories: the passions, the feuds but most of all the food.

    Nicky now lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband Carne (and yes she does find it slightly odd being married to a man whose name means “meat” in Italian), her large poodles and her even larger chestnut horse.

    She works as a freelance journalist, has weekly columns in the Herald on Sunday newspaper and the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly and her novels are distributed in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and have been translated into 12 languages.

    She loves cooking for friends, drinking red wine, walking on New Zealand’s amazing beaches, riding her horse through the forest and lying in bed reading other people’s novels.


    The TV advert played in New Zealand to promote  ‘Recipe for Life’

    Uploaded by AlisonHachette on May 4, 2010

    Nicky Pellegrino discusses her novel ‘Recipe for Life.’

    Uploaded by orionbooks on Mar 18, 2010


    Information, photo and video used in this post is with thanks to the following websites.

  • Nicky Pellegrino - Official Author Website

  • Goodreads Profile

  • YouTube - Nicky Pellegrino



    I also post these ‘Italy in Books’ reviews on my other blog
    News From Italy

  • Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Economics of Ego Surplus by Paul McDonnold



  • Paperback: 233 pages
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Publisher: Starving Analyst Press 2010
  • Source: Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
  • First Sentence : ‘ Chaotic and shimmering, the waters of the Arabian gulf danced in the twelve foot tall pane of glass that served as the conference room’s western wall.
  • Review Quote : ‘For those readers who already think most economics is fiction, perhaps this is the way to go.’ The Sunday Times.
  • My Opinion:  I read over 200 pages before I came across anything I considered to be exciting action!


    When the author approached me to see if I would review this title for him I have to say I was apprehensive as checking out the following summary from Goodreads I was not sure if it was going to be to my taste.

    ‘Part action novel, part literary novel, part guidebook to economics, The Economics of Ego Surplus is the story of college instructor Kyle Linwood. Anticipating a relaxing summer with his girlfriend and his PhD dissertation, he gets recruited by the FBI to help with an obscure case of terrorist internet "chatter," which explodes into a shocking, mysterious assault on U.S. financial markets. As the economy melts down and a nation panics, Kyle follows a trail of clues from Dallas to New York City to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In his quest to discover the truth, he will be forced to confront the assumptions underlying his education as well as his life. But will it be enough to save America from the most brilliant terrorist plot ever conceived?’

    When I received my copy my interest was piqued when the back cover stated that this was ‘A Suspenseful and literate thriller that weaves heart stopping action with thoughtful discussion of economic ideas and a global financial catastrophe that is so scary because it is so plausible’. After an initially promising start I soon found it was dragging and  I read over 200 pages before I came across anything I considered to be exciting action!

    The protagonist is Kyle Linwood a college lecturer who gets recruited by the FBI to help with an investigation into a possible attack on the American financial markets, aka economic terrorism. he gets caught up in the investigation that takes him from Dallas and New York to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Will his discoveries be enough to save America from this deadly plot?  Whilst it was an ok read and I learnt a little about economics I would have liked to have seen the adventure plot developed much earlier in the novel.

    The idea of of an economic sabotage of the economy is I think a horrifyingly plausible possibility but for my personal enjoyment there was too much of the ‘guidebook to economics’ spoiling what could have been a great suspense thriller.  So I think if you are a fan of suspense thrillers you may find this a little disappointing.

    Paul McDonnald

    Press Release from the Publisher:-

    How a Homework Assignment Turned Into a Novel

    DALLAS, TX – November 10, 2010 – People are fascinated by the economy – just look at the stories that fill the typical news cycle. Unfortunately the subject’s complexity creates a sizable gap between fascination and understanding. A new novel published by the Starving Analyst Press, The Economics of Ego Surplus, aims to entertain readers while bridging this gap. 

    The author, Paul McDonnold, is a former college economics instructor who now earns his living as a freelance writer. Well published in nonfiction markets and the co author of a traditional economics textbook, his passion for the novel comes through when he speaks of its genesis. “It’s never easy to get students interested in economics. Several years ago I gave my class a homework assignment in the form of a fictional story. A terrorist attack was being planned against the U.S. economy and the assignment required figuring out the plot and using economic policy to foil it. The reaction I got from the students was so positive I decided to take the concept further. That’s when work on the novel began.” He goes on to say that the novel is not intended to be a systematic treatment of economics, but does incorporate a simplified overview of a number of the topics one would see in a typical economics-101-type course. “I decided early on that this would be a novel first. I wanted to write something that anyone would enjoy reading, not just economics students. So I let the action of the story drive everything, including any economic concepts that were explained.”

    More information and a free download of the first 54 pages of the novel can be found at

    You can also find out more about the author on his Official Website



  • Coffee at Little Angels by Nadine Rose Larter





  • Ebook: 188 pages
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Publisher:  Katalina Playroom     May 2011
  • Source: Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
  • First Sentence : ‘I went jogging on the morning that I died.’
  • Review Quote : ‘If there was a prize for enthusiasm, then Nadine would win hands down.’ Yvonne "Fiction Books @ Amazon.
  • My Opinion: . In my humble opinion she could do so much better.

    This is not a plot driven novel, but a series of narratives from the surviving seven friends of a close knit college group, trying to come to terms with the death of the eighth member of the group.  Sadly it did not really work for me and was not at all what I expected. I always try not to judge a book by it’s cover but this one gave me quite the wrong impression! The title also threw me off course with my expectations as Little Angels is a coffee shop owned by one of the characters and time is spent there, but it really isn't the focal point of the book.  I was expecting something centred around this group of friends that made me feel sad but good about their friendships. Instead I got a thoroughly confused jumble of first person perspectives from the remaining seven about their relationships with each other, which jumped about so often I never fully understood what was going on. This led to constant checking back to remind me who was who, not so easy either when you are reading an eBook!

    Set in South Africa, the eight protagonists all grew up together in a small town and have all gone their separate ways after leaving school. When one of their group is killed they all return ‘home’ for the funeral. In the few days they are all together again we hear from them individually about the lives, emotions and interactions amongst the eight. There were certainly a lot of complicated and unresolved issues. They have come home to mourn their friend, but bring secrets from the past with them and are forced to deal with because of this unexpected death. The feelings they have at this time are painfully realistic.

    Sadly though the book  has left no  lasting impression on me, which is a shame as I feel overall it had the potential to be so much more. The idea of a group of friends reuniting for the funeral was a good one but I feel the potential was wasted. I hope the author will not be too dispirited by my comments as I feel she has done well to achieve as much as she has and that she will take on board the good and the bad criticisms about her writing, with an eye to the future. In my humble opinion she could do so much better.


     Nadine Rose Larter was born in a small South African town called Molteno. She is currently living in Port Elizabeth South Africa. When she is not writing or thinking about writing, she is a mother, wife and messy housekeeper. Her favourite things include blogging, coffee, cupcakes and the occasional brush with sarcasm. Coffee at Little Angels is her first novel. The information about the author is copied from the eBook.

    You can find out more about Nadine on her website The Katalina Playroom  or on her Goodreads Profile.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Expat Women: Confessions - 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad by Andrea Martins and Victoria Hepworth


                                         Expat Women: Confessions - 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad

  • eBook:  274 pages
  • Genre:   Non fiction Factual
  • Publisher: Expat Women Enterprises Pty Ltd
  • Source: Provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
  • Review Quote : "A must for anyone who is, has been or will be an expat!"Peggy Love, GMS, CERP, President, FIGT (Families in Global Transition)
  • My Opinion: Valuable resource for Ex-pats

    I am sure this book is a valuable resource of information for Ex Pat Women in general, just not for me.  I do not really fit into any of the categories, except as an ‘Empty Nester’.  Whilst it was not of use to me I still found it made for an interesting insight into the problems that others may face.  Although I visit the Expat Women Website I am not familiar with the Confessions column which is I believe where the majority of the material in this book first appeared.

    Moving to a new country although an exciting experience can be hard, inspiration and guidance with various problems can be found if you read the stories of the women, whose real life questions are used as the basis for the book. The subjects covered are very varied and include subjects such as the language barrier, raising children, death, divorce and so on; including advice on the different sorts of documentation that may be required.

    If you are about to become an ex-pat for the first time or you are already living abroad but having problems settling in, then this book is probably of interest to you. If nothing else you will realise that you are not alone and that your queries and problems have already been experienced by thousands of women before you!  There is certainly plenty of practical, sensible and helpful advice to be found within this, for want of a better description, little manual of advice for Ex Pat Women.

    Image of Andrea MartinsAndrea Martins

    Andrea Martins is an Australian who has lived in Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, and at the beach on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Her experience as an expatriate comes from three years in Jakarta, Indonesia, four years in Mexico City, Mexico, and now nearly two years in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her French-born, Portuguese-Australian husband and two children.
    Since Expat Women was started in 2006, Andrea has dedicated her work life to building the site into the treasure chest of information and inspiration that it is today.

    Image of Victoria HepworthVictoria Hepworth

    Victoria is originally from New Zealand and has been living the expatriate life since 1996. So far she has lived in Miyazaki, Japan; Shanghai, China; St Petersburg, Russia; Gothenburg, Sweden; Mumbai, India and is currently located in Dubai with her English husband and two young daughters. She has always been an active member in the various expatriate communities she has lived in. setting up support groups (LifeLine Shanghai), business networks (Professional Women's Group Gothenburg) and working online with various global expatriate support initiatives.

    Biographical information and author photos are with courtesy of the Authors profile pages on where you will find fuller profiles.

    More can be also be learnt about the organisation by visiting the website Expat Women

  • Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell



  • Paperback: 245 pages
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Publisher: Headline 2006 
  • Source: A surprise from another Bookcrosser
  • First Sentence : ‘Let us begin with two girls at a dance.’
  • A Favourite Quote: "We are all, Esme decides, just vessels through which identities pass: we are lent features, gestures, habits, then we hand them on. Nothing is our own. We begin in the world as anagrams of our antecedents".
  • Review Quote : The novel is brilliant in every way . Maggie O'Farrell has written a taut, fragile mystery of relationships and deception. --Literary Review
  • My Opinion: Enjoyable but disturbing.


    Very short and therefore for me anyway a quick read. Although it was an enjoyable read it is also disturbing. I know it is fiction but it left me wondering how families were able to treat members that did not conform to the norms of society in such a way. How an earth did they justify their actions.

    Esme Lennox had a troubled childhood and had she been born in our modern day era she would certainly never have been treated in such an appalling way. She is sent to an asylum in the 1930’s by her parents who have found her somewhat eccentric behaviour impossible to deal with any longer!   Some sixty years later it was decided to close such asylums and residents were released into the community, with the guidance of relations if possible. Enter the other protagonist Iris Lockhart who did not even know of the existence of her great aunt Esme until she is contacted as the next of kin. Her initial reaction is not surprisingly to steer clear of any involvement with a person she has never met. Curiosity however makes Iris decide to meet Esme and inevitably she finds that she does care about what is going to happen to her. After all she is her great aunt and she does not seem to be a lunatic. As they get to know each other Iris discovers that Esme is able to tell her things about her family that she had absolutely no idea about. for instance Iris had no idea that her own mother Kit, the third narrator in the story, even had a sister. Iris’s complicated modern life shows just how much times have changed for single young women since the thirties. Iris has the freedom to live her life as she wishes with behaviour that would have been frowned upon in the era when Esme was sent away for less.

  • A very sad story of familial deception with an ending that left me wondering about its abruptness, but I think this is probably what the author intended

  • Maggie O'FarrellAuthor photo

    Maggie O’Farrell was born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland in 1972, and grew up in Wales and Scotland. She now lives in London with her family. An author of  contemporary fiction, who features in Waterstones' 25 Authors for the Future. It is possible to identify several common themes in her novels - the relationship between sisters is one, another is loss and the psychological impact of those losses on the lives of her characters.


    Maggie O'Farrell - Official Website

    Goodreads Profile - Maggie O'Farrell Where the author photo and biographical information is from.

    This is the fourth novel I have read by Maggie O’Farrell and the most interesting, here is the link to my earlier review of The Distance Between Us.

  • Monday, October 3, 2011

    The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison




  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Publisher: Alma Books ltd 2009 
  • Source: A surprise from another Bookcrosser
  • First Sentence : ‘Prologue May 1964, My dearest, Of all the many people we met in a lifetime, it is strange that so many of us find ourselves in thrall to one particular person.’
  • Review Quote : “Without question one of the best debuts I have read in recent years” John Boyne, author.
  • My Opinion: Impressive first novel.

    If you decide to read this be prepared for an emotional read in this impressive first novel which tackles in a very atmospheric way the coming of age story of a young girl evacuated during WWII. Anna is constantly searching for love and acceptance, whilst surrounded by others that fail to communicate with each other. I found myself at times urging the characters to talk to each other.

    Anna Sands is eight years old in August 1939 when with England on the brink of war she is evacuated from London to a large Yorkshire estate. The home of Elizabeth and Thomas Ashton is turned into both home and school for the evacuees that this childless couple welcome into their lives. Drawn into their unhappy relationship Anna finds herself coping not only with her own feelings of loss and survival, but also those of Thomas who becomes a mentor of sorts to her.

    The characters will certainly be with me for awhile and the title is certainly very apt. I looked up the words of the song of the same title "The very thought of you, and I forget to do those little ordinary things that everyone ought to do....".

    Love can be so cruel is to me the haunting memory that reading this moving novel reminds me. Not just a love story, but a story about love. As one of my favourite books this year I certainly recommend this one.

    Rosie AlisonAuthor photo

    Rosie Alison was born in 1964, grew up in Yorkshire, and read English at Keble College, Oxford. She spent ten years directing television documentaries before becoming a film producer at Heyday Films. She is married with two daughters and lives in London. Her debut novel THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU (2009), which made it onto the Amazon Rising Stars shortlist and was longlisted for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year and the Prince Maurice Prize 2010, was shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction.

    Author photo and biographical information courtesy of authors Goodreads Profile 

    If you are interested in learning more about Rosie Alison, I  found an interesting interview. Almabooks Author Interview - Rosie Alison 

  • Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Follies by Rosie Thomas




  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Genre: Womens Fiction
  • Publisher: January 1st 2004 by Arrow Books Ltd (first published 1983)
  • Source: Bookmooch
  • First Sentence : ‘In a moment she would see it.’
  • Review Quote : ‘A special talent’ The Times
  • My Opinion:  A long standing favourite author.


    I am a long time fan of the writing of this author. In fact I have been reading her novels for nearly thirty years,gulp can it really be that long! A writer whose style of writing is now appealing to a new generation of young women.

    ‘Follies’ was originally published in 1983 but for some reason I never got around to reading it  then. It was republished in 2004 and I was delighted to track a copy down on Bookmooch a few months ago. It is three years since I last read one of her novels and although this one might be considered a little dated it reminded me of how much I enjoy her writing. I must catch up on the rest of her back titles that remain unread as soon as I can. Her writing makes you feel you are living in the setting of the book with the characters as friends, ‘Follies’ was no exception.

    The story set in the 1980’s is about three modern young women, students at Oxford University.  Reading this you need to remember that at the time this was written the protagonists Helen, Chloe and Pansy were typical of the era, although their behaviour might seem dated to younger readers, it does ring true. Young women then did seem to be dominated much more so by the men in their lives than they would be nowadays.

    Together for one unforgettable year, the girls share a time of mixed emotions and friendships.

    Whilst it might not be a particularly memorable read, for me it was perfect transportation to a city I like and an era I recall well, perfect reading for a summer afternoon, well written womens fiction.

    Rosie ThomasAuthor photo

    Rosie Thomas is a writer, currently living in London. Her numerous novels, several of them top ten bestsellers, deal with the common themes of love and loss.
    Rosie Thomas is the author of a number of celebrated novels, including the bestsellers Sun at Midnight, Iris and Ruby and Constance. Once she was established as a writer and her children were grown, she discovered a love of travelling and mountaineering. She has climbed in the Alps and the Himalayas, competed in the Peking to Paris car rally, spent time on a tiny Bulgarian research station in Antarctica and travelled the silk road through Asia. She lives in London.

    Author photograph and biographical information courtesy of her Goodreads Profile

  • Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Reversing Over Liberace by Jane Lovering

                                 Reversing Over Liberace

  • Paperback: 295 pages
  • Genre : Romantic Contemporary Fiction
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd 2008
  • Source: Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
  • First Sentence : ‘My Grandfather’s left me his nose. It’s in a matchbox.’
  • Review Quote : ‘ A laugh out loud story about Willow Cayton searching for the right man while trying to work out the meaning of her grandfather's inheritance: a nose in a matchbox. It's a light and entertaining tale that's full of surprises and wonderful characters.’ by reviewer Molasses Jones for
  • My Opinion: I doubt I would have chosen this myself, as the title did not attract me at all. I am therefore pleased that the author took the time to introduce me to her writing as she is very humorous and I look forward to reading more of her work.  
    A heroine who is literally sick if she finds a man attractive and a nose as a legacy, really does this sound like my sort of book? Well when I first started out I did not think so either, but this comedy of errors grew on me. It is not a great literary masterpiece but I do not think that was what the author intended anyway. She has written a very funny story though at times I found it a little farcical for my personal taste. The title I also find far from appealing and would never have picked it to read.
    It is the sort of comedy that I can imagine would translate well to television sit com status, no real memorable action but lots of laughs. The protagonist is Willow, the sibling whose family depend on her, although she seems to be incredibly naive. A lot of the time making me feel I wanted to shake her, I mean are there really people that are physically sick from nerves all over people they fancy!!  Quirky characters, awkward situations and laugh out loud lines kept me reading. The reader realises a long time before Willow that she is being taken for a fool and I needed to know if she got her revenge in the end.
    An easy read for a summer afternoon that will appeal to those looking for (to quote the back cover) ‘a funny touching story of a woman in search of revenge and getting what she needs, rather than what she thinks she wants.
    I am grateful to Jane Lovering for encouraging me to read and review her work by kindly sending me three of her published titles. I am certainly looking forward to reading the next two and I have added Star Struck to My Wishlist.

    Star Struck
    Star Struck   1 Sept 2011
    Please Don't Stop The Music
    Please Don't Stop The Music  31 Jan 2011
    Slightly Foxed
    Slightly Foxed   5 Aug 2008
    Reversing Over Liberace
    Reversing Over Liberace 17 July 2007

                                                                Author Photo from Facebook

    Text From Jane Lovering Author Profile at Amazon
    Jane was, presumably, born, although everyone concerned denies all knowledge. However there is evidence that her early years were spent in Devon (she can still talk like a pirate under the right conditions) and of her subsequent removal to Yorkshire under a sack and sedation.
    She now lives in North Yorkshire, where she writes romantic comedies and labours under the tragic misapprehension that Johnny Depp is coming for her any day now. She is prevented from running away to join either Johnny or a circus by her five children, four cats and two dogs, and her husband.
    Jane's likes include marshmallows, the smell of cucumbers, words beginning with B, the smell of the understairs cupboard, and Doctor Who. She writes with her laptop balanced on her knees whilst lying on her bed, and her children have been brought up to believe that real food has a high carbon content. And a kind of amorphous shape.
    Not unlike Jane herself, come to think of it.
    You can find out more about Jane ( should you wish to, of course) from her blog and website at
    The following link will take you to her Blogger Profile also amusing reading.
    Information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites.
    Facebook Page - Jane Lovering
    Jane Lovering - From Behind The Keyboard
    Amazon Author Profile Page
    Jane Lovering a Choc Lit Author