Book Review One Life My Mother’s Story by Kate Grenville

One Life: My Mother’s Story 

Kate Grenville

Nance was a week short of her sixth birthday when she and Frank were roused out of bed in the dark and lifted into the buggy, squashed in with bedding, the cooking pots rattling around in the back, and her mother shouting back towards the house: Goodbye, Rothsay, I hope I never see you again!

When Kate Grenville’s mother died she left behind many fragments of memoir. These were the starting point for One Life, the story of a woman whose life spanned a century of tumult and change. In many ways Nance’s story echoes that of many mothers and grandmothers, for whom the spectacular shifts of the twentieth century offered a path to new freedoms and choices. In other ways Nance was exceptional. In an era when women were expected to have no ambitions beyond the domestic, she ran successful businesses as a registered pharmacist, laid the bricks for the family home, and discovered her husband’s secret life as a revolutionary.

One Life is an act of great imaginative sympathy, a daughter’s intimate account of the patterns in her mother’s life. It is a deeply moving homage by one of Australia’s finest writers.

Comments

We enjoyed most of this story, but there was a lot of repetition about some aspects, such as her life as an apprentice at the shop, family issues, which boy to pursue and some of the politics.

We thought the writing style was a bit unsophisticated but think that Kate Grenville was trying to express things using her mother’s voice and expressions since it was her mother’s story.

The second half of the book dragged a bit and we couldn’t understand her reaction on finding out about her husband’s affair since she’d had one herself with their good friend.

It showed how hard it was for women in unhappy marriages to leave when they had children and no way of supporting themselves.

Overall, we thought it showed how far the role of women has come in the workforce. We had never considered the challenges faced around childcare in a time when there was nothing established outside family help. She certainly had courage setting up her businesses and helping to build the house. Nance was an impressive woman for her time.

Wishing readers happy summer reading, from the Dundas Readers.

Group Rating 7/10

Book Review The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

The Word is Murder – Anthony Horowitz

Description

She Planned Her Own Funeral. But Did She Arrange Her Murder?

A wealthy woman strangled six hours after she’s arranged her own funeral.
A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own.
A reluctant author drawn into a story he can’t control.
What do they have in common?

Unexpected death, an unsolved mystery and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz’s page-turning new thriller.

Comments

This was a little “take-it-or-leave-it” for our group unfortunately.

There were some interesting characters and the behind-the-scenes insight into how a detective works seemed like a good idea.  However, we found it very slow to start with, and the author being part of the story was too distracting for some of our readers.

It did keep us guessing till the end with a great twist revealing who the murderer was that pulled us all back in a little.

Rating 6/10

Read by – Cultcha Club

Book Review: Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

The Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Summary

It all begins with a correspondence between two quite different women: 28-year-old Sara from Haninge, Sweden, and 65-year-old Amy from Broken Wheel, Iowa. After two years of exchanging books, letters and thoughts on the meaning of literature and life, Sara, who has never been anywhere in her life, decides it’s time to visit Amy. But when she gets there, she finds her friend’s house empty, Amy’s funeral guests just heading home…So, Sara finds herself all alone. But what choice do the inhabitants of Broken Wheel have but to take care of their bewildered tourist? And what choice does Sara have, faced with a growing desire to honour her friend and her beloved little town, but to set up her perfect bookshop with all the books she and Amy shared – from Joyce Carol Oates and Iris Murdoch to Bridget Jones and Little House on the Prairie?

 

Comments

As our first read together the “Dundas Readers” had a mixed response to Swedish author Katarina Bivald’s first novel, “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend”. In our initial meeting in July we had selected this novel because of its quirky title and its suggested study of relationships.

Most of us felt we could recommend it as a light read although the characters were not fully developed and the small USA town of Broken Wheel and its neighbouring town of Hope were in some ways unrealistic.

The author’s style in using letters from Amy to her Swedish pen pal Sara was successful in introducing Amy to us, who otherwise is not alive at the time of the story.

On a scale of 1-10 we gave it a 6.

 

Read by – Dundas Readers

Book Review: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Summary

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor reveals they could live another 68 years together… and panic sets in. They never expected ‘until death do us part’ to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring.

But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakeable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that questions some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all…

Comments

We had some mixed reviews from within our group with this one.  While some didn’t like, others LOVED it.  It was a slow starter, but definitely improved as it went along.  We really enjoyed the ending.  It surprised us, after we felt some parts of the story were a little predictable.  The book gave us a few laughs, with the ‘surprises’ the couple cooked up for each other.  We really loved the next-door neighbour, Tilda’s character and her scenes with Sylvie.  All-in-all, while it wasn’t our favourite Sophie Kinsella read, we did enjoy it.  Another good, easy read.  A perfect book for a holiday read.

6.5/10

Read by – Cultcha Club