Book Club Reviews

There is just no stopping our Dundas Readers Book Club, they really are reading machines!

Last month the Dundas Readers read one of our hugely popular kits ‘A Gentleman in Moscow‘. Which I admit I have been wanting to read for a year or more, ever since the ‘Happy Bookers’ club recommended it as one of their all-time favourites.

Hope you enjoy reading what the Dundas Readers thought of their latest read!

Happy Reading!

Jody

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Book Club Reviews

As most of our book clubs have started to meet again in some capacity, either online, in cafes or in their homes I thought it would be nice to share with you some of their book reviews.

The Cultcha Club book club recently read ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo‘ by Christy Lefteri and rated it a solid 6/10.

Our Dundas Readers just finished reading ‘The Umbrian Supper Club‘ by Marlena de Blasi which they rated 5/10.

You can read both clubs comments below.

Enjoy!

Jody

Cultcha Club – ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo‘ by Christy Lefteri

Nuri, a beekeeper, struggling to hold onto hope as he leaves war torn Syria, with his wife, Afra, blind from the horrors she has seen.  We follow their journey as refugees as they attempt to make their way to England, seeking asylum, hoping to reunite with his cousin. 

This book is beautifully written despite its tragedy.  Hauntingly beautiful, at times blurring the lines of reality.  While this book is fiction, it felt incredibly real and as if we were reading a personal account.  We watch the couple not only struggle with the physical journey, but also their relationship and finding hope and happiness after all they have endured due to things beyond their control.  While the writing is lovely, and the writer knows her subject well, we felt the story lost its way a little in the middle. 

Dundas Readers – ‘The Umbrian Supper Club‘ by Marlena de Blasi

Our library book club choice. A small group of mainly elderly Italians meet each Thursday night for supper. Previously their leader Miranda has cooked for them but as she is aging they begin sharing the meal preparations. Food is the predominant obsession for these people and it is an inextricable element of their culture and everyday lives. Over food and wine, in seemingly endless quantities, five of the women in particular share intimate life stories.

The book is well written but the enormous amount of often repetitive details about food began to be quite nauseating. Nevertheless, if you’re interested in Italian food and culture I think you’d enjoy it and might even be tempted to try making one of the many recipes at the back of the book.

Book Reviews: The Nowhere Child & The Sunday Story Club

The Nowhere Child

Christian White

I think it is fair to say ‘The Nowhere Child’ was my favourite pick from May’s two titles. If that makes me biased, then so be it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so that I finished it in one sitting. Yep, that’s right. I sat down one Saturday morning and didn’t stop reading until I finished it that night. ‘The Nowhere Child’ not only had suspense,it also provided you with a back story, giving you an invested interest in the characters story and how it would turn out.

I am totally hooked on Christian White now, and have already finished ‘The Wife and the Widow‘ and enjoyed it even more I think. Maybe the setting had something to do with this, I could almost feel the cold while reading.

‘The Nowhere Child’ is a 4/5 stars for me!

The Sunday Story Club

Doris Brett and Kerry Cue

‘The Sunday Story Club’ is full of heartfelt, true stories from regular women who have experienced incredible events in their lifetimes. Doris Brett and Kerry Cue, somehow make you feel like you are actually inviting this group of people into your home becoming a member of their ‘Club’.

You will laugh, and you will cry as you share these women’s stories. A book you will enjoy and want to share with anyone who will listen!

4/5 stars!

Hope you enjoyed May’s picks as much as I did.

Look out for June’s Pick later this week!

Happy Reading!

Jody

Book Reviews Alice to Prague and The Mother-in-Law

Alice to Prague

Tanya Heaslip

A Parra Reads Book Club title for May 2020. ‘Alice to Prague’ was one of two titles picked for our newly established online book club and it was an enjoyable read!  

In it, Tanya shares her personal experiences as she leaves behind her life as a lawyer in Alice Springs to teach English in the Czech Republic. With no prior teaching experience or grasp of the language, Tanya certainly shows us she is a person of considerable determination with an unstoppable strength of spirit.

Alice to Prague is a well-rounded read with a good balance of ‘something for everyone’ through the story. History and travel, a life adventure and even love.

Well worth a read!

Keep an eye out for Tanya’s new book ‘An Alice Girl’

Jody

The Mother-in-Law

Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth’s ‘The Mother-in-Law’ is one of those reads that grabs you from the first page, and doesn’t let go. Told from two points of view, daughter-in-law Lucy, and mother-in-law Diana, and spanning alternate timelines, it is fast-paced and engaging.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is extremely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying her son Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for. Diana is picture perfect. The pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. And yet, while Lucy tries time and again to please her, Diana remains cold and distant.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something…

Creating a character that you both love and hate is never an easy feat, but Sally Hepworth manages to do just that. I found myself conflicted, changing my opinion of Diana constantly between chapters, which is refreshing. In fact, I liked the nuanced character of Diana more than I did Lucy. As Sally Hepworth peeled back the details of the experiences that shaped her personality I wanted more. She seemed very reflective of the time in which she was born, and recognisable.

While people expecting to read a thriller might find themselves disappointed, I found the book to be an ideal mix of thriller and domestic drama.

A must read!

Jody

The Land Before Avocado, Book Review

THE LAND BEFORE AVOCADO BY RICHARD GLOVER

A funny and frank look at the way Australia used to be – and just how far we have come.

‘It was simpler time’. We had more fun back then’. ‘Everyone could afford a house’.

There’s plenty of nostalgia right now for the Australia of the past, but what was it really like?

In The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover takes a journey to an almost unrecognisable Australia. It’s a vivid portrait of a quite peculiar land: a place that is scary and weird, dangerous and incomprehensible, and, now and then, surprisingly appealing.

It’s the Australia of his childhood. The Australia of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Let’s break the news now: they didn’t have avocado.

It’s a place of funny clothing and food that was appalling, but amusingly so. It is also the land of staggeringly awful attitudes – often enshrined in law – towards anybody who didn’t fit in.

The Land Before Avocado will make you laugh and cry, feel angry and inspired. And leave you wondering how bizarre things were, not so long ago.

Most of all, it will make you realise how far we’ve come – and how much further we can go.

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