Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Maeve Binchy

I was really sorry to hear that Maeve Binchy had died, because she was a great influence in getting me started with writing.
One wet Bank Holiday weekend, we had our village fete, but it poured. It took twenty minutes to rush round and look at the stalls and then rush home to get dry again. However, Scarlet Feather had caught my eye on the second hand book stall and I bought it to take home and read and I loved it.
Being busy with a young family, I had only time to read on holidays, but now that they were older, although I still felt guilty at having some 'me time', I worked my way through all her novels, revelling in her magical stories. This led me on to trying other novelists like Joanne Harris and Anita Shreve, and soon I was thinking that maybe I could try writing myself. And so I did.
So thank you, Maeve, for all your wonderful stories.
Which is your favourite Maeve Binchy book?

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards is a beautiful book for summer reading.

I've just finished The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards, and it is one of the most beautiful books that I've ever read, and I'm only sorry that I couldn't fly out to the Finger Lakes Region in New York State where fictional town of The Lake of Dreams is set to take a more worthy picture for this blog.
The style reminds me of Anita Shreve, but it is deeper and more searching emotionally. Motifs such as dreams, glass, locks, people and places lost and found, are woven seemingly effortlessly into the story of Lucy who returns home to The Lake of Dreams to try to come to terms with the death of her father ten years before. However, she finds some clues in the old family house which lead her to her ancestor, Rose, who has been written out of the family history, and she is compelled to find out why.
Lucy's relationships also play a large part in the story: with her lover, her old boyfriend back at the lake, and with her family: her mother and brother; her uncle and her cousin. All come into play in solving the family mystery.
I haven't read The Memory Keeper's Daughter, also by Kim Edwards, yet, but I think I will in the near future.
Have you read either of these books? What did you think?
Have you been to the Finger Lakes?

Monday, 9 July 2012

Tweet Right by Nicola Morgan is the Sensible Person's Guide to Twitter!

I tweeted for the first time on February 26th 2012, and although Twitter tells me that I've tweeted 166 times since, I haven't been at all sure that I'm tweeting right, so this is why I recently downloaded Tweet Right by Nicola Morgan onto my Kindle.
Nicola takes you step by step through setting up on Twitter and tells you amongst other things about etiquette, blogging and finding followers. I now know the difference between DM (Direct Message) and DH (Darling Husband), so that can't be bad!
Although I read it through from beginning to end, I think that I'll use it for reference too.
My Twitter address is @jean_bull
I hope to hear from you soon!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Recipe for Life by Nicky Pellegrino is a Delicious Read on an Italian Holiday!

Two things - firstly I love finding novels set in the the places I visit and secondly, Italy always makes me think of lemons, so there are some in my photo.
As I said in my blog about The Midwife of Venice, I found it very difficult to find novels actually set in Venice, so the other book I took was Recipe for Life by Nicky Pellegrino, set in southern Italy, but that wasn't really a hardship!
It's a beautiful story told in alternate chapters about Alice, who has suffered an unspeakable trauma in her life and wants to become a chef to prove she can do something, and Babetta, an old Italian lady, who looks after the garden belonging to the mother of Alice's friend, Leila.
Gradually, over time the two ladies meet and their lives are changed eventually for the better.
Nicky Pellegrino loves food and loves writing about food and its preparation, both in the restaurants that Alice works in in London and in the lovely Villa Rosa in Italy.
"Already there was the sweet smell of frying onions leaking from the door. . .'
It makes me want to get out my Le Creuset and start chopping! There's plenty of love life for Alice: her old boyfriend, Charlie; Tonino, her boss and Lucio, his brother who runs a pizzeria in the fictitious town of Triento, and it is intriguing to work out which one she will end up with.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will look out for more by this author.
Have you read any Nicky Pellegrino novels?