Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes is full of treasures. And great news about a new release!

The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes is many stories in one and, rather like the shop itself, it's full of treasures. Susanna Peacock runs the Emporium, but it's also about her parents Vivi and Douglas; Athene Forster, nicknamed the 'Last Deb' in the Sixties, and her reckless life; and Jessie, a young outward-going young mother who helps Susanna make a go of her business.
Jojo is very clever at making up a cast for her novels, and to read them is always like watching a film in my head. This book is no exception and the action takes place at the main locations of the Emporium and the family estate run by Douglas and his son, Ben.
There is also the added spice of Alejandro, a midwife, who has left his native Argentina because of the troubles there to make a new life in England and is a regular at the cafe in the shop.
Susanna doesn't fit into her family and feels that her sister, Lucy, and Ben are favoured more than her. However, her father lets her and her husband, Neil, live in a cottage on the farm, because he's lost his job. She doesn't feel ready to have a child yet because of her dream of owning a shop and making an identity for herself, so Neil agrees to her running it for a year, if she will then try for a baby.
However, she's attracted to Alexjandro, who is friendly to both her and Jessie, with distastrous consequences.
I had to keep reading to find out what Susanna would do next and also uncover the family secret which has been the root of her unhappiness.
Reading this book means that I have read all of Jojo's books apart from the novella, Paris for One, for which there's really no excuse! However, the big news for all her fans is that the sequel to Me Before You, called After You, will be out on September 24th 2015!
I can't wait!
Which is your favourite Jojo Moyes book?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Snowdrops and Writing

February is the month for snowdrops. Hidden, peeping out from under trees and bushes, you can hardly see them, but they herald the end of snow and winter, and hint of the yellow daffodils and bright tulips that are yet to come.
These snowdrops were given to me by a friend and nestle at the bottom of a giant Christmas tree, planted about fifty years ago in the garden by the previous owners and, protected through the cold weather by the brown curly leaves of summer, they represent re-growth.
Perhaps, writing is like that.  Sometimes it is hard to begin to write; life gets in the way. But all the time, just like the little snowdrop bulbs, ideas are pushing away under the surface, nurtured by the life itself and its experiences and suddenly burst forth urging to be written down.
Have snowdrops, or other spring flowers inspired you to write?

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Missing Dancing on Ice? Read Torvill and Dean's autobiography - Our Life on Ice instead!

Sunday evenings this winter aren't the same without Dancing on Ice. Settling down with a Winter Pimms and some twisty cheese straws for a couple of hours with our favourite celebrity skaters was bliss.
But no longer, 2014 was the last series, and for the moment Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean have hung up their skates (but not before we went to see their Final Live Tour at Wembley Arena!)
However, I was excited to receive their autobiography Torvill and Dean Our Life on Ice for Christmas with their trademark sparkly purple cover! Actually written by James Hogg, an established ghost-writer and biographer for sports and entertainment: the two spheres well-represented by this skating couple who not only won Olympic Gold for Bolero in Sarajevo in 1984, but since then have danced professionally on ice in many world tours and shows.
It is written in a documentary style with Jayne and Chris mostly separately, but sometimes together, talking about their childhood, their beginnings on ice and how they were put together as a pair one cold Thursday morning at Nottingham ice rink. They mention their mentors, such as Betty Callaway, and how their amateur career developed culminating in that unforgettable Olympic win.
They talk about their special working relationship, and their marriages to others. However, if you want to find out if they really had that romance that the media seemed to think they were hiding, you'll have to read the book!