Archives for women’s fiction

It is National Adoption Week & ‘Ignoring Gravity’ is free today

This week in the UK it is National Adoption Week, October 16-22. To mark the occasion, today and tomorrow you can download Ignoring Gravity as a free book. Kindle only, at Amazon. Click the link below.  Read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Download now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: ‘Ignoring Gravity’ #NationalAdoptionWeek #freebooks http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2Q9 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Adoption, Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Download ‘Ignoring Gravity’, free book today

Download Ignoring Gravity, available as a free book today and tomorrow only at Amazon. Click the link below.  Read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Download now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Download ‘Ignoring Gravity’ #Kindle #freebooks http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2Q2 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Book review: Visions

Crammed with Eighties references from Margaret Thatcher, Echo & the Bunnymen and Jane Fonda aerobics to Laura Ashley décor, Visions quickly immerses you in the world of Eleanor Chapman. Visions is part two of Eleanor’s story which started in the 1970s in Beginnings and will ultimately end far into the future. ‘Same Face Different Place’ by Helen J Christmas is an ambitious thriller series focussing on a single gangland incident which has reverberations across the decades. It is a study of how to react to threats and violence, the nature of victimhood, and the power of fighting back. There are times in Visions when it covers old ground from book one, but nevertheless the story slowly reeled me in. After the events of Beginnings, Eleanor and her son Elijah live in a caravan in a Kent village, safe from the London criminals who threatened them. Their neighbours, James Barton-Wells and his children Avalon and William become close friends. However Westbourne House, the ancestral home of the Barton-Wells family, is crumbling. When the house is declared a ruin and the repairs too expensive for James to pay, a sinister property developer offers to help. All too soon, his nasty son and
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Why have I never heard of this book before? First published in 1938, Miss Pettigrew’s day starts when her employment agency sends her to the wrong address. What follows is twenty-four hours of epiphanies in which she learns about life, courtesy of a nightclub singer. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson was a revelation and has quickly claimed its place as one of my favourite novels. Miss Pettigrew is a governess, not a very good one, and finds herself forced to take jobs as a housemaid or looking after children she would rather not know. Then one day an error leads her to the apartment of Delysia LaFosse, a nightclub singer with a complicated love life. She tries to tell Miss LaFosse she has come about the job, but Miss LaFosse does not listen. As the story progresses, no children appear, but by now Miss Pettigrew is proving adept at solving Delysia’s small difficulties. On the surface, this is a frothy story of gowns, flirting, lipstick, negligées and men, suitable and unsuitable. Beneath the surface, it is a novel about throwing away the bounds of class and venturing into the unknown. It is about taking a deep
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: The Stars are Fire

I haven’t read anything by Anita Shreve for a very long time and I wonder why, because I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a fine example on how to write about someone experiencing difficult times, who is trapped and feels powerless, without being depressing. It is 1947 and the summer heat is blazing. Then the heat turns to drought and the drought turns to wildfire. On the coast of Maine, Grace Holland, five months pregnant, without a car and at home with her two toddlers, must run as the fire threatens to engulf her village. Her husband Gene is with other men, making a fire break. Grace, with her best friend Rosie and her children, run from the fire, taking refuge overnight at the beach. The next morning, their houses are ash, their village is burned. They are homeless, penniless and, though Rosie’s husband returns, Gene doesn’t. Grace must cope and in doing so she finds a new world opening up. A world which she had no idea existed. She becomes decisive and brave, she finds a home, a job and learns to drive. All of this validates her worth. With her mother, they fashion themselves a new life.
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: My Husband the Stranger

My Husband the Stranger by Rebecca Done is a difficult, depressing story about how the life of a newly married couple is changed when Alex, the husband, has an accident which changes his behaviour. Alex’s wife Molly finds herself living with a stranger who looks like the man she loved. This is a study of the emotional aftermath of living with someone with a brain injury. It is not a romance [as the cover style suggests] or a psychological thriller [as the cover blurb hints]. The story is told in alternating sections, Molly and Alex, then and now, as the story is told of how they met, married, their plans for a life together, and then the accident. The first half is slow reading, sometimes repetitive and emotionally-charged. The only thing that kept me reading was the belief that something had to happen soon. The story follows their daily life as Molly deals with a bullying boss and an ex-girlfriend of Alex’s who flirts with him and sends him text messages. Molly feels isolated but is too proud to admit it. When Alex sets fire to the kitchen he is rescued by a neighbour, an elderly lady who asks Molly
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: A Mother’s Secret

What a tangled web some families weave. A Mother’s Secret by Renita D’Silva is a fragrant tale of mothers and daughters stretching from England to India. Gaddehalli is a tiny village in Goa but I could smell the spices, hear the wind in the trees, and see the buffalos in the fields as if I was there. This novel about identity starts with a young girl, Durga, who must stay with her grandmother in Gaddehalli after an accident to her parents. The ruined mansion where she lives, which is avoided by the locals as haunted and full of bad luck, is the centre of this story. The modern-day strand follows Jaya, a young mother in England mourning the loss of her baby son and whose mother Sudha has recently died. Sudha was an emotionally-withdrawn mother, but when Jaya discovers some of her mother’s hidden possessions, including diaries, she pieces together the story of Sudha’s early life. Jaya is looking for the identity of her own father; she finds so much more. From the beginning, it is a guessing game: how is the story of Durga connected to Kali, Jaya and Sudha? Halfway through, all my ideas of the twist had
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: The Audacious Mendacity of Lily Green

As the title suggests, this tale by Shelley Weiner is about telling the truth and telling lies, a clever novel of social comment which made me smile frequently at the spot-on observations. Beneath the humour though, are layers of contradictions, degrees of untruths and some wicked humour. Lily Green is 34 and a virgin, both in terms of sexuality and deception [circumstances that seem a little unrealistic for her age, but stick with it]. Lily tells her domineering mother that she is engaged to be married, and the story takes off as Lily’s combination of innocence and intuitive reasoning kicks in. Her unsympathetic mother departs on a holiday with ‘the girls’ and once she is gone, Lily wonders who Eva really is. “… Lily had a sense of her mother in masquerade – a series of costumes in which she’d played suburban wife, then grieving widow, and now crone in glad rags. Were the outfits like onion leaves with nothing inside, or as now seemed fleetingly possible, was there someone real beneath the camouflage.” Just as Lily doesn’t know her mother, she also doesn’t know herself. She tears cuttings from women’s magazines – how to lose weight, how to cook
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: All Change

A leap forward in time; the fourth book in The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard left us in 1947 but this, the last in the series, runs from June 1956 to December 1958. Much has changed in the 11 years after VE Day: Queen Elizabeth succeeds to the throne after the death of her father King George VI, there are eight million refugees within Germany’s borders, President Eisenhower is elected. And in the world of the Cazalets, The Duchy dies. This final book is an examination of the nature of love that persists despite pain and trouble. The cousins experience difficulties in love – affairs, divorce, misguided attachments and betrayal – while their parents are fractured by the failure of the family timber business. Suddenly there is no money: houses must be sold, servants let go after years of service, meals cooked and houses cleaned without help. Family love persists through this dark time and, as throughout the war, the Cazalet family emerges out the other side, shaped differently for the next decade. Reading the last book in a well-loved series is always a mixed feeling: delight and loss. So it is with wonder that I consider how Elizabeth
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Casting Off

July 1945. Hugh Cazalet, after the death of his wife Sybil, now suffers another loss as Miss Pearson, his secretary for 23 years, resigns. But the end of the European war is in sight. By the end of Casting Off by Elizabeth Jane Howard, it is 1947, the war is over and there have been more engagements, marriages and divorces, births and deaths. The title refers not just to ending relationships, but to letting go of war-time life. This is more complicated than anticipated. Longing for something for so long, does not make it easy to live through when it happens. Change is challenging. Post-war life is not all it is expected to be, in some ways it is harder.  Though the privations of rationing continue, often harsher than during the war itself, possibilities for new life unfold like a flower in bloom. But there are no easy answers. The three cousins are grown-up– Polly, Louise and Clary now face life as young adults, their idealism tainted by the sadness and disappointments of war. But there are surprises in store for Clary, while the Cazalet brothers must make a business decision which affects the financial future of the whole family.
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Confusion

This, the third in the five-book series by Elizabeth Jane Howard which is The Cazalet Chronicles, covers March 1942 to July 1945, again we see the family’s experiences through the teenage eyes of Polly, Louise and Clary. Much has changed now as the war progresses, particularly affecting the role of women, the breakdown of class barriers, the empowerment of working women and educated poor. These books are quite a social history of a period which more often is the reserve of thrillers and spy novels. Elizabeth Jane Howard has a subtle hand when it comes to observing relationship, such as Polly’s observation after her mother’s death: “It was possible to believe that she was gone; it was their not ever coming back that was so difficult.” Confusion is in part a study of the grief of Polly and her father Hugh; and that of Clary and Neville, whose father Rupert has disappeared in action in France. Clary continues to believe her father is still alive, though the rest of the family quietly accepts his death. Then word from France brings a sliver of hope. Clary grieves for the father she remembers as a child, writing a daily diary for him, and
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Marking Time

September 2, 1939: Germany has invaded Poland and, for the Cazalet family in London and Sussex, war seems imminent. The story is told from 1939 to 1941 from the viewpoints of three Cazalet cousins, teenagers Polly, Louise and Clary. Marking Time is second in the five-book series The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard. We see them growing up quickly, forced to face war and death before their time, watch their parents struggle with ordinary life and relationships and health crises which continue despite the fighting. One day a German bomber crashes into a nearby field and Christopher, a pacifist, runs out to prevent the local men from shooting the injured Germans. Afterwards, Polly and Christopher go for a walk. Polly thinks “how odd it was that when one wanted everything to be good with somebody, one started not telling them everything.” They come to understand that their parents are not just parents, but people too with their own feelings and worries. Polly wonders if “concealment and deceit were a necessary part of human relationships. Because if they were, she was going to be pretty bad at them.” Louise is at acting school but struggles to play a character ‘in
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Kings and Queens

This is the first novel by Terry Tyler that I have read. It is the rollicking story of property developer Harry Lanchester. A property developer you may think, hardly your usual hero type? But he is not just any Harry, he is King Henry VIII updated to modern times. I started reading this after a heavyweight novel and being in need of light refreshment, and had already started then discarded one book on my Kindle after two pages.  This provided the page-turner my weary brain required, the story race along and is an ideal read for holidays, a long train or plane journey, or just when you want to cosset yourself. If you like Tudor-set novels, you will have fun with this. It is easy to work out that that Cathy is Catherine of Aragon and Annette Hever is Anne Boleyn, but I enjoyed recalling my Tudor history – and reading of Philippa Gregory novels – to work out the Tudor equivalent of the modern characters. Of course, as we know the story of Henry and his wives, we can work out what happens to Harry and his, though Tyler puts a modern twist on each story that draws you
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: The Lightning Tree

Ursula grows up in a house of mirrors and though she tries to avoid looking at her reflection, she cannot. So it is apt that she is the chameleon of this story, changing her appearance, her style, her clothing, so that as the years pass she seems a different person. The Lightning Tree by Emily Woof is the twin story of Ursula and Jerry. She lives in Jesmond, a nicer area of Newcastle, and through her childhood she passes close to Jerry, who grows up in a flat at the rougher Byker Wall. When they do meet, there is a connection. Their lives run in parallel, twisting and turning, sometimes together, other times far apart. It is a love story, and an un-love story. How it is to fall in love as an adolescent and then see that love challenged into maturity, changing priorities, changing values, changing circumstances. Jerry, his nose always in a book, goes to Oxford and seems destined for politics. Ursula, less academic, goes to India where she undergoes something of a ‘Marabar Caves’ experience which is not really explained and which I still didn’t understand at the end of the book. Interwoven with Ursula and Jerry’s stories is
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Categories: Book Love.

Liz Loves Books reviews ‘Ignoring Gravity’

“I was intrigued by this one, the starting point being adoption, as an adopted child myself it appealed to me for that reason. Plus the hint of mystery tempted me in and what I found was a really good read, some great characters and an often emotive look at family relationships,” says book reviewer Liz Wilkins at Liz Loves Books. Read Liz’s review in full by clicking here. To read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity, click here.   ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: ‘The hint of mystery tempted me in’ #bookreview by @Lizzy11268 via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1q2
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Kate Loveton reviews ‘Ignoring Gravity’

“Danby gives us characters who are flawed. Choices made were sometimes made foolishly… or selfishly… or blindly. Very human decisions made by very human characters,” says writer Kate Loveton at Odyssey of a Novice Writer. Read Kate’s review in full by clicking here. To read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity, click here.   ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Choices made foolishly, selfishly, or blindly: #bookreview by @KateLoveton http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1pv via @SandraDanby #books
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Suzy Turner reviews ‘Ignoring Gravity’

“I thoroughly enjoyed Ignoring Gravity. The depths of the relationships between the characters particularly set it apart although I thought Rose did seem to find (and fall in) love a little too easily. But other than that, it was a fabulous read. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat desperately wanting her to discover the truth in all the twists and turns throughout,” says author Suzy Turner of Fiction Dreams. Read Suzy’s review in full by clicking here. To read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity, click here. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: IGNORING GRAVITY #bookreview by @suzy_turner http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1py via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

A Woman’s Wisdom reviews ‘Ignoring Gravity’

“I really liked this story.  Sandra Danby deals with the emotions surrounding grief, adoption and infertility with a deep understanding of the emotions involved,” says book reviewer A Woman’s Wisdom. Read the review by A Woman’s Wisdom in full by clicking here. To read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity, click here. Buy Ignoring Gravity at Amazon UK and Amazon US.
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Cleopatra Loves Books reviews ‘Ignoring Gravity’

“I loved Rose’s desperation to find out more both through the diaries and by interviewing friends of her mother, again a reaction that felt natural. Even better the author allows the reader to put themselves into the character’s shoes, thereby allowing the reading to feel smooth without endless emphasis on how Rose is feeling, what she is thinking etc.” Read Cleo Bannisters’s review in full at Cleopatra Loves Books by clicking here. To read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity, click here. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: IGNORING GRAVITY #bookreview by @cleo_bannister http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1pn via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Small Girl Big Dreams reviews ‘Ignoring Gravity’

“From the very first page I was hooked. It started off exactly how you would expect it to – calm and simple – however, as the story unfolds we are introduced to a series of constant enigmas.” So says book blogger Small Girl Big Dreams. Read the review in full by clicking here. Read what other readers are saying about Ignoring Gravity. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: IGNORING GRAVITY #bookreview by @BigDreams1993 http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1pf via @SandraDanby  
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.