Book Review: The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch

IMG_20191031_201121This novel surprised me in how much I enjoyed it. After a slightly shakey start where I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this novel after all, I suddenly found myself drawn into the intrigue going on in the château.

I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be part of the Duc’s House of mistresses, the rivalry and underhanded nastiness that went on would of had me running for the hills.

I disliked Charlotte immensely, though part of me sympathised with her, because who would want to share their husband with numerous mistresses who lived with you and were given everything you had just about. But her behaviour and later her actions, wiped any sympathy I had. I disliked Celine also, her behaviour and her willingness to do wrong in order to Parry favour with Charlotte was upsetting.

I enjoyed Henrietta’s character and unwillingness to be someone she wasn’t despite it putting her out of favour. I loved her daughter Solange, she was such fun and had a lovely soul.

Romain was an absolute rogue, but he had many redeeming characteristics that showed themselves as the story went on.

All in all this was an enjoyable read which had me turning pages past my bedtime to see what was going to happen in this nest of intrigue. The ending was pretty much exactly what I was hoping for. Be careful what you wish for and how you treat others.

Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Kate Murdoch for providing me with a copy of this book.

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Book Bingo Round 21: Literary

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The squares for this years book bingo have slowly been crossed off and now I’m down to the final few, a couple I know just what I’m going to read for, but there are still a few unknowns, especially Comedy, Non fiction book about an event and Themes of Justice, so if anyone has any suggestions for thiese squares, then please let me know in the comments.

Anyhow, on to this fortnights square Literary is being crossed off by Wearing Paper Dresses by Anne Brinsden. This square was slightly difficult as I don’t tend to read a lot of literary books. I have judged this one as literary because of the way it is written. 

My Review:

Anne Brinsden: Wearing Paper Dresses

This was a difficult read for me. I struggled with the narration style of the novel, it did nothing to draw me in and took a good 90 pages for me to get used to the style of narration and the ‘being told a story’ rather than feeling part of the story.

The prose was lyrical and at times it had some profound things to say such as “Because Marjorie saw that some people are chipped and damaged, cracked and frayed, exquisite and talented. But they care. They love whatever they can. In spite of their madness and their sadness, they still try. But some people are just mean bastards.”

But its lyrical way of being narrated didn’t work for me, I wasn’t really drawn into the story until nearly halfway and even then I wasn’t really enjoying it, just reading because I wanted to get to the end and find out what, if anything, happened. And really for a novel of nearly 400 pages, not too much did happen.

It is a story about mental illness, the struggles it can cause not just for the person suffering, but those who care for that person. Elise has a serious mental illness and this is the cause of a massive tragedy, it is also the cause of many smaller tragedies that affect her children, her husband, and her father-in-law. The people in the country weren’t particularly kind people, they were judgemental and cruel at times, and at others banded together, but often too late.

It’s definitely not a happy story and it mostly focuses on Marjorie who is at times cruel and unfeeling, but I think this can be related to the struggles of dealing with her mother.

Many people have thoroughly enjoyed this novel, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Thanks extended to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

New Release Book Review: Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel

Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Pan Macmillan Australia for supplying me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

IMG_20190715_094103This was an absolute delight to read. It was an emotional journey at times, that seemed to meander along, not saying a lot, but saying so much at the same time.

I adored 11-year-old Allegra, I loved the way she thought, she was a delight to get to know. I struggled along with her in the situation her grandmother’s had put her in, along with her father Rick. I could completely feel her having to split herself 3 ways to keep everyone happy.

I really liked Rick, I felt sad for him, that somehow he’d been pushed out of Allegra’s upbringing, like he was only there on the periphery, now and again being allowed to be her father. I was pleased when things started to turn around for him and he took some control. I love how Rick uses surfing to connect with his daughter and at times he had some very philosophical things to say.

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Allegra’s grandmother’s, Joy and Matilde, well they were two completely different people, their characters having a great impact on Allegra and how she was forming as a person. I never really took to Matilde, though I did gain understanding and respect for her along the way.

Joy is a woman’s libber as Allegra discovers and owns a penny turtle called Simone De Beauvoir, I’m interested in finding out more about Simone’s writing after reading this novel. Her fight to help women in trouble is inspiring.

There were some big secrets being kept from Allegra and some huge hurts that needed to be mended if life was going to allow Allegra to grow into her own person.

Allegra’s friend Patricia, her only true friend was inspirational and made such a difference to Allegra and the way she thought, she bought so much knowledge and insight, that Allegra may not have discovered without her. I loved that Allegra didn’t notice or care about any differences she may have had with her friend. Patricia is clever and insightful and is such a wonderful friend to Allegra.

Over the course of the story, there are many changes that happen to Allegra and her family, all of them for the better. I enjoyed the use of music throughout this novel, helping to enhance the message or set the mood. I have looked up many of the songs since reading the book.

I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a heartfelt read.

Book Review: The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley

Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Pan Macmillan Australia for a copy of this book to read and review.

IMG_20190706_210246Wow this was a massive book, over 600 pages! I wondered if I’d manage to get through it.

This was my first Lucinda Riley book and I’d heard so many great things about her novels and about this one, that it had a lot to live up to.

This was a great read, it did take until halfway through for me to feel I was really getting into the story, but once I got there, I didn’t want to put it down. It is another dual timeline novel, which seem to work so well these days. I found I enjoyed the now timeline more than the past timeline, I was able to really get into it and there were many many threads all weaving their way to become a whole.

To begin with I only really liked Posy, both past and present Posy, she was a great kid and a just as great older lady. But as the story moved on, most of the characters grew on me and I found myself hoping that things would work out for all of them. The only exception was Posy’s son, Sam, he was one character that I had absolutely no time for and seriously hoped he’d get what he deserved, and to a point he did, but I felt he deserved more lol.

There were plenty of secrets to uncover, a few really big ones. I have to say, I do get annoyed when characters won’t communicate with each other and Posy’s son Nick does just that with his girlfriend Tammy, so many misunderstandings could be avoided if he’d just manned up and told her what was going on, I felt he didn’t deserve the girl at one point, I thought it was ridiculous not to tell her what was going on. Authors seem to enjoy adding in this biplay between characters, I wish they didn’t though as I find it so frustrating.

Overall this was a highly enjoyable read and I’d give it 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐.