Bridget Jones Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding: Book Review

DSCF1854It’s not often that I discard a book halfway through but I’m afraid that’s what happened to this one.  Bridget Jones, the character, and I are about the same age (fifty something) and when I was in my thirties, reading the first book, I could really identify with her, especially as I too have kept a diary all my adult life which charted my weight ups and downs (8st 2 fat!!! I wrote in 1986).   This book however just doesn’t hit the mark and I’m not sure why.  It’s as if the character has become a laughing stock, not the sensitive human being that Bridget was in the beginning.  Anyway, perhaps it was the absence of Mr D’Arcy (Mark is dead) or the same references to ‘mummy pants’ all these years down the line when the joke has been well and truly flogged, but I just couldn’t persevere with it and back to the book swap it went.  Maybe things are just better enjoyed first time round.

 

Rhidian Brook: The Aftermath – Book Review

This is one of those very special books that has the ability not only to move me, but to stay with me after I’ve read it.  Set in post war Germany, an army colonel is  posted to Hamburg to work on the de-Nazification and rebuilding process in the city.

This is a period in history which I’ve read little about, so it was shocking to discover just how poor living conditions were in Germany during those years.

The relationships in this book are beautifully drawn and I couldn’t help but feel for all the characters and the strange predicament in which they found themselves in such uncertain times.  There is love, lust and loss within the pages of this book and not one character is left emotionally unscathed by the aftermath of the war.

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It’s a fantastic read which I passed straight on to a friend who shares my taste in books.  If I was to compare it to another book I felt the same about, I’d say The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier and On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks.  If you liked these books, then get this one!

Wars Of The Roses: Stormbird Conn Iggulden

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Not a summer goes by without a dip into another book about the Wars of the Roses.  This one is a little different to my usual read as it’s written by a man – cue less romance and a bit more blood, gore and technical detail about battle than I probably need to know.  However, what makes it interesting is that it charts the reign of Henry VI in detail, which is often overlooked, and to be honest it’s the first book I think I’ve read about Henry VI that doesn’t go on to cover the Edward IV and Richard III story.    I’ve never read any Conn Iggulden before and I’m interested now to read his Rome series – so more book shopping on the horizon.

My Dear Bessie by Chris Barker and Bessie Moore: Book Review

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If you’re looking for a light hearted but absorbing beach read, then I recommend this book which I won via a Gransnet competition.

It’s a selection of real letters between two people written during the 1940s, both during and after WW2.  The couple, Chris and Bessie, start off as colleagues, but love blossoms through their letters and the whole romance is charted by increasingly loving and indeed sexual thoughts about one another.  What I loved was the way the mundane days of life in the army and at home are documented along with this constant yearning to be together.  It also gives an insight into what was expected of a wife post war!   I did raise an eyebrow at some of Chris’s comments on domestic arrangements, but then, it was another time and serves to show how things have changed.

A lovely read.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Review

I’ve had this book on my ‘must read’ list for a while and was expecting a ‘can’t put it down’ type of read.  Well, as it turns out, I could put it down very easily…and pick it up again without losing the thread.  No jumping around from past to present in this book, just a straightforward story of a boy, Theo, who experiences a shocking start to his teens which impacts the rest of his life.

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What I liked about the book was the way the author changes the narrating style so that you hear at first the voice of a youngster, then a young man, then a cynical grown up.  I found it a slow start, an enjoyable middle and a proper ending which didn’t feel contrived (as many do).

I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of art and furniture, but didn’t care for the gangster and drug parts of the plot (even though the story couldn’t exist without them).  The characters and relationships are well drawn and you care about Theo even as he becomes more wayward.

My verdict? Not gripping or dazzling as described by some, but nonetheless, a satisfying read.

The Girl In The Red Coat by Kate Hamer: Book Review

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I finished this book in record time as it was compulsive reading.  It’s about a missing child and is told from both mother and child’s perspective.

The mother’s story is sensitive and beautifully written, charting her struggle, as time passes with no sign of her daughter.

The child’s story is full of twists and turns, some of which I found hard to swallow as they were just too far fetched.

The conclusion left many questions unanswered and some of the themes that were introduced did not seem to be fully explored.

However, I still couldn’t put it down, so that rates it as a good read!