As I have shared with readers this year has seen a few challenges in my life including a pesky eye problem which I am told cannot be diagnosed or cured...because of lack of research...
After seeing a fair amount of doctors, I have been told to learn to live with 'it' as no change has been detected. Easier said than done, the original problem remains and it has taken a toll on life in more ways than I ever imagine. No complaints though, there is worse but it upset my one favourite pastime...you guessed it, READING!
It would appear I must alter my banner from 'Book Reviewer'...Sad!
Still, KINDLE has been a lifesaver as I can adjust the print (providing I can keep at bay the recurring headaches...).
Thus I have been able to enjoy a few good books (particularly as I have been flying a lot lately and layovers are sometimes lengthy).
So here are a couple of titles I would like to bring to your attention if you enjoy reading:
The House By The Dvina: A Russian Childhood by Eugenie Fraser
The House by the Dvina is the riveting story of two families separated in culture and geography but bound together by a Russian-Scottish marriage. It includes episodes as romantic and dramatic as any in fiction: the purchase by the author's great-grandfather of a peasant girl with whom he had fallen in love; the desperate sledge journey in the depths of winter made by her grandmother to intercede with Tsar Aleksandr II for her husband; the extraordinary courtship of her parents; and her Scottish granny being caught up in the abortive revolution of 1905.
Eugenie Fraser herself was brought up in Russia but was taken on visits to Scotland. She marvellously evokes a child's reactions to two totally different environments, sets of customs and family backgrounds, while the characters are beautifully drawn and splendidly memorable.
With the events of 1914 to 1920 - the war with Germany, the Revolution, the murder of the Tsar and the withdrawal of the Allied Intervention in the north - came the disintegration of Russia and of family life. The stark realities of hunger, deprivation and fear are sharply contrasted with the adventures of childhood. The reader shares the family's suspense and concern about the fates of its members and relives with Eugenie her final escape to Scotland.
In The House by the Dvina, Eugenie Fraser has vividly and poignantly portrayed a way of life that finally disappeared in violence and tragedy.
What I thought:
I have always been fascinated by the Russian history and particularly the events leading to its revolution. This beautifully written autobiography will capture your imagination with its romance and dramatic developments.
And it all starts with the author's great grandfather purchasing a peasant girl with whom he had fallen in love..
To note: the book includes many photos to recapture a world gone by!
One of the best books I have read lately and rating 5 stars!!
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
A big novel about a small town...
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?
The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.
I purchased this novel during a lengthy layover (that's what happens when you miss your flight!) and thought the story to be about Pagford, an idyllic village with colourful characters strolling amongst their cobbled market square, tending their little gardens etc...One look at the cover and I thought I was on a good thing...
Far from being the page turner I expected this one was disappointing. In fact it was hard to get into it and at 639 pages, more than I wanted to read. Those who are fans of the author and her work might well appreciate it but I can only declare it 'not my cup of tea'. I never bothered reading the Harry Potter series and fell asleep not one but twice through the movie...
To be noted: A movie was made of the book starring none other than the talented Michael Gambon so my suggestion is try that instead, it might make more sense!
I'll rate this one 3 stars!