Tag Archive | books

The man from St Petersburg by Ken Follett

Ken Follett is a master storyteller. This is a historical thriller, a spy story, set just before the outbreak of war in 1914, but it is also about the lives of key political figures and the nobility, about class, and the social order of the time, including the suffragette movement.

When Churchill charges Stephen, the earl of Walden, with the task of trying to negotiate a treaty with Russia, through his Russian wife’s nephew, Prince Orlov, he is reluctant to undertake the assignment, but he eventually agrees.

A Russian anarchist, Feliks, arrives in England determined to assassinate the prince before he signs the treaty, and it becomes a cat and mouse game between Feliks, Walden and the police. But it becomes a more complicated story when Walden’s wife, Lydia, and his daughter, Charlotte, become passionately involved.

There are a number of coincidences in the story, but the author handles them in such a masterful way that you are happy to believe in them.

I found myself unable to guess  the ending , for Feliks is an often sympathetic character, in spite of his criminal intent and determination to kill the prince.
In the end Ken Follett ends it all in a satisfactory way.

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Reviews Count!

I was in a coffee lounge having morning coffee with a group of friends when a woman I had met briefly before came up to me.

I’ve read two of your books now, and I really enjoyed them,’ she told me.

You might think that’s not uncommon for an author to hear, but for me it changed a pleasant outing into a special morning. To be told  your work has given a reader pleasure is the ultimate satisfaction for any writer.

It made me think about the importance of book reviews, for both readers and writers.

For readers, an assessment by someone else who has read a book, showing their like or dislike of a story, can be a helpful guide in choosing whether a book is worthy of the investment in time takes to read it. Of course, a book review is subjective – no book can please every reader. But it is a signpost, pointing in one direction or another.

For a writer it is also a guide. Do readers like my work?  Do they hate it? The answers to that question can make or break a writer’s confidence. For a novice writer it is acutely important.

I remember well when my first book,  Inheritance, was published. I had written it and re-written it many times, until it was as good as, I believed, it could be, but as a beginner in the world of writing and publishing I was full of doubt. Was it any good?  I had been fortunate to find a publisher willing to take a chance on an unknown writer, but what would the world of readers think of my offering? This was my big test. Could I really write? It was with trepidation that I waited for the first review. When it came, from Aussie Authors,  I was shocked.

I reprint the review here:

Inheritance – by Kate Loveday is listed as a “romance mystery novel yet the book is so much more.BgpI3riCIAAwoyC

It is the story of young Cassandra Taylor who inherits a cattle property from her uncle. The property – Yallandoo – in Northern Queensland, though suffering from the long-term effects of the drought, is in dire need of Cassie’s wholehearted efforts to keep it self-sustaining.

The male interest – Mark Pierce – is a man who comes with his own set of personal issues and a child in tow while attempting to woo Cassie into selling him Yallandoo for his own business development purposes.

If the story ended there it would be a typical romance novel yet the author has incorporated so much more into this book. Apart from Cassie’s childhood memories and emotional bond with the property and the staff who run the cattle station, the girl has a feel for the land, the rainforest areas, the aboriginal heritage and the descendants who still remain, now working for Yallandoo.

With lots of characters, each with their own personality, perspective, and in some cases – agendas, Kate has done a terrific job of weaving them all together.

Overall I found the book compelling. Kate Loveday has a wonderful talent for getting into each and every character’s head and telling the story from their point of view. The different twists and turns in the story retain the reader’s interest while not all the outcomes are as one would expect!

A very believable story; one that draws the reader in and leaves them feeling as though they have not only met these people but have really managed to get to know them all, very well.

With her first novel ‘Inheritance’ Kate Loveday has created a fantastic read. I for one, applaud her wonderful talent. Great work! Can’t wait for her next book! I give it 5 Inkwells.   Reviewed by Sarah Cook

I had never expected such a glowing reception!

This review gave my confidence the boost it needed, and encouraged me to continue writing. I have always been grateful that Sarah Cook took the time to read and review my book. It encouraged me to continue down the path of writing, whch has brought me so much pleasure and satisfaction. I(nheritance went onto receive an ‘honourable mention’ in the Hollywood book awards 2013)

So next time you read a book that you enjoy, perhaps you will take the time to write a review. It could mean a great deal to another reader – or an author.

https://amzn.to/2vStAhI

http://www.kateloveday.com

 

 

 

 

Review of Paper Daisies by Kim Kelly

This book is set in 1900, a time of Federation in Australia, and a time when women had few rights or choices in their lives, although they were agitating for the vote.

Berylda Jones has just come home to Bathurst from university in Sydney. She is thrilled that she has been accepted into the course for Medicine next year, and is looking forward to seeing her sister Greta after her absence. However, she  is dreading being back under the domination of their sadistic and brutal Uncle Alec, a surgeon and prominent figure in the town. Berylda is a strong character, and when she realises how bad things are for her sister at home she determines to take action to free them both from their uncle’s control.

Ben Wilberry is a gentle botanist who is grieving deeply over the loss of his mother. His promise to her that he will search for a particular flower brings him to Bathurst, and into Berylda’s life. He falls in love with Berylda, but in his unassuming way he is unsure if she is interested in him.

The story is told in alternating chapters from these two character’s points of view, and there is a great deal of introspection from both Berylda and Ben.

I found the continuing story compulsive reading as Berylda dragged me into her story, and into her deliberations over whether or not she can carry out her desperate plan to save Greta from further harm.

The themes of the story are misogyny, and the moral dilemma of whether two wrongs can make a right. I found it a book to make you look at your own moral values and wonder what you would do in Berylda’s situation.

The author’s note at the end of the story is interesting.

Review of Daughters of theDragon by William Andrews

 

This was a history lesson for me. I had heard Korean women were taken and used by the Japanese in World War Two as sex slaves, or comfort women as they called them, but I had no idea of the horrific way they were treated., or that they numbered more than 100,000. William Andrews has done his research well and.although fiction, this book is based on reality, and is a heart -rending story. The latter part of the book also looks at the political side of the division between north and south Korea, which I found interesting.

The story is told in flashbacks by Mrs Hong, a former comfort woman, as she tells her story to her granddaughter, Anna.

The story has some flaws. I found the character of Anna, the American/Korean girl on a visit to Korea,  weak and almost superfluous. Also the writing was not always good, mainly in the present day situation with Anna.

But for all of that I found the story riveting. It is a part of history that I believe has not been widely reported. I give it four stars.

 

Review of Dear Mrs Bird

This book is a little gem. I picked it up expecting it to be a light, funny, possible witty read. It is all that, but so much more. It is set in London in 1940. Bombs are falling, air raids are almost nightly. People go about their business as usual as is possible when they know they might find their house, or even their whole street, demolished when they leave the air raid shelter.Emmy Lake is a young woman who wants to Do Her Bit. As well as working in a legal office she is a volunteer helping to man the phones in the auxiliary fire service at nights, but she dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent. When she sees an advertisement for a junior position in a London paper she applies and gets the job.

She is dismayed to find that instead of being involved in Important News she is merely typist to the extremely intimidating Henrietta Bird, an advice columnist, or ‘agony aunt’, on the paper. Mrs Bird will not answer any queries that she deems to contain Unpleasantness, which includes any requests for advice on Relationships or, heaven forbid, SEX. It is Emmy’s job to open Mrs Bird’s mail and she is forced to cut up these Unpleasant query letters and dispose of them without even showing them to Henrietta.

When Emmy reads letters from women who are Lonely while their husbands or boy friends are Away Fighting, or who may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men and found themselves in trouble, or who have other intimate problems, she worries about them and decides to reply to them herself, with unexpected results.

Emmy and her friend Bunty are appealing characters that you can’t help loving as they Make The Best of these appalling times.
This story is funny, witty, moving and poignant. I read it over a weekend and loved it.

The Trophy Wife

Why would I write a story about domestic violence?trophy final

Because it’s a subject that’s pertinent to all women worldwide, and I care about what’s happening. Domestic violence is a dark blot on humanity.

No country, culture or social level is free from violence against women. It can take the form of physical violence, sexual violence, or verbal violence. Most of this violence is intimate partner violence.

The statistics are shocking.

According to the World Health organisation about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.

Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime.

Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.
On average, in Australia, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner, according to the most recent analysis of homicide statistics in this country.

These are just the physical statistics. What can’t be accurately assessed is the emotional trauma experienced by the victims. Many women never fully recover – certainly none can ever forget their experiences. The realisation that they are in an abusive relationship causes women to experience emotional and psychological feelings akin to bereavement – and indeed it is a bereavement in a way, for it’s the death of a relationship. They struggle to come to terms with shock and grief at the loss of a partnership they  entered into with such love and high hopes, and they experience a loss of confidence and self esteem.

Some women keep silent about the abuse, for many reasons. Shame is high on the list, for what woman would wish to reveal her partner has hit her? So they cover up the bruises and make excuses. Almost all women want to leave such a relationship, but it’s not always easy, or possible, to walk away.

However, research and my own personal observations make me believe it is possible for a woman to have a life after experiencing domestic violence. For women who are strong enough to make the break and leave there can be a way forward. It is possible to learn to love and trust again.

In past generations abuse was often hidden, swept under the carpet.

But what about the women of today?

It was with this thought in mind that I first contemplated writing the story of a young woman who marries the man she loves, and then becomes a victim of his abuse. How would she handle the situation? How would she feel? Would she try to make the best of the marriage, or would she leave? Could she leave? If she did, how would she cope with the practical reality, both financially and emotionally?

In my mind was born Erin McDonald, a young woman of today. I got to know her very well. I learnt how she thought – how she felt – how she reacted to new situations. We were friends for a long time before I wove her story. But hers is not a story of gloom and doom. It’s a story about reinventing yourself, and the intrigues of Fate. It contains violence, but it’s a story of love, friendship, disillusion, and retribution, as Erin strives to change her life.

Meet The Trophy Wife…

It seemed as if it would be a fairy tale existence…

Erin McDonald is young, attractive, and unworldly.

Giles Brightman is wealthy, successful, and looking for a pretty wife.

Aden Marlowe is a lawyer, hard-working, compassionate, and unhappy.

Giles charms Erin, sweeps her off her feet and makes her feel like a princess. But slowly Giles’ dark side emerges. As the fairytale fades Erin knows she must get away. But he won’t let her go easily.
With little money of her own, and a platinum Amex card, she develops an audacious plan to give her a second chance – at Giles’ expense!

Aden is captivated from the start, but Aden has a secret.

Can Erin forge a new life? Could a new life also lead to a new love?

Links to purchase your copy:
http://www.kateloveday.com/trophy.html

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/805050

Famous Women in History

Women who were never boring- always awesome

These are famous women from history. Some were known for their beauty, some for their scandalous love affairs, and others for what they achieved in their lives. But they all had one thing in common. They were strong, independent women – women of spirit who weren’t afraid to take a chance. They grabbed life with both hands and to Hell with the rest of the world!

EVE

Eve-lgn

 

She was the one who started it all! She took a bite out of an apple that a serpent gave her and passed it to Adam, thereby creating original sin. It is because of her that women throughout time have been blamed for being seductresses.

A role model for ever?

 

 

CLEOPATRACleopatra-VII

Cleopatra ruled ancient Egypt for almost three decades. Well-educated and clever, she was a dominant ruler. Both her love affairs and military pacts with the Roman leaders, both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, as well as her striking beauty and powers of seduction, have earned her a lasting place in history.

The true love story of Antony and Cleopatra, two powerful figures, is intriguing and moving, and one of the great love stories of all times. They fell in love at first sight, and their relationship gave the country of Egypt great power. But their love affair angered the Romans, who were wary of the growing powers of the Egyptians. Despite all the threats, Antony and Cleopatra married. While he was fighting a battle against the Romans, Antony got false news of Cleopatra’s death. Devastated, he fell on his sword. When Cleopatra learned about Antony’s death she was broken hearted, and took her own life by means of an asp bite on August 12, 30 BC.

 What a woman!

JOAN OF ARC

In 1424, at the age of 13, Jeanne d’Arc, an illiterate French shepherdess began having visions, in which Saint Margaret, Saint Catherine, and Saint Michael told Joan, as she was known in English, she must support King Charles VII and help rid France of the English. At the head of her troops Joan led them to capture first Orleans, then Rheims, Paris, and many other towns in an effort to free France from the English.

While the French lauded her for her accomplishments, the English declared her a heretic. Joan was captured eventually by the Burgundians, allies of the English, to whom they traded her for money. The English put her on trial, quickly convicted her and sentenced her to death.

On May 30, 1431, at the age of 19, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for her crimes against the English. In 1456, Pope Callixtux III declared that Joan was innocent of her crimes; at this time, she became a martyr. In 1909, Joan of Arc was beatified, meaning she was accorded the power to intervene on behalf of those who prayed in her name. In 1920, she was canonized, which is an official declaration of Sainthood.

A French heroine, brave beyond belief!

Queen Elizabeth 1st

Queen Elizabeth 1st ruled England from 1558 – 1603, and left us with an amazing picture of a glittering time of excitement and achievement. The Queen, larger than life as she inspired her people, was at the centre of it all.

Her father was the notorious King Henry the Eight, who had six wives. Elizabeth was the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded for suspected adultery and other trumped-up crimes, when Elizabeth was only three years old.

 

Elizabeth ruled wisely and fairly for forty five years, taking advice from her council of learned men, but going her own way. In spite of pressure from her advisers she refused to ever marry, and became known as the ‘Virgin Queen’. However, she loved the attention of  her devoted courtiers, and was rumoured to have affairs – particularly with her favourite, Robert, Lord Dudley who, it is believed, was her one true love, and, in later years, with Robert Devereux, the young earl of Essex.

 

She was a diplomatic ruler who restored the Church of England and eased tensions between England and France, and England thrived throughout her reign.

 

In an age when women were considered inferior to men, Elizabeth was a glorious exception.

 

Mae West

A 1930’s Hollywood sex symbol, Mae West was assertive in an age when women were supposed to be submissive; she was openly bawdy when respectability was the order of the day.

She began her career as a child star in vaudeville, and later went on to write her own plays, including “SEX”, for which she was arrested and sentenced to 10 days in jail for ‘corrupting the morals of youth.’ She got her first part in the movies in 1932, and with her first film she became a box-office smash hit, breaking all sorts of attendance records.

 

The controversy aroused by the sexy content in her first two films resulted in the studios establishing the Motion Picture Production Code, which regulated what content could be shown or said in pictures. After this she used ’double talk’, which could be interpreted in two ways, to get around the censorship rules.

 

Although she only appeared in 12 films, as well as spending much time on the stage, she had a powerful impact on the public. She was way ahead of her time with her sexual innuendos and the way she made fun of the puritanical society of the day.

She once quipped, ‘You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.’

 

She made sex her tool of trade, when women were supposed to be ladies.

 

Amy Johnson

 

In 1930 Amy Johnson was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia, and she set a string of other records throughout her career. She was regarded as one of the most inspirational women of the twentieth century.

She worked as a typist for a firm of solicitors until, at a loose end one Sunday afternoon, she made her way to Stag Lane Aerodrome in North London. She was enthralled by the primitive biplanes taking off and landing, and began to spend all her spare time at the aerodrome. She gained a ground engineer’s licence and took flying lessons, and in 1929 she was awarded her pilot’s licence.

Amy left Croydon Airport on  May 5th 1930 to fly solo from England to Australia. She was in a second-hand Gipsy Moth called Jason, with no radio link with the ground or reliable information about the weather. Her maps were basic but she had plotted the most direct route – simply by placing a ruler on the map. This took her over some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain and meant she had to fly in the open cockpit for at least eight hours at a time. In spite of a forced landing in a sandstorm in the Iraq desert she reached India in a record six days, and suddenly she was world famous. She became called the “British Girl Lindbergh”, “Wonderful Miss Johnson” and “The Lone Girl Flyer”.

When she ran into a monsoon near Rangoon a bumpy landing ripped a hole in Jason’s wing and damaged its propeller. A local technical institute repaired the wing and Amy landed in Australia on Saturday, May 24th  to tumultuous crowds. Over the next six weeks she was treated like a superstar. Women asked their hairdressers for an ‘Amy Johnson wave’ and at least ten songs were written about her, the most famous  being ‘Amy, Wonderful Amy’. Fan mail poured in and her fame was so great that an envelope addressed to ‘Amy wat flies in England’ reached her.

After a short courtship, Amy married Scottish pilot Jim Mollison in 1932, and they became known as the “flying sweethearts”. They both created many more records and won many air races. America took them to their hearts. They were given a ticker tape parade in New York and entertained by President Roosevelt.

A daring adventurer.

 

Elizabeth Taylor 

One of the greatest beauties of all time, Elizabeth Taylor started dancing at the age of 3, made her screen debut at the age of 10, and had a love life that made international headlines. She shone as an actress, winning two Oscars and numerous film awards, and her films grossed many millions at the box office.

 

Her personal life received constant media attention, and the public adored her for her passionate embrace of life.  She was married eight times to seven men, and led a jet set lifestyle, and amassed an incredibly expensive collection of jewelry.

 

Her most famous marriage was the fiery and passionate one to Richard Burton, whom she married twice.

She was the movie star of all times, with her marriages, her jewelry, her amazing violet eyes     her talent, and her spirit.

Shortly after her death, her son Michael Wilding released a statement, saying “My mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love ….. We will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world.”

Truly a woman of spirit!

 

Kitty Morland was not famous, but she was every inch a woman of spirit. http://a.co/ctaYRGF