Archive for March, 2014

Somewhere in France

I’ve read a few books over the past year about “The Great War”. (Funny how books with similar themes seem to erupt all at once sometimes.) Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson is the latest. And I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t like the family-driven trilogy that Phillip Roth wrote (which is mentioned as a further reading suggestion by the way), but it was every bit as enjoyable. Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford is stuck in the confines of aristocratic British society. She is expected to do what her mother says, not what she wants to do. Which is travel, have a career, and marry for love – not convenience. When war breaks out she defies her upbringing and family expectations and flees her family home, eventually becoming an ambulance driver in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp. She chooses to leave her previous life behind, and remain anonymous. Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lilly (as she has chosen to be called) is reunited with her brother Edward’s best friend, Robert Fraser, who is a surgeon at the hospital. Surprise, surprise, reuniting these two old friends has serious consequences for both. Each has reservations about working together and the hospital has strick policies about the staff fraternizing with each other. Can they make a go of it? This is Robson’s first book, and she has definitely done her homework. (Great news… I just read an interview with her where she said she’s working on book # 2 which is about Charlotte Brown, Lilly’s best friend and former governess from Somewhere in France.) The book has already climbed to The Globe & Mail top 10 list, which for a new writer I think is amazing, so obviously I’m not the only one to enjoy it. Give it a go.

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Still Life with Bread Crumbs

LOVED IT! But I knew I would. Anna Quindlen is a fantastic writer. I’d even be interested in reading her grocery lists. I didn’t have second thoughts about heading right out to buy Still Life with Bread Crumbs when I heard about it. 60 year old Rebecca Winter’s career as a professional photographer has seen better days. Where once she was the talk of the town, now she’s counting her pennies and checking her bank balance daily. When she sees an advertizement for a “cottage” in the middle of nowhere she thinks her problems may be solved. Renting her amazing New York apartment at today’s going rate would allow her to lease this cottage, pay the rent on her mother’s care at the assisted living facility that she now calls home, help her son Ben occasionally with a nice cheque, and even “do” for her father who, with the help of Sonja his caregiver, still lives on his own closeby. And who knows, maybe even put some money aside for her golden years which are fast approaching. This story isn’t a bit of fluff. Quindlen make us think about everything she writes, and this book digs deep into the soul of a women in flux. Change happens whether we like it or not, and Rebecca discovers that there’s more to look forward to in her life at age 60 than she ever thought. This is a wonderful story. I totally resonated with bits and pieces of Quindlen’s supurb writing, and I’m sure you will too. Give it a go. You will not be disappointed. It’s a terrific read.

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