Monday, April 27, 2015

The Year My Mother Came Back - Alice Eve Cohen

Thirty years after her mothers death, Alice Eve Cohen finds a vision of her sitting at her kitchen table and joining her on medical appointments, giving her glimpses into the past and her childhood. Alice is diagnosed with a serious illness,and as she attends numerous appointments, again she finds her mother at her side. A chance to revisit their relationship, to apologise for past discretions and tell her mother how much she loved her.

At the same time her oldest daughter is leaving to study and is looking for her birth mother. Her youngest, is scheduled for leg lengthening surgery, a long and painful procedure and it was this mixture of stories of being a daughter and a mother that made this such a good little memoir.  4/5Ca

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'll Drink to That - Betty Halbreich

It is somewhat awkward to read a book that is  mainly talking about fashion, but doesn't have any pictures.  I would have loved to see some of the outfits that Betty Halbreich describes.  This memoir talks about her early life, growing up and then married to a domineering husband, motherhood and then her breakdown as the marriage falls apart.

Then, as she enters the workforce in her forties, Betty Halbreich becomes a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, a job that she still holds at age eighty six.  Although somewhat charmed by her, part of me couldn't help feeling that she is a bit of an old bossy boots, but that rich old ladies might need a bit of that.  I am sure the money many of them spend in a year on clothes would be the equivalent or more of a whole of my years salary, a world I am not a part of.  4/5

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hello From the Gillespies - Monica McInerney

Hello from the Gillespies is a novel that I really liked the idea of.   After 33 years of writing the annual Christmas letter, Angela decides to write one that doesn't gloss over the issues at the heart of her family and tell the truth.  From this we get to learn about her marriage and life on the rural Australian farm she lives on, and  the lives of all of her children - all of whom seem to have issues.

I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't quite enjoy this book, maybe it was just that everyone seemed to be a bit sad in it, that there wasn't much fun and I really wanted to like at least one of the main characters, but somehow ended up a bit annoyed at them all.  3/5

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Secrets of Midwives - Sally Hepworth

This book lets us meet three generations of midwives, Floss the grandmother, her daughter Grace and granddaughter Neva.  I liked all three characters and found this one an easy and gentle read.  Each woman has her own secrets and issues to deal with, eventually being able to share with the family.  4/5

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Price of Blood - Patricia Bracewell

This Easter has given us some sunny days perfect for walking and some cloudy windy afternoons that also have been good for sitting on the couch catching up with the DVR or lying on the bed reading.  So relaxing has been the order of the weekend.

I was excited to find this one in my reserves pile at the library, and left it to have it as my Easter read. We get to meet Emma, Queen of England again in 1006 as Englands shores become more threatened by  Viking enemies.  I loved the first book in this series - Shadow on the Crown, and like a lot of middle books in a trilogy it suffers from just holding and building the story, and form me I felt a little like it was dragged out.  Both female characters Queen Emma and Cnuts wife Elgiva are strong and I loved their stories, but could have done with less of the drawn out mens stuff talking of sides and battles.

Still I do look forward to the next book, the final one where I am sure we will be excited by the action. 3/5

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Woman In Gold

So as a middle aged lady person I am lucky that my job often gives me the opportunity to have days off during the week, where I can head off to see a movie during the day.  Lately though as the weather eases towards winter, I have discovered the pleasure of going to see a movie during a weekend day, and today on Easter Sunday I thought I would go and see this one Woman In Gold.  I had seen the trailers and it did appeal to me, and as the cinema was reasonably full at lunchtime with other singletons, I could see that a few others had the same idea.

Woman in Gold is the story of Maria Altmann (played by Helen Mirren), an Austrian Jewish immigrant who with her lawyer, played by Ryan Reynolds, seeks to get a family painting returned to her from the Austrian Government, after it was looted from the family home by Nazis.  Not just any painting, this is one of two paintings of her favourite aunt Adele, painted by Gustav Klimt.

Such a good story, and I thought the movie well done, balanced so well between telling the present day story and what happened to the family during the war.  Vienna looked beautiful, and me and my winning lotto ticket (I wish!!) would love to have a holiday there.

I am glad that I had the waterproof mascara on, as there were cheek rolling tears and a quivery lip - although as I have got older I have become a softy and a movie cryer - don't judge me!  5/5