How memory travels

The Possible World Book Cover The Possible World
Liese Schwarz
literary fiction, contemporary, women's fiction,
Hutchinson
July 12, 2018
400

'Every now and then I come across a book I wish I'd written. The Possible World is one of those... A gorgeously wrought exploration of who gets to tell the story of our lives, and who gets to inhabit that story with us' Jodi Picoult

Ben is the sole survivor of a crime that claims his mother and countless others. He is just six years old, and already he must find a new place for himself in the world.

Lucy, the doctor who tends to Ben, is grappling with a personal upheaval of her own. She feels a profound connection to the little boy who has lived through the unthinkable. Will recovering his memory heal him, or damage him further?

Clare has long believed that the lifetime of secrets she's been keeping don't matter to anyone anymore, until an unexpected encounter prompts her to tell her story.

As they each struggle to confront the events - past and present - that have defined their lives, something stronger than fate is working to bring them together...

This is a story with a difference.

I am calling it fantasy as it makes an assumption about how souls and their memories can be transferred from one person to anotehr after death.

At first I found  it tricky to follow what was going on but suddenly it all came clear and I was entranced. It would have been 5 stars if I hadn’t been tempted to put the book down after a couple of chapters due my confusion.

It is gently written in a clear and unassuming style. A style that is easy to get lost in and a book that I didn’t want to end.

The description of the hurricane was devastating and Clare’s life, of penance almost, afterwards, was told with great empathy and affection for this damaged woman. And Leo, as he told his story, was so tragic, you really wanted to cuddle him forever. You forget now, just how harsh some of the religious houses were for orphans – the way they were treated like indentured servants despite their ages, and one can only be thankful, that this no longer happens. Although, orphanages are still far from good….

Read this book to find out what the Depression was really like for the American South.

 

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Enter the first Steam Pump! Ever….

The Steam Pump Jump Book Cover The Steam Pump Jump
The Chronicles of St Mary's Series SS
Jodi Taylor
Historians, action and adventure, sci-fi
Accent Press
(12 July 2018)
Kindle

Not one to let being banged up in Sick Bay stop her, Max has had a brilliant idea. But she needs Markham to execute it on her behalf. The subject of this cunning plan is Peterson, struggling with another bereavement and not doing very well. What’s needed to get him through it is sympathy, sensitivity, tact and understanding.
Step forward Mr Markham, for whom sympathy, sensitivity, etc., are things that happen to other people.
Combine a fanatic from R&D, a head of Security with his own problems, a steam-pump, two historians who can’t even be in the same room as each other, some fractious Protestants and a large body of very dirty water.
Told in Markham’s own words, this is the story of an intervention – St Mary’s style.

Or was it a steam cannon?

steam cannon is a cannon that launches a projectile using only heat and water, or using a ready supply of high-pressure steam from a boiler. The first steam cannon was designed by Archimedes during the Siege of SyracuseLeonardo Da Vinci was also known to have designed one (the Architonnerre). [see Wikipedia]
According to our St Mary’s Chronicles, they wanted to look for a steam pump but its actions was more like a steam cannon, in my mind.. either way, it was a fun thing to go and look at, or so Markham thought.
This is more unusual storyline form Jodi Taylor as it is written from Markham’s viewpoint and in his voice.
I really loved Lingoss’ explanation of why her hair was blue – as someone whose hair is purple and some people have failed to mention it, or apparently notice until it is pointed out to them! i do wonder who the teacher was she talks about. I’m sure that they will be mentioned in future stories as we have a lot of characters at St Mary’s we still know little about and how they came to be there.
After all, History has many years of exploration that can be taken.
So yes, the best laid plans of mice and men, especially when Markham is involved, don’t always work as intended.
A great addition to the series.

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When parents can’t agree

More Than Us Book Cover More Than Us
Dawn Barker
families, parents, autism
Canelo
21st May 2018
Kindle

When parents disagree on how to care for their child, is it justifiable to take extreme measures?

Emily and Paul have a glorious home, money in the bank and two beautiful children. Since leaving Scotland for Paul to play football for an Australian team they have been blessed. But sadness lies behind the picture-perfect family - sixteen-year-old Cameron has battled with health troubles his entire life. There's no name for what he has, but his disruptive behaviour, OCD and difficulty in social situations is a constant source of worry.

When Paul's career comes to a shuddering halt, he descends into a spiral of addiction, gambling away the family's future. By the time he seeks help, it's his new boss Damien who recommends and pays for a rehab facility.

While Paul is away, Emily has to make a tough decision about their son. She keeps it from Paul knowing he'll disapprove. And when a terrible accident reveals the truth, Paul takes his son and goes on the run, leaving Emily to care for fourteen-year-old Tilly, who unbeknown to her parents is fighting battles of her own.

Can the family join together for the sake of their loved ones, or will their troubles tear them apart?

When you first start reading this book, you are convinced that Cameron is autistic and has OCD. But as you read on, you realise that this is too simplistic – and anyway, the experts have said he isn’t on the spectrum.

Now the spectrum is very wide indeed as I know from my own family and so it is difficult to be so definitive. It is clear Cameron has some social difficulties and has some of the repetitive behaviours one might expect, but on the other hand, the meds don’t work and his behaviour remains challenging. His father is convinced that what he really needs is time away from his, in his view, overfussy mother, and no medicines.

So the parents disagree as to what is the best way to help their son, which is not unusual, and in this novel leads to extreme behaviour.

I thought the story rang true until we got to the last section about the cult. It  just seemed to be too easy to join, especially as most of the members were rich. This seems to have been a twist added in for the sake of not having a straightforward storyline.

If you want to know how realistic the behaviour of Cameron is, then look back at the blog published on this site, on 23rd June by the book’s author, who is a practicing child psychiatrist.

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How many cops can you cope with?

The Hitwoman and the 7 Cops Book Cover The Hitwoman and the 7 Cops
(Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman)
B Lynn, Parisa Zolfaghari
contemporary fiction, romance, humour,assassins
Kindle

All reluctant hitwoman Maggie Lee really wants is to have a calm, normal life.

She doesn’t want to go around killing people for money.
She doesn’t want her sister to be terrified of her ex-pimp.
She doesn’t want her Dad to disappear from the Witness Protection program.

But Maggie rarely gets what she wants.

Instead, she finds herself trying to keep everyone out of trouble.

With the help of her ragtag team of supporters: her semi-psychic friend, a handsome, charming con man, her almost-lover cop/hitman mentor, her curious Southern Belle cat, her haughty lizard, and her sweet, but dumb Doberman, Maggie does her best to stay a step ahead of Law Enforcement, while helping those she loves.

​But will Maggie end up being the one who needs to be saved?

I have read some of the earlier books in this series and really enjoyed them.

But for me, this book suffered from too much unexplained back story, from which events impacted on current events. Too complicated…

I got rather lost as to what was happening, why, and who these people were.

It would have been better to add this story onto the previous book, it didn’t stand-alone.

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When you get lost

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde Book Cover The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde
Eve Chase
gothic, historical romance
Michael Joseph
2018-04
400

In the heatwave of 1959, four sisters arrive at Applecote Manor to relive their memories of hazy Cotswolds summers. They find their uncle and aunt still reeling from the disappearance of their only daughter, five years before. An undercurrent of dread runs through the house. Why did Audrey vanish? Who is keeping her fate secret? As the sisters are lured into the mystery of their missing cousin, the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. One which will leave blood on their hands, and put another girl in danger decades later . . .

A sad story of a family loss. and the on-going impact of just what happened five years before, and how the parents of Audrey coped.

I am not always a fan of literature set in the 1950s as it is some ways not far enough away to count as historical, but not near enough to be contemporary, yet this novel was so well written that it got over that reluctance. It described the Cotswolds well –  I have visited often and so am familiar with it, and even contemplated living in one of its villages, but far too expensive now!

I enjoyed the story and thought the style good. I am not sure though that I would read another novel set in this period.

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