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Kyiv Memories: Book Blitz

A sharp click echoed in the room, and everyone froze. The Russian’s cocked pistol pointed at Tato. “Are you resisting orders? If you are, we will have to label you an enemy of the people. We all know what happens to enemies of the people. I could shoot you right now, and nobody would care.”

Katya’s head buzzed. All the anger she’d felt morphed into sheer terror as she stared at her Tato. His beet-red face glistened with sweat and his hands curled slowly into fists, the anger crackling off him like a hungry fire seeking fuel. If someone didn’t intercede, he would be shot for attempting to murder Prokyp with his bare hands.

Mama, too, saw his inner struggle, for she stepped in front of Tato and spoke calmly. “I apologize for my husband’s behavior. He’s overprotective of his daughters. He didn’t mean what he said. We’ll cooperate, I swear it.”

The Russian smirked and lowered his gun. Dropping Alina’s hand, Katya pulled her father into a hug and spoke in his ear. “Please, Tato, there is no harm done, but we can’t lose you. Please.” She felt the tension lessen from his body, but vibrations of anger still throbbed like the veins on his neck.

Prokyp watched the scene with amusement, then sauntered back over to his cohorts, smiling. The Russian turned to him and asked with complete sincerity, “Have you been offended by this man? What would you like to do, Comrade?”

Prokyp glanced at Tato and then at Alina, who was white as a sheet, but holding her head high as Mama had taught them to. Katya’s legs wobbled, so she locked her knees and held her breath as they waited for this fool to decide the fate of their family.

“I suppose I can overlook it this once, as long as he and his family promise to cooperate fully in the future.” His gaze lingered on Alina. “But we shall have to check back here often to make sure they are behaving.”

Another activist pushed into the house with a large sack of wheat balanced on his shoulder. “I found this, and another just like it, hidden in the barn loft.”

Katya’s heart sank. She’d worried the wheat in the barn wasn’t hidden well enough, but Tato thought it safe out of sight beneath the hay.

“You can’t take that!” Tato shouted. “It’s my seed for planting this fall!”

“This will pay your quota. For now.” The Russian Soviet waved a hand dismissively, as if suddenly bored by them. “Come, we must move to the next house.”

The woman cast an apologetic look toward Mama and hurried behind the men as they left. The door swung wildly in their wake, and none of them moved until Tato strode forward and slammed it shut, though not before Katya saw the activists’ cart stacked high with sacks of grain, just like the ones they’d taken from the barn.

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A Watery Tale

Once upon a time – we still see echoes of it today – people gave offerings to the water goddesses. And in this story we delve back into the myths surrounding these water goddesses and fairies and the birth caul, as well as the River Thames.

In the time when traffic on the river was heavy and barges came and went loaded up with goods that were easier to transport on water than road, we find ourselves stopping at ancient inns along the towpaths. And in the dark evenings, sitting around the fireplace, stories were told to keep the travellers entertained.

The Swan Inn was such an Inn situated in the watercress fields – fields nourished by the dead bodies of those that fell in a long ago battle. The Thames has been fought over for many centuries – from Alfred onwards. Later than the time of this story, a railway was built – called the WaterCress Line (!), just to bring this prized salad crop to London. Watercress is an aquatic plant species with the botanical name Nasturtium officinale.
In former times there was little choice of green vegetables in Winter and Watercress filled that gap with its ability to crop at least 4 times a Season. https://astonrowant.wordpress.com/ewelme-watercress-beds/

image 13 - A Watery Tale

I really liked the way the story was told. The sentences and phrasing reminded me of nineteenths century novels. It is slow and detailed and the characters come to life and talk to you. There is a narrator too who tells a different story – the story of rivers, the Thames and links into the various lore of the different traditions.

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Remote Reading

 I guess the title intrigued me as I like to read about book clubs having been in them myself – and know about someof what happens within..

And this is the Northern Territory of Australia which I have never seen but is really really large and the home of the Flying Doctor. The romance of the Flying Doctor and Uluru gets to most people. And then they start reading :

My favourite quote was from Kate:

“Books give us the benefit of a lot of people’s experiences. They give us  more options to choose from – more ways to live – than we could ever find on our own.”

And then they read The Thorn Bird as the first book. Well that got me hooked. I did read it but I much preferred the TV series. How could anyone not fall in love with Richard Chamberlain as the priest? He was beyond dishy.. then.

And I loved the settings too.

So I read on and found the book excellent. The writing style, the content, the characters, the story, the whole of it.

I couldn’t stop reading and think this is one of the best of its type I’ve read for a very long time.

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Tea for Two and More

At first I thought ‘Oh Dear! Another sweet and cosy story about how having tea together makes you less lonely.’

But it was friendship, and intergenerational friendship too, that worked.

However, reading the characters’ back stories and finding that the characters struggled to adjust to their lives and circumstances made the book. It lifted it above the mundane. Even if it took until the end of the story for Dora to find her position in life.

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Secrets? Everyone has some

- Secrets? Everyone has some
image - Secrets? Everyone has some

Down to the sea we go – the steamy sea – the islands with swamps and mosquitoes and noseeums – all ready to drink your blood…

In this novel we go back to the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the islands that are just next door to Cuba.

There are some interesting hints of future storylines coming through in the male characters and it will be disappointing if the series doesn’t follow them up.

The female character – Molly- still lacks definition for me, not yet fully formed but hopefully she will develop. Her final choice of career was obvious from the visit she made to an outlying island so no surprises there.

This is not the first book by this author that I have read, but the one with most potential for me.

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