Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Castles in the Air – Alison Ripley Cubitt

Memoir  3*s
Memoir
3*s

This book is billed as a memoir of love and loss with the synopsis based around an incident as viewed by the eight year old Alison on the eve of the family’s departure for New Zealand.

So what is the book about? Well it is definitely a book of two halves, the first which covers Molly’s, Alison’s mother, surviving documents from the early part of the Second World War. The family were travelling for Molly’s father’s work in various outposts of Bletchley Park cracking codes in Asia. Through Molly’s letters, mainly those to family friend Steve, and a ship’s log given to her to record an early voyage at this time, we get plenty of information about the people they met, the kind of life they led and some snippets of the context of the world at that time, but sadly not enough. Molly I suspect was a typical teenage girl of her time. Longing to be grown up, maybe especially in Steve’s eyes, but betraying her age with the everyday events of friends lost and found, shopping trips when the ship called at port and tales of parties attended and school exams. The loss of detail about the surrounding world, the real sense of danger the family sometimes found themselves in is not necessarily telling of Molly’s natural introspection, but a by-product of the censorship operating. To be honest the news of other families soon wore thin and this part could have done with more editing and some context for those not familiar with the war being fought in these far-flung parts of the world.

In the second half of the book we hear far more from Alison who details the downward spiral of her parents just when she was going away to college. Here we had the opportunity to see how life had turned out for the optimistic Molly after she had trained as a midwife. From my point of view these chapters were far more interesting although perhaps Alison is still too worried about family members reading this poignant memoir as the episodes are littered with excuses for the behaviour of both parents to a degree that became intrusive to the narrative. That isn’t to say the sadness of the tale being told was completely lost, it wasn’t, and the everyday struggles of making a life far from their family albeit one that was built on an itinerant background were expertly revealed.

An interesting read but I felt that this could have been far better presented, especially in the first half which revolved around various sea voyages and staying in unsuitable lodgings with far too little money. Molly’s tale is worth hearing and it was interesting to understand a little of the pressure on the code-crackers, no matter where they were posted, something I had been unaware of until I read this memoir.

I’d like to thank the publishers Lambert Nagle Media who allowed me to read a proof copy of this book in return for this honest opinion. Castles in the Air was published on 25 November 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (March 2)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I have just finished  reading Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf which had me absolutely gripped!

Missing Pieces

To read the synopsis and some excerpts please see yesterday’s post

and now I’m reading Castles in the Air by Alison Ripley Cubitt and Molly Cubitt, a memoir and portrait of a mother.

Castles in the Air

Blurb

An eight-year-old child witnesses her mother’s secret and knows that from that moment life will never be the same.
After Molly, her mother dies, Alison uses her legacy to make a film about Molly’s relationship with a man she had known since she was a teenager. What hold did this man have over her mother? And what other secrets was her mother hiding?
Castles in the Air follows the life of Molly Ripley through the eyes of her daughter Alison. From Molly’s childhood in colonial Hong Kong and Malaya; wartime adventures as a rookie office girl in the far east outpost of Bletchley Park then as a young nurse in the city; tangled romance and marriage… to her challenging middle-age when demons from the past seem set to overwhelm her.
The writer in Alison can’t stop until she reveals the story of Molly’s past. But as a daughter, does she have the courage to face up to the uncomfortable truths of Molly’s seemingly ordinary life?
As she unravels the private self that Molly kept secret, Alison realises that she is trying to find herself through her mother’s story. By trying to make sense of the past, can she move on with her future?
Honest yet unsentimental and told with abundant love and compassion, this is a profoundly moving portrait of a woman’s life, hopes and dreams. We learn not only about Molly, but about mothers and daughters, secrets and love. A story for readers struggling to come to terms with the trauma of losing loved ones. NetGalley

Next I am planning on finally getting around to reading In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward, previously known to me through her blog Crimepieces

In Bitter Chill

Blurb

Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins’s mother commits suicide.
Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.
This is a story about loss and family secrets, and how often the very darkest secrets are those that are closest to you. Amazon

What have you chosen to read this week? Have you read any of these?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (February 20)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

I am going to share the new additions to my bookshelves without any further ado!

From the wonderful Twenty7 Books whose imprint focusses on debut novelists I have The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee which will be published in e-Book format on 3 March 2016.

The Last thing I remember

Blurb

Sarah is in a coma.
Her memory is gone – she doesn’t know how she got there. And she doesn’t know how she might get out.
But then she discovers that her injury wasn’t an accident. And that the assailant hasn’t been caught.
Unable to speak, see or move, Sarah must use every clue that she overhears to piece together her own past.And work out who it is that keeps coming into her room.
A novel that grips from the very beginning and that will live long in the memory, The Last Thing I Remember is Deborah Bee’s startling debut thriller. Goodreads

From NetGalley I have The Shadow Hour by Kate Riordan which is graced by a particularly striking cover.

The Shadow Hour

Blurb

Nineteen twenty-two. Grace has been sent to the stately and crumbling Fenix House to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps as a governess. But when she meets the house’s inhabitants, people who she had only previously heard of in stories, the cracks in her grandmother’s tale begin to show. Secrets appear to live in the house’s very walls and everybody is resolutely protecting their own.
Why has she been sent here? Why did her grandmother leave after just one summer? And as the past collides with the present, can Grace unravel these secrets and discover who her grandmother, and who she, really is?

I also have a memoir, Castles in the Air by Alison Ripley Cubitt which was published in November 2015.

Castles in the Air

Blurb

An eight-year-old child witnesses her mother’s secret and knows that from that moment life will never be the same.
After Molly, her mother dies, Alison uses her legacy to make a film about Molly’s relationship with a man she had known since she was a teenager. What hold did this man have over her mother? And what other secrets was her mother hiding?
Castles in the Air follows the life of Molly Ripley through the eyes of her daughter Alison. From Molly’s childhood in colonial Hong Kong and Malaya; wartime adventures as a rookie office girl in the far east outpost of Bletchley Park then as a young nurse in the city; tangled romance and marriage… to her challenging middle-age when demons from the past seem set to overwhelm her.
The writer in Alison can’t stop until she reveals the story of Molly’s past. But as a daughter, does she have the courage to face up to the uncomfortable truths of Molly’s seemingly ordinary life?
As she unravels the private self that Molly kept secret, Alison realises that she is trying to find herself through her mother’s story. By trying to make sense of the past, can she move on with her future?
Honest yet unsentimental and told with abundant love and compassion, this is a profoundly moving portrait of a woman’s life, hopes and dreams. We learn not only about Molly, but about mothers and daughters, secrets and love. A story for readers struggling to come to terms with the trauma of losing loved ones. NetGalley

As well as another book about children exploring their parent’s lives in The People in the Photo by Hélène Gestern

The People in the Photo

Blurb

The three figures in the photograph are frozen forever, two men and a woman bathed in sunlight . . .
The chance discovery of a newspaper image from 1971 sets two people on the path to learning the disturbing truth about their parents’ pasts.
Parisian archivist Hélène takes out a newspaper advert calling for information about her mother, who died when she was three, and the two men pictured with her in a photograph taken at a tennis tournament at Interlaken in 1971. Stéphane, a Swiss biologist living in Kent, responds: his father is one of the people in the photo. Letters and more photos pass between them as they embark on a journey to uncover the truth their parents kept from them. But will the relics of the past fill the silences left by the players? NetGalley

And finally a bit of crime with The Innocent Killer by Michael Griesbach which is linked to the recent TV series Making a Murderer, which I didn’t watch.

The Innocent Killer

Blurb

The story of one of America’s most notorious wrongful convictions, that of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who spent eighteen years in prison for a crime he did not commit and now the subject of the hit series Making a Murderer. But two years after he was exonerated of that crime and poised to reap millions in his wrongful conviction lawsuit, Steven Avery was arrested for the exceptionally brutal murder of Teresa Halbach, a freelance photographer who had gone missing several days earlier. The “Innocent Man” had turned into a cold blooded killer. Or had he? This is narrative non-fiction at its finest and the perfect companion read for fans of Making a Murderer.

Lastly I was contacted by James Henry who wrote the three prequels to the much loved Frost series written by R.D. Wingfield who had promised to let me know when his first book not based on Frost was ready so I am the proud owner of Blackwater which I can’t wait to get stuck into. Blackwater is due to be published in July 2016.

Blackwater

Blurb

January 1983, Colchester CID
A new year brings new resolutions for Detective Inspector Nicholas Lowry. With one eye on his approaching fortieth birthday, he has given up his two greatest vices: smoking, and the police boxing team. As a result, the largest remaining threat to his health is now his junior colleague’s reckless driving.
If Detective Constable Daniel Kenton’s orange sports convertible is symbolic of his fast track through the ranks, then his accompanying swagger, foppish hairstyle and university education only augment his uniqueness in the department. Yet regardless of this, it is not DC Kenton who is turning station heads.
WPC Jane Gabriel is the newest police recruit in Britain’s oldest recorded town. Despite a familial tie to top brass, Gabriel’s striking beauty and profound youth have landed her with two obstacles: a young male colleague who gives her too much attention, and an older one who acts like she’s not there.
January 1983, Blackwater Estuary
A new year brings a new danger to the Essex shoreline. An illicit shipment, bound for Colchester – 50 kilograms of powder that will frantically accelerate tensions in the historic town, and leave its own murderous trace.
Lowry, Kenton and Gabriel must now develop a tolerance to one another, and show their own substance, to save Britain’s oldest settlement from a new, unsettling enemy. Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 8 books, and gained, 6, so the total has reduced by a massive 2  giving a tiny total of  172 books!
83 physical books
73 e-books
16 books on NetGally

 

What have you found to read this week?