Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Girl From Station X – Elisa Segrave

Memoir 3*'s
Memoir
3*’s

This memoir was born out of the difficult relationship Elisa had with her mother Anne. When Anne started suffering with dementia, probably caused by her alcohol abuse, Elisa was left with the task of clearing the former family home. In the attic she found a box, filled with notebooks; Anne’s diaries written from the age of fifteen.

Anne was the heir to her mother’s fortune which meant that she rubbed shoulders with the elite of England. The pre-war years are filled with travel, finishing schools and seemingly endless parties. The war years tell an entirely different story of a privileged young woman working as a WRAF, including a lengthy stint in intelligence and a posting at Bletchley Park. I found the diaries, especially those written during World War Two really interesting, as Anne documented her daily life as a WRAF, her satisfaction for feeling useful for the first, and only, time in her life. Elisa has cleverly selected enough to give a true sense of the young woman’s first experience of connecting to her colleagues, a very different experience from the cosseted world of her earlier years.

It takes some time though, to get to this part, the beginning starts with a seemingly endless litany of how difficult, indecisive and uncaring Elisa’s mother was. The abuse of alcohol, interesting never mentioned by either family or friends, the selfishness of her endless travels and some tragic losses, seen from Elisa’s perspective is the background which makes reading the young woman’s adventures far more poignant.

The power of this novel is the understanding it gave Elisa about who her mother really was, although at several points her interjections about her mother’s faults, led me to believe that perhaps the misunderstandings between this mother and daughter perhaps ran too deep ever to be truly healed.

I received a free copy of this memoir to read as part of the Lovereading Review Panel, ahead of the paperback release on 15 March 2014.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (February 14)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

Well I have been really good this week and stayed away from NetGalley although I do have another book to review for lovereading

The Girl From Station X by Elisa Segrave

The Girl from Station X

Blurb

As Anne Segrave approached old age and infirmity, her daughter Elisa was faced with the daunting task of sorting through her mother’s belongings. She was aware of several elements of Anne’s past, but she was astonished to find evidence of an altogether different life when she uncovered a cache of wartime diaries. Now, on the pages before her, Segrave encountered a young woman who put the world of finishing schools and hunt balls behind her to embark on a journey that took her to Bletchley Park, Bomber Command and, eventually, a newly liberated Germany. Goodreads

I did treat myself to one book, Death At The Priory by James Ruddick This tale of love, sex and murder just begged to be purchased!Death at the Priory

Blurb

In 1875 the beautiful widow Florence Ricardo married the handsome and successful young attorney Charles Bravo, hoping to escape the scandals of her past. But Bravo proved to be a brutal and conniving man, and the marriage was far from happy. Then one night he suddenly collapsed, and three days later died an agonizing death. His doctors immediately determined that he had been poisoned. The graphic and sensational details of the case would capture the public imagination of Victorian England as the investigation dominated the press for weeks, and the list of suspects grew to include Florence, her secret lover the eminent doctor James Gully, her long time companion the housekeeper Mrs. Cox, and the recently dismissed stableman George Griffiths. But ultimately no murderer could be determined, and despite the efforts of numerous historians, criminologists, and other writers since (including Agatha Christie), the case has never been definitively solved. Now James Ruddick retells this gripping story of love, greed, brutality, and betrayal among the elite — offering an intimate portrait of Victorian culture and of one woman’s struggle to live in this repressive society, while unmasking the true murderer for the first time. Simultaneously a murder mystery, colourful social history, and modern-day detective tale, Death at the Priory is a thrilling read and a window into a fascinating time. Goodreads

Having seen a fantastic review of Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason on Crimepieces I am keen to read Jar City, the first in the Reykjavik Murder Mysteries.

Jar City

Blurb

A man is found murdered in his Reykjavik flat. There are no obvious clues apart from a cryptic note left on the body and a photograph of a young girl’s grave. Detective Erlendur is forced to use all the forensic resources available to find any leads at all. Delving into the dead man’s life he discovers that forty years ago he was accused of an appalling crime. Did his past come back to haunt him? Erlendur’s search leads him to Iceland’s Genetic Research Centre in order to find the disturbing answers to the mystery. This prize-winning international bestseller is the first in a new series of crime novels set in Iceland. Goodreads

Strange Shores is the ninth book in this series so technically this find could add quite drastically to the TBR.

Having fallen in love with Alys Always by Harriet Lane I was delighted to see that she has another book due to be published in June, Her.

Her

Blurb

Two women; two different worlds. Emma is a struggling mother who has put everything on hold. Nina is sophisticated and independent – entirely in control. When the pair meet, Nina generously draws Emma into her life. But this isn’t the first time the women’s paths have crossed. Nina remembers Emma and she remembers what Emma did. But what exactly does Nina want from her? And how far will she go in pursuit of it? Amazon

And finally… an audio book. Now I confess I have tried two audio books and it is clear that I find it harder to concentrate on the story when listening rather than reading but I got a subscription so I need to persevere. So after enjoying The Outcast Dead so much I have chosen another from this series, Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

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Blurb

Forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway investigates her most heart-stopping case to date after an old university friend and fellow archeologist is murdered in an arson attack. Goodreads

Now I know reading book five after book six makes little sense but this one was on offer and I panicked!!

What have you all found this week, after all I’m sure there is room for another book or two on my TBR!