Tag Archives: #womensfiction

#Bookreview ‘The Pearl Sister’ by Lucinda Riley @lucindariley #romance

Lucinda RileyI really enjoyed The Pearl Sister, the fourth in Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters adoption mysteries. While Maia, Ally and Star have already investigated their birth stories, Celaeno, CeCe, has shown no interest in her own. She is feeling sorry for herself, alone now that Star has become independent. Until her curiosity is piqued. Pa Salt’s lawyer tells her about a bequest, a large sum of money, and a photograph of two unidentified men. He advises CeCe to investigate Kitty Mercer from Broome in Australia.

On her journey to Australia, CeCe stops off in Thailand, staying at Railey Beach where she has holidayed in the past with Star. As she wonders why she is there alone, feeling envious of Star’s new home and new love in England, she meets a mysterious man on the beautiful beach. They bond over the morning sunrise, both are hurting – CeCe is missing Star and feeling betrayed by her sister’s newfound life, while Ace is hiding a big secret he cannot, or will not, explain. Riley hints that behind the beauty of Railey Beach there is a dark, sordid side. Could Ace be involved in drugs? Then when CeCe steps off the plane in Australia, she discovers Ace has been arrested and believes CeCe betrayed him to the press. As the journalists identify CeCe’s name and location, she runs away to Broome.

As with all the earlier novels in the series, the story of The Pearl Sister is told in two strands. CeCe is in 2008, Kitty Mercer’s story starts in 1906. The eldest daughter of a Edinburgh preacher, Kitty goes on a nine month trip to Australia as companion to the wealthy Mrs McCrombie. It changes Kitty’s life. She drinks alcohol for the first time, kisses a man, and acts immodestly in ways that would shock her clergyman father. Two men, twin brothers, pay attention to her. Drummond is the dangerous brother, the one who kisses her. But Kitty reverts to type by marrying the steady, safe, Andrew Mercer, and moves to Broome where he runs the family’s pearl fishing company for his father.

I found Kitty’s story enthralling, she is a true rebel at a time when women were finding their feet and their voices. She has a way of identifying people needing help. Along her life’s journey she collects waifs and strays, rescuing them from hunger, mistreatment, poverty and racism, giving them opportunities, security and winning their loyalty. Each of them comes to play a critical role in Kitty’s life; from Camira, the pregnant Aboriginal servant girl thrown from the house by her master, to Sarah, the fifteen year old orphan met on a boat from England who has a gift with the sewing needle.

Australia the country and the lives and customs of its Aboriginal people are a dominant presence throughout this novel. Be warned, it will make you want to visit. Throughout it all runs the enticing descriptions of Aboriginal art, by real artists such as Albert Namatjira who lived and worked at the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission outside Alice Springs, which CeCe visits.

The loose ends come together in the end though Riley did keep me guessing on a couple of the links. The significance of Ace and CeCe’s time in Thailand was one such puzzle. These are all hefty books, but I read this one quickly. It’s my favourite of the series so far which seems to get better with every book.

Next in the series is The Moon Sister, the story of Tiggy.

Read my reviews of the first three novels in the series:-
The Seven Sisters
The Storm Sister
The Shadow Sister
… plus these standalone novels by Lucinda Riley:-
The Love Letter
The Girl on the Cliff
The Butterfly Room

If you like this, try:-
On a Night Like This’ by Barbara Freethy
You’ll Never See Me Again’ by Lesley Pearse
Fair Exchange’ by Michèle Roberts

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE PEARL SISTER by @lucindariley #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-45G via @SandraDanby

My Porridge & Cream read: @authormaryg #books #womensfiction

Today I’m delighted to welcome contemporary women’s novelist Mary Grand. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet by James Herriot.

“My mum introduced me to James Herriot’s books in my early twenties. Fresh out of college I was living in a bedsit in Bethnal Green in London, cycling to work each day through heavy traffic to the school where I was teaching. These books were my escape into a different world, a different time. This was the world of 1930’s rural Yorkshire that was disappearing even as James Herriot wrote about it, although thankfully the hills and dales he describes with such love remain. He tells his stories with humour, charm and honesty; he is not frightened to talk about his mistakes and laugh at himself. When I was taking a picture of my copy of this book I realised this is quite an up to date cover…my early paperbacks have sadly collapsed! Mary Grand“I have read and re read these books throughout my life. In particular, when life has been difficult; after weeks of sleepless nights with babies; when my parents were very ill; when I had to stop work because life temporarily overwhelmed me. Gosh, as I write that list it makes me realise how important this ‘porridge and cream’ book has been for me!

“I have loved all the books in this series. I particularly like the romantic element in It Shouldn’t Happen To A Vet, when he meets his wife Helen. I think the main thing that brings me back to these books is the story telling, the way James Herriot mixes humour with the hard reality of farming in the dales. I have never watched adaptations for film or TV, as I have created my own pictures of the characters and wouldn’t want to spoil that.

“Describe the plot in an elevator pitch: A wonderful memoir from James Herriot, filled with entertaining stories of his work as a young vet in rural Yorkshire in the 1930s.”
Amazon UK

Mary Grand’s Bio
I was born in Cardiff and have retained a deep love for my Welsh roots. I now live on the beautiful Isle of Wight with my husband, where I walk my cocker spaniel Pepper and write. I have two grown up children.
Free to Be Tegan was my debut novel. The second Hidden Chapters is set on the spectacular Gower Peninsula, and the third Behind the Smile, published in March 2018, is set on the Isle of Wight. I have also published two short books of short stories Catching the Light and Making Changes.

Mary Grand’s links
Amazon Author Page
Author website

Mary Grand’s latest book
Mary GrandBehind the Smile is the story of Lowri , who, alone and pregnant, agrees to ‘settle’ with estranged husband, Jack, and move to idyllic village the Isle of Wight. She is befriended by Heather, the popular café owner and Carina, the beautiful Italian wife of the owner of Elmstone manor. Both appear to Lowri to have perfect lives. However, Lowri slowly discovers that, behind the smiles, lie secrets, addiction and an obsession which threatens to destroy them all.
Amazon UK

What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message.

Discover the ‘Porridge & Cream’ books of these authors:-
Carol Cooper loves ‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies’ by Jean Kerr
Tracey Sinclair chooses ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ by Choderlos de Laclos
JG Harlond re-reads ‘Race of Scorpions’ by Dorothy Dunnett

 And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does @authormaryg re-read IT SHOULDN’T HAPPEN TO A VET by James Herriot #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3yI via @SandraDanby