Thursday, 26 May 2011

Katherine Webb: The Legacy

In the depths of a harsh winter, following the death of their grandmother, Erica Calcott and her sister Beth return to Storton Manor, a grand and imposing Wiltshire house where they spent their summer holidays as children. When Erica begins to sort through her grandmother's belongings, she is flooded with memories of her childhood - and of her cousin, Henry, whose disappearance from the manor tore the family apart. Erica sets out to discover what happened to Henry, so that the past can be laid to rest, and her sister, Beth, might finally find some peace. Gradually, as Erica begins to sift through remnants of the past, a secret family history emerges; one that stretches all the way back to turn-of-the-century America, to a beautiful society heiress and a haunting, savage land. As past and present converge, Erica and Beth must come to terms with two terrible acts of betrayal - and the heart-breaking legacy left behind.

This was a good mystery story about family history and how individuals can impact future generations within a family. Erica and Beth were very believable and the story was interesting, but it would have been better to discover Beth protecting Erica, as this would have been more surprising to find the weaker character actually turning out to be the stronger one. The story about Caroline's life was, however, well-developed and particularly gripping.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Elisabeth Hyde: The abortionist's daughter

Nineteen-year-old university student Megan Thompson is beautiful, cool, clever and sexy – the kind of girl boys fall in love with. She’s mostly steered clear of family life since the death of her younger brother. That is until the day she hears her mother, Diana, has been found floating face down in their swimming pool. Diana, as Director of the Center for Reproductive Choice, was a national figure who inspired passions and made enemies. Detective Huck Berlin is brought in to investigate the case when it becomes clear that Diana was murdered. Several people have quarrelled with Diana on that fateful day, not least Frank, her husband of twenty years, and her wayward child. Now father and daughter are thrown together in an unexpected twist of family life.

An interesting read and fascinating crime story but not quite what I expected in that I hoped it would be less crime fiction and more of a moral and ethical discussion.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Maeve Binchy: Minding Frankie

Baby Frankie is born into an unusual family. Her mother is desperate to find someone to take care of her child and she doesn't have much time. Noel doesn't seem to be the most promising of fathers but despite everything, he could well be Frankie's best hope.

Minding Frankie is a heart-warming, hopeful, sad and funny tale about families, relationships and about how one baby can change many people's lives for the better in one way or another.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Celia Rees: The Fool's Girl

Violetta and Feste have come to London to rescue the holy relics taken from the church in Illyria by the evil Malvolio. Their journey has been long and their adventures many, but it is not until they meet the playwright William Shakespeare that they get to tell the entire story from beginning to end! But where will this remarkable tale ultimately lead Violetta and her companion? And will they manage to save themselves, and the relics from the very evil intentions of Malvolio.

I picked this book because I had read two previous novels written by Celia Rees and because I knew that it had something to do with William Shakespeare. I wasn't sure what exactly to expect, and so was quite happy with the way the story unfolded. Although it was obvious that Rees had done serious research into the era of Elizabeth I and into William Shakespeare's life, it appears that she was daunted by such a prominent era in history and so didn't touch upon history too much but instead relied on her creativity. I certainly enjoyed the read and found it intriguing to see William Shakespeare in a different light, although I also admit that my knowledge of The Twelfth Night was not good enough to see some of the similarities. Overall, I think this is a nice way to introduce Shakespeare to Young Adults, although the love stories and romantic notes were sometimes impeding the reading.