Sunday, November 14, 2010

Grief and romance

Again, I am going to talk about two books. The first one is the second of my Christmas books and I really enjoyed it. Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley is about a young woman whose husband died around Christmas time in a tragic accident, a few years previously. She is a chef by profession, running house parties in the Summer months, and house-sitting in remote places during the Winter months. This Christmas is no exception and she prepares to house-sit as an emergency replacement. Lots of complications follow and at times it does sound quite stressy, although she sounds like a super-woman in the kitchen. The develops special friendships with people in the area, and the story does have a good happy ending, without being too soppy and sentimental. I like the characters in the book, and the dilemmas that she faces. There is also the added bonus of her grandmother's journals which include a mystery to be solved. This is a good book to read over Christmas by the fireside.

The second book, is another Debbie Macomber. Hannah's List tells the story of a man, widowed a year ago, who is presented with a letter from his late wife, which she had written before she died. The letter asks him to remarry and have the children that they hadn't had. She even suggests three potential candidates. It is very predictable, and it is an okay read, but two things I liked, were the way the author dealt with the issues of cancer, death and grief, and also relationships. It felt realistic and was quite moving in places. There was also a lesson in dealing with arguments in relationships, focusing on compromise and change behaviour. It was really clearly explained, and I can see it being effective in improving relationships, not just personal, but in everyday working relationships too. Anyway, it was fine to read, not my favourite of her books but useful in its own way.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Too early for Christmas?

I have two books to talk about today and both very different. Juliet, by Anne Fortier, is a re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, set in the original time and modern day, and not in Verona, but in Sienna.The two stories are linked, the old and the new, and there is a mystery to unfold and a curse to overturn. I particularly loved the historical side of this story, and the modern day bit was good, but perhaps a bit to clever. I can see it making a very successful blockbuster novel, in the style of Da Vinci Code, but personally I think if it had been less complicated, it would have made a better read. Happy to discuss though. It is ideal for a holiday read, and the historical data is really interesting and well told.

The second book is the first of two Christmas books I bought. Falling for Christmas is written by Debbie Macomber and contains two books. Both follow the Christmas theme, and they are very sentimental and romantic and have completely happy endings. There is nothing offensive, a bit of sadness, but all the loose ends get tied up in a magical, simple way. They also contain lovely recipes. I really like the sound of the fried chicken, but I don't know if I have the patience to make takes hours! Anyway, these are lovely, feel-good stories, and they really get you in the mood for Christmas. And, yes, apologies, for starting so early. I just couldn't resist them. And, what's worse, is the next book I am about to read is also about Christmas. Sorry :-) Please note: the link for this book links to a book of the same title, and the first story is the same as the one I read, but the second story (according to the details on Waterstones) is different. I bought mine from the bookshop, so I am not sure what is going on. The second story in my book was about a toyshop, a little boy who wanted a robot, and an angel.