Secrets of The River is the debut novel of blogger Jess McGlynn. Jess very kindly sent me an ebook version of her book in order for me to undertake a review. Here’s the Blurb: Some secrets simply can’t remain hidden… When Isabelle moves to […]
Tag: Book Club
So this month’s lovely book for the Bahlsen Book Club is A Mother Dimension by Mink Elliott. Mink has self-published this latest book after having other novels traditionally published. The book world is changing so much at the moment, and being to self-publish stories must be quite liberating! See the full chat with Mink over on the Bahlsen Blog.
Here’s the blurb:
Kate O’Reilly, mother of three on the cusp of her 45th birthday, has got a thing about the past. Her husband, Seamus and long-standing best friend, Georgia, both call her chronic nostalgia an obsession – but Kate sees it as her safety harness, her private Prozac, her coping mechanism of choice. Because when being a wife and mother is weighing her down, making her feel trapped and overwhelming her, all Kate needs to do is take a quick trip down memory lane – to where the music was better, her social circle was wider, her self-esteem higher, her hair thicker and her waist much, much thinner – and voila! All is right with her world again.
But when a freak electrical storm propels her back in time to 1996 for real, Kate can’t believe what’s happening. Soon, however, she’s elated, because this is the moment she’s been waiting for all these years – her chance to re-live those good old days and actually do all those things she’s been fantasizing about.
Armed with little more than the optimism of youth, the benefit of hindsight, a taut-again tummy and just the one chin, Kate sets out to discover what might have happened if she’d only done things a little bit differently. And why some things really are best left in the past…
I really enjoyed this book. This was a light hearted, fun read and I enjoyed reading it as much for the story as for the trip down memory lane! I am a big fan of everything 80s and have recently started to look back at the 90s just as fondly. I think there must be something about having a baby that does this to you, to look back to your youth, and the fun you used to have.
Kate, the main character in the book, is also looking back with her rose-tinted specs. A way to escape the monotony of the daily grind, Kate fantasizes about her past and what fun she had being a PR for a magazine company. A bolt of lightening sends her back to the 90s, and when the rose-tint has faded, Kate sees things in a totally different light. She needs to work out how to get back to the future, but also has an opportunity to right some wrongs, and make a few changes!
I loved the fantasy element to this book. I kept thinking what would I do or say if I had to go back in time to those days sans bebe. Although I am younger than Kate by 15 years, I could still empathize with her thoughts and feelings, and relate to her thinking about the past. I kept imagining what I would do or say if I met an ex-boyfriend, or if I knew what was coming up next in my life.
The story flows well, and I really enjoyed the other characters in the book too. I liked the element of mystery surrounding Kate’s parents and brother, and trying to work out what was going on there. I also loved all the 90s references to the Euro 96, and all the music, as I love it so much! I was really caught up in the moment with this book, I even wanted to break out my Oasis CDs and sign along to the Spice Girls!
I enjoyed the ending of the book, but a part of me felt a mind blown. I guess I feel the same about Back to The Future – if things have changed in the future, from what you know, is it really reality? There would be bits about your life you would not have a memory about, perhaps? Or the wrong memories? My mind boggles at the concept, and whilst this is not a criticism of the book, it just got me thinking!
Overall I felt this was a great read, and one I really enjoyed. The whole tone and way the book was written was refreshing and easy going. I will definitely read other books by Mink as I loved her writing style, easy going and most of all, funny! I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars
I was sent an electronic version of this book as part of the #bahlsenbookclub. However all thoughts and opinions are my own.
This is a book review as part of the Britmums Book Club. I was lucky to be one of the first 100 to be sent a free book as part of the book club, in order to review this month’s book. I have tried to […]
Britmums Book Club Review: Honour by Elif Shafak
I was lucky enough to be one of the first 100 People to sign up to this months BritMums book club and receive a free copy of the book. Please be aware that I do discuss the book in this review and there may be a few unintentional spoilers.
The book centres upon Esma, and her coming to terms with her brother’s actions where he has committed a murder. Through this the story of the family is told, from Turkey to England, covering several generations. Issues such as culture, religion, ethnicity, racism, discrimination, love and hate are all covered by the story.
I found this book easy to read and if I didn’t have an 8 week old to look after I would have read it very quickly indeed. I enjoyed the structure of the book and the way it concentrated on specific times and events in the lives of the characters, rather than one long story about their lives. It was a bit like a jigsaw puzzle putting the pieces together and I enjoyed the initial mystery of who had committed the murder and how it had happened. I liked the way the book leaves you to fill in some of the gaps.
The way the book focuses on Honour and what this means for each character was of interest to me. The culture clash of the two countries Turkey and England, and the way the three children in the story adapt to the english culture in such different ways was also interesting to read. I felt that through the generations whilst times changed, the sanctity of ‘honour’ in the family was constant and did not change. History repeated itself several times and the family did not seem to grow or adapt. It made me think about our own culture and what we may feel is ‘honour’. Our society has grown and changed over the years and many things that were dishonourable or shameful in the past were now widely accepted, for example sex outside of marriage. It also made me think about my own family and what is considered acceptable, and how we deal with this as a family. I can’t imagine how you would feel you needed to commit such a violent act in order to preserve your Honour.
I found it interesting that the men in the story were the ones who did more to dishonour their families and yet their actions were accepted and not vilified; and yet Pembe’s innocent love affair caused so much ‘shame’ and eventually led to murder. The Uncle commented that ‘some men only have their honour’ and to some extent I can understand why these acts are committed. When you have nothing else to barter with, your reputation is something you hold dear.
As a mother it is interesting reading as it describes how Pembe did her best to raise her children well, and she doted upon her eldest son and yet he comitted such as awful crime. Do we as parents have some liability for our children’s actions? Should we encourage more openness and honesty? Every member of the Toprak family seemed to have their own secrets and it was this that prevented them from perhaps averting disaster.
I felt the ending was slightly rushed and I would have liked to have read more about Pembe after the murder and her life. I thought that Pembe may have taken on her twin sisters identity rather than just go back to Turkey. I also wanted her to meet with Elias again and felt frustrated that this did not happen. In the end I felt whilst Pembe lived out her life in Turkey, she was still a prisoner of sorts just like her son. She still did not get to achieve what she had wanted to. It seemed ironic that her daughter, with all the oppourtunities in England, seemed to have followed a similar path in that as a housewife, when she had dreams of becoming more. However her family life appeared to be a much happier one, it still seemed bittersweet that for all her headstrong ideas as a young woman, she had not followed her dreams through to a reality.
The character of Iskender, as an older man, was a likeable one despite knowing he had committed such a crime. He appeared a confused teenager who was stuggling to fit in with two different cultures. The book never really discusses why he chose to act the way he did in detail; yes he did it to protect the family honour but why go to such extreme measures? I feel this is where the extremist element to the story with the Orator could have been developed more as I felt this part of the story shaped the way Iskender thought about his Mother and her actions. Whilst it is described what happens during the murder, we do not know what is said to Iskender in the days leading up to this.
Overall this book is extremely well written, with several really interesting characters. It was easy to read and even with my having to keep putting down and picking up again it was easy to follow. The story was gripping with an excellent plot twist. I would reccomend this book and would be keen to read more from the author.