Review: The Sunday Girl – Pip Drysdale

The Sunday Girl

The Sunday Girl

Pip Drysdale

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925685824

 

Description:

The Girl on the Train meets Before I Go to Sleep with a dash of Bridget Jones in this chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong …

 

Some love affairs change you forever. Someone comes into your orbit and swivels you on your axis, like the wind working on a rooftop weather vane. And when they leave, as the wind always does, you are different; you have a new direction. And it’s not always north.

 

Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge. Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle, he’d slowly dissembled … stolen a couple of pieces from, and then discarded, knowing that nobody would ever be able to put it back together ever again. So Taylor consulted The Art of War and made a plan. Then she took the next step – one that would change her life forever.

 

Then things get really out of control – and The Sunday Girl becomes impossible to put down.

 

 

My View:

“You always know where your heart belongs when it gets to Sunday and there is only one person in the whole world you want to curl up with on the sofa.” P.59

 

This is a read in one sitting, forget what’s happening in the outside world as you urge the protagonist to safety. Secretly you smile as her plan begins to form – who hasn’t harboured a little grudge against an ex before? You empathise, you become a silent player in this game of cat and mouse. And then…

 

Well you will just have to read this yourself to find out.

 

 

Domestic noir at its pulse racing best!  This is my perfect read. More please!

Review: The Children’s House – Alice Nelson

The Children's House

The Children’s House

Alice Nelson

Penguin Random House Australia

Vintage

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

Marina, ‘the gypsy scholar’, a writer and academic, and her psychoanalyst husband, Jacob, were each born on a kibbutz in Israel. They meet years later at a university in California, Marina a grad student and Jacob a successful practitioner and teacher who has a young son, Ben, from a disastrous marriage. The family moves to a brownstone in Harlem, formerly a shelter run by elderly nuns.

 

Outside the house one day Marina encounters Constance, a young refugee from Rwanda, and her toddler, Gabriel. Unmoored and devastated, Constance and Gabriel quickly come to depend on Marina; and her bond with Gabriel intensifies.

 

When out of the blue Marina learns some disturbing news about her mother, Gizela, she leaves New York in search of the loose ends of her life. As Christmas nears, her tight-knit, loving family, with Constance and Gabrielle, join Marina in her mother’s former home, with a startling, life-changing consequence.

 

Alice Nelson skilfully weaves together these shared stories of displacement and trauma into a beautifully told, hope-filled, outstanding novel.

 

 

My View:

Can a book both be intense and yet subtle? Can it be meditative yet urge you to take action? Can stories of displacement, war and war crimes, isolation and suicide have a more or less happy resolution? This highly complex yet very easy and engaging read broaches many contemporary issues in an eloquent and unassuming voice; this is accessible literary fiction at its best.

 

A fantastic read.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The Forbidden Place – Susanne Jansson

The Forbidden Place

The Forbidden Place

Susanne Jansson

Translated by Rachel Wilson-Broyles

Hachette Australia

Mulholland Books

Hodder

ISBN: 9781473668553

RRP $ 29.99

 

Description:

In the North Swedish wetlands lies Mossmarken: the village on the edge of the mire where, once upon a time, people came to leave offerings to the gods.

 

Biologist Nathalie came in order to study the peat bogs. But she has a secret: Mossmarken was once her home, a place where terrible things happened. She has returned at last, determined to confront her childhood trauma and find out the truth.

 

Soon after her arrival, she finds an unconscious man out on the marsh, his pockets filled with gold – just like the ancient human sacrifices. A grave is dug in the mire, which vanishes a day after. And as the police investigate, the bodies start to surface…

 

Is the mire calling out for sacrifices, as the superstitious locals claim? Or is it an all-too-human evil?

An international sensation, THE FORBIDDEN PLACE is a darkly gripping tale of the stories we tell ourselves to survive, and the terrible consequences they can have.

 

 

My View:

My very first impression of this book was created by the wonderful cover art; it succinctly conveys the almost Gothic like chilliness that pervades the landscape, there is an almost palpable sense of mystery, unease and intrigue. Fog, mist, swamp, peat bogs, isolation… the landscape is such a huge character in this book.

 

Moody with finely drawn characters, spiced with a little history, sadness and spooky folk tales, these are the elements that provide the skeleton for this chilling narrative to build on. A great read and a wonderful debut, I look forward to reading more books by this author.

 

PS This is brilliantly and appears effortlessly, translated.

 

 

Review: Bridge of Clay – Markus Zusak

Bridge of Clay

Bridge of Clay

Markus Zusak

Pan Macmillan Australia

Picador

ISBN: 9781760559922

 

Description:

From the author of the no.1 New York Times bestselling novel The Book Thief.

 

“An amazing talent in Australian literature” Sunday Telegraph

 

Let me tell you about our brother.

The fourth Dunbar boy named Clay.

Everything happened to him.

We were all of us changed through him.

 

The Dunbar boys bring each other up in a house run by their own rules. A family of ramshackle tragedy – their mother is dead, their father has fled – they love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world.

 

It is Clay, the quiet one, who will build a bridge; for his family, for his past, for his sins. He’s building a bridge to transcend humanness. To survive.

 

A miracle and nothing less.

 

Markus Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.

 

PRAISE FOR BRIDGE OF CLAY

 

“Exquisitely written multigenerational family saga…With heft and historical scope, Zusak creates a sensitively rendered tale of loss, grief, and guilt’s manifestations.” Publishers Weekly

 

“An evocative, compassionate and exquisitely composed coming-of-age story about family, love, tragedy and forgiveness. Zusak’s prose is distinct: astute, witty, exquisitely rhythmic, and utterly engrossing. The deliberateness of his sentences, down to the punctuation is something to savour…a profoundly moving and engaging meditation on innocence and the pliable ties that bind family together in a quintessentially Australian setting.” Australian Books+Publishing Magazine

 

 

My View:

When I finished reading this book, about 1 in the morning, it took a great deal of self-control for me not to wake my husband up so I could talk to him about the book (he had read it a few days before me) and he loved it too! And now I cant wait for publication day to arrive so I can talk to others about this amazingly written (I loved the voice, the writing style), poignant, mesmerising read.

 

Perhaps my response to this book can best be summed up in the author’s own words (p. 568/569) “Twice I nearly broke down, and once I thought I’d be sick …” tears were close to flowing on several occasions, I swallowed them down in an effort to appear in control and dignified. I LOVED the book – can I make the call this early – THJE BEST BOOK I HAVE READ THIS YEAR!

 

 

 

Review: Love Laugh Bake! – Silvia Colloca

Love Laugh Bake

Love Laugh Bake!

Silvia Colloca

Pan Macmillan Australia

Plum

ISBN: 9781925481457

RRP $39.99

 

Description:

For passionate home-cook and baker Silvia Colloca there is nothing more satisfying than baking – combining the simplest of ingredients and seeing them transformed into the most delicious creations to share with others.

 

In Love, Laugh, Bake! Silvia shares more than 120 of her must-have recipes: breads, pizzas and focaccias, tarts and pies, cookies, simple cakes and also baking for special occasions. There are recipes for new and experienced bakers alike, from the easiest one-bowl cakes to crusty sourdough loaves and flaky jam-filled cornetti. Learn how to make the perfect pizza base, fluffy focaccia and deliciously rich tarts. Standout sweets include hazelnut brownies, blackberry and pear crostata, and plum and red wine upside-down cake. Silvia is well known for her fresh take on gluten-free baking and in this book she shares more than 50 of her most popular gluten-free and vegan recipes that you will want to bake again and again.

 

This is easy, generous food for every day. Silvia’s baking is simple, classic and is always enriched with her warmth and a unique sense of joy and abundance. Love, Laugh, Bake! will inspire you to discover the delights of baking for yourself, so grab your trusted rolling pin and roll up those sleeves!

 

The Author:

Silvia Colloca is an Italian-born food lover living in Sydney, Australia and has claimed the mantle of Passionate Italian Home Cook in Australia since arriving here in 2009. She share unfussy, delicious, recipes that have been passed down through her family for generations. Her food is traditional, authentic, simple, and embedded in it is the legacy of her mother and grandmother. She has authored three books Silvia’s Cucina, Made In Italy and La Dolce Vita and has hosted and co-produced Made in Italy on SBS and the ABC’s Silvia’s Italian Table. https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781925481457/

 

 

My View:

I first meet Silvia when I was scouring the net for hints and advice on making a sour dough starter and sough dough bread. Luckily I came across Silvia’s website https://silviascucina.net  and I proceeded to finesse my sough dough making skills.  So when I had an opportunity to review a book written by this famous author I leapt at the chance. It has not disappointed.

 

This is a great book for all home bakers.  The recipes are simple, elegant and they work! I particularly like that Silvia has catered to a variety of readers/bakers and their differing lifestyle needs; there are recipes that are vegan, gluten free, dairy free…there are breads, scrolls, chocolate dipped coconut macaroons (and I hesitate to make this statement but I think they are even better than my late mother in laws, but we will keep this between us, mother in laws cooking skills should always be respectedJ ), an amazingly easy and yummy gluten free Orange and Blueberry cake ( sorry no pictures we devoured it before I had an opportunity to photograph but I may make this again soon…I’ll let you know), there are brownies (gluten free), pavlova, biscotti, savoury and sweet tarts…there is something here to delight all bakers.

 

Now I have visitors coming for morning tea tomorrow so I best get baking!

 

 

Flashback Thursday: Review – Since We Fell – Dennis Lehane

Since we Fell

Since we Fell

Denis Lehane

Hachette Australia

Little, Brown

ISBN: 9781408708347

 

Description:

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.

 

My View:

 WOW!!!!

 I am so sorry that I am late to this party. This book has been sitting on my TBR forever – through no fault of its own it got passed over, left on the shelf, buried by new releases. I am so sorry. Dennis Lehane is a great writer, I was already aware of his fabulous narrative writing skills from a previous read but this standalone takes the rating up a notch or two, it is outstanding.

 

So if you have this book sitting somewhere amongst your To Be Read pile, sitting on a shelf, languishing in the dark – I implore you, set it free, read it, you will not be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

Review: Adriatico, Recipes and Stories from Italy’s Adriatic Coast – Paola Bacchia

Adriatico_cover

Adriatico

Recipes and Stories from Italy’s Adriatic Coast

Paola Bacchia

Smith Street Books

ISBN: 9781925418729

 

Description:

The food of Italy’s eastern coastline mirrors the memories and traditions of peoples past and present who have lived on the shores of the Adriatic. Local ingredients reflect the climate and terrain. Naturally, seafood in abundant, as well as an array of incredible pasta, rice, polenta and meat dishes.

 

The Adriatic coastline runs from the heel of the boot-shaped peninsula at the Ionian Sea, through Puglia and Venice, to the northern waters of the Gulf of Trieste on the border with Slovenia. Along its length are rugged rocky coast lInes, sandy stretches of beach, lagoons and wetlands. Spindly wooden fishing piers, white washed walls, colourful villages and sea-facing piazzas dot the 1,200-kilometre coastline with a rich history touched by Etruscan, Greek, Roman, Venetian and Austrian populations.

 

In Adriatico, join Paola on a beautiful journey as she travels the length of this relatively unexplored coastline, to find ancient food traditions still thriving.

 

 

My View:

This book is a visual feast – I love the travel photography and narrative that accompanies the recipes.  There are images/photographs of the local landscape here I want to try and paint! Beautiful! If anyone suggested a trip to Italy right now I would not hesitate to pack my bags and join them – this book is inspirational.

 

And then there are the delicious recipes – I have already made half a dozen or so from this book and there are plenty more I would like to try out.  The ingredients are seasonal and fresh and pack a flavour punch.  This is a great book that inspires some wonderful kitchen (and travel) adventures.