Review: The Suicide Bride – Tanya Bretherton

The Suicide Bride

Tanya Bretherton

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733640988

 

Description:

Whenever society produces a depraved criminal, we wonder: is it nature or is it nurture?

 

When the charlatan Alicks Sly murdered his wife, Ellie, and killed himself with a cut-throat razor in a house in Sydney’s Newtown in early 1904, he set off a chain of events that could answer that question. He also left behind mysteries that might never be solved. Sociologist Dr Tanya Bretherton traces the brutal story of Ellie, one of many suicide brides in turn-of-the-century Sydney; of her husband, Alicks, and his family; and their three orphaned sons, adrift in the world.

 

From the author of the acclaimed THE SUITCASE BABY – shortlisted for the 2018 Ned Kelly Award, Danger Prize and Waverley Library ‘Nib’ Award – comes another riveting true-crime case from Australia’s dark past. THE SUICIDE BRIDE is a masterful exploration of criminality, insanity, violence and bloody family ties in bleak, post-Victorian Sydney.

 

My View:

It was fascinating to read of such macabre events in an area of Sydney that I have visited. The book creates a visual landscape that is accessible and real. In this deeply researched book we are time travellers transported to Sydney, Newtown early 1900’s. And what a hard life it is – especially for women and children. Domestic violence is obvious but accepted as the norm – change is taking a long, long time.  Violence – nature versus nurture, the question is posed and left for the reader to ponder.

 

Tanya Bretherton explores an intriguing case of one of these horrendous act of violence – of a particular “Suicide Bride”, a term common for the crime of committing murder of spouse by the husband who then commits suicide.  In this case we view the bodies (wife and husband) in situ, we check pockets for notes, count coins, measure the wounds and try and avoid the deluge of blood. How could the wife not show any signs of defence wounds?  Read on carefully and wonder at the possible explanation given (no spoilers) I would like to have seen this solution discussed in more depth but how this could be explored so long after the event I cannot conceive.

 

A well-researched event that provides a great insight into Sydney in the 1900’s and possibly provides a great premise for a work of crime fiction for writers.

What’s on Tonight’s Menu? Super Simple Chicken Curry: A Pinch of Nom – Kate Allinson & Kay Featherstone

Pinch of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone is published by Bluebird, RRP $39.99 and is available in all good bookstores.

Super Simple Chicken Curry

Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 30 mins | 181 KCAL per serving

Occasionally, the craving for a good Indian dish is overwhelming. We would all love to have the opportunity to create curry pastes and spice mixes from scratch. At times though, we just need a quick, easy, got- curry recipe that can be created in minutes. This is one such recipe. Wonderfully tasty, but so quick to put together, it’ll become a regular evening meal in no time.” p58

—–| Everyday Light |—–

 

F GF

Serves 4

 

Low-calorie cooking spray

1 large onion, sliced

450g chicken breast (skin and visible fat removed), diced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

400ml water

3 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp tomato puree

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

TO SERVE (OPTIONAL)

Samosas (see earlier post)

Cooked rice

 

Spray a large frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes until softened slightly, then add the diced chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until browned.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minutes, then add all the other ingredients. The water should just about cover the chicken – you may need a little more or less depending on the size of your pan.

Leave to simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Turn the heat up and boil the curry for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan – this will reduce and thicken the sauce slightly.

Serves the curry with your choice of accompaniment.

 

* Tip – this curry recipe works well with lean diced lamb (all visible fat removed), too.

Review: Rough Diamond (Erica Jewell #1) – Kathryn Ledson

Rough Diamond

Erica Jewell #1

Kathryn Ledson

Pilyara Press

ASIN: B07L3Y6XHV

 

Description:

Funny, romantic and action-packed, Rough Diamond introduces Australia’s unforgettable Erica Jewell.

 

The shock ending to Erica Jewell’s marriage has left a huge hole in her bank balance and a bigger one in her heart. So now this office worker’s goals make a very short list: no surprises, no debt and, definitely, no men. That is, until she finds one bleeding to death in her Melbourne garden one stormy night.

Jack Jones is a man whose emotional wounds are more life-threatening than the bullet in his shoulder. When he recruits Erica to his secret team of vigilantes, Erica suspects her safe, predictable world is about to be inverted.

And she’s absolutely right.

 

My View:

Fun, exciting, mysterious and oh so Australian – I love this read!

Kathryn Ledson has created a wonderful female protagonist, Erica Jewell and in this, the first book in the series, we are introduced to a set of main characters that face adversity head on. This is a thrilling, fast paced mystery that is tempered with humour and a hint of romance.

This series would make fantastic TV! The world is ready to meet Erica Jewell.

 

 

 

 

#MondayMunchies: Rumbledethumps – Pinch of Nom – Kate Alinson & Kay Featherstone

Pinch of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone is published by Bluebird, RRP $39.99 and isavailable in all good bookstores.

 

Rumbledethumps

Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 40 mins | 162 KCAL per serving

 

When we asked our fantastic taste testers to review this recipe, the most asked question was, ‘But … what is rumbledethumps?’ Mostly heard of ‘Up North’, it’s a Scottish version of the Irish colcannon, or the English bubble and squeak. Why is it called Rumbledethumps in this book? Because were northerners, of course!p.176

 

Weekly Indulgence

V F GF

Serves 4

 

400g medium potatoes, peeled and diced

200g swede, peeled and diced

Low-calorie cooking spray

½ small onion, thinly sliced

125g green or white cabbage, thinly slices

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium egg yolk

40g reduced-fat cheddar, grated

Cook the diced potato and swede in a pan of boiling salted water until soft, then drain and set aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C/gas mark 6).

 

Spray a large frying pan with some low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and cabbage and cook for 3–4 minutes until they start to soften slightly, then add them to the cooked potato and swede and mash roughly with a fork or spoon. You want to leave it a bit chunky.

 

Season well with salt and pepper and stir in the egg yolk. Place in an overproof dish, sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top, and cook in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

 

Remove from the oven and serve.

 

 

Review: When it all Went to Custard – Danielle Hawkins

When it All Went to Custard

Danielle Hawkins

HarperCollins

ISBN: 9781775541417

 

Description:

Odds of saving marriage – slim. Farming expertise – patchy. Chances that it’ll all be okay in the end – actually pretty good …

 

 

I wasn’t enjoying the afternoon of 23 February even before I learnt that my husband was having an affair …

 

The news of her husband’s infidelity comes as a nasty shock to Jenny Reynolds, part-time building control officer and full-time mother – even though, to her surprise and embarrassment, her first reaction is relief, not anguish. What really hurts is her children’s unhappiness at the break-up, and the growing realisation that, alone, she may lose the family farm.

 

This is the story of the year after Jenny’s old life falls apart; of family and farming, pet lambs and geriatric dogs, choko-bearing tenants and Springsteen-esque neighbours. And of just perhaps a second chance at happiness.

 

 

My View:

I cannot get enough of this authors writing! (I am still looking for a copy of Dinner at Rosie’s if anyone has a copy on their shelf somewhere).

 

Danielle Hawkins writes rural fiction with charm, wit, humour and engaging contemporary issues. Take a peek at the lives reflected here and you will see situations, landscapes (albeit New Zealand landscapes but they do translate well to Australian settings), and characters that remind you of places and people you know.

 

Danielle’s books always light up my day. More please.

 

 

Guest Review: Something in the Wine – Tricia Stringer

Something in the Wine

Tricia Stringer

Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty Ltd

ISBN: 9781489261502

Description:

A warm-hearted rural romance set among the scenic vineyards of the Margaret River from bestselling author Tricia Stringer, the authentic voice of Australian storytelling. Reserved high school teacher Keely Mitchell is more than ready for her holiday on the west coast of Australia, so when a medical emergency turns over all her plans and an intervention by a kind stranger finds her recovering in a Margaret River vineyard, she is at first downcast.

Keely had wanted to put recent traumatic events out of her mind, and recuperating alone in a stranger’s house won’t help that. But slowly the lovely food, spectacular wine and beautiful landscape of the area begin to work their spell. As Keely makes friends with the locals and adapts to the rhythms of the vintner’s year, she starts to feel part of the scenery too, particularly when her artwork and jewellery-making somehow find a home at Levallier Dell Wines.

But clouds are on the horizon in the shape of a warring father and son, interfering family friends and a rival in love. Keely didn’t mean to fall for anyone, but she can’t help her feelings for clever, passionate wine-maker Flynn Levallier. Sadly, it seems he only has eyes for the beautiful Kat, daughter of a rival wine-maker. Can what Keely feels be real? Or is it just something in the wine?

Brenda’s Review:

Keely Mitchell was looking forward to her holiday in WA; to following her dreams and going where she wanted. But the day of her arrival in Perth, she had an unexpected medical emergency and it was only luck that had her remembering the note with the phone number in her jeans pocket. Heading to Margaret River was the last thing she thought she’d be doing, but recuperation was paramount and her respite at Levallier Dell Wines seemed fortuitous.

As Keely slowly regained her strength, her discomfort at the situation in the face of the father and son who quite obviously didn’t see eye to eye was enough to make her want to leave. But gradually, the beauty of the vineyard; the wine and food; the friendliness of the locals – all made Keely realise she loved the area. But of course she couldn’t stay. Her sketches and jewellery making kept her occupied, but she wasn’t sure it was enough.

Would Keely leave Levallier Dell with just her memories to add to her holiday experiences? Or was there more, much more that she could experience?

Another fabulous read from the pen of Aussie author Tricia Stringer! I thoroughly enjoyed Something in the Wine, as I have all this author’s work. Her descriptions are so well painted, even though I’ve never been to the area, I could visualize it all. I could see the volatile and passionate neighbour Theo; the gossiping café owner; the frustrations of both father and son – all written in an easy-to-read way. An excellent novel which I have no trouble recommending. 5 stars

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.