Tag Archive: britain



The Art of HidingThe Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poor girl becomes rich wife, becomes poor mom. Except for the rich part, that’s the story of my life! Almost sounds boring. But for some reason, I truly enjoyed this read. It is well-written. The characters felt real to me. Even though they were British and rich. The troubles were scary. I could relate. I’ve never owed that much money, though I don’t have a conversion table handy after midnight. But I have owed more than I had. It had forced changes in my behavior and where I was to live. As the main character learns in a very hard way.

A teenage boy for a son. Been there three times. I can relate. And this mother was far more patient and sweet about it all than I could be. Wish I could have been that sweet. But my kids would have, oops, did laugh at me when I approached their rebellions that way. And it wasn’t a good laugh. At least we were in her head as she thought through her responses.

This review isn’t doing the book justice. It was good, I loved it. I stayed awake a long time finishing it. It wasn’t fantasy or adventure or murder-mystery. It was a peek into someone else’s life and how she manages to get through and thrive. And I think this is the kind of book teens should read, especially girls. Though women (and men) will relate and learn throughout the story.

I wish I had less pain and more brain. This review sounds horrible. Believe me. It was worth the read. I loved it!

Netgalley gave me the ARC of this book. Thank you!

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London Holiday (Americans Abroad, #5)London Holiday by Miranda MacLeod
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun little book! Need a beach read or a nod to fairy tales with a twist? This is it. Though it was a little predictable, I still couldn’t go to sleep until 3:00 in the morning as I wanted to see what would happen.

In our crazy cyber-gossipy world, a princess and a journalist fall in love, quite by accident. Fun and adventure happen, lots of London is explored.

Beyond these words, I am afraid I will ruin your discovery of this gem if I tell you more. This book was just a lightweight read to fill the moments between heavier books. I probably won’t read it again but I am now a fan of this author and will read more by her. Enjoy!

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Mary Poppins: 80th Anniversary CollectionMary Poppins: 80th Anniversary Collection by P.L. Travers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was in fifth grade, I was a library regular. I would check out the limit of ten books at a time. Mary Poppins was a series I got into and read all of them. I never had seen Julie Andrews version. We weren’t allowed to go to movies in my family. Maybe that’s the reason I am so into movies now?

Anyway, I wasn’t a fan of the illustrations, still don’t care for them. I got irritated with Michael getting so much attention. I felt that this read through, too.

Something that I noticed that I don’t remember my childhood thoughts on. How prideful Mary Poppins was, and how grumpy/bossy she was. But now that it’s been a couple days since I finished this quartet of books I think I’m glad she was that way. She didn’t feel she needed to tell the family when she’d be leaving. She rarely admitted to the kids about her friends or her habits with them. It was like she had her own life apart from the wards of her job. I think she shows women and girls that they don’t have to tell everything and they can be independent.

Since I read these four books in a row using text-to-speech, I didn’t notice where one book ended and another began–except when she left and said she wasn’t coming back–but then she came back.

I don’t remember finding the adventures tedious as a child. But as an adult, I see they are far too similar and I lost interest sometimes.

Particular to this version, the Audible available as whispersynch to this book was just for the first book. Most folks would probably read on without a problem. I need the text-to-speech to take over and it was hard to make my Fire understand that. The good news was that I called Amazon and they made it all good. I had loved the Audible narration. I just didn’t have the money to get the rest of the books at that time. They let me remove it and then my text-to-speech with the British voice that always sounds like Julie Andrews got me through the rest of the books.

Now I feel ready to watch the new Mary Poppins movie.

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Wives and DaughtersWives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I just wrote on the Kindle version on GoodReads, I found the text-to-speech didn’t work for me. I had an Audible credit sitting there when my friend recommended this book so I pick this up. The Kindle and the Audible didn’t synch up so I gave up trying to read while listening and just listened.

The story didn’t grab me as much as the narrator’s voice and her ability to characterize the whole story. It took me a longer time than books usually take but I felt I needed to soak Nadia May’s storytelling in. She was fantastic. I could see the story as if I were watching it in a movie. It might make a fun movie.

Since this was the Victorian British Isles, the history of women shows. It shows how far we’ve come and yet how far we need to go until there would be real equality. Even the title represents the ownership of fathers and husbands. Yet it is a good example that young women today should read and take their time to soak in why many modern women are still not happy with our positions in life.

Still, just as a story it is fun. Often I would get bored with it and then Nadia May’s voice and excitement would pull me back in. I’m glad I read it. Give it a try.

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The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This audiobook (CD) was in the put-away-bag at the library and I couldn’t resist. I knew it was a fairly recent movie so I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Ah, but I wasn’t crazy for it. You would think it would do it for me. I used to take the train to work every day. I know how that imagination can take you places the train doesn’t. In fact, riding the train was how I wrote my first book. So that part of the first character grabbed me. That she had stories in her head about the people she saw in the homes she passed made her an interesting character to me. But somehow I mostly didn’t like her.

It was when the next character voice came in that I perked up my ears. Her voice reminded me of Gilly, Sam’s crush on Game of Thrones. I guess it is just her accent but having that familiar voice had me listening more closely. And I did like this character.

About the time I got into the story my CD player gave up. I ended up using my credit on Audible to get the audio onto my Kindle. That worked out better.

It has been over a week since I finished this book. Lots of life has happened since. So my memories are eroding. Still, I remember how I stayed up until 3 the last part of the book. It was well written and kept me interested.

The narrators: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher were fantastic and different enough to keep me from getting the characters confused.

As the librarian had warned me, don’t read the last bit at night before sleep it is a thriller and it will keep you awake. Still, it was a good read. I’m glad I read it.

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The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard TimesThe Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As an addict of the BBC show, Call the Midwife, I couldn’t resist getting the Kindle and Audible versions of the book. As usual, the book is better than the show, but not by much. Books always give more insight into the thinking of a character, something film cannot capture properly.

Jennifer Worth’s memoir takes us to another time and the way people were then. Science, especially nursing and midwifery were new. Much was done by ‘old wives tales’ in the beginning but as medical science developed, giving birth sometimes took back steps. Ms. Worth shows us the mistakes and the achievements womanhood gained when men took over the most female of jobs.

But these aren’t just about the theories. We learn of Jennifer’s life as a nurse and midwife as she lived in the convent of nuns. The characters of the TV show are there in full glory. My favorite, Chummy, isn’t seen as much as I’d like (neither is Miranda Hart in the show as much as I’d like). But it is comical to watch her learn to be a midwife in her tall, elegant way.

I love how both the show (which seem to stick closely to Worth’s story) carefully lead us through patients lives and how pregnancy and motherhood impacted daily life post-WWII. Jennifer Worth’s writing is impeccable and yet poetic. It is fun to watch as she grows to become a stronger person and midwife as the book progresses.

Oh, and a note for the lovely narrator: Nicola Barber. Though it took me a minute to get used to her, I was so happy I did. She could do the cockney or the more proper British if needed and kept my interest piqued.

I would hope everyone reads and watches these as there is much to learn here. I can’t wait to read the next book.

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DodgerDodger by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was having trouble getting into my local electronic library. I know now that it was due to the card expiring. But I decided to try Washoe County and got in with my old card. This Overdrive version came up and I thought, what the heck? Can’t go wrong with a Terry Pratchett. (R.I.P)

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but I seem to be reading a lot of books that are centered in the late 1800s –early 1900s. (Victoria, The Diaries of Ethel Turner, The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds, Out of the Past–sort of) so this fit right in. Mr. Pratchett brought into the story some very far-fetched concepts like how Dodger nearly gets a shave by the crazy Sweeny Todd and meets Queen Victoria etc. I don’t think what I just wrote is a spoiler as it is in the book blurb.

Anyway, since the only copy I could get was the audio version I spent a couple days catching up on projects while listening and occasionally laughing out loud. Though not as funny as other books by the same author this one is fun and the story one adventure after another. English humor is best!

I need to read more of his stuff like this. By the way, the narrator, Stephen Briggs, was fabulous!

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Victoria: From the creator of the ITV television seriesVictoria: From the creator of the ITV television series by Daisy Goodwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this edition from NetGalley to read and review. It is an Uncorrected Digital Galley copy. Yet, these eyes didn’t see any mistakes.

This was very interesting. I thought at first that I wouldn’t like it. I neither like history books nor Romance novels. There is both ‘herstory’ and romance in this book. But not a lot. This is more a queen’s coming of age story. In that, I thought it well done and an interesting read.

I loved watching this young person, in her teens, deal with the angst we all have gone through with our parents and breaking out into our own lives. Except, most of us don’t have to assume the responsibilities of the throne and a whole nation while going through these growing pains.

In the acknowledgments at the end of the book, the author mentions she wrote this while making the television (I think it was) show. I will be looking it up to see it. I think it could be done well.

Though not the best book I’ve read, I think you will find this an interesting read.

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Jyotichamp

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