Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ring Through Time by Felicity Pulman

Ring Through Time

When I first read the blurb of this book, I thought it might be a time slip novel, but that is not the case.  The story is told in two parts. One story is told in present day, that of Allie Bennett who has just moved to Norfolk Island with her family and Alice Bennett who lived on Norfolk in the 1840s.
Allie Bennett moves to Norfolk Island knowing that she is the ancestor of an extremely well known commandant who lorded over the island in the 1840s.  It doesn't take too long for her to realise that the ancestors of the convicts still living on the island don't think too highly of John Bennett.  In fact they hate him and therefore they don't think much of Allie either.  Allie plans to find out the truth about John Bennett, and in doing so she finds out about his daughter, who according to recorded history, didn't even exist!

It is Romeo and Juliet,  Australian style set in 1847. This book falls into the genre of 'Fact-ion'. The facts relating to the general history of Norfolk Island are accurate, but the characters in this story are fictional as are the events that take place relating to these characters.

There is the modern day romance between Allie and Noah O'Brien , which doesn't start well and when reading the diary we learn of Alice's romance with a convict... which doesn't end well.

What I really got from this book was a look at a part of Australia's history that I knew nothing about. As often happens to me when I read historical fiction, I found that I wanted to find out more, so here's a few links that you may find interesting.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Caddy's World by Hilary McKay

I am a self confessed Casson Family tragic.  I love them, and after reading Forever Rose, I was actually quite sad that I wouldn't get to visit this crazy lovely family anymore.  Imagine my joy on hearing that a new book was coming out, and while it doesn't carry on from where Forever Rose left off, it does take us right back to the beginning.

If you haven't read the Casson family stories, I cannot recommend them highly enough.  They are funny, quirky and heartfelt, they made me laugh out loud as well as needing to have the tissues on hand to mop up the tears.

The Casson family consists of the Mother: Eve, Father: Bill and children, Caddy, Indigo, Saffy and Rose.  Their family dynamic is quite unique, Bill spends his time in London, he even lives there the majority of the time and Eve is an artist, who spends a lot of time down in her studio at the bottom of the garden and very little time doing 'normal' motherly things.  Each of the books focuses on a particular family member as they make their way in life.

This book takes us back to the very beginning, when Caddy is 12 and Indigo and Saffy are about 8 and 6.  It's the story about how Rose came into the world and turned the family upside down, for once Bill has to be in charge of the household, and it's not quite what he expected!  It's also a time of change for Caddy, and her three best friends Ali, Beth and Ruby.  The girls are all growing up, on the verge of becoming teenagers, and each of them share their different fears, concerns and struggles.  There are a lot of laugh out loud moments in this book, Indigo and Saffy are a hysterical duo, they really do get up to some trouble, and it's these two that Bill finds the most trying. 

What I really like was that this story finishes with a jump to a few years later when Caddy is about to take her very first driving lesson, this is the same time as we first meet the family in Saffy's Angel, with an instructor who ends up being much more than that!

The cover image above is for the new edition published in March 2013, but there was also a hardback edition (see pic to the right) that didn't really seem to appeal to many readers.  Which do you prefer?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Nancy Drew Diaries: Curse of the Arctic Star

Nancy Drew is back with her latest mystery. I will admit to being a big Nancy Drew reader when I was young, so I am always keen to see how the new versions shape up.

This story feels to me like the Nancy Drew of old.  Nancy and her trusted sidekicks Bess and George have been invited on the maiden voyage of the brand new cruise liner the Arctic Star. The cruise has been receiving threats and Nancy and her cousins are there to find out who is behind it.

There's a dead body in the pool (turns out to be a dummy), Nancy nearly gets knocked out by a falling moose head on the mini gold course, and a giant spider gets loose in the buffet! It's all very 'old school' mystery with a few red herrings thrown in for good measure.

I liked it a lot, and apart from the introdu
ction of mobile phones and email, I don't think Nancy Drew has changed that much at all, and for me that's a good thing. Two more titles due in May, Strangers On a Train continues Nancy's Alaskan adventure, while the action of Mystery of the Midnight Rider takes place at the River Heights Horse Show.