Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Botticelli Angel - Harry Cauley














I borrowed this lovely read from a friend, and so glad I did.  It's set in America, in the 1920s, in the years before the Depression when John Tree, a grifter (but not a good one), a sometime teacher with a false diploma, and an eye for a pretty woman, comes across an angel.  An angel whose mother has just been waiting for another angel to take him to heaven.  John Tree can do that;  but his heaven just happens to be California.  For if he can get the angel to Hollywood, he can make a fortune.  His adventures across America, with Michael, a simple soul with small boney growths on his shoulder blades are a joy to read.  The village of Paradise, the circus folk, the visit to the Grand Canyon all hold joy for Michael, who asks, at every one of them, "is this heaven?".

Harry Cauley has a light touch writing style and a lovely sense of humour as he takes us along for the ride through all the ups and downs of the journey to California.  Told in the first person, John Tree struggles with his own morals whilst he protects Michael but only because he sees money at the end of the journey.  Funny and heartbreaking in turns, this is an odd little novel which really does deserve more readers.  Make one of them you!

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Women in Black - Madeleine St John


The Women In Black
What a lovely little read!  Several women, from different backgrounds, with different views on life and with different hopes for their own lives..... described beautifully over a short period of time working at F G Goode's department store in Sydney, Australia in the 1950s.  And for three of them, in that short period, great changes do occur - and are hopes fulfilled?  It would only take you an afternoon to read the 141 pages and find out.
It starts rather slowly, and I found myself wondering if I was really interested enough in any of these women to bother reading on.  But so glad I did.  Her observations on the conversations of different kinds of women (men hardly get a chance to say much in this book, but as you read on you will see that it does not matter too much) is crystal clear, their hopes and dreams expressed quietly to themselves whilst having to just get on with real life and hope for the best.  For all the changes the world has seen since the 1950s, my guess is that we all know at least one of these women even now, wishing and hoping for something.  There is a delightful story running through with everyone else's stories which sees a result because of the purchase of a pretty negligee......   A quiet little charmer of a book.