Friday, 30 October 2015

Mrs Mac Suggests: What to read in November

The Clocks are back, the nights are longer, and perhaps it's time to look for something different to read.  My suggestion this month is for something written from a child's point of view.  There are lots of them, some much better than others, but if this kind of book is new to you, perhaps it's time to read a new genre.

A famous book in that genre is  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and if you have not yet read this gem, please seek it out and give yourself a treat.

For me, a recently read book comes to mind, that I really enjoyed.  It was

Waltzing Through Flaws by Paula Sharp


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

A Fifty-year Silence by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

  • Fifty-Year Silence, A
Miranda Richmond's maternal grandparents were Jews, who by some miracle escaped internment and death in WW2.  She was Romanian, he stateless (although eventually with French nationality) and they met and married, spend short periods together, and finally after only around five years and the purchase of an old house, Anna left Armand, taking their only child,  and they never spoke again. 

Anna, her grandmother, left Europe, and settled in America where she became a psychciatrist; whilst  Armand had been amongst other things in his long career, a translator during the Nurenberg trials.  Two very different people, two very different personalities.  Anna, an open and caring woman who wanted the best for her granddaughter, and Armand, a closed book, who was very bitter about life and who referred to his (ex?)wife as "that witch", amongst other insults, all the while showing love to his granddaughter so long as his wife was not mentioned.  So with the Atlantic between them, they never met and never talked again and somehow, Miranda Richmond had to find out why this happened.

I thought it was going to be rather dry when I started to read, but it wasn't long before I was engaged in this odd, mysterious family history.  The author will tell you everything she found.  Both grandparents would not tell her anything about why they couldn't stay together, and that mystery is solved only by the author towards the end of the book.  Fortunately, her grandmother kept a great many papers which helped, but I must say Miranda Richmond was tenacious.  It took ten years, and a lot of research - and here's the book!

If you are interested in Jewish history and/or WW2,  this has a very different slant from records of Holocaust survivors and their testimonies.  Nevertheless, it is a record of a time and place that those born without memories of war and the horrors that man can inflict on his fellow man may find intriguing and fascinating.  Certainly the author was intrigued enough to continue digging and I thank her for that - for this rather sad, but understandable and ultimately redeeming story is another part of the jigsaw of WW2, as well as a little piece of her own family history.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Prayers for Sale - Sandra Dallas

Hennie Comfort, 86 in the 1930s, widowed twice, mother of a long dead child, and knowing that her daughter may well be right when she says that she can't continue to live up there in the mountains, in the little mining town of High Swan, but must come down and live with her in Iowa.  Maybe she will, but only for the winters, for her plan is to return each Summer until she can't do that any more.

She has a nice house, much larger than the one room cabins that most miners and their families have, she has some good friends, and she has many tales to tell.  These she relates to her new friend Nit Spindle, only 17, with a husband and a stillborn child buried already.  Nit has a lot to learn about life up there in the thin air on the mountains, and Hennie will pass on all she knows.  Nit can't stitch well, either, but she'll get better at it, and when the quilting circle meets up at Hennie's, that's a good way to get the quilters to befriend Nit.

Thoughout this book, there will be chances for Hennie to tell yet another tale about the community, and gradually we will feel we know everyone so much better.

A smile here and there, a tear too, but most of all a tale well told - a story of love, hate, and quilts.  Just what Dallas does best, really.  I really like her books, but they don't have much of a following in the UK - even though I am ever ready to encourage people to read them!  Maybe a viewer or two of this particular post will think again, and get hold of one of hers....... and become a fan like me.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Bed and Breakfast tales - 7

River Cottage fans sometimes stay here....... and two of our guests this year arrived using public transport only.  Fine as it stands, but we reckoned that a taxi one way would be around £30.  So we told them we would drive them there.  Two friends, one Danish, one Swedish who had met in a kitchen many years ago.  Loved each others company, and that was fun for us too!

Anyway, we piled them in the car and off we went, delivering them to the River Cottage carpark.  They got out of the car, and the Swede promptly burst into tears.  What on earth?

Nothing wrong at all, she just said "My tummy is all wobbly!, I have waited for this moment for years!". 

Early One Morning - Virginia Baily

I was attracted to this novel purely by the cover (as I suppose this is meant to happen!) and it has very little about the contents on the b...