Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Dear writers and publishers this is where I post my book reviews

My latest review for instance ended up here:

My blog on books: http://www.dutchysbookreviewsandfreebooks.com/2019/03/review-of-lost-letter-from-morocco-by.html
My linkedin feed that is linked to my twitter feed
My Facebook feed
My Facebook group about books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/477115302465685/

On other people's sites:
Linkedin historic enthousiast group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/158038/ (If applicable)
Facebook group Readers Corner: https://www.facebook.com/groups/391951330851095/

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/review/R2GM0MI5VTYFGD/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2619985422

Review of 'The Lost Letter from Morocco' by Adrienne Chinn - travelling through Marocco - Berber culture - lost sibling - love - breastcancer

It is 2009 and Canadian born but living in London Addy is battling breastcancer. While on chemotherapy her half sister visits her in hospital and hands her some paperwork that belonged to their recently died father. It is part of a letter in which father Gus writes to Addy he had fallen in love with a Moroccan woman. The letter is written in the 1980ties but was never send. With the letter come a few old Polaroid  pictures her father had snapped while travelling through Morocco. On one of them she notices hands wearing her mother's old wedding ring. On another is a woman who is definitely pregnant.

As her boyfriend just had showed his true colours by screwing around while she was diagnosed with cancer and her photographer business went belly up Addy decides to go on adventure and follow in her father'footsteps and maybe find a sibling her father never mentioned. She goes to Morocco thinking she can use the trip for a photobook about the country.

The novel was appealing to me on so many levels:
- Addy - my mother's name
- breastcancer at 40 - been there
- Morocco - seen that
- local boyfriend - had one (in Jordan)
- people having better things to do when you are very ill - alas met those as well

So maybe it was more interesting to me than to an average person. I recognised the local sites even when the falls were renamed.

There were a couple of things that could have been done better:
- breastcancer: Well mine was very very severe so that might be different but it is odd she never is fearful afterwards. You are not cured just because treatment is over.
- boyfriend - somehow he just seems bossy and not so attractive
- the ending: That did suck big time!!! The last couple of pages ruined the plot in my opinion because it made all the other shenanigans  not logical anymore. (Or I missed something????)

Nevertheless: still a nice book to read

4 stars out of 5

Pub Date

Review of "The girl in the painting" by Renita D'Silva - World War 1 and India in the 1920ties - guilt and forgiving

This is a historical novel set in the early 20th century and the beginning of the 21th one. It is not a romance story although the main characters are women. It will also be an interesting read for men.

English Margaret has an idyllic childhood growing up on an English country estate pre-world war 1. She plays with her two sisters in the large gardens and has loving parents. Then the war destroys all that and Margaret has to deal with her feeling of guilt. When she is a grown up woman she follows her husband to India thinking she can restore her childhood there starting a family of her own on his country estate. But then something happens that forces her again to choose between herself and someone else's life.

This is a novel about guilt and forgiveness. It returns in many forms. Not being able to forgive yourself, not being able to forgive the other or forgiving someone who does not deserve it.

It is certainly not a lightweight read that you will forget the moment you finished it. It made me think of what my friend Lisan said decades ago: "You should forgive but not forget". What also kept me musing was the ending. Will you feel happy that someone kept loving you or would you regret having wasted your whole life by not forgiving? According to friend Marc it is an economical theory that people tend to value mostly the last-minute good thing but I would have been devastated by regret.

The story is told from the point of view of three people: Margaret, an Indian woman around ten years her junior and her granddaughter.

If you liked the movie "Atonement" you probably will love this novel as well.

I can highly recommend it. A 5 stars out of 5.

PS I almost forgot: Margaret becomes a famous painter and that is reflected by the language in the novel. Often colours are used to describe a person, a feeling or a situation. Very well done.

Pub Date

Monday, 11 March 2019

Review of "Desire Lines" by Elisabeth Kingston (and those desire lines are walking trails by the way)

Brigands have tied Gryff to a tree while they go and attack a group of travellers on the King's road. While knights fall a young woman manages to kill all robbers like a kind of ninja and then frees their starving prisoner and his birds of prey.

She is a woman who speaks English as a servant and Welsh as a noblewoman and is covered with knives and called Nan and quite a mystery.

Gryff is a Welshman and has been a noble hostage in the past and now was taken captive in a raid on a monastery by the brigands and only kept alive because he knew how to keep the birds of prey who have to do the hunting and are very valuable alive.

Falconry or hawking was a way to hunt birds and small mammals in the days before gunpowder. An arrow comes in handy with a deer but is quite useless on a pigeon. The birds of prey were also a way to show off for nobility like they still are in Arab countries.

Gryff and Nan end up travelling together to Lincoln to find his friend Hal and her sister and we learn more and more about their background. Both are scarred inside and outside by life. It is a dangerous time. The Norman lords of England have conquered Wales and the local lords that rebelled are squashed what makes the world for a noble from Wales quite dangerous. For a beautiful woman lurk other dangers. That is why they stick to trails through the forests and fields instead of walking on the roads: hence the desire lines.

A desire line is a trail what we here in Holland would call an "Elephant path": an often used route people walk outside of the real road so they can for instance avoid a corner or cross a road on another spot than where the traffic lights are. You can see them because they look as a trail in the grass. In this novel Nan and Gryff prefer to walk off the road and go hiking. You might translate it as "off the beaten track" and that is also what they are. They do things differently then their contemporaries and also the way they fall in love is not traditional.

This is a historical romance novel but not a very traditional one. There is a lot of adventure novel in it and lots of little sidestories are added like falconry, prostitution, LGTB, crossing social boundaries, noblesse oblige and sexual violence.

The story is believable and is also interesting. Not only the historical background but also the way people who have experienced sexual violence come together.

If you think it is an erotic novel: NO. There is one bedscene that is beautifully described without being vulgar and essential for the storyline so even a very prudish person can live with that I think.

The writer has a pleasant writing style, sometimes she creates real gems or has you grinning and if you want to you can finish the book in one day but that involves a lot of reading.

A 5 star out of 5

Pub Date

Monday, 4 March 2019

Review of "The Defender" - a comic book realistic as a good movie about a lawyer trying to unravel warcrimes in Iraq

Beautifully made and like watching a movie on pages! I am myself a lawyer who worked with refugees after the Second Gulf War and sometimes wondered what people had done in the days of Saddam so the subject of this comic book was really interesting to me. A half French and half Cameroonian lawyer whose father is a war criminal is asked to defend a lady who is accused of warcrimes in Iraq. The book tackles subjects now hot in France like wearing a veil or not.  The book ends halfway in the story and that was a bit of a disappointment but I see part 2 is following soon. Can really recommend it..

On Amazon:  Meet Leo Sully-Darmon, a hot-shot photogenic criminal defense attorney who takes on cases nobody else will touch. Leo loves a good cause just as much as he loves a good photo-op, and he happens to excel at both. But when he agrees to represent a woman accused of crimes against humanity during her former life as an officer in an Iraqi detention camp, he may have bitten off more than he can chew, as antagonistic forces conspire to cast doubt on his client's innocence and start digging up dirt on his own life... complete with dark secrets from both the past and the present.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Review of "Ghostley Embrace" by Brenda Hurley

Ghostly Embrace

Pub Date: