Tuesday Teaser

Tuesday Teaser is a meme I first heard about on sjhigbee’s blog Brainfluff.  I’m not sure if she started it or got involved through someone else’s blog, but it’s lots of fun, and I have adapted it here for PWR members and their friends.

Take a book you’re currently reading and randomly copy a couple of sentences or a paragraph, being sure not to include any spoilers. The idea is to tempt us to read the same book you’re reading, so do not forget to list the title and author as well.

Here is mine for this Tuesday from One Damned Thing After Another, the first book in a time  travel series, “The Chronicles of St. Mary’s”, recommended by the aforementioned sjhigbee in her blog:

“She stepped outside, and I closed the door behind her.  Alone now, the familiar pod smell wrapped itself around me, the electrics, wet carpet, the toilet, the incinerator, a faint whiff of cabbage; awakening memories as painful as lemon juice in a paper cut.  Eau de pod; the most evocative smell in the world.

I eased myself into the seat and checked the console.  Everything seemed OK.

‘Initiate jump.’ And the world went white.”

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EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN by Chris Cleave

Chris Cleave has captured the grit and grind of the bombing of London in his 1916 publication, Everyone Brave is Forgiven. Mary North, our protagonist, is of the “upper class” frittering away her days with her best friend, Hilda, concerned only with eligible young gentlemen, and how to hook them into matrimony.

WAR IS DECLARED, and Mary heads to the nearest recruitment office to “do her part” and to “get in on the action,” with dreams of espionage missions and other assignments suitable to her education and background.  Hilda dreams of all the young officers who will need to be consoled before shipping out and from whom promises of marriage might be obtained.

Alistair and Tony, flatmates and properly educated gentlemen ,choose not to enlist but to wait out the war with as little disturbance to their lifestyles and friendship as possible. Fate and the Axis have other plans for all these young people.

The growth of character through the intertwining of these four young lives during WWII (covers the years 1939 to 1942, specifically) is the fascinating story of this novel.  Cleave, author of the awesome Little Bee, never promises a happy-ever-after-ending, but he always delivers a satisfactory one,which is good enough for me. There is enough humor, some of it dark, to get you through the tough, brutal aftermath of the bombings, and the novel employs several important themes: racial  discrimination in England during the War, the love of teaching, women’s “place” and how the war changes it, romance, and the difficulties of communication.

The book has been described as “Inspirational…” and “Moving…” by critics.  I found it both.

Review of The Cradle by Patrick Sommerville

This novel was recommended as “a novel that comforts,” and it certainly lives up to that.  The Chicago author, with a reputation as a short story writer, tries his hand with his debut novel.  I love “collecting” debut novels and was able to find this 2009 publication at 1/2 Price Books.

Any author who selects his idea/title from the beginning of a Walt Whitman poem already earns an “excellent” rating as far as I’m concerned.

And then, the “read” itself…mystery,real love, trying times, and the quest/journey to find the cradle are handled well. What “happens” in the novel is unpredictable and avoids being “formulaic.”  The author keeps his reader turning the pages with expectation and curiosity to see what happens next. Secrets are revealed, interesting people make appearances, and “connections” and serendipity abound.  It is a good “read.”

I give the novel a 4 1/2 out of 5 for its ingenuity and the way the reader feels when she finishes it.

Review of The Kashmir Shawl

Kashmir Shawl was my Third Tuesday Book Club Selection for the month of May.  I had never heard of Rosie Thomas, and probably would have not read a “romance” on my own, but it was “assigned.”

I soon came to realize that as one member said, “Oh, it is so much more than a romance.” And oh my, it is!

The author, a wonderful gifted writer swept you away to India to the extent that I felt I had been there in that time during the Second World War. The descriptions and characterizations were exceptional, and the theme of the shawl was very vivid as the modern day girl searched out how her grandmother had come to own such an exquisite item, and  unfolded the grandmother’s “secret story.” I could feel the texture and see the colors of the shawl as I was seeing India and its former beauty.

As far as the romance, what woman wouldn’t be swept away as well by the Magician-hero with his tawny mane and his “leonine appearance?”

All in all it was a good read, perfect for summer and get-away-from-everything reading.