Sunday, September 20, 2015

My Two Heavens by Jo Crabb

This book is a wonderful story of living in two countries, New Zealand and France.  It is also a testament to the power of positive thinking and that it is possible to achieve goals which a person sets out to do with perseverance and a positive attitude to life.


The book is also a travel memoir of various places travelled in earlier years and an exotic mix of wonderful recipes of the Mediterranean and the Middle East as well as for France and New Zealand.


There are fascinating anecdotes, drawings and words  of sound advice and descriptions of beautiful scenery.  Above all, there are the magnificent recipes which look wonderful.

Included in this book are the many varied and beautiful illustrations by Stephen Allwood, which are quite magical.


The Robert Louis Stevenson walk in the French countryside is included as well as The Chemin de St Jacques Walk, which was also fascinating to read  about the life of a pilgrim on the journey from a little place in France to San Compostela in Spain.


This book is well recommended as it is a joy to






The Jewels of Paradise

This is rather an unusual story by Donna Leon which is set mostly in Venice.  It tells the story of a researcher who is employed to find out the testamentary wishes of a composer who lived three hundred years previously. 

I quite enjoyed the story as the researcher set about her work in the

beautiful city of Venice where she would often go out for a coffee

with a friend or visit her parents who also happened to be living there.  Scenery and the backdrop of the little lanes and streets of Venice appealed to me as I was reading this story.

The conclusion of the story is quite unexpected and in a way it may be a story regarding the corruption and greed which can be associated with acquiring great wealth.  The reader is led to believe

that the jewels of paradise may be great wealth for the two cousins

who have employed the researcher and there is an uncertainty

regarding a very suave lawyer whom the researcher also befriends

at one stage until she realises his true intentions.

On one level this story may appear to be mundane and very humdrum as the researcher goes about her work and has interactions

With family members and a friend who is a co-worker and yet on

Another level this book is quite enthralling.

Because of the academic nature of the research, which I did find quite fascinating as it delved into the history of Ernst August, the Elector of Hanover,  and his son who became George I of England,

the story may appear at times to not be going anywhere and may

not appeal to all readers.  However, this story appealed to me as it

was also a mystery story with a unique ending and was interesting to

read of the varying emotions of the main players when the jewels of paradise were finally discovered.  The expectations at the conclusion of the story were so vastly different from what actually transpired.