Friday, April 28, 2017

The Wild Dark Flowers by Elizabeth Cooke

This book is exquisitely written of a time past as the war years approach and affect the lives of the people who live at Rutherford Park.  There is the story of Harry Cavendish and his child, Cecilia, by a servant which he finds difficult to deal with.  There is also the story of the servants and especially Josh and Jack Armitage, father and son, who look after the horses, especially Jack’s beloved horse, Wencelas.  Jack has also had a soft spot for Louisa, a daughter of the house-hold.  Louisa also featured in the first book of Rutherford Park and nearly brought her parents to grief with her impulsive actions when she was supposed to be staying with friends in London for the Season.
The story is particularly poignant as it also relates the tale, of Harrison, the footman, who left to join the war effort without even informing  His Lordhip, Lord Cavendish.  This follows his exploits in France and in particular in the trenches and mud of France.  He was so keen to leave Rutherford Park when he signed up but when he was in France he would have given anything for the peace and calm of the beautiful estate where he once lived and worked.
There is much to commend in this book as politics, the war, tragedy and the lives of ordinary people are swept along in a turmoil of events which occurred in the earlier days of the First World War.

Rutherford Park by Elizabeth Cooke

This novel is a story set at a beautiful country estate in England, Rutherford Park.  It is written with a wonderful insight  into the lives of the gentry and also the servants living at the estate.  It  is indicative of a time past where there was so much beauty and elegance in the simple things of life.
The story revolves around William and Octavia Cavendish and their three children.  Octavia was more or less rail-roaded into a marriage by a severe and domineering father.  Her husband, William, is very much old school with conservative values of a much earlier time from the 1800’s.  He fails to understand the complexities of modern changes on society as the country gets ready for another war.
The servants of the house-hold, gardens and also stables  add another dimension to the story as also  an Amercan traveller who stays at Rutherford Park during the summer months at an invitation by Lord Cavendish.  This is the American, John Gould.
This is a wonderful story and I looked forward to reading  this initial story as I had previously read
The Wild Dark Flowers which is the second novel in the series, which I enjoyed reading and thought
was very poignant, sad and so realisitic as it portrays the war years and the effect on the inhabitants

of Rutherford Park, servants and members of the family alike.

Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

This fascinating tale is set in Bristol of the 1920’s and 1930’s.  It is a wonderful story
of Harry Clifton, brought up and raised in the city but by a mere chance of his singing
ability is given opportunities which he would not otherwise have and receives an
excellent grammar school education.  This can only be marvelled at when he is living in
a working class environment of the times and often accompanies his uncle to the dockyards,
where he meets Old Jack, who later becomes a defining influence on his young life.
This book is the first book of a series of The Clifton Chronicles and I eagerly await the next book
“The Sins of the Father” in the series to read.
Harry Clifton is the main character of the story and he realises that there is a mystery surrounding
the death of his father which is a theme in the story.  His early life, school companions, friendships,
his mother’s life and world of his grand-parents and education are all covered in this book and the story also involves a beautiful romance with Emma, a sister of one of his school companions.  The story certainly does keep the reader spellbound and the ending is very much a cliff-hanger where the second book in the series is bound to keep the reader engaged with this absolutely fascinating story.  It is a touching, sad and poignant tale and also appears very authentic of the times with the descriptions of people and places and the dialogue of the characters.
The story is so real it is almost as though the reader is there with the characters and following them
every step of the way.   

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

This book is a wonderful story about three girls in the early years of rock and roll.  The story starts out in Ireland, County Mayo, and later is set in the halcyon days of New York where there were dance clubs and venues which seemed to be all the rage for the younger set.
Firstly, there was Rose, a doctor’s daughter, who I would have believed while reading the book, had a doomed romance mostly caused by time and distance, though this does not really seem to be the case.   However, perhaps there is scope for a sequel to this fascinating story.  Then there is Ava, who is impulsive and in some respects wishes to escape the staid complacency and predictability of her conventional  life and rushes into matters without thinking clearly and finally there is  Sheila, who is completely different from the other two women.  Sheila likes to give the impression she is tough and hard but this is just a guise and does not reveal her true character, which is not as it seems.   
Patrick Murphy, also from Ireland, as is Rose, is a new immigrant to New York and also an inspiring singer of Irish ballads who wishes to make a name for himself in the music scene in New York.  
This book is a page turner and seemed very authentic to me in tone and also the era of the rock and roll music.  It seemed to be a nice age where people enjoyed themselves dancing and loved the new style of music.
The human element and spiritual element is also present in this story.  It is very beautiful and well recommended.