Sunday, 13 August 2017

August Review: A Very Distant Shore - Jenny Colgan

Evening readers!
I hope you have enjoyed your weekend.  I finished this book yesterday so am pleased to be able to share a quick review this evening.
Blurb Courtesy of Good Reads
Lorna lives on the tiny Scottish island of Mure, a peaceful place where everyone helps their neighbour. But the local GP is retiring, and nobody wants his job. Mure is too small and too remote.
Far away, in a crowded camp, Saif is treating a little boy with a badly-cut hand. Saif is a refugee, but he's also a doctor: exactly what Mure needs.
Saif is welcome in Mure, but can he forget his past? Over one summer, Saif will find a place to call home, and Lorna's life will change forever.
This Quick Reads short story was published in February this year by Sphere.   If you are regularly reader of this blog you will know that I'm a fan of the Quick Reads series released via the Reading Agency.  You can find my review of Dead Simple also released this year here.
Photo courtesy of Goodreads website.
A Very Distant Shore is a romantic novel set on a remote Scottish island, here I have to be honest as soon as I found this out I had to read it.  As a self-confessed Scotophile I actively seek out books set in Scotland and when I come across them by accident I'm delighted, so to find a Quick Reads book set in Scotland was a bonus.  
Until the two stories merge and Saif arrives on the island, each chapter flips between Saif a Syrian Refugee and Lorna a teacher on Mure but it is easy to follow the story and sets the book up nicely. 
The contrast between Saif's culture and the culture of the Island is a different as chalk and cheese.  However, Saif is quickly accepted by the islanders and he and Lorna develop a great friendship.  Saif struggles to come to terms with leaving behind his life, not knowing what has happened to his family and the stranger customs of the island. Meanwhile Lorna tries to cope with her father's illness and her busy everyday life.  
Whilst this is a complete story, at the end of the book Saif has not found his family, so it did leave me wanting to find out more but it didn't feel unfinished.
The island of Mure is also the setting for one of Jenny's full novels, The Summer Seaside Kitchen, which was also released this year, and although it doesn't follow-on from this book it maybe that the characters are revisited. 
The Summer Seaside Kitchen will be on my list to read but I doubt it will be read this year as I can't say I'm a big fan of the author.  I have read previous books from her but she gets mixed reviews from me so it's hit and miss. I didn't enjoy Working Wonders and, unusually for me, I didn't finish it either.  On the other hand I read Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe which I completely loved.  You can't please all of the people all of the time right! 
Bookworm Blessings! 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

July Review: Aunt Dimity's Death - Nancy Atherton

Greetings Readers!

I'm here to review Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton, this is the first in the "An Aunt Dimity Mysteries" series.  I think it came up as recommendation on Goodreads based on some of my previous reads.  It's listed as a cosy mystery, but I feel it spans a few different genres.  This book doesn't really sit beside your traditional Agatha Christie novels or the Aurora Teagarden novels (see my previous reviews).  For me this book was split between cosy mystery, supernatural, fairytale and romance, but it all comes together to make a very enjoyable read.

A synopsis of the plot in my own words
When Lori Shepherd was a young girl she used to listen to her mother tell tales of Aunt Dimity - a character in comforting bedtime stories. When she is contacted by Willis and Willis, Lori's life is on a downward spiral when she hears she has inherited the forture of Aunt Dimity!  Aunt Dimity was a real person and was her mother's friend and now Lori must find the secret hidden among the letters between her mother and Aunt Dimity, and discover truths about herself along the way.

The plot seems to stroll along and draw you into the worlds of both Lori and Aunt Dimity. The relationship between Lori and Bill adds a subtle romantic undertone, the hidden secret in the letters between Aunt Dimity and Lori's mother supplies the story with it's mystery, whilst the loving spirit of Aunt Dimity gives the story a supernatural twist. 

Personally I found the charm of the whole story enthralling, it's what I like to call a comfort read.  The only thing that would make it better is to curl up under a big blanket with a hot chocolate and read it in one sitting, and whilst our summer in the UK hasn't been that kind in terms of sunshine, big blankets and open fires have not been a necessity!

Bookworm Blessings!