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Archive for the ‘Cornwall’ Category

Florence Grace

Author: Tracy Rees
Published: 30 June 2016
Reviewed: 16 July 2016
Copy supplied by Quercus Books in return for an honest review as part of Quercus Summer Reading Book Club
4 out of 5 stars
Description:

Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. It’s a hard existence but Florrie is content; she runs wild in the mysterious landscape. She thinks her destiny is set in stone. 

But when Florrie is fourteen, she inherits a never-imagined secret. She is related to a wealthy and notorious London family, the Graces. Overnight, Florrie’s life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth. 

Cut off from everyone she has ever known, Florrie struggles to learn the rules of this strange new world. And then she must try to fathom her destructive pull towards the enigmatic and troubled Turlington Grace, a man with many dark secrets of his own.

My Thoughts & Review:

As the second offering in the Quercus Summer Reads, I was intrigued to see where this book would take me, and having enjoyed Last Dance in Havana I was hoping for another engrossing and enjoyable read.
From the very first pages you are introduced to a strong and determined character in the haunting setting of the misty moors of Cornwall.  A young Florrie Buckley making her way back from Truro is catapulted from her horse and instead of lamenting her fate, she continues on foot towards home, knowing every inch of the moors through an affinity with nature and the surrounding landscapes.  Her irritation towards the horse and it’s reaction to a pigeon gives the reader a glimpse at the wit and attitude of this feisty character early on.  
What then develops is a tale of coming of age for Florrie, her transformation from teenager to young woman, the discovery of a secret that will change her life and the realisation that she needs to be strong and have courage to overcome what faces her.  Learning to be a member of the London Society in the Victorian era does not come easy for Florrie/Florence, her lessons are strict, punishments are harsh but she shows determination and sheer stubbornness to achieve what is expected of her (eventually).  
The juxtaposed images of Florrie/Florence in Cornwall and London are incredibly well written.  The almost feral Florrie running free on the moors, embracing open space and exhilaration at fresh air jars so fiercely with the Florence in London.  Here she fights for space, she is confined in all senses, a prisoner of the Grace family.  Even a walk in the garden must be done with decorum and decency.  
Initially a bit of a slow read, however, the author does gently create a story that becomes addictive reading.  With wonderful descriptions of scenery, the reader is transported from the atmospheric brooding Cornish moors to the desolate yet claustrophobic home of the Grace family.   
There are some interesting specimens of characters, some incredibly hard to bear any liking towards – manipulative, scheming and utterly abhorrent.  There are also ones that the reader can’t help but take an instant liking towards, feel sympathy for and generally want a good outcome for.  But all characters are meticulously detailed, multilayered and very well thought out.  
Tracy Rees writes superbly,atmospheric and fitting for the time setting.  Her descriptions of fashions and etiquette at the time are well researched and show attention to detail matters.  The story does flow well after the inital heavy start.  Having not realised this was Tracy Rees second book, I was impressed by her writing skills, and will be downloading a copy of her debut novel Amy Snow. 

You can buy a copy of Florence Grace here.   


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A Parcel For Anna Browne

Author : Miranda Dickinson
Published: 24 September 2015
Reviewed: 05 October 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Pan Macmillan in return for an honest review via NetGalley.

 

4 out of 5 stars


The gift of a lifetime? Anna Browne is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life. Her day job as a receptionist in bustling London isn’t exactly her dream, yet she has everything she wants. 
But someone thinks Anna Browne deserves more . . . 
When a parcel addressed to Anna Browne arrives, she has no idea who has sent it. Inside she finds a beautiful gift – one that is designed to be seen. And so begins a series of incredible deliveries, each one bringing Anna further out of the shadows and encouraging her to become the woman she was destined to be. 
As Anna grows in confidence, others begin to notice her – and her life starts to change. But who is sending the mysterious gifts, and why?

We first meet Anna Browne, a quiet but friendly receptionist at a London newspaper, when she receives a parcel at work.  Anna is intrigued, she never gets parcels, not even at home so who could be sending parcels to her at work?  This coupled with the upcoming “job swap” scheme dreamed up by management at the newspaper is enough to have Anna wondering what’s going on. 
The beautiful gift in the first package gives Anna the confidence to take on the job swap she was assigned, shadowing the top reporter, who she might just have a slight crush on. 
Anna and Ben work well together, her new found confidence shining through showing her fun loving and interesting personality, and a new friendship between the pair is formed.  
Most people hearing about the package that arrived for Anna advise caution, who could this mysterious benefactor be?  Why did they send such an impressive, expensive looking gift?  What do they want in return?  Could there be a more sinister motive behind the gift?  But Anna looks at it differently, someone has sent her an exquisite gift that she adores and cannot think who it could be but would love to be able to tell them just how much it means to her. 

The office is abuzz with intrigue when more parcels arrive, almost one a week arriving for Anna, no note of who the mystery sender is, but each one containing something so incredible that Anna can barely believe her luck.  As the intrigue builds, the scandals intensify….is it Ben sending gifts to Anna to declare his intentions?  Does Anna have a mystery admirer?  Is she sending them to herself for attention?

With each new parcel Anna grows in confidence, she becomes more outgoing, people notice her more for the new person she has become and she is happy.  It is fair to say that the character blossoms with the arrival of each gift, as well as becomes driven to try and find out who is sending them.  There is also an element of memory attached to a lot of the parcels, they stir memories long forgotten about Anna’s childhood in Cornwall.  Or help her remember times of happiness when she was younger during a troubled childhood.

There is so much I could say about this story, but I really don’t want to give away too much and spoil the book for others.

The way this novel is written is good, the pace is steady and flows well, I found myself almost speed reading at times desperately trying to see if I was right about who was sending the parcels.  The physical descriptions of settings and people are very good, I could almost imagine the settings of the beach in Cornwall, the little shops in London described whilst Anna was on her hunt for her mystery benefactor, but also the descriptions of the gifts and their packaging and how delightfully beautiful they all appeared to be to Anna.  So much so, at times I wished someone would send me a package or two containing a pretty gift!
I very much enjoyed Miranda Dickinson’s writing and  I will definitely be on the look out for more of her work in the future.  

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Chick Lit, it would also make a good holiday read.

I would like to thank Pan Macmillan for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 24th September 2015 .  A copy can be purchased here A Parcel For Anna Browne (UK Kindle Version).
 

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