Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is set in Germany before and during World War II. The story is told from the point of view of Death, who narrates the story and gives a whole new image to the "death" image we see. "Death" finds the story of the book thief, Liesel Meminger. Liesel's story begins when she and her brother are sent to a foster home by their Communist mother when she is interned in Dachau Concentration Camp. On the way to the foster home, Liesel's brother Werner dies. As the gravediggers are burying her brother, Liesel takes a book which she finds lying on the ground, The Gravedigger's Handbook, despite her inability to read. She later arrives at the home of foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, near Munich. They treat her well, although Rosa swears fiercely. Liesel then meets Rudy Steiner, a neighbour of her own age who later becomes her best friend. Rudy is well known in the neighbourhood for his romp around the Hubert Oval as Jesse Owens. Max, a 24 year old Jewish man that the Hubermann family helps to hide, composes his experiences with Liesel in a series of sketches, as well as two homemade books.

This book was borrowed from the library after a recommendation by a friend. A nice book, but a sad story of a young girls life at that time.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Sixth Wife - Suzannah Dunn

Clever and compassionate Katerine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and final wife, survived their four turbulent years of marriage. But when the ambitious and handsome Thomas Seymour won her heart, mere months after the old king's death, their hasty union undid a lifetime of caution.


Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk, her best friend, is the unwilling witness to the dowager queen's late-blossoming love. But as she harbours nagging suspicions of kate's new husband, it gradually becomes clear that she has her own dark tale to tell. For if Thomas might betray hiw wife for power, then cool, calculating Cathy might betray her for passion.

In times when the least discretion could mean arrest and death, Katerhine Parr's tragedy plays itself out amonsgt those who loved - and deceived - her most. As events reach their inevitable climax, it becomes clear that Cathy and Kate will risk all in a world where love is a luxury even royalty cannot always afford...

I love reading books set in Tudor times and have read many over the years, so this one was a must read for me but I couldn't understand why I initially struggled to get into this one...... until I realised that I wasn't that keen on the main character, Catherine of Suffolk. Odd, until I read the bumpf at the back of the book and realised that the writer hadn't particularly liked her character either, and it becomes obvious: the way she felt about the character has coloured the way she has written about and presented her and you can tell.

Despite this I still thought the whole a good read. There were enough of the known historical facts in there to keep it believable and the writer's twist to the story is different enough from the many others written about this time period to keep it interesting.

Am registering this with Book Crossing - available to anyone who wants it. :0)

Friday, 6 November 2009

The Lost Book of Salem - Katherine Howe

I watched today as Giles Corey was presst to death between the stones. He had lain so for two days mute. With each stone, they told him he must plead, lest more stones be added. But he only whispered, More weight. Standing in the crowde, I found Goodwyfe Dane, who, as the last stone lower'd, went white, grippt my hand, and wept. Salem Towne, 16 September, 1692

While clearing out her grandmother's cottage for sale, Connie Goodwin finds a parchment inscribed with the name Deliverance Dane. And so she steps into a mystery that dates from 1692 in Salem.... and the infamous witchcraft trials.

Nothing is entirely as it seems, and when Connie unearths the existence of Deliverance's spell book, The Physick Book, the situation takes on a menacing edge as interested parties reveal their desperation to find this precious artifact at any cost.

What secret does the Physick Book contain? What magic is scrawled across its parchment pages? Connie must race to answer these questions - and reveal the truth about Salem's women - before an ancient family curse fulfils its dark and devastating prophecy.

As it was leading up to Samhain I thought this would be a good book to delve in to. LOL It gives a slightly different take on the whole Salem story as it flows between Deliverance's story (and some of her descendants) and the current day Connie. The to'ing and fro'ing was easy to follow and keep track of what happened to which character and when - always important for the flow of the whole and the enjoyment of the tale.

A few interesting twists but I was still managed to suss several important "reveals" before they were duly revealed...... though it didn't spoil things. The book did, however leave one gaping hole: was the curse broken by Connie's extreme measure towards the end.... or not?

An enjoyable and entertaining read.... you just need to suspend belief a little. :0)

Registered with Book Crossing - available if anyone wants it. :0)