Tag Archives: European Literature

Review of Daughters of the Lake by Jane Riddell

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About Daughters of the Lake

Daughters of the Lake is a contemporary family drama set in Switzerland. Madalena invites her four adult children to celebrate her hotel’s fortieth anniversary, unaware of their tensions and secrets. As the day of the celebration approaches, confused emotions take hold, and the occasion goes badly wrong. Set against a backdrop of mountains and lakes, this is a story of love, betrayal and family conflict.

My Thoughts

I love stories focused on dysfunctional families, serves as a distraction from my own family troubles. My life is always a cake walk compared to the families in narratives.

Purely character driven, a family reunion unleashes secrets and individual hidden issues unknown to family members. Lots of friction, spats and suspicion float about, a tension filled reunion without a doubt. Twists galore provide captivating reading.

Family reunions were risky. You couldn’t always know where your children were in their lives, how they regarded you. How often had she observed this in her guests? Tension in the public dining room. Family members occasionally checking out earlier than planned. Why, then, had she considered her family situation so rock solid? Especially when she had her own issues. Things to conceal.

It was difficult to warm or connect with the numerous protagonists. I empathized with Madalena, the mother, loving, supportive, trying to bridge the gaps between her scattered and troubled brood, not fully aware of the amount of discord within her family. Not immune to problems as she privately and singularly battles her own challenges. I liked Annie, the less selfish and kindest of the bunch. All the characters are flawed, intricate, and anxiety filled over various issues, incredibly well drawn you find yourself distancing from the lot as the drama unravels and you learn of their varying personalities.

This was the horrid thing about knowledge, the fact you could never “unknow” it. You could bury it, but it would always be there, always threatening to appear.

A family riddled with juicy secrets, guilt, regrets, betrayal, love and fractured intercourse. Extremely well written and presented.

About Jane RiddellJane Riddell

Jane Riddell grew up in Glasgow, Scotland but defected to Edinburgh in her thirties, after living in New Zealand and Australia. For many years she worked for the NHS as a dietitian and health promoter. In 2006 she took a career break to move with her family to Grenoble, France, for three years. During this time she wrote more seriously, so seriously that when she returned to Edinburgh she decided to make writing her ‘job’.

Jane writes contemporary fiction, and is a keen blogger, including penning letters from a Russian cat. She is always on the lookout for interesting authors to interview for her Papillon blog. If you fit this category, email her on: Riddell.Jane@gmail.com

Jane holds a Masters in Creative Writing. In 2011 she started a small editing business, Choice Words Editing. She is currently rewriting her second novel, Chergui’s Child, a long work in progress….

Her debut novel, Water’s Edge, is published by ThornBerry Publishing and is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.

Her editing guide, Words’Worth – a fiction writer’s guide to serious editing, is published by ThornBerry Publishing and is available in paperback from Amazon.

Jane is enthusiastic, addicted to chocolate and has a dysfunctional relationship with time.

Published November 28th 2014 by Jane Riddell

 

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Review & Giveaway: One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau

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I am a huge pushover when it comes to romances authored by men. I enjoy reading their spin on love, romance, always an interesting viewpoint.

Delightful story. I was hooked with the location being Paris. I am a Francophile, reference France my antenna bristles. The classic film references were entertaining, a throwback to some of my favorite films causing me to smile plucking memories long buried. Of course the romance aspect was entertaining, the mystery element added a subtle level of allure. The main protagonist Alain – a hopeless romantic, idealist, appreciative of the past, snared me into his net. Admittedly, this read is like a Woody Allen film, no surprise since Woody Allen is referenced in the narrative ‘Allen Wood’ – a tad bit obvious. An easy sweet love story guaranteed to make you smile pondering serendipity to some degree.

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a copy of One Evening in Paris, please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 7/2/15
ENTRY-FORM

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•Paperback, 288 pages
•Published July 1st 2014 by St. Martin’s Griffin (first published 2012)
•ISBN13:978150043122

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This is an admirable translation of a sweet and funny tale of a grumpy old man who just wants to die. I laughed out loud several times, and this book is full of quote worthy one liners.

Learning about Ove’s past was the highlight for me in this book, although the scenes with his wife were a close second. Ove’s “old man temperaments” were spot on and he even reminded me of my own grandpa (although admittedly my grandpa is less grumpy).


Hardcover, 337 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by Atria Books (first published August 27th 2012)
ISBN13: 9781476738017

Reviewer: Dana
| Goodreads |

Recommendation: 4/5

Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles, #1) by Jeffrey Archer

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This book now has a spot in my top 100 reads of all time. Going into this I didn’t think that I would like it. It was so different from what I usually read. However I am very glad that I went ahead and read this! I loved this book so much. It is so dear to my heart. I honestly have no complaints about this book. That may seem hard to believe but it’s true.

Every character was well thought out and interesting. They each held their own in their chapters and I actually liked them all equally(apart from the dastardly villain that is).

The plot was engaging and original and kept my interest the entire time. The writing flowed beautifully and the author writes everything so masterfully that I had no choice but to devour this amazing book.

I normally am a little skeptical when people rave like crazy in a review, but I suppose I am now joining their ranks.

I would definitely recommend this novel. Thanks to Saint Martins Press and Jeffery Archer for hosting the giveaway that allowed me to experience the magic that is Mr. Archers writing.


Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by St. Martin’s Press (first published January 1st 2011)
ISBN13: 9780312539559

Reviewer: Dana
| Goodreads |

Recommendation: 5/5

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

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Published August 12th 2014 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2013)
Hardcover, 400 pages
ISBN13: 9781476702995

Reviewer: Dana
| Goodreads |

Read this book if you think your family is dysfunctional. I guarantee that this book will make your family look positively bland in comparison.I could not put down this obsessive read. It was fascinating to read about a family dealing with the aftermath of a mother with a hording disorder. Like many people, I have watched the popular hoarding reality show “Buried Alive” but I never truly understood how deep the rabbit hole really went for people suffering from this affliction.

When I told my mother about the story she said it sounded like a Jerry Springer episode, and I suppose she has a point. However this novel is so much more than that and I think this is where the cover truly shines. The bird family’s destruction really came about like the slow cracks of an egg. It was just one thing after another until it all fell apart.

I loved all of the characters, even the ones I hated! Even though all of this insanely dramatic stuff was happening I still felt that everyone was painfully real.

This novel broke my heart but I still felt very satisfied with the ending. Even if I was still holding grudges with some of the characters, I felt that the ending was so perfect and healing. I feel infinitely lucky to have been able to receive a galley of this book. Many thanks to Lisa and Atria publishing. I would definitely recommend this for a book club read. 6/5