The Book Club Blog

Books for any occasion and other life stuff

Currently: June

So Winter has arrived, with snow on the mountain and freezing mornings and evenings! We have had a couple of really nice warm days lately but some rainy days too. Winter for me is a time for hibernation, a time to stay warm and a time to try and get creative. To do inside things. Coffee, fires, soups and snuggles on the couches with movies.

But before we get to that point this is where I am currently:

Reading: Night Music by Jo Jo Moyes

Drinking: Seriously, way to much coffee! I bought a Nespresso machine and a milk frother, which means I have delicious coffee on tap;-) And two of my latest addictions? Espresso with a lindt ball inside, oh my! and the chocolate fat shake from The Real Meal Revolution. Try it, its goooood.

Eating: Nourishing and warming foods and trying to get my greens in

Feeling: hibernatory! With some inspiration thrown in for the studio. So much so, that I am going to be purchasing two new pieces of equipment! will be poor so I will be hibernating, its a win win;-)

Working: on our duet silks routine which is coming up in August. Trying to be brave enough to drop myself while hanging on only with my feet. AND our Winter Pilates Challenge at the studio whereby the clients have chosen a specific exercise to work on for the next two months aiming to see the difference between now and then within 8 weeks.

Loving: Finger gloves and scarfs!

Wanting: A really nice and warm and cosy and snuggly jersey. Cannot find any in any woman’s clothing stores, I think Im going to head into the men’s department and see what they have! Luckily, my sister, bless her! has found me one for a fraction of the price that I didn’t want to have to part with. Looking forward to getting cosy with it!

Craving: Sweetie pie cupcakes from Treat Patisserie. (Or a slice of my sisters decadent chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting!)

Investing: In a Wall Springs Unit for the studio AND reformer. So Exciting!

Enjoying: My daughter! She is such a beautiful little soul. Watching the children flourish in the Kiddie-lates classes, AND my adult clients too.

Woolies fingerless gloves, want? Yes please                                                        Pretty scarf from Poetry for these grey Winter days

What are you currently up to? Tell tell!


Interview with Greg Lazarus

Greg Lazarus is a South African husband and wife duo writing team, who brought us ‘ The Book of Jacob’ and ‘When in broad daylight I open my eyes’. The most recent novel to come from the two of them is Paradise, set in Cape Town. Here is a quick summary:

Maja Jellema is in Cape Town to do what she does best – steal. Her new employer wants a certain item from a building in Loop Street, and the only thing that stands between Maja and her prize is Hershel Bloch, the bumbling building manager. But what seems like the easiest job Maja has ever seen is about to get a whole lot more complicated . . .

Will Maja be able to finish the  job in time to save her no-good brother from large Dutch men with no sense of humour?

Can Hersh turn his topsy-turvy world around before he gets fired from Black Enterprises for being the worst estate agent in the history of the universe?

Will Surita finally make peace with her father and stop using her judo skills on people who just want to hug her?

Can the rage-filled waitresses at The People’s Republic – the greatest socialist coffee shop in all of Cape Town – produce even one cup of coffee without backchat?

Only time will tell. And it’s running out.

Which does sound rather interesting I have to admit, and once I have read it I will let you know the verdict.

But here I am, jumping ahead of myself! The Book Club Blog asked Greg and Lisa a couple of questions regarding writing together while being married, I mean, really, I know it happens, but if I try to imagine myself and The Man attempting to write something together I imagine flames coming out of his nostril and extreme frustration on my part;-) so, I do believe it takes some sort of harmonious energy in order to do it and by the looks of things to do it well.

So, without further ado, lets see how they do it!

How did you decide to write together?

We had a baby. And then we fought all the time. Seriously!

 Our first book, The Book of Jacob, was a memoir and we wrote it for cathartic reasons. We also thought that readers might be interested in hearing how one’s life and relationships are radically changed from both a male and a female perspective. Most memoirs about babies are written from the women’s point of view. A few are written by men about their experiences. We wanted both.

 After that, it was a short step to fiction. In our fantasy or imaginary world of writing, we never argued – it might sound strange, but it’s true: writing is the one area of our life that is free from any conflict. There’s also something deeply romantic about sharing an imaginary world with your partner. 

 There are certain places around Cape Town where we know the other one is imagining the same thing. We have a tense scene in When in Broad Daylight I Open my Eyes, a psychological thriller, at Graaff’s pool in Sea Point. Whenever we walk on the promenade, we look at Graaff’s pool and imagine our central character Kristof, an enigmatic and sexually perverse philosopher, diving into the water and swimming out to sea.

 How do you set the rules as to who does what and how do you reach consensus when writing. How does this affect your writing and your relationship?

Writing, as we mentioned, feels good for our relationship. We used very different strategies for our two novels, When in Broad Daylight and Paradise. For the first novel, the thriller, we began with a simple idea.  There would be two main characters: a female psychologist and a man with bad intentions. Every scene was to be written from the perspective of either the psychologist or the menacing figure. We each took charge of one character, and assigned the scenes accordingly.

 That first draft was a mess. However, once we had finished it, we had gained more insight into our characters, plot and setting. We then went back to the beginning and rewrote everything scene by scene. This time we collaborated closely: we bounced the chapters between each other many times, deleting scenes, adding new ones. Then we worked through the book again, and again…  

 For Paradise – a comedy about lawlessness and a serious allegory about oppression, in which we’ve tried to present engaging and believable characters – we passed the manuscript between us for the first draft, each of us writing between 300 and 1000 words at a time. We found this a better method as there was more coherence in plot and character. We felt immersed in the story together, from early on. 

 And what motivates you to put pen to paper?

We’re driven to do it. Of course we love books and everything to do with books – libraries and book launches, authors (well, most authors) and book shops. And going out for coffee – because during or after a visit to a book shop, you always have to go out for coffee.

 We were both voracious childhood readers and we’ve always charted our lives through books. We remember periods of our lives partly through what we were reading. Because we love and respect stories, we want to add some of our own to this huge resource, to create worlds that some people might wish to visit.

Thank you Lisa and Greg for you candid honesty in this interview, it was great to see ‘How you do it’.(And I HAVE to agree that you yes, you have to go out for coffee after going to a book shop, they just go together.)

If you would like more information on this great writing duo you can check out their website here and buy their books here.





I am number four

I loved this book!

Part of my library loot, it was the first I read out of them and I couldn’t put it down! Its a bit like The Hunger Games but with aliens and no games. I enjoyed it so much I went to purchase the second in the series: The Power of Six. I have not yet started reading it as I am still reading The Golem and the Djinni (which I was distracted by reading due to reading this one instead and not much time to read last week).

So, what is it about?

Most of the story is told in the first-person by Number Four, who takes the name John Smith. As the story begins, he and his guardian, Henri, learn of the death of Number Three and move to Paradise, Ohio, assuming new identities. There, John befriends conspiracy theorist Sam Goode and is ‘adopted’ by a dog identified by its name tag as Bernie Kosar. He also meets and is attracted to a fellow student who is an amateur photographer, Sarah Hart. Sarah’s ex-boyfriend, football player Mark James, is a bully who torments both John and Sam.

‘John Smith’ is an alien who was evacuated from his planet when the Mogadorians destroyed it and now they are also on Earth to destroy this planet too. This is the first in a series written by Pittacus Lore who is a pseudonym for James Frey (author of A Million Little Pieces – awesome book that too) and Jobie Hughes. When I saw that, I completely understood how this book was so readable, as loved A Million Little Pieces, if you haven’t yet read it, I would highly recommend it!

This book has also been turned into a movie, which I haven’t yet seen and was released last year. Have you seen it?

I am number four is the first in a proposed six part series, and if the story line stays as interesting as the first one, then I think thats great! Have you read this, what did you think? I am hoping that my niece has not yet read it as she will be getting the first three books for Christmas… (Shayne if you are reading this, sssshhhhhhh….)

Happy Monday!

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Library Loot

I popped down to the library on Saturday morning and got myself some books to read. I am still currently reading The Golem and the Djinni by Helen Wecker on my ereader and loving it but considering Im halfway in, Im going to need something to read again soon. This is what I have lined up.


This loot of books is a batch of children’s books, yes I do enjoy reading them, its a nice break…

The 13 Curses – Michelle Harrison

When fairies stole her brother, Red vowed to get him back. Now trapped in the fairy realm, she strikes a bargain with the fairy court: her brother in exchange for all thirteen charms from her friend Tanya’s bracelet. But as Red sets out on her quest to retrieve the charms, she soon learns that the fairies have done more than hide them — they’ve enchanted them with the twisted qualities of the Thirteen Treasures they represent. And the longer the charms are missing, the more dangerous they become….

Night Music- Jo Jo Moyes

The Spanish House is a hotch potch of designs, Georgian, Gothic and Moorish, as if whoever started it had simply got bored. It has long been known to locals as an architectural folly, and is now nearly derelict to boot.

When its reclusive owner dies intestate the Spanish House is left to his city-dwelling niece. For Isabel, recently widowed, the house is a potential lifeline – the only hope she has of providing for her two children without having to sell her most treasured possession. But for neighbour Matt McCarthy, the house is revenge – on the family who ruined his father. For his wife it’s the key to the perfect family life, while a struggling property developer sees in it a whole new future.

As desires clash and intertwine, lives and loves are demolished – and the Spanish House becomes a true folly indeed . .

I Am Number Four – Pittacus Loew

Nine alien teenagers are hiding on Earth. Three are dead. Number Four is next. This is the launch of a gripping, action-packed series that was the basis for the blockbuster DreamWorks feature film.

Igraine the Brave – Cornelia Funke

Igraine dreams of becoming a famous knight. When the nefarious nephew of the baroness shows up with plans to capture the castle, its up to Igraine to be brave and save the day.

I love Cornelia Funke’s book, who read Inkspell??

The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas – David Almond

Stanley Potts is just an ordinary boy, but when all the jobs in Fish Quay disappear his Uncle Ernie develops an extraordinary fascination with canning fish. Suddenly their home is filled with the sound of clanging machinery and the stench of mackerel, and Uncle Ernie’s obsession reaches such heights that he would even can Stan’s beloved goldfish.

Cinderella Smith -Stephanie Barden

When Cinderella finds out that the winner of her school’s spelling bee gets to choose the theme of the class party, she’s determined to win. Cinderella’s excitement can’t be contained, until her onetime friend starts bullying her for no reason.

I actually got this one out for Bean but I think I may be reading it instead….

Then I have the second in The Island Trilogy by Jen Minkman waiting on my ereader.

Oh, how I love books!

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New author eBook review AND available in Afrikaans!

The great thing about having a book blog is that every so often I will be approached by an author or publishing house to review a book. As in the case with this one.

Jen Minkman is a YA author from the Netherlands and her books are also available in English. She is a well know author in her country and writes paranormal romance, chicklit and fantasy. The novel that I am about to review is dystopian in theme.

The Island – Jen Minkman

I walk toward the sea. The endless surface of the water extends to the horizon, whichever way I look. Our world is small. We are on our own, and we only have ourselves to depend on. We rely on the Force deep within us, as taught to us by our forefathers. If I were to walk westward from here, I would come across a barrier – the Wall. Behind it, there are Fools. At least, that’s what everyone says. I have never seen one.’ Leia lives on the Island, a world in which children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. The Fools living behind it are not amenable to reason – they believe in illusions. That’s what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors. But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true? Or is everyone in their world, in fact, a Fool? (taken from Kalahari)

So, what did I think? I enjoyed this book, it was extremely readable and the story line was good. I do think that the characters could of been fleshed out more as well as the story. The book was only 80 pages which is great for a quick and easy read but I think it could have had more depth. I wouldn’t call this a YA book, I think it would be aimed more at late tweens. There are two more in the series, The Waves (Island #2) and The Deep (Island #3) which I haven’t read yet, but I think I could be persuaded to see what happens to the characters after the initial book.

I think this would make a great book for children who are looking for something without too much violence and an easy story line to follow. It is available at Kalahari in both English and Afrikaans, yay! You can find the English version here and the Afrikaans version here for a very nice price too. If you would like to know more about the author, head over to Goodreads and check her out.

So, if you have a child who is needing a ebook, get yourself over to Kalahari and download the book now!

She has a range of other books available too, so if you fall in love with her writing, there are many more books to read:-)

Let me know what you think!

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Monday Reviews

Happy Monday! Did you manage to get some reading done this week? I did. In fact, I entered the world of e readers this past week! I bought a gobi from Kalahari which was a mere R400 AND came with two vouchers to go towards books, which I thought was a steal (please note that the Gobi ereaders have now been discontinued, shew, Im glad I got mine in time!. )I bought and downloaded my first e book, which was great, and as MUCH as I love real to touch books, I really did enjoy the ease with which I could buy the book and instantly it was there, no needing to go to the library or a book shop. I also managed to read it in a day as I had a child free afternoon last Friday. I spent my free time wisely by reading in bed. It was great!

But enough waffling this is what I managed to read last week.

First up:

The Fire Chronicles – John Stephens

This is the second in the Books of the Beginning series, the first one being The Emerald Atlas which I read last year and really enjoyed. It is a children’s fantasy novel and highly readable! The book follows orphan siblings Kate, Emma and Micheal  who, after a series of unsuccessful orphanage dwellings, get transferred to the mansion of Dr Pym where they find a magical book which allows them to travel through time. The Fire Chronicles follows on after this book whereby they need to find the second book of beginnings before the Dire Magnus does. The story is compelling and readable with enough magic and reality to make it real. I loved it and look forward to the third in the trilogy. You can read my review on The Emerald Atlas here

The Peach Keeper – Sarah Addison Allen (ebook)

I love Sarah’s books, they have a touch of magic about them and her writing is just delicious. It is the perfect easy read, with enough mystery to keep you reading to the very end. This story follows the lives of a group of adults 10 years after having left school, where they all end up in the same small town that they grew up in. The book shows us how we all grow and change but sometimes don’t allow ourselves to be the real people that we are, hiding under preconceptions about ourselves and often, fear. It shows us the magic of friendships and how the people that we often think are the most unlikeliest of friends turn out to be the best of friends. A story about friendship, small towns and change. Magical.You can read a review of The Sugar Queen, another book by her here

What did you read this past week? And any suggestions on ebooks will be welcome, I need to build up my library!

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Children’s Books

I go through stages where I like to read children’s books, it also helps that I have a 6 year old daughter who loves books too! Here are a couple that we have read lately and that you should enjoy, either as an adult OR reading to your child:-)

The BFG – Roald Dahl

Would you believe that I don’t actually remember reading Roald Dahl as a child? I am sure I must have read something by him, but really cannot remember. This was a thoroughly enjoyable book and my daughter enjoyed it too. The BFG stands for the ‘Big Friendly Giant’ and the story is about a little girl in an orphanage who sees the BFG blowing something into peoples windows of their houses. The BFG sees her seeing him and comes to carry her away to the land where he lives. Luckily Sophie was taken by the friendly giant and Not a man eating one. The story follows Sophie and the BFG and how they save the world from the man eating giants. I don’t think one can ever be too old to read Roald Dahl!

Matilda – Roald Dahl

This was an interesting and enjoyable novel about an unloved little girl who is a genius. Matilda is able to read at the age of four (and I love the list of books that gets included that she reads) and has magical powers which she uses to keep her and her friends safe from Mrs Trunchbull, the extremely nasty headmistress of the school she goes to. The only thing about reading this book to a 6 year old is that there are many words which need to be explained! Which is not a bad thing, just a time consuming one;-)

Both of these books have been made into movies, which I didn’t realise, but according to Wikipedia there will be a new version of The BFG being made this year and released in 2015. Sounds like it could be quite fun to watch!

Did you read Roald Dahl as a child or as an adult?


Tuesday Teasers

No, not the strip club;-)!

There are currently 3 books that I am waiting patiently to get my hands on, and I know that one is not supposed to wish time away, but when waiting for books to either be published or arrive on our South African shelves,  sometimes it just seems like soooo long.

So, here are my top Tuesday Picks:

Robert Galbraith – The Silkworm

(taken from Amazon)

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days-as he has done before-and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives-meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before… A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, THE SILKWORM is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.

After I finished reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, I had remembered that I had seen that she had a second book out, so off I went to the bookstore to purchase it, and turned out it is only being released in June! Goodness, I was so disappointed.

Jonas Jonnason – The Girl who saved the King of Sweden

(taken from Amazon)

As delightfully wry and witty as his bestselling debut, ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared’, this is a tale of how one woman’s attempt to change her future ended up changing everything.

Nombeko Mayeki is on the run from the world’s most ruthless secret service – with three Chinese sisters, twins who are officially one person and an elderly potato farmer. Oh, and the fate of the King of Sweden – and the world – rests on her shoulders.

Born in a Soweto shack in 1961, Nombeko was destined for a short, hard life. When she was run over by a drunken engineer her luck changed. Alive, but blamed for the accident, she was made to work for the engineer – who happened to be in charge of a project vital to South Africa’s security. Nombeko was good at cleaning, but brilliant at understanding numbers. The drunk engineer wasn’t – and made a big mistake. And now only Nombeko knows about it …

I loved The 100 Year Old Man who climbed out of the window and disappeared, it totally appealed to my sense of humour so I am hoping that this one will be just as bizarre and brilliant!

Tom Robbins – Tibetan Peach Pie

(Taken from Amazon)

In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward, stitching together stories of his unconventional life, from his Appalachian childhood to his globetrotting adventures —told in his unique voice that combines the sweet and sly, the spiritual and earthy. The grandchild of Baptist preachers, Robbins would become over the course of half a century a poet-interruptus, an air force weatherman, a radio dj, an art-critic-turned-psychedelic-journeyman, a world-famous novelist, and a counter-culture hero, leading a life as unlikely, magical, and bizarre as those of his quixotic characters.

Robbins offers intimate snapshots of Appalachia during the Great Depression, the West Coast during the Sixties psychedelic revolution, international roving before homeland security monitored our travels, and New York publishing when it still relied on trees. Written with the big-hearted comedy and mesmerizing linguistic invention for which he is known, Tibetan Peach Pie is an invitation into the private world of a literary legend.

I think Tom Robbins fans worldwide are waiting with bated breath for this book, I for one am beyond excited! I love his books, I love his writing so this book will capture everything that I enjoy about his books AND be based on his life. I mean, can anyone ask for more??

So, those are my three most wanted books on my list at the moment, what is on yours??

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Monday Reviews

Its that time of week again where I tell you how great the books I have read are…


The Last Rhino – Lawrence Anthony

After reading The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony I was drawn to his other books. I was just amazed at how he lived with his elephants and believe he is an inspiration for us all. And I reserved both Babylon Zoo and The Last Rhino from the library. Last week I read The Last Rhino and it truly was an amazing account of one mans desire to make a difference. I find it quite sad how the Rhino is becoming extinct just because of some superstitious belief that its horn can heal. Read this book, in some ways it makes one feel embarrassed to be part of the human race and yet on the other hand, so proud to know that there are people who do believe that we can do something about it. Read it. I didn’t realise that Lawrence Anthony had died! A commenter on FB mentioned it and I was so sad to hear that such an incredible man who did such incredible things had passed on. And that the elephants came to pay homage to the man who had helped them made me feel so humble.

The Fault in our Stars – John Green

I first came across this book about a year or so ago when it first came out. I vividly remember standing at Exclusive Books reading the first few pages and then deciding against buying it because of the Cancer theme. I went and bought it for book club last week because almost everyone I know has read it and raved about it. So, I decided to bite the bullet and read about an ‘uncomfortable’ subject and I adored it! What a beautiful book! I really enjoyed how he portrayed Life. Even though this is a young adult book, and a love story to boot, it doesn’t read like a willy nilly love story with characters that just irritate. It is a great expression of how we as humans deal with what life throws at us and how we can get fixated on an idea of something. I really enjoyed it!

Have you read either of these? What did you think?


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Monday Morning Reviews

With life being so busy lately, its amazing that I actually have time to read! but read I have with one that stands out from the rest. So much so, that I really am frustrated that the next book out is only available in June. I thought it had already been published. Luckily, I guess June is really not all that long to wait, can you believe at the rate this year is flying by? So before I get distracted, my favourite book in the last month has been:


The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling.

I don’t know how many of you read Harry Potter, but I was a great fan. LOVED the books,(didn’t really enjoy the movies- as well done as they were) so when The Casual Vacancy was released, I was just as excited as the next fan but I never actually read it. Why? I guess I had heard to many varying opinions on the book. Also, I tried the first couple of pages and didn’t seem to be my cup of tea, though I will eventually get round to reading it properly. Anyhoo, so when The Cuckoo’s Calling came out, I didn’t pay it much heed, then it was recommend to read on The Book Club Blog’s FB page and then it came out in the library so I reserved a copy and then I read it. And Wow, I really enjoyed it. Classic JK in the fact that it is JUST SO READABLE. The main character Cormoran Strike is interesting, the case he needs to solve is interesting, the back drop is interesting and it kept me going back for more. I was very lucky that I had it out on a long weekend where I was away from my usual routine so had a lot more time to read, and I couldn’t put it down (unless I really really had to). So whats it about? Cormoran Strike is a down and out private detective who has just broken up with his girlfriend, gets a new case trying to find out if the model that fell from her balcony to her death was a murder or suicide.. He is  a very likeable, unique and  someone you can’t help having a soft spot for, character and reigns you in to his story. You know when you keep thinking about a character after you have finished reading a book? Well, thats the case on this book. Which means I am looking forward to the next book in the series, and was highly annoyed when I realised I still had to wait another monthish for it to come out;-)!

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

I have never read Donna Tart before and to be honest wasn’t particularly keen to try her new book but I read a good review and when I was in the bookstore, I read the first few pages, which had me wanting more so again, my library got it in, I reserved a copy and then loaned it out when it was my turn. My first problem with this book was that it was a tome of a book to read AND it took me just under two weeks, TWO WEEKS to read this book! Now, for those of you who know me, I am a fairly fast reader and I enjoy reading at a good pace, in-between life and work. But TWO weeks, was for me a bit long to keep going at a book. If it had taken me longer, I might just have left it dangling…but I couldn’t, I had to find out what happened in the end! So what’s it about? In a nutshell about a orphaned boy throughout his life from when he was orphaned to his being much older, wizened and  I’d even go so far as to say a little broken down by life. Which is not really surprising considering his start but also made me think about how we make the choices that we do. This is a part novel part philosophical book. What I enjoyed about it was the unlikely friendship between and older antique restorer gentleman and the young boy and the how it shapes his passion and the talk about the antiques and famous paintings. Also, how the standoffishness of the main character is paralleled with how he ‘feels’ empty in his life.I have to admit to having found it a little long winded at times but all in all an enjoyable book. Not for the faint hearted though.

Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is another author who I normally really enjoy for her easy light reading books, perfect for escaping the day with but this was not my most favourite of hers. It was a little mundane for my liking. So, what’s it about? A young girl looks after her step grandmother during her last  years of life and at the reading of the will discover someone nobody knows who she is or how she was connected to the grandmother. Therein lies the story of how the granddaughter goes about finding her and what the circumstances surrounding her were. This is the back drop to the story and was my favourite part. The ‘main’ part of the story I found a little unbelievable and over the top but easy reading enough. If you are looking for a light read and enjoy the 1920’s era, give it a go, you may find you enjoy it more than I did:-)

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