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About Viccie

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    reading, writing, wine, dawdling around
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  1. From the blurb " In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people's lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege - the residents have it all. Life is good. There's just one problem. Olive Collins' dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they're shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight. The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive's neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death." The cover also describes this as a thriller, it isn't - it's a twisty, character driven whodunnit set in Ireland, cleverly written with vibrant charecters and an unexpected ending. The relationship between the two police offices was utterly believeable as were the inhabitants of Withered Vale. No one was perfect, no-one was all bad (including Olive who was wonderfully self-deluded about her own personality) and I absolutely loved this. I hadn't heard of Jo Spain and only bought this as a Kindle cheapie - a good find! I'll be reading more of her
  2. The Butterfly Box - Santa Montefiore
  3. Just read that - galloped through it!
  4. I got Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain whomI'd never heard of before as a Kindle cheapie and am loving it.
  5. From the blurb: n 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever. Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence. There are also bookend sections at front and back set in 1981. I was really looking forward to reading this, Kate Atkinson is one of my favourtie authors, but I'm sad to say that this one is something of disappointment. It's beautifully written of course, her books always are, but I can't help feeling that though much of the plot is based on real life and her research (there's an extensive acknowledgement section at the end) she wasn't really sure where she was taking Juliet - or, if she was, she was so determined not to signal it that the plot twist at the end is so unexpected as not to be properly credible. And it may just be that I know too much about the period already but I also found that particular denoument slightly clichéd too. There is a raft of charecters, some who drift in and out, some who stay a little longer, but very few of them are more than basic charecter sketches including Juliet who is deeply naieve - quite possible for an 18 year old in 1940 but she never seems to become more worldly wise in the war years, despite having a very knowing best friend who is one of the charecters who does come alive, but she only features in the very first part of the book and is barely mentioned again until the end. All this means you stay pretty uninvolved - I didn't think the book got boring, just that unlike most of Kate Atkinson's books I could bear to put it down. She's got a new Jackson Brodie coming out in June though. Really looking forward to that.
  6. £18 million is still a lot! But there are several appeals each year for natural disasters and human nature being what it is, the extreme or unusual is what gets attention.
  7. The catherdral in Rouen, a gothic masterpiece, was practucally destroyed during the Normandy invasions and the restoration work is incredible - if it weren't for the photos showing the extent of the damage you wouldn't believe it. I think the Fenice was more in the region of a complete reconstruction from the bottom up though, it wasn't the first time it had burnt down. It's got a timber frame so it's very vulnerable to fire.The Grande Theatre in Bordeaux is supposed to be the only timber framed theatre in Europe that has never burnt down. On a glass half full note, the damege to Notre Dame doesn't seem to be as absolutely devestating as they were saying last night - at least the windows are intact and the towers were saved though I beleive the organ has gone. My daughter and I were in Paris about five years ago stayng literally next door to Notre Dame and walked in just as the sung evening service was starting. It was so beautiful it made the hairs stand up non the back of your neck.
  8. Sounds terrific - just up my street.
  9. A High Wind in Jamaica - Richard Hughes
  10. Don't be put off Momac - it's a superb book. I don't think I've ever met anyone who didn't enjoy AHH. It's one of my all time favourites.
  11. I belong to 2 real life book groups. One is a small group in Bordeaux which meets in a café and we chose our books by consensus - someti mes because it's a prize winner (Milkman by Anna Burnes) or because someone has read the book and wants to talk about it (Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Jonathen Coe's Number 11) - we all agree that it's perfectly OK not to finish the book if you don't like it and not liking a book doesn't mean you don't like the person who proposed it. It's always a great discuyssion. I've belonged to the other local group for 21 years and is very local, we all take turns to host, the book gets discussed and then we have lunch. Sometimes it drives me mad as there are at least two members who are there for the lunch and complain like mad if the book is too long/has too many charecters/is too different and the book choices can be banal to say the least. And you have to be very careful about saying you don't like a choice as it might cause offence. That said it was my choice today - When I lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant and to my surprise even those who had said they didn't think they'd like it were really keen to talk about it. (Incidentally Binker Any Human Heart was my choice several years ago and they all loved it .)
  12. Love in a Cold Climate - Nancy Mitford
  13. I listened to this on audio and was completely riveted by it. I have to admit to sharing some fellow feeling with her - I had a (relatively ) normal upbringing, but my father didn't believe it was necessary for girls to go to school. My 4 elder brother went to boarding school from age 9 and were at day schools before but I was educated at home until I was 11. Then, never having been among groups of children, having no sisters so no idea of what girls talked about, and no experience of school I was sent to boarding school. My experices were nothing like so extreme as Tara Westover's but I know absolutely that feeling of being apart and not understanding what's going on around you. That apart i would have been completely absorbed by this book anyway, highly recommended.
  14. Bossypabts by Tina Fey which I'm really enjoying. I think I'm going to have a quote from her laminated and hung above my husband's desk: "It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don't like something it is empirically not good."
  15. Ooh good! I'm looking forward to hearing what you think!
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