Blog Tour/Social Media Blast – Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

Published April 4, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

A richly imagined novel that tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum’s intrepid wife, Maud–from the family’s hardscrabble days in South Dakota to the Hollywood film set where she first meets Judy Garland. 

Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, met Judy Garland, the young actress playing the role of Dorothy on the set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. At the time, Maud was seventy-eight and Judy was sixteen. In spite of their age difference, Maud immediately connected to Judy–especially when Maud heard her sing “Over the Rainbow,” a song whose yearning brought to mind the tough years in South Dakota when Maud and her husband struggled to make a living–until Frank Baum’s book became a national sensation.

This wonderfully evocative two-stranded story recreates Maud’s youth as the rebellious daughter of a leading suffragette, and the prairie years of Maud and Frank’s early days when they lived among the people–especially young Dorothy–who would inspire Frank’s masterpiece. Woven into this past story is one set in 1939, describing the high-pressured days on The Wizard of Oz film set where Judy is being badgered by the director, producer, and her ambitious stage mother to lose weight, bind her breasts, and laugh, cry, and act terrified on command. As Maud had promised to protect the original Dorothy back in Aberdeen, she now takes on the job of protecting young Judy.

What did I think?:

When Ella Patel from Quercus sent me a sampler of Finding Dorothy a month or so ago and asked me to report back what I thought and whether I would be excited to read the finished copy, I was all over it like a rash. Not only do I adore historical fiction and stories about strong, independent women but The Wizard Of Oz was (and probably still is) one of my favourite films and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched it. The prospect of finding more out about the wife of the author who wrote The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Maud Gage Baum was too delicious to pass up and I was eager to report back to Ella that I was raring to go in reading and reviewing Finding Dorothy. A big thank you to her and to Quercus for the complimentary hardback in exchange for an honest review.

Elizabeth Letts, author of Finding Dorothy.

In essence, this novel was everything I would have hoped it would be. We follow our female protagonist Maud from a very young age as she learned how to become a woman, how to fight for the same level of education as men and how important it was for women to finally get the right to vote and start to make a real difference in the world. Her mother, Matilda, a staunch campaigner, public speaker and feminist has an inner strength and determination that shines through in her youngest daughter, Maud.

Maud goes away to study in a time where women were not encouraged to do so after some firm insistence from Matilda that she should make the most of the opportunity, and it’s fair to say that she struggles slightly. Unfortunately the expectations of society and her peers at the time regarding how a woman should behave weigh heavily on her, but in the end she makes the right decision for her own individual happiness, whilst not changing any of her personal beliefs. Enter L. Frank Baum and his Wonderful Wizard Of Oz.

Theatrical release poster for The Wizard Of Oz, released in 1939

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wizard_of_Oz_(1939_film)

You might be forgiven to think that it’s only when Maud meets Frank Baum that the story kicks into gear. For me, that was certainly not the case at all. I was fascinated by Maud’s early life, her suffragist mother, the clear differences between her and her older sister, Julia and how even though she was raised to be headstrong and unyielding (especially when it came to men), there was also a softness and gentleness to her nature that endeared me to her immediately.

I felt like I could connect with Maud and understand her as a person and I could certainly sympathise with her internal battles, particularly as a young woman about what or whom she really wanted to be in life. I adored her loyalty to her mother, her dogged determination to make Matilda proud and her worries that she would disappoint her if she made what might have been seen as the “wrong” choices. As it was, it only proved that Matilda had raised a young woman who was able to take charge of her own thoughts and feelings and make an informed decision to quiet the warring factions of her mind.

As well as Maud’s early life and her marriage to Frank, this novel also explores a present day thread, (which is still historical for the reader) but occurs when Maud is an older woman, visiting the set of The Wizard of Oz in the 1930’s to ensure the film makers are being faithful to the narrative of the original novel and to her husband’s memory. Personally, I can’t remember how many times I’ve read a historical novel told across dual timelines and preferred the historical to the contemporary thread. Not the case with Finding Dorothy – I thought BOTH were absolutely fantastic. It was particularly poignant to watch Maud meeting the characters, viewing the sets and worrying herself sick over a young and very vulnerable Judy Garland. Everything she wrote about I could picture so clearly from the film and it provided some fascinating, thought-provoking and quite startling insights.

This is definitely the sort of story you read, think deeply about and then feel spurred on to find out more and more from other sources. Finding Dorothy has only fuelled this hunger within myself, particularly when it comes to the life of Judy Garland and if anyone has any recommendations, I’d be so grateful to hear them! If you’re a fan of The Wizard Of Oz or just enjoy beautifully written and compelling historical fiction, I can’t hesitate but encourage you to pick up this novel. It’s well worth it and has been a wonderful, unforgettable reading experience.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

 

 

AUTHOR INFORMATION

ELIZABETH LETTS is an award winning and bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction. The Perfect Horse was the winner of the 2017 PEN USA Award for Research Non-fiction and a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller. The Eighty-Dollar Champion was a #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2012 Daniel P Lenehan Award for Media Excellence from the United States Equestrian Foundation. She is also the author of two novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning, and an award-winning children’s book, The Butter Man. She lives in Southern California and Northern Michigan.

Find Elizabeth on her Goodreads page at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/568672.Elizabeth_Letts

or on her website at: http://www.elizabethletts.com/

or on Twitter at: @elizabethletts

Thank you so much once again to Ella Patel and Quercus Books for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. Finding Dorothy is published on 4th April 2019 and will be available as a paperback and a digital e-book. If you fancy more information don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour/social media blast for some amazing reviews!

Link to Finding Dorothy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40265841-finding-dorothy?ac=1&from_search=true

Link to Finding Dorothy on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Dorothy-behind-Wizard-incredible-ebook/dp/B07NCZWNST/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=finding+dorothy&qid=1554318836&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Advertisements

Mini Pin-It Reviews #29 – Four Graphic Novels

Published April 3, 2019 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four graphic novels for you – please see my pin-it thoughts below!

1.) The Graveyard Book Volume 1 – Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, Kevin Nowlan, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, Stephen B. Scott, Lovern Kindzierski

What’s it all about?:

The first volume of a glorious two-volume, four-color graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s #1 New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning novel The Graveyard Book, adapted by P. Craig Russell and illustrated by an extraordinary team of renowned artists.

Inventive, chilling, and filled with wonder, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book reaches new heights in this stunning adaptation. Artists Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott lend their own signature styles to create an imaginatively diverse and yet cohesive interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s luminous novel.

Volume One contains Chapter One through the Interlude, while Volume Two will include Chapter Six to the end.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

2.) The Graveyard Book Volume Two – Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, David Lafuente, Scott Hampton, Kevin Nowlan, Galen Showman.

What’s it all about?:

It Takes a Graveyard to Raise a Child.

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead.

There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy–an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack–who has already killed Bod’s family.

Each chapter in this adaptation by P. Craig Russell is illustrated by a different luminary from the comic book world, showcasing a variety of styles from a breadth of talent. Together, they bring Neil Gaiman’s award-winning, nationally bestselling novel The Graveyard Book to new life in this gorgeously illustrated two-volume graphic novel adaptation.

Volume One contains Chapter One through the Interlude, while Volume Two includes Chapter Six to the end.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

3.) The Bad Doctor – Ian Williams

What’s it all about?:

Cartoonist and doctor Ian Williams introduces us to the troubled life of Dr Iwan James, as all humanity, it seems, passes through his surgery door.

Incontinent old ladies, men with eagle tattoos, traumatised widowers – Iwan’s patients cause him both empathy and dismay, as he tries to do his best in a world of limited time and budgetary constraints, and in which there are no easy answers. His feelings for his partners also cause him grief: something more than friendship for the sympathetic Dr Lois Pritchard, and not a little frustration at the prankish and obstructive Dr Robert Smith.

Iwan’s cycling trips with his friend Arthur provide some welcome relief, but even the landscape is imbued with his patients’ distress. As we explore the phantoms from Iwan’s past, we too begin to feel compassion for The Bad Doctor, and ask what is the dividing line between patient and provider?

Wry, comic, graphic, from the humdrum to the tragic, his patients’ stories are the spokes that make Iwan’s wheels go round in this humane and eloquently drawn account of a doctor’s life.

Would I recommend it?:

Not sure.

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

4.) The Restless Girls – Jessie Burton and Angela Barrett

What’s it all about?:

For the twelve daughters of King Alberto, Queen Laurelia’s death is a disaster beyond losing a mother. The king decides his daughters must be kept safe at all costs, and for the girls, those costs include their lessons, their possessions, and most importantly, their freedom.

But the sisters, especially the eldest, Princess Frida, will not bend to this fate. She still has one possession her father cannot take: the power of her imagination. And so, with little but wits and ingenuity to rely on, Frida and her sisters begin their fight to be allowed to live on their own terms.

The Restless Girls is a sparkling whirl of a fairy tale–one that doesn’t need a prince to save the day, and instead is full of brave, resourceful, clever young women.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

imagesCAF9JG4S

COMING UP NEXT TIME ON MINI-PIN IT REVIEWS – Four Random Books.

Book Tag – Shelfie By Shelfie #15 – Stephen King Shelf 2

Published April 2, 2019 by bibliobeth

Hi everyone and welcome to a brand new tag – Shelfie by Shelfie that I was inspired to create late one night when I couldn’t sleep. If you want to join in, you share a picture (or “shelfie”) of one of your shelves i.e. favourites, TBR, however you like to organise them, and then answer ten questions that are based around that particular shelf. I have quite a large collection and am going to do every single bookshelf which comprises both my huge TBR and the books I’ve read and kept but please, don’t feel obliged to do every shelf yourself if you fancy doing this tag. I’d love to see anything and just a snapshot of your collection would be terrific and I’m sure, really interesting for other people to see!

For other shelfies I’ve completed and for Shelfie by Shelfie posts round the blogosphere, please see my page HERE.

Anyway – on with the tag, it’s time for the fourth shelf of my second bookshelf (my second Stephen King shelf) and we’re looking at the middle part of the images.

And here are the questions!:

1.) Is there any reason for this shelf being organised the way it is or is it purely random?

It’s my second Stephen King shelf so er…mostly Stephen King! Eagle eyed readers may have spotted a couple of Joe Hill’s books sneaking into the mix but I’ve decided that’s allowed – he’s family after all as Stephen King’s son!

2.) Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you i.e. how you got it/ a memory associated with it etc.

I think I’m going to talk about Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and his other son Owen King (which is STILL unread and I’m getting rather cross with myself that I haven’t picked it up yet!). It is one of the most gorgeous hardbacks I think I’ve ever seen and every time I see it, I get a big grin across my face. My long suffering other half, Mr B actually bought this book for me after I had gone through a really hard time with multiple miscarriages so this book will always be special to me for that reason and the fact it’s King of course!

3.) Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

Ugh. If I had to? I think my least favourite from this shelf in particular would be Blaze which King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. It isn’t one of his better known books and I can see the reason for that – it wasn’t that great. Sad face.

4.) Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

Sleeping Beauties for the reason mentioned above but if I had to choose something different it would be the early Bachman books which consists of Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork and The Running Man. Rage in particular was a bit of a difficult find for me as King pulled it from all future publication due to the fact that he wrote it about a school shooter. It’s certainly a harrowing read.

5.) Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

I think it might be either The Shining which is my original copy or the dual short story collection Skeleton Crew and Different Seasons which I’ve had for years and adore.

6.) Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

Funnily enough, it’s not a Stephen King (shock horror!). The latest buy on this shelf is Joe Hill’s Strange Weather which I’m really looking forward to reading. At some point. #bookwormproblems.

7.) Which book from this shelf are you most excited to read (or re-read if this is a favourites shelf?)

We’re back to Sleeping Beauties again! Can you tell I really need to read this book?! If not that, I’d be interested to read Haunted Heart: The Life And Times Of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak to learn more about the great man behind some of my favourite books in the world.

8.) If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

There’s a few objects on this shelf as it’s not as cluttered as my previous bookshelf so I’ll go through a couple of them for you. First we have my Spring/Summer scented candles – how very topical and timely of me!

Then there’s my “feminist” badges which I picked up at a Caitlin Moran event a few years ago now. I think they speak for themselves?

9.) What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

Perhaps that I love Stephen King? Um….and candles. And I’m a feminist?!

10.) Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

I won’t tag anyone but if anyone wants to do this tag, I’d be delighted and I’d love to see your shelfie.

COMING SOON ON bibliobeth: Shelfie By Shelfie #15 – The Agatha Christie Shelf

 

Wizard And Glass (The Dark Tower #4) – Stephen King

Published April 1, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Jake’s pet bumbler survive Blaine the Mono’s final crash, only to find themselves stranded in an alternate version of Topeka, Kansas, one that has been ravaged by the superflu virus. While following the deserted I-70 toward a distant glass palace, they hear the atonal squalling of a thinny, a place where the fabric of existence has almost entirely worn away. While camping near the edge of the thinny, Roland tells his ka-tet a story about another thinny, one that he encountered when he was little more than a boy. Over the course of one long magical night, Roland transports us to the Mid-World of long-ago and a seaside town called Hambry, where Roland fell in love with a girl named Susan Delgado, and where he and his old tet-mates Alain and Cuthbert battled the forces of John Farson, the harrier who—with a little help from a seeing sphere called Maerlyn’s Grapefruit—ignited Mid-World’s final war.

What did I think?:

I thoroughly enjoyed my re-read of the Dark Tower series last year and it’s finally time for my review of the fourth book, Wizard And Glass which just happens to be my favourite book written within this epic world. As a result, I apologise in advance for the nauseating gushing which is bound to occur as I talk about this wonderful, unforgettable addition to the series. See – there I go already!! My first memories of Wizard And Glass are actually connected with a stay in hospital when I was nineteen years old, undergoing investigations for unexplained abdominal pain. My amazing mother bought this book for me, knowing I was an already avid King fan, not realising that it was the fourth book in the series and I hadn’t read the other three yet. To be fair, it can *almost* be read as a stand-alone, despite the fact that it carries on immediately after the dramatic events and a nail-biting cliffhanger of an ending in The Waste Lands. 

Stephen King, author of Wizard And Glass, the fourth book in the Dark Tower series.

I say that it could potentially be read as a stand-alone because Wizard And Glass is actually Roland Deschain’s story from when he was a young man, fell deeply in love for the first time and earned his reputation as a formidable gunslinger. Obviously I would definitely advocate starting this series from the beginning (although if you’ve read my previous reviews, please don’t be too put off by the first book, The Gunslinger! It gets a LOT better i.e. The Drawing Of The Three) but because it goes back to Roland’s tumultuous past, it reads like an entire story all on its own. From the very first page, as Roland starts to tell his story to his ka-tetSusannah, Eddie, Jake and the adorable Oy to the last page, where his story is complete, we learn so much more about our strong male lead and what events have happened in his life to make him the man he is today. The reader sees a much more vulnerable, emotional, tender and human side of Roland and because of this, begins to fully understand why he now hides all his feelings behind such a hard and unyielding exterior.

Susan Delgado, love interest of Roland in Wizard And Glass

Image from: https://darktower.fandom.com/wiki/Susan_Delgado

My heart went out to Roland from the very first moment of this book. I love the way in which he opens up to the people who become his dearest and most loyal friends by sharing with them such an important and life-altering part of his past. His story is moving, devastating, eye-opening and thrilling but more than anything, it’s impossible to put this book down without feeling such a deep sense of longing to pick it right back up again. It’s always a pleasure to sit down with one of King’s books of course for me personally, but there was something about Wizard and Glass that affected me in all the right ways. His strength of characterisation is superb as always but he has a real gift for writing exciting action sequences tempered with softer, more gentle moments between the huge cast of characters that seem to come at just the right time. It allows the reader to recover from the frantic, fast pace of the narrative and appreciate the stories and personalities behind each individual we meet and what their motives, hopes and dreams for the future are.

I truly believe you won’t find characters as personable and delightful – Roland and his buddies Alain and Cuthbert, the sweet innocence and determined bravery of Susan and Sheemie and the villainous, dastardly elements of Rhea the witch and The Coffin Hunters to name a few. However, what I find absolutely incredible is how King manages to give each individual their own qualities and unique personality, despite the enormous cast that he has created across the series in general. This is a novel packed full of adventure, thrills and surprises combined with the author’s classic element of making the reader feel just a little bit uncomfortable but nevertheless, fully invested and enthralled with the world that he has built.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

imagesCAF9JG4S

COMING UP SOON: Wolves Of The Calla (The Dark Tower #5)

Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2019 – MARCH READ – The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson And The Olympians #3) – Rick Riordan

Published March 31, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

It’s not everyday you find yourself in combat with a half-lion, half-human.

But when you’re the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive…

What did I think?:

Prior to beginning this series on our Kid-Lit journey a few years back now, Chrissi and I had never read anything by Rick Riordan. We were very aware of his popularity and the connection with Greek mythology so I had always been keen to pick something up but it wasn’t until we started his Percy Jackson series with The Lightning Thief and The Sea Of Monsters that we finally realised why he’s such a beloved author. For myself, I have an unwavering connection with Greek mythology after studying it at school for a short period of time and have never forgotten the stories I was told that completely captured my imagination from the moment I came across them. So for our Kid-Lit challenge this year, it was a pleasure to return to Percy Jackson And The Olympians with the third book in the series.

Rick Riordan, author of The Titan’s Curse, third in the Percy Jackson And The Olympians series.

Without ruining anything for the previous books, Rick Riordan’s stories follow a teenage boy, Percy Jackson who is a half-blood i.e. one of his parents was an Olympian God. During this series, the gods on Mount Olympus have become embroiled in a battle with some darker forces and there is a mysterious prophecy that may affect Percy and all his friends as they continue to grow up and fight the forces of evil. So what can you expect from The Titan’s Curse? If you’ve read anything by Riordan I’m guessing more of the same really – a fantastic adventure story, brave deeds perpetuated by incredibly plucky youngsters and a host of mythical gods, goddesses and monsters birthed directed from the pages of Greek mythology. The difference with this set of books is that all these occurrences happen in a contemporary world so I’m sure you can imagine the havoc it would wreak – particularly on a busy commute or populated area with “normal,” human residents trying to get through their daily life!

Mount Olympus, home to the Greek Gods.

Apart from the mythological aspects, I’m really starting to feel a strong connection with the characters that the author is creating in this series. I love how he develops the female leads with strong personalities, independence of mind and great feats of strength and intelligence. He doesn’t let them fade into the background or under the shadow of his great teenage hero, Percy Jackson which I really appreciated and in general, they all have an air of mystery to them that makes me want to get to know them a little bit better. Percy himself is of course a marvellous protagonist. At fourteen years old in The Titan’s Curse, he still has a lot to learn about life but in retrospect, this only makes him more realistic as a teenage boy and a slightly reluctant hero. Additionally, one of my favourite parts of the series has to be the author’s humour interjected at perfect moments through the narrative. It certainly brings something extra to the story and at times, provides a welcome relief from the more action-packed, hair-raising sequences and situations that our characters find themselves in.

Finally, Riordan always seems to end each book in this series with a resolution of sorts but at the same time, a jaw dropping cliffhanger in order to make sure the reader is immediately excited to read the next book. We know about this dreaded prophecy, we understand bad things are happening under the surface and that Percy and his friends are in a lot of danger however we are left feeling absolutely clueless about what on earth could happen next. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series and joining Percy on yet another gripping quest.

For Chrissi’s fabulous review, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

COMING UP IN APRIL ON BETH AND CHRISSI DO KID-LIT: Demon Dentist by David Walliams.

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

Published March 29, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it. She posted a piece on her blog, entitled: ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ that led to this book.

Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today.

What did I think?:

I have tortured myself for literally months with how I begin to start talking about this book and eventually, I knew I just had to sit down and say what I’ve got to say and hope it all comes out coherently. I listened to this book through Audible and the wonderful thing about this was that it was read by the author so you really got a sense of her passion, commitment, intelligence, knowledge and of course, personal experience of race issues and racism in Britain today. I have to start this review by stressing that as a white woman, I obviously cannot even try to identify with any of the issues raised by the black community but what I really wanted to do with this book was to learn and be educated. I can definitively say that without a doubt this book moved me, horrified me, saddened me and taught me in equal measure and I was so very appreciative to get much more than I ever could have expected from Reni Addo-Lodge’s work.

Reni Addo-Lodge, author of Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race.

Precipitated by a blog post with the same provocative title, this work of non-fiction does its job immediately from the front cover to the very last page. It makes you want to pick it up, to find out what it’s about, to be informed and inspired and if you’re anything like me, to be left with so many whirling thoughts at the end of the reading experience, that it makes you feel quite dizzy. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race is a thought-provoking, honest look at the history of racism in Britain and how it continues to pervade modern society, despite many individuals insisting it’s a thing of the past. As I mentioned earlier, there is no way I can imagine what living under the shadow of racism is like. I have lived my entire life within a blanket of white privilege and have never been treated differently purely because of the colour of my skin.

In fact, it wasn’t until I started to listen to this book that I realised how uneducated I actually was! We were never taught about black history at school and I’ve only learned small portions about slavery from the fictionalised novels I’ve sought out myself. It wasn’t long before I started to feel heartily ashamed of my ignorance until I suddenly realised that it was perhaps people like myself who would really benefit from reading or listening to this book. I will be forever grateful to the author for her informative, detailed and insightful words that gave me both a deeper understanding and a hunger to seek out even more knowledge (whether that be through fiction or more non-fiction).

This book is such an important and eye-opening read that I completely believe it should be required reading in all schools around the world. Personally, I find any sort of discrimination or racism absolutely abhorrent and I was humbled to read a book that explored so many different facets of the issue, including how feminism is often whitewashed (something I was appalled by), how children of colour are consistently marked lower in schools and looked over for potential jobs when a particular surname is noted on an application. Then there is the politics and science of racism – the ridiculous studies that were carried out on the intelligence levels of mixed race children, the connection of class and race and how rife under-representation or stereotyping is within the media or film industry.

Read this book if like me, you want to learn and become better informed about the history and current status of racism in our country. It’s an expressive, raw and intricate examination of an issue that definitely still needs to be talked about, no matter what your race or colour.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

Talking About The Last Thing She Told Me By Linda Green with Chrissi Reads

Published March 28, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Even the deepest buried secrets can find their way to the surface…

Moments before she dies, Nicola’s grandmother Betty whispers to her that there are babies at the bottom of the garden.

Nicola’s mother claims she was talking nonsense. However, when Nicola’s daughter finds a bone while playing in Betty’s garden, it’s clear that something sinister has taken place.

But will unearthing painful family secrets end up tearing Nicola’s family apart?

The new emotionally-charged suspense novel from Linda Green, the bestselling author of While My Eyes Were Closed and After I’ve Gone.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: Did you ever feel like this book was too far-fetched?

BETH: This might not be the same answer for everyone who reads it but unfortunately for me at points, I found it difficult to connect with. Not necessarily unbelievable but there were points when I thought the way certain characters reacted to circumstances weren’t how I imagined they would in a real-life situation. However, I don’t have any personal experience similar enough to what some of the women suffer through in this book so who can say for certain how someone would/should react? I have plenty of experience with grief and it certainly does crazy things to a person, emotionally and psychologically speaking. Also, the part with the fairy bone and Maisie being allowed to keep it for a night according to the police – I really don’t think that would actually happen.

BETH: What did you think of the relationship between the women, primarily Nicola and her mother Irene? Did you find any similarities between Nicola’s relationship to her oldest daughter, Ruby?

CHRISSI: I felt like the relationships between women in this story were quite fractured. Nicola and Irene definitely had a difficult time within this story, mainly down to what had happened to Irene in the past. Nicola may not have realised this. I feel like Nicola tried to be more open and honest with her own daughter although she hid a major secret from her. There were so many secrets in this story that affected all of the female relationships.

CHRISSI: What purpose did William’s letters to Betty serve throughout the book?

BETH: I thought they served as a nice little addition to the narrative. I really enjoy the inclusion of letters in a novel, it gives such a fascinating insight into a character’s life and personality but the danger with them is that if you’re only hearing from one person’s point of view, it gives only one side of the story. With the different threads going on throughout this book, I couldn’t help but be slightly suspicious of William’s character and motives and it was interesting to read how it all panned out in the end.

BETH: Did you predict what would happen at any point in this novel?

CHRISSI: I don’t think so. I had some ideas along the way but nothing that was particularly solid. I think it could have gone in any direction really… it was that sort of book!

CHRISSI: Without spoilers. why do you think Nicola finally acknowledges what happened to her at age 20?

BETH: I think Nicola goes through so much inner turmoil as she relives her own personal experiences through that of her mother and grandmother. It reminds her how different life was for women just a generation or two ago and how little power or control they seemed to have over their own destiny. As a result, it makes her think again about how times have changed. She now has the perfect opportunity to break her silence and speak out whilst arriving at the realisation that telling her family the truth is better than hiding terrible secrets.

BETH: Why do you think Betty mentioned the babies to Nicola before she died?

CHRISSI: In my opinion, Betty wanted her family to be able to move on. If she told Nicola then the secrets would be out in the open. I think it somewhat took a weight off Betty’s mind and she could die knowing that she had done the right thing.

CHRISSI: What significance do the fairy statues have throughout the story?

BETH: I love the addition of the fairy statues (and I’m sure you did too, I know you have a fondness for fairies!). However, they do represent something a lot darker and more saddening than you would normally associate them with. I believe they represent childhood, innocence and how these things can be permanently altered through traumatic experiences.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I would. I haven’t read this author before, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy her writing was to read.

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Yes!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art