Fabulous multi-generational fashion themed family saga DRESSING THE DEARLOVES by Kelly Doust (@KellyDoust) #BookReview

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DRESSING THE DEARLOVES by Kelly Doust

Goodreads Description

One crumbling grand manor house, a family in decline, five generations of women, and an attic full of beautiful clothes with secrets and lies hidden in their folds. Kelly Doust, author of Precious Things, spins another warm, glamorous and romantic mystery of secrets, love, fashion, families – and how we have to trust in ourselves, even in our darkest of days. One for lovers of Kate Morton, Belinda Alexandra, Fiona McIntosh and Lucy Foley. Failed fashion designer Sylvie Dearlove is coming home to England – broke, ashamed and in disgrace – only to be told her parents are finally selling their once-grand, now crumbling country house, Bledesford, the ancestral home of the Dearlove family for countless generations. Sylvie has spent her whole life trying to escape being a Dearlove, and the pressure of belonging to a family of such headstrong, charismatic and successful women. Beset by self-doubt, she starts helping her parents prepare Bledesford for sale, when she finds in a forgotten attic a thrilling cache of old steamer trunks and tea chests full of elaborate dresses and accessories acquired from across the globe by five generations of fashionable Dearlove women. Sifting through the past, she also stumbles across a secret which has been hidden – in plain sight – for decades, a secret that will change the way she thinks about herself, her family, and her future.Romantic, warm, and glamorous, moving from Edwardian England to the London Blitz to present day London, Dressing the Dearloves is a story of corrosiveness of family secrets, the insecurities that can sabotage our best efforts, and the seductive power of dressing up. 

400 pages
Published August 20th 2018 by HarperCollins
ISBN 1460705645 (ISBN13: 9781460705643)
RRP $16.99 AU (Kindle) $26.99 AU (paperback)

My Review 

Fabulous multi-generational fashion themed family saga! DRESSING THE DEARLOVES the second fashion themed novel by Australian author Kelly Doust, and you can really tell that she has a great love for vintage fashion and the stories they hold.

Sylvie Dearlove failed spectacularly in the cut-throat New York fashion design world. With her company bankrupt and her reputation in tatters she has no choice but to return to her family’s upper crust ancestral home in the English countryside. She is shocked to discover that Bledesford is even more run down than she remembered, her grandmother and family matriarch, Lizzie, is terribly ill and her parents seem to have no choice but to sell up and make way for boring and generic sub-divisions.

While helping her parents clean out the overflowing attic with the help of her best uni girlfriends Sylvie discovers more than just the high fashion of  five generations of her enigmatic and successful female ancestors. She also stumbles across a shocking family secret that  changes the way she feels about her family, what it means to be a Dearlove, and will alter her future plans irrevocably.

I loved the way that Doust tied the stories of the Dearlove ladies in with their clothing. I think it’s so true that the clothes we wear for special occasions do hold onto our stories and the way Doust writes about vintage fashion with such love is a wonderful reminder of the power of dressing up. 5 stars!

About the Author 

 

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Kelly Doust, author of DRESSING THE DEARLOVES

 

Kelly Doust is author of the novels Dressing the Dearloves (September 2018) and Precious Things, both published by HarperCollinsAlso A Life in Frocks, vintage fashion bible Minxy Vintage: how to customise & wear vintage clothing and The Crafty Minx series of craft books.

With a background in book publishing and publicity, Kelly has worked in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia, and has freelanced for Vogue, Australian Women’s Weekly and Sunday Life Magazine. She lives in Sydney with her husband and daughter, and works as a Lifestyle Publisher for Murdoch Books.

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My #BookReview of the fascinating feminist take on time travel: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL by Kate Mascarenhas @KateMascarenhas

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL by Kate Mascarenhas

Goodreads Description

1967: Four female scientists invent a time-travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril.

2017: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future–a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady.

2018: When Odette discovered the body, she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, flesh. But when the inquest fails to answer any of her questions, Odette is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?

My Review 

A feminist take on time travel and its psychological effects by debut author, Kate Mascarenhas.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL is divided into three main time lines: 1967 where four women invent time travel, 2017 where Ruby learns more about her grandmother’s involvement in the invention of time travel and they receive a mysterious note about a future murder, and 2018 where Odette discovers the body. There are several other time lines and characters that add towards the main mystery: who killed the elderly lady and who was she?

The time travel science in THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL is very unique. Time travel can only occur from 1967 when it was invented by four British women and meeting one’s past or future self has no ill effects. In fact, the slang of the exclusive time travel industry suggests that it is quite normal to engage in some rather kinky practices with past and future selves.

Mascarenhas is a psychologist and her expertise in this field is evident. Instead of focusing on time travel paradoxes and wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff she looks at how time travel would affect people psychologically.  This is done through the lens of a murder mystery where we don’t even know who the victim is for more than half of the novel as the murder hasn’t taken place yet. 5 stars!

About the Author

 

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Kate Mascarenhas, author of THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL

 

Kate Mascarenhas is a writer.

Born in 1980, she is of mixed heritage (white Irish father, brown British mother) and has family in Ireland and the Republic of Seychelles.

She studied English at Oxford and Applied Psychology at Derby. Her PhD, in literary studies and psychology, was completed at Worcester.

Since 2017 Kate has been a chartered psychologist. Previously she has been an advertising copywriter, bookbinder, and doll’s house maker. She lives in the English midlands with her partner.

Her new novel, The Psychology of Time Travel, is published in the UK by Head of Zeus. It will be available in the US from Crooked Lane in February 2019.

 

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BURNING FIELDS by Alli Sinclair @allisinclair 5 Star #BookReview

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BURNING FIELDS by Alli Sinclair featuring Ziggy the cat

Goodreads Description

1948. The world is struggling to regain a sense of balance after the devastation of World War II, and the sugar cane-growing community of Piri River in northern Queensland is no exception.

As returned servicemen endeavour to adjust to their pre-war lives, women who had worked for the war effort are expected to embrace traditional roles once more.

Rosie Stanton finds it difficult to return to the family farm after years working for the Australian Women’s Army Service. Reminders are everywhere of the brothers she lost in the war and she is unable to understand her father’s contempt for Italians, especially the Conti family next door. When her father takes ill, Rosie challenges tradition by managing the farm, but outside influences are determined to see her fail.

Desperate to leave his turbulent history behind, Tomas Conti has left Italy to join his family in Piri River. Tomas struggles to adapt in Australia—until he meets Rosie. Her easy-going nature and positive outlook help him forget the life he’s escaped. But as their relationship grows, so do tensions between the two families until the situation becomes explosive.

When a long-hidden family secret is discovered and Tomas’s mysterious past is revealed, everything Rosie believes is shattered. Will she risk all to rebuild her family or will she lose the only man she’s ever loved?

My Review 

Set in the northern Queensland sugar cane fields in 1948 BURNING FIELDS by Alli Sinclair beautifully tells the love story of Rosie Stanton and Tomas Conti. Rosie is struggling to settle back into to life in Australia after serving during World War II, and trying to convince her father to allow her to help out on the family sugar cane field is next to impossible. Tomas is trying to become accustomed to life in Australia after suffering through Mussolini’s terror of Italy and Tomas’ hometown of Sicily.

I fell in love with Tomas from the very first chapter! He was perfectly mysterious but also gentlemanly and kind, just like I imagine many Italian men of his era to be. I could also very well relate to Rosie and her frustration at being expected to fall back into the sexist role expected of females in Australia back then after working so hard during the war. Post-war Australia really is a fascinating period of history, and I think Sinclair has perfectly captured many of the issues everyday Australians and immigrants faced during that time. 5 stars!

 

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Alli Sinclair

 

An adventurer at heart, Alli Sinclair is a multi-award winning author who has lived in Argentina, Peru, and Canada. She’s climbed some of the world’s highest mountains, worked as a tour guide in South and Central America, and has travelled the globe, immersing herself in array of exotic destinations, cultures, and languages. Australia has always been close to Alli’s heart as she loves the diverse landscapes and the rich multicultural heritage of this wonderful land.

Alli’s books explore history, culture, love and grief, and relationships between family, friends and lovers. She captures the romance and thrill of discovering old and new worlds, and loves taking readers on a journey of discovery.

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THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark #bookreview #tuesdaybookblog

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THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark

Goodreads Blurb

‘Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life…’

Passionate, free-thinking and unconventional, Miss Brodie is a teacher who exerts a powerful influence over her group of ‘special girls’ at Marcia Blaine School. They are the Brodie set, the crème de la crème, each famous for something – Monica for mathematics, Eunice for swimming, Rose for sex – who are initiated into a world of adult games and extracurricular activities they will never forget. But the price they pay is their undivided loyalty …

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a brilliantly comic novel featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in all literature.

My Review 

Miss Jean Brodie is an eccentric Edinburgh teacher in the 1930s. She selects a set of six girls who are each famous in their own ways – Monica for mathematics, Eunice for swimming, Rose for sex – to take under her wing throughout their school years. Her ways of interacting with the girls begins quite unconventionally and progresses to extremely adult and inappropriate extracurricular activities. In return for Miss Brodie’s special treatment and the added style and popularity the girls receive as being part of the exclusive Brodie Set the girls remain completely loyal to their mentor until one of them betrays her in the worst possible way.

THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE is only a short novel, but I still found it a bit of the chore to read. Jean Brodie did have many comedic moments, but I just found her to be an incredibly irritating character. She was often cruel and childish and I could never figure out why she was so invested in her girls. I also wondered why none of the other teachers or the girls’ parents didn’t seem to notice there was something off about her.

This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

6. The Art of War

7. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

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Book #review: PERSON’S UNKNOWN by Susie Steiner @SusieSteiner1

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PERSON’S UNKNOWN by Susie Steiner

Goodreads Blurb

The sequel to Susie Steiner’s bestselling MISSING, PRESUMED

Manon has settled back into life in Cambridgeshire with her adopted son Fly. She’s perfectly happy working on cold cases until a man is stabbed to death just yards from the police station, and both the victim and the prime suspect turn out to be much closer to home than she would like. How well does Manon know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?

My Review

MISSING PRESUMED is the sequel to the DS Manon series. You can read my review of the first novel of the series MISSING PRESUMED here. Manon Bradshaw has settled into the family life with her newly adopted teenager son, Fly. They have left London to settle in with her sister, Ellie, and Ellie’s young son in Cambridgeshire while Manon works the more boring, but far less dangerous and intense, cold case department and turns to IVF so that she can have her own child. Of course, things don’t remain dull and boring for long and Manon is caught up in a new murder mystery that seems to involve somebody from her happy little family.

I really enjoyed the mystery side of PERSON’S UNKNOWN. There were plenty of twists and turns and I was genuinely surprised when the killer was finally revealed. I did find the IVF pregnancy a little bit out of character for Manon and definitely, but overall it was a great crime thriller and will look out for the novel in the series. Four stars!

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Book #Review: Ache by Eliza Henry Jones @ehenryjones

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Ache by Eliza Henry Jones

Goodreads Synopsis

A year ago, a devastating bushfire ripped Annie’s world apart – killing her grandmother, traumatising her young daughter and leaving her mother’s home in the mountains half destroyed. Annie fled back to the city, but the mountain continues to haunt her. Now, drawn by a call for help from her uncle, she’s going back to the place she loves most in the world, to try to heal herself, her marriage, her daughter and her mother. 


A heart-wrenching, tender and lovely novel about loss, grief and regeneration, Ache is not only a story of how we can be broken, but how we can put ourselves back together.

My Review

Ache will make you feel every emotion under the sun. A must read for everyone!

Ache is set one year after a bushfire destroyed Annie’s family and Australian mountain home. Annie is still trying to pick up the pieces of her life after riding her horse through the fires to save her child only to lose her beloved Grandmother and unwillingly become the face of the fires after her photo became splashed all over the media. Annie is trying to make her marriage work with her husband, Tom, and heal her traumatised daughter, Pip, in their home in the city. She decides to head home to the mountain where her family and small town friends are still battling to recover from the devastation of the fires.

This fire in this story is fictional but I think most Australians will be able to relate to the trauma of a small town dealing with the aftermath of a devastating bushfire. I have been lucky to be relatively untouched by bushfires but I still understand the fear of fire (or flood!) and can imagine the trauma of being right in the middle of it all and how difficult it must be to pick up the pieces of your life after a fire sweeps through and destroys your entire life. Bless everybody experiencing something similar right now.

Eliza Henry Jones has studied English, psychology and grief, loss and trauma counselling and completed a thesis exploring bushfire trauma in fiction. She has crafted a beautifully written and emotional novel that deals with a wide range of themes with grace and ease.  Now I understand why everyone I know has raved about this book and am so happy to add my rave review to the list!

Details

Title: Ache

Author: Eliza Henry Jones

Published: Published June 1st 2017 by Harper Collins (first published May 22nd 2017)

ISBN: 1460750381 (ISBN13: 9781460750384)

Pages: 256

Genre: Contemporary Australian Fiction

Source: Publisher

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

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Goodreads Synopsis

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares.

Details

Title: Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols #1)

Author: Alyson Noel

ISBN: 0062324527 (ISBN13: 9780062324528)

Published: May 10th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 420

Genre: Mystery, Romance,  Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts

Fun beach read!

Unrivaled is the first novel in the Beautiful Idols trilogy by Alyson Noel. The novel focuses on three people vying to win Ira Redman’s Unrivaled Nightlife promo competition. Ira owns several Hollywood nightclubs and the competitors score points based on how many celebrities they can bring into Ira’s clubs and how famous those celebrities are.

Layla dreams of becoming a journalist but currently runs a celebrity blog called Beautiful Idols.

Aster feels stifled by her wealthy but conservative Persian parents and aspires to become an actress.

Tommy has just moved to Hollywood from Oklahoma and dreams of becoming a famous guitarist and showing up his father who doesn’t even know he exists.

Madison Brooks is a star actress and worth the highest amount of points in Ira’s competition. As the novel progresses it becomes clear that there are dark secrets in Madison’s past. Madison’s story is where the mystery comes into play.

Unrivaled is a really fun read, perfect to take with you to the beach. 

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them.

I also loved that the chapters are all named after songs. I found that fit in really well with the Hollywood setting of this novel.

There is quite a lot of character development and back story throughout the beginning and middle of the novel and a bit of a slow buildup before all the action starts to take place. This is something I enjoy but I think some mystery fans might find it a little bit too slow for them. The action starts to heat up towards the end of the novel, just in time to leave you dying to know what happens after the crazy cliffhanger. I’ll definitely need to check out the next book in the series to find out!