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The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson #Review

  The Wartime Book Club is a marvellous historical novel set on Jersey in World War Two. Written by Kate Thompson , it was published by Hodder $ Stoughton on February 13th. Jersey, 1943. Once a warm and neighbourly community, now German soldiers patrol the cobbled streets, imposing a harsh rule on the people of the island. Grace La Mottée, the island's only librarian, is ordered to destroy books which threaten the new regime. Instead, she hides the stories away in secret. Along with her headstrong best friend, postwoman Bea Rose, she wants to fight back. So she forms the wartime book club: a lifeline, offering fearful islanders the joy and escapism of reading. But as the occupation drags on, the women's quiet acts of bravery become more perilous - and more important - than ever before. And, when tensions turn to violence, they are forced to face the true, terrible cost of resistance . . . Based on astonishing real events, The Wartime Book Club is a love letter

The Piano Raft by Sara Alexi #bookreview

The Piano Raft has turned out to be one of those books which I loved. As I started to  read it, I wasn't too sure. There were so many odd things happening- just why was Neil drifting along on a Raft with a Piano? Then it clicked and I realised that Neil was about to embark on a personal journey. It reminded me a little of Rachel Joyce's books (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry,The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy ) or Phaedra Patrick (The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper) and I started to anticipate all the characters who were going to crop up as Neil sailed along. I wasn't disappointed. If you are curious to learn more, here's the blurb:

Neil, a disillusioned art student, wakes to find himself drifting down a canal on a raft, accompanied by a small fluffy dog, to the sound of his girlfriend's piano being played by a stranger.

Through the fog of his hangover, he tries to piece together the events of the night before which brought him to this curious and unexpected situation, and to work out what on earth to do next.

The current is carrying him swiftly on towards the capital, where Kim, the piano's owner, has recently started a new life.

As Neil’s journey continues, and whilst trying to conjure the courage to win Kim back, his story captures the hearts and imaginations of the country as locals in the towns he passes and national media alike follow this unlikely hero on his equally unlikely adventure.

How will these extraordinary circumstances challenge and change a man whose life has been stuck in first gear, and who now needs to decide how far he will go for the woman he loves?

The current is swift, and there's no turning back...'

    Neil  is a character who has insecurities and doubts. He seems so everyday that you can identify wth him. Life hasn't quite worked out as he thought it would. It is great to go on the canal journey with him as he works out just what he is doing, accompanied by his two animal companions. It is easy to imagine the countryside passing by as he gets nearer to his destination.  In addition, I thought that there was an interesting strand of thought running through the story on the nature of 'What is Art?'  Neil's journey, though a personal one, provokes thoughts on commercialisation and how social media and the media contribute to the creation of a cult following. Warm, thought provoking and humorous, I loved escaping into this quirky world.

In short: a journey, both physical and emotional: touching, warm and reflective.

About the Author

Sara Alexi is one of the top 150 most successful, self-published
authors of all time; a prolific writer, she has written 15 books (and counting) in just four years, with book sales reaching well over half a million copies.  

Remarkably, Sara is dyslexic. At school English lessons were a time of confusion, she found that books were indecipherable hieroglyphics and she was unable to enjoy reading and writing; growing up in a time when at a time when dyslexia was not well understood and little or no support was available. And so her artistic nature was confined to painting, an art form that she loved and would take her travelling around the world.

Despite her dyslexia Sara qualified as a psychotherapist and ran her own practice in Yorkshire for many years. In a casual conversation with a client, she discovered that Agatha Christie, Jules Verne and Hans Christian Andersen were all dyslexic, and Sara’s perspective changed. The world of fiction opened to her with this shift in perception.

Sara now spends much of her time in a tiny rural village in the Peloponnese, in Greece, where she is (very slowly) renovating a ruined stone farmhouse, whilst observing the Greek way of life and absorbing the culture, enriching her vision for both writing and painting.

Sara’s ‘Greek Village Series’ is inspired by the people she has met travelling, her time spent in Greece alongside her career as a psychotherapist; her writing provides a keenly observed, compassionate insight into people, culture, and the human condition, and is set around a charming rural Greek village

Predating the current refugee crisis in Greece by some three years, Sara’s debut novel, The Illegal Gardener, focuses on the immigration problems in Greece, and the clash of cultures that accompanies those seeking a better life in the West.

You can connect with Sara on her Website    Facebook   Goodreads 
 and on Twitter.

Thanks to Sara Alexi for a copy of the book.


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