Adventures

Book Review – House at the End of Hope Street

The House at the End of Hope Street

The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Wonderful… I adore the lovely magical world Menna creates. Warm characters, one to lift the spirits, as good as visiting the house itself! How I wish I could find one and have 99 days break from the modern world.

I finished the House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag, which was a lovely read – sometimes it is nice to dip into a world of magic, love where the broken find healing and comfort. 

After Alba Ashby suffers the Worst Events of Her Life, she finds herself at the door of 11 Hope Street, Cambridge. There, a beautiful older woman named Peggy invites Alba to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she’ll have 99 nights, and no more, to turn her life around. Once inside, Alba sees that 11 Hope Street is no ordinary place. Past residents include Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Parker, and Agatha Christie, who all stayed there when they, too, had lost hope. With the house’s help, Alba decides to risk everything – and embarks on a journey that may even save her life. 

The idea of a house that could offer you what you needed was lovely, Stella the ghost was a good muse for Alba. It was a delightful place to spend time in before going to sleep and often in the waking hours between 1 and 4 which has been happening more often these days. 

There are two other characters, Greer and Carmen in the house at the same time – and their story was followed through more briefly, both were loving the same unattainable man. 

I love the worlds Menna creates, it is the third book I’ve read of hers, the magic is lovely, she has the same lightness of touch as Joanne Harris.




book review, Books, reading

Book Hangover

glasses

I have a bit of a quandary, I have a large pile of books on my shelves waiting to be read and I keep on picking one or two up – reading a few pages and then get busy with something else. I did wonder if I had lost my reading mojo but a couple of books recently came to the fore and I discovered that I could still get lost in a book in fact I can read a really good one in a day!

I ran a book group once – my reading time was very limited (I had teenagers, full time job and other interests), I began to resent reading books that were frankly ‘hard work’ gritting my teeth as I read page after dreary page to discover my instincts were right after the first few pages; I had wasted valuable time that could have been better spent reading the multitude of books I want to read.

never let me go

I had a few books that ‘stretched me’ Never let you go, was one that I would never have read otherwise: a very haunting book, I can’t say it was pleasurable, but thought provoking. We read a couple of Jodi Picoult books – I loved the way she weaved modern dilemmas into stories like My Sisters Keeper and Faith- they offered some great subjects for discussion. When I moved away I was pleased to leave my book group behind, they were a lovely bunch but I wanted to choose for myself.

keeping faith

I ended up with the rule 72 (bear with me). I was wading through yet another dreary tome and noticed I was on page 72. I stopped reading and declared that unless a book was gripping me by that marker I would give myself permission to discard the book.

Its odd though, how something simple like reading can filter through other areas of our lives – leaving a book unread feels wrong, as if am am lacking in moral fortitude.

“You never stick at things’ is what comes to mind,

‘you always give up easily’

and my personal favourite,

‘no pain no gain’

(Well that particular one is discredited, we all know that Nietzsche ended up in an asylum, poor chap!)

There is a deep sense that I am missing something, that I don’t have the intelligence to really understand the narrative, there is shame too, my tomes aren’t high brow, or ‘improving’ literature, I read for pleasure – so why then, is it so difficult to abandon a book.

believe

There are so many wonderful adventures out there, I find bookshops terrifying sometimes – I want to walk away with armfuls picking one seems an impossible task. I don’t really have a specific genre – so I can’t narrow down my choice.

I wish I had a formula, if the book is about x then its definitely one to read, but no two books are the same – I can be really loyal to an author such as Mauve Binchy and Robert Goddard, but then I notice they all begin to merge – the same story different characters.

I know right now I have a book hangover so might not be in the right frame of mind, but I wonder if anyone else struggles as I do?

At present I am struggling with Suite Francaise – the film came out recently and so many people have told me  the book is sublime but I am bogged down reading about people fleeing from Paris!

Alongside is the Beachfront Bakery – I just don’t pick it up – its OK but not wow.

Miss Scarlett’s School of Patternless sewing had some brilliant reviews… but the sugary sweet women are not floating my boat either! It should work in theory, I love sewing, it was the same with the Friday Night Knitting club – I did not connect with the characters.

Perhaps it is time for a clean sweep, take them all to the charity shop and start afresh, without these novels silent reprimand I think I shall feel a whole lot better.

I must be careful though, I nearly bought a novel in a shop yesterday –  thought it would be great – only to remember as I was heading to the till it was one I had given them a month before!

My kindle seems to be much kinder… right now I am ready to settle down to The Girl On the Train… after Shazza’s book review.

ttfn x

Books, Poem

Adventures of a Bookworm

tree-of-knowledge-clip-art_t

I am not a poet, sometimes I catch one – just like a butterfly –  if I am lucky I have time to write it down. Today, while my eyes strayed to the bookshelves (I have them in every room), this little poem popped in my head.

My bookshelves brim, both high and low

Of adventures and places, I’d like to go

Shall I journey back in time?

Or take a boat trip on the Rhine?

Traverse the galaxy, explore black holes

or find a way to save our souls?

I’ll take a course, I’ll  learn to speak,

In Russian, Spanish, Dutch and Greek.

Unravel mysteries, solve fiendish crime,

Battle, Nazis and Ghouls, and win every time.

Between the covers of a book

Adventures lurk, just take a look

A tale of courage, a life of strife,

Of how a man met and woo’d his wife.

When times are hard or the weather’s bleak

I’ll go and fight Pirates in Martinique

I have no need of plane or car

To travel places near and far

Just a cup of tea, a cosy chair

Peace and quiet, time to spare.

Upon my bookshelf, crammed in tight

Adventures call both day and night.

Susanna Di Milo

(c)2015