Sunday, February 27, 2011

Greetings from somewhere else

The book, by Monica McInerney, was published with the title, Spin the bottle, in the UK and as Greetings from somewhere else in the USA, just to confuse readers.

Lainey Byrne is an events manager used to organising people including her family and friends. When her Aunt May dies leaving the family a bed and breakfast establishment in Ireland the family is thrilled until they realise that a family member from Australia must live at the house in Ireland for 12 months before the building can be sold. Lainey is the designated family member to leave her job and boyfriend, Adam, in order for the family to claim their inheritance.

In Ireland she meets Rohan an old school friend who had been injured when when playing Spin the Bottle when they were teenagers. Rohan assists her in her new endeavours. Lainey must not only re-establish the run down business left to her by her aunt but also resolve her feelings regarding Rohan and Adam. Her Irish friends, Eva and Joseph, also help her but as she faces new challenges Lainey begins to understand herself better and during her excile gradually learns that other people also need to have the opportunity to make decisions.

The King's speech

Written by Mark Logue, the grandson of Lionel  Logue, and Peter Conradi this book tells the story of the relationship between Lionel Logue and King George VI as Logue assisted the king with overcoming his speech impediment. It is also provides an account of the British monarchy from the 1920s to the early 1950s.

The 20th century introduced the age of communication by radio and public figures were expected to be able to make public speeches as required. As the second son of a king Albert did not expect to be king himself but he still had to represent his family at official functions - not an easy task for someone with a stammer. It was not until he met an Australian, Lionel Logue, that his ability to talk improved. When his brother abdicated and Albert became King George, Logue was always there to help him prepare for the many major speeches that he was required to make, checking the speeches for phrases that may cause problems substituting more suitable words or phrases in their place and generally encouraging the king.

The recent film, The King's Speech, outlines the story until the coronation. The book contains additional information, particularly for the period of World War II. The account provided in this book has been prepared from Logue's diaries and scrapbooks and describes the close relationship that developed between Logue and the King and Queen and also the close relationship between Logue and his wife, Myrtle.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

At home with the Templetons

Monica McInerney is an Australian author married to an Irishman and the setting for her books often involve those two countries. The action in this novel initially occurs outside Castlemaine in Victoria before characters move to other countries including England. In this family drama the Templeton family move to Victoria from England to claim a family home that they name Tempeton Hall and open regularly to the public. But who the Templetons really are and why they suddenly appeared in Australia is gradually revealed via the interaction of family members and also with their relationship with neighbour, Nina Donovan, and her son Tom. This really is a book about relationships within families as well as the relationship between Gracie Templeton and Tom Donovan.

Readers who enjoy the stories of Maeve Binchey and Di Morrissey will enjoy this book. I certainly plan to read more books by Monica McInerney.

Swan for the money

You would think that organising a local community rose show would not create too many dramas. However this is not the case in Caerphilly, especially when Meg's many family members become involved. Dognapping, destruction of plants, murder and attempted murder plus cattle rustling, not to mention the peculiarities of the local wildlife, are just a few of the diversions encountered before the naming of the winner of the Black Swan trophy can be announced. Swan for the money is the eleventh in this series of amusing crime books by Donna Andrews.