Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Faraday girls

The complexities of family relationships are examined in this novel by Monica McInerney. The five Faraday girls live with their father, Leo, in Hobart. Tessa, their mother, died when the girls were young but her memory is kept alive in stories told by Leo plus family traditions continued in her memory. Family dynamics change when the youngest sister, Clementine, has a daughter, Maggie, who is consequently brought up by the five sisters and their father.  When Maggie is five her Aunt Sadie takes her on holiday to Melbourne and then decides to disappear from the family taking Maggie with her. Discovered by Leo and Clementine in New South Wales, Maggie is returned safely to her home but her aunt severs all family connections. Maggie is told that her aunt has chosen to join a hippie colony.

Years later, in New York, Maggie is visited by her grandfather who wants her to change her decision about not attending a family gathering in Ireland. He asks Maggie to read the diaries kept by her grandmother to try and determine the initial reason that caused Sadie to leave the family as Sadie was the only family member to have previously read the diaries. Maggie agrees and on that holiday visit discovers many of the family secrets that had long been hidden and the fragility of family bonds. She also discovers herself and how she wants to live her life as an individual, not as one segment of a family.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Heart of Stars

Book three of the Rhiannon Rides series by Kate Forsyth. There are two main plot threads in this book - Isabeau and Cloudshadow's quest back through time via the Heart of Stars to rescue Donncan and Thunderlily who had been captured as part of a plan to raise Brann the Raven from the dead plus the attempts by Rhiaanon and her friends to rescue Olwynne, Owein and Roden kidnapped by Lord Malvern to be used as sacrifices to also raise the dead. This story of intrigue, revenge, guilt, regret and love evolves as the characters attempt to defeat the evil that is trying to destroy Eileanan and its rulers.A satisfying conclusion to a an exciting fantasy trilogy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Family baggage

The television detective program, Willoughby, is the theme for a tour of part of Devon and Cornwall by a group of Australians. Harriet Turner agrees to be a leader with Lara of the group of Willoughby fans at short notice when her brother is unable to travel to England to lead the tour. When Lara fails to meet the group at the airport Harriet is left in charge and needs to take a crash course in the events portrayed in the television series as well as looking after a group of elderly guests of Turner Tours and the star of the programs, Patrick Shawcross.

As well as following the challenges of managing the tour group the book, by Monica McInerney, delves into family relationships complicated by secrets that have been hidden for too long.

The Shining City

Book two in the series Rhiannon's ride by Kate Forsyth. Arriving at the Shining City Rhiannon is taken to the Sorrowgate Tower where she is to await trial for the death of Connor, a trusted member of the Righ's guard. Meanwhile Lewen and the other apprentice witches attend classes at the Tower of the Two Moons.

All is not well in the Shining City. Rhiannon is visited in her cell by a ghost wanting her to help raise the dead, Olwynne and a number of other witches experience sinister dreams and the death of a senior witch diminishes the spell binding a threat to the kingdom. Two of the Righ's children, Owein and Olwynne, are fellow students with and friends of Lewen but when Olwynne realises that Lewen loves Rhiannon she uses a love spell to secure his love. Although Rhiannon's support base in the city grows the forces working against her ensure that she does not receive a fair trail. During the Mid Summer celebrations the Righ's son is to wed Bronwen primarily to secure the stability of peace between the many groups previously at war, however when the Righ is killed and his children and Nina's son Roden disappear it is obvious that evil forces abound. Isabeau the Keybearer sets out to destroy one source of evil while Rhiannon and her winged horse, Blackthorn set out to rescue Owein, Olwnne and Roden.

The intrigue within the city walls constitutes much of the first half of the book but once the actual trial takes place the action of the story moves up a pace leaving the reader wanting to read the conclusion of Rhiannon's Ride in book three.