BOOK REVIEW: PAMELA HART – A LETTER FROM ITALY

 

A Letter from Italy is a romantic story that isn’t just ruled by its heart. It’s a novel inspired by Louise Mack, the first female war correspondent who worked during the First World War. It’s a book that shows how a determined and strong journalist negotiates the trials and tribulations of being a woman in a male-dominated industry and also through a time of tumultuous change.

To read the rest of this review please visit the following website: http://magazine.100percentrock.com/reviews/book-reviews/201703/226447

Visit 100% Rock’s homepage at: http://magazine.100percentrock.com/

BOOK REVIEW: MESHEL LAURIE – BUDDHISM FOR BREAK-UPS

meschel

 

There are many people who ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” but in the case of Meshel Laurie, it was, “What would Buddha do?” The Australian writer, comedian and radio personality was looking towards her Buddhist faith as a way of making sense of the end of her 19 year marriage. Except that there were no self-help manuals on successfully separating, not from a Buddhist standpoint, so she wrote her own and it’s a thought-provoking, relatable and compassionate read.

Laurie’s book finds the right balance between offering her own personal tale as well as the fundamental principles that Buddhists believe. She describes her separation from her ex-husband, Adrian Lewinski in some detail, whilst also offering a template for navigating through the negative emotions of fear, grief and loneliness that are synonymous with heartbreak.

If you’re sitting there dismissing this book as a bunch of hippie nonsense then think again. This book is instead a rather practical and logical collection of different chapters. Early on Laurie has us considering the fact that we will all lose somebody close to us someday: “No relationship – romantic, familial or platonic – is absolute and forever. We will all lose someone we rely on at some point in our lives. Sometimes the other person chooses to leave us, sometimes they’re taken from us tragically, and sometimes we discover that they were never ours to begin with. But one way or another, the relationship will end.”

This means that the ability to deal with the loss of a relationship is a useful skill. Another handy lesson that Laurie offers is to learn about the Buddhist principles of “impermanence” i.e. understanding that everyone and everything is constantly changing and “dependent arising” or understanding that we never actually stop evolving or changing and that this process is shaped by the conditions around us. For Meshel she simply wants us to consider and focus on the positive aspects of a break-up – even if it’s just being able to lie in a large bed and watch your favourite shows on Netflix – you should seize this opportunity for happiness and growth.

Meshel Laurie offers us some very practical pieces of advice in her second book, Buddhism for Break-ups. This combination of well-written, well-explained and considered Buddhist teachings as well as her own real-life experiences can offer some real comfort to readers in much the same was as Chicken Soup For The Soul has done. You can really get a sense that, “If Meshel can do it then perhaps I can too.”

Buddhism for Break-ups should be essential reading for anyone that finds themselves broken-hearted and open to the prospect of learning new things and becoming a better individual. Buddhism for Break-ups may not answer all of your questions but it is certainly clever and therapeutic enough to steer you in the right direction. Namaste!

Originally published on 28 February 2017 at the following website: http://arts.theaureview.com/reviews/book-review-meshel-lauries-buddhism-for-break-ups-is-the-buddhist-dating-equivalent-of-chicken-soup-for-the-soul/

Visit The Au Review’s homepage at: http://www.theaureview.com/

BOOK REVIEW: ANNA ROMER – BEYOND THE ORCHARD

beyond-the-orchard

 

Beyond the Orchard is an Australian saga spanning multiple years, taking in different generations and perspectives. It seems to have a lot in common with the late Bryce Courtenay’s work insofar as it’s an epic slice of Australiana. The book is the third novel by Anna Romer (Thornwood House) and a rich and detailed tapestry where some different characters lives are all interwoven together through a series of secrets and lies.

The story stars Lucy Briar, a young woman whose mother passed away when she was just a young girl. Briar is now all grown up and has been living in London for the past few years. She is also newly engaged. Lucy left Australia for the UK a few years ago after a relationship with an older man (the father of a friend of hers) had gone awry.

Lucy is called back to her childhood home after she is invited to her friends’ wedding. Before Briar arrives in Victoria she receives a message from her estranged grandfather that is completely unexpected. He wants to meet her and set the record straight on a few things regarding the past. Sadly, Lucy’s grandpa does not get the opportunity to follow through with his promise. But little by little Lucy undertakes he own detective work and uncovers a rich and complicated family history and some life events that involve her relatives as well as love, loss, death, despair and redemption.

Anna Romer’s novel is a rather ambitious one that threads together the perspectives of various characters living at different points in history. She also adds additional textural flourishes in the form of extracts from a book written by Lucy’s father Ronald. These extra storylines add greater depth and meaning to the existing characters and their motivations because it is a case of art imitating life.

Beyond the Orchard feels like it’s a real story because it is so atmospheric and emotional. It’s a testament to Romer’s fabulous writing that the characters seem as rich and complex as real people. Romer’s prose is well-written and sometimes quite poetic and beautiful. This book is a well-constructed one where mystery and romance make for one haunting and intriguing family history.

***Please note: a free copy of this book was given to the writer through a Beauty & Lace giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/book-club-beyond-the-orchard

BOOK REVIEW: NATASHA LESTER – A KISS FROM MR. FITZGERALD

KISSFROMMR

 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. Jane Austen summed things up well for the menfolk but the question remains, “What is to become of a single, middle class woman living in New York in the roaring twenties?” The answer to that can be found in the third novel by Australian author, Natasha Lester where she writes about a strong and inspiring heroine who took the road less travelled.

Evie Lockhart is the star of A Kiss from Mr. Fitzgerald, a historic romance novel set in the same era as The Great Gatsby. It’s a fictional drama that feels honest and authentic thanks to a series of complex and well-sketched out characters (and in some respects, Lockhart reminds me of Elizabeth Bennet). Evie is a lady who is determined to break down a few social barriers and prejudices so she can realise her dream of becoming New York’s first female obstetrician. The fact that she also supports herself by dancing as part of the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway is remarkable.

The story is one you can easily imagine as a film. The writing is evocative and draws together a heady mix of speakeasy bars, gin and jazz. The costumes also sound beautiful and in one case even include a gorgeous little Chanel number. But A Kiss from Mr. Fitzgerald is more than just a pretty face, it also manages to have both style and substance.

There are a number of interesting threads to this story. At the outset it seems that the conservative Lockhart will be forced into a life of tea, sewing and looking after her wealthy husband. But the fact she eschews this cosy life of luxury for some hard toil in order to fulfil her own aspirations is just fabulous. The twists and turns in the plot also keep things exciting and you will be rooting for Lockhart every step of the way. She is an amazing heroine who was well ahead of her time.

A Kiss from Mr. Fitzgerald is a well-researched and exquisitely-written piece of historic fiction. The story is an inspiring and relatable one that will make you stop and appreciate that you’re living in the 21st century. In all, this is an intelligent and sensitive tale that is strong enough in depth, character and feeling to be considered a classic love story.

***Please note: a free copy of this book was given to the writer through a Beauty & Lace giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/book-club-a-kiss-from-mr-fitzgerald