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The Ship of Brides By Jojo Moyes

three-half-stars

Publisher:  PenguinThe Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

Release Date:  May 27, 2014

Pages:  496

Genre:  Historical Fiction

About the Book:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You and One Plus One, a post-WWII story of the war brides who crossed the seas by the thousands to face their unknown futures

1946. World War II has ended and all over the world, young women are beginning to fulfill the promises made to the men they wed in wartime.

In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other war brides on an extraordinary voyage to England—aboard HMS Victoria, which still carries not just arms and aircraft but a thousand naval officers. Rules are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier’s captain down to the lowliest young deckhand. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined despite the Navy’s ironclad sanctions. And for Frances Mackenzie, the complicated young woman whose past comes back to haunt her far from home, the journey will change her life in ways she never could have predicted—forever.

Wanda’s Review:  

The Ship of Brides is a well-researched fictional account of a voyage, carrying amazingly young brides, from Australia to England, on a WWII aircraft carrier, the HMS Victorious. It is the story of new beginnings, with themes of sacrifice, love, loss, and heartache.

Maggie, Avice, Jean, and Frances had very little in common, but they all wanted the same thing – to reach England and be reunited with their husbands. The four are among 650 brides who shared the same hopes and fears. They were about to make this arduous journey on an aircraft carrier to a life of uncertainty.

Maggie is pregnant and prepares to go to England to be with her husband, Joe. She started having doubts as to whether she should leave her family behind. She didn’t want to think of them on their own, but Maggie was the character who exuded strength and confidence. By the time her baby would be born, Maggie and Joe would have shared only 4 weeks alone together in their married life.

Avice – The war had hastened everything, and Avice’s marriage to Ian took place only 4 months after they first met. Avice came from a well-to-do family, her father owned the biggest radio manufacturer, and she was rather spoiled, accustomed to living a rich lifestyle.

Jean was 16 years old and immature, acting in a disgraceful way. She was not the kind of girl the other brides would normally associate. There was the air of mutual dislike for Jean among the girls – she could be awfully trying. Jean was on her way to England to meet her 19 year-old-husband.

Frances, a nurse, was the character I found to be the most interesting. She was reserved, not sharing her past with any of the girls. She showed little interest in what the girls were doing, and seemed emotionless. There was a bit of mystique about Frances.

Australia – 1946 -There was an air of nervous anticipation as the brides left Australia, perhaps viewing it for the last time. The four brides had very little in common, other than they all wanted the same thing – to reach England and be reunited with their husbands. And the story unfolds as the brides were overcome with a myriad of obstacles and they struggled to cope with the difficult realities of the long voyage.

The author does a marvelous job capturing the mood and living conditions on the ship, and her power with words is incredible! This story has an interesting premise and has the potential to be a really good read. The plot moves rather slowly, but with interesting twists and turns developing along the way. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay engaged with the characters and storyline, especially in the middle section. I have mixed feelings about this book – it was an interesting read, but not one I’d enthusiastically recommend. My rating is 3.5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:  

Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.

Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.

Moyes’ novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.


The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian Book Review

two-half-stars

The Double BindTitle:The Double Bind
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Release date: February 13, 2007
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 384

About the book:

When Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is forever changed. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography, spending all her free time at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs that he won’t let anyone see. When Bobbie dies, Laurel discovers a deeply hidden secret–a story that leads her far from her old life, and into a cat-and-mouse game with pursuers who claim they want to save her.

In a tale that travels between the Roaring Twenties and the twenty-first century, between Jay Gatsby’s Long Island and rural New England, bestselling author Chris Bohjalian has written his most extraordinary novel yet.

Review:

This is a story of a young social worker Laurel. She works at a small homeless shelter named BEDS in Vermont.

Several years earlier this avid bicyclist was brutally attacked by two men as she was riding her bike in a wooded area in Upstate Vermont. These two men were caught and sent to prison.

One of her clients at the homeless shelter is named Bobbie Crocker. He is an elderly man with a sparkling personality who at one time was a professional photographer. When he dies he leaves his mediocre photography collection with the shelter.

Laurel discovers that among his photographs are pictures of very famous celebrities of years ago. Also, she discovers two pictures of a young woman on a bicycle riding in a wooded area which she assumes could be her.

This is when she starts her quest to learn more about Bobbie Crocker and what kind of man he was.

A cleverly woven tale ensues when you learn that Bobbie is a direct descendant of James Gatz and Daisy Buchanan. A carefully intricate account of his young life is mapped out based on the F. Scott Fitgerald novel “The Great Gatsby”.

But in all it’s charm and glory, I found the book very difficult to read. It had a hard time holding my interest. I truly muddled through the novel. And while the end was shocking and deliberate, when all the pieces of the puzzle are put into place, I found it to be way too much too late.

Others have certainly disagreed with me on this book, so try it and see for yourself.

About the author:

CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of ten novels, including Midwives (a Publishers Weekly Best Book and an Oprah’s Book Club selection) and his most recent New York Times bestseller, Before You Know Kindness. His work has been translated into eighteen languages and published in twenty-one countries. He lives with his wife and daughter in Vermont.


Interview with Andrew Cratsley, author of Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA native of Honeoye, New York, Andrew Cratsley lives in North Carolina. Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows is his debut novel. Cratsley is a lifelong fan of fantasy books, films, and RPG-style gaming.  A champion of literacy issues and proud supporter of the World Literacy Foundation, Cratsley will donate a portion of the proceeds from Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows to the World Literacy Foundation’s fight against illiteracy.

When did you begin writing?

 

It was about fifteen years ago when I wrote my first draft. As I studied my craft and experimented with characters I made many revisions.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Mostly at night, but I have my 18 hour surges of inspiration, fueled by steady IV drip of coffee.

What is this book about?

Keepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows is the first in this 5 book fantasy series. This coming of age story is filled with adventure and peril. Corinth, the youthful sage knight strays from his homeland under the ruse of a mercenary to quell the mischief of Khalid, the lord of conquest. He and his unlikely companions are snared by the web of Mortiscet–a devilish entity with an obscure agenda–amid the deadly trail of contracts. They are forced to flee the region to seek this defiler’s ancient enemy, while battling assassins and sinister creatures.

 

What inspired you to write it?

The idea occurred to me many years ago and festered as the pleas of my 11th grade English teacher to take up writing haunted me. When I started to write this story I was amazed by the colorful world that formed in my mind. I knew I couldn’t rest until I sought to share it with the world.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

That is impossible to answer. I love all my characters like they are my children.

frontcover_444x664Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Very rocky and stressful, yet exhilarating.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Yes, I would have started this project much sooner…instead of wasting time on self-doubt rather than studying the craft.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

I offer a discount excusively on my website www.keeperofrunes.com (discount code on the page), but it can be found on Amazon in paperback and kindle. It has been made available to book stores and libraries globally.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

There are not yet any video feeds, but my site connects to my blog on my goodreads profile , where I do weekly Q and A with my readers.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22071000-keepers-of-runes-and-the-tower-of-shadows?from_search=true

Also everyone can follow on twitter @Mortiscet.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Maryglenn. I would be lost without her.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Never lose sight of your dream and feedback is a learning tool, not a brandished weapon.

What is up next for you?

Keepers of Runes and the Rise of Khalid is ready for my editor. I’m eager to give my readers the next installment of this series next year.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Enjoy the journey as it is about to become much darker, while the young characters continue to grow and discover themselves…as well as the true nature of the cursed world around them.