Quick I must squeeze this post in before we get into September. Tomorrow.


Books july 2016

The Nanny Diaries – Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Wanted:  One young woman to take care of 4-year-old boy. Must be cheerful, enthusiastic and selfless – bordering on masochistic. Must relish 16-hour shifts with a deliberately nap-deprived preschooler. Must love getting thrown up on, literally and figuratively, by everyone in his family. Must enjoy the delicious anticipation of ridiculously erratic pay. Mostly, must love being treated like fungus found growing out of the employers Hermes bag. Those who take it personally need not apply.

Who wouldn’t want this job? Struggling to graduate from NYU and afford her microscopic studio apartment, Nanny takes a position caring for the only son of the wealthy X family. She rapidly learns the insane amount of juggling involved to ensure a Park Avenue wife who doesn’t work, cook, clean or raise her child has a smooth day.

When the X’s marriage begins to disintegrate, Nanny ends up involved way beyond the bounds of human decency or good taste. Her tenure with the X family becomes a nearly impossible mission to maintain the mental health of their 4-year-old, her own integrity and, most importantly, her sense of humour. Over 9 tense months Mrs X and Nanny perform the age-old dance of decorum and power as they test the limits of modern-day servitude.

I read this book years ago and it has been sitting on my bookshelves ever since, so time to read it again to check if I wanted to keep it. It doesn’t have great reviews but I actually quite enjoyed it, a nice quick read, Nanny and her family were likeable characters and the parent X’s were really horrible people, it was not difficult to choose sides in this book. However I found the ending very upsetting, I was cross; cross with the shallow Mrs X, cross with Nan and very cross with the Authors, but then again I don’t know how else the story could have ended. I found out that there is a film version of this film – think I will give that a miss though and then I found out there is a sequel to this book, maybe I will try it, might be a way to make me feel happier. But this book is going into the charity bin, didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it.

books july 2016

Sarah Waters – The Paying Guests

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa – a large, silent house bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants -life is about to be transformed as impovershed widow Mrs Ray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’ life, – or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be. 

I have read a few of Sarah Waters books and enjoyed them and when I found this on the bookshelf in our villa whilst on holiday I thought yay, but I was very disappointed, it went on and on, towards the end I started skipping paragraphs, I didn’t really like any characters so I wasn’t rooting for anyone, there were a couple of twists but no big surprises, and the ending just made me groan.

books july 2016

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer and his band find adventures at every turn along the Mississippi River. Then one fateful day they witness a murder. Dangerous knowledge – and they swear to never reveal the secret. But what will happen when Tom is frighteningly trapped in a cave with Injun Joe?

Not much to say about this one but: this was next in my list of ‘Classics’ and being a children’s book, this was an easy read. And it was good, I nice tame book about boys getting up to mischief. I am going to make sure Golden Boy reads it when he is a little older.

books july 2016

Started Early, Took My Dog – Kate Atkinson

A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a purchase she hadn’t bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy’s humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn.

Witnesses to Tracy’s Faustian exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie who has returned to his home county in search of someone else’s roots. All three characters learn that the past is never history and that no deed goes unpunished.

This was an intriguing and confusing story with interesting, likeable main characters; it kept me wanting to read more although I did get a bit lost at times, mixing up some of the other characters; I don’t know if it was because they were similarly dodgy people, or just tiredness and my brain not quite keeping up – I am trying to read less books at once now. At times it was very cynical, they were very jaded law enforcement people. And the ending had a very big unanswered question which I found hugely annoying. I have just found out there are previous books to this but it didn’t feel too disjointed reading it without the others and I suppose that means there is/will be another book, but I don’t think I enjoyed it enough to bother with another one.

books july 2016

Amity & Sorrow – Peggy Riley

A mother and her daughters drive for days without sleep until they crash their car in rural Oklahoma. The mother, Amaranth, is desperate to get away from someone she’s convinced will follow them wherever they go – her husband. The girls, Amity and Sorrow, can’t imagine what the world holds outside their father’s polygamous compound. Rescue comes in the unlikely form of Bradley, a farmer grieving the loss of his wife. At first unwelcoming to these strange, prayerful women, Bradley’s abiding tolerance gets the best of him, and they become a new kind of family.

This was another slow disappointing book for me. It started well but that didn’t last long, I didn’t get or like the characters; three brainwashed females, a weak mother who you hope will become strong and redeem herself, but she doesn’t really, things just happen and she is still very weak; a psychotic daughter who you really don’t feel sorry for when I suppose you should and then the younger daughter whose eyes you see most of the story through is okay but not memorable and the men are equally as weak, they could have made the story more interesting if they had a bit of oomph and didn’t allow these woman to get under their skin so easily, and I was hoping for something interesting to happen by the end – but it didn’t.




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