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ALL DAY AT THE MOVIES: Family Saga Novel ~Fiona Kidman

Monday, February 5th, 2018

ALL DAY AT THE MOVIES is a beautifully told story of women who live in New Zealand starting in 1950 and continuing the story to the present day.  This is a story primarily of women and how they change a society with a few gutsy moves and through fabulously written words that just hold the narrative firmly in the reader’s mind.  The characters assist in the understanding of poverty, societies expectations, and norms all the while reflecting the change that the women are pursuing towards making a difference.

In 1952, war widow Irene Sandle takes up work in the New Zealand’s tobacco fields, hoping to build a new life for herself and her daughter.  But the bold act of female self-sufficiency triggers a sequence of events whose repercussions are still felt long after Irene’s death.  Against a backdrop of immense social and political change, Irene’s four children lead disparate lives, and learn how far family ties can bind – or be lost forever.

Fiona Kidman has written well-over 30 books and her writing parallels her own life story and the lessons she learned while being a journalist, script writer and producer.  “Kidman’s accessible prose and the way she shows (mainly) women grappling to escape from restricting social pressures has guaranteed her a permanent place in our (New Zealand) fiction.”

How Kidman could fill such a short book (300+ pages) with so many details and feelings, while moving the story line forward was amazing.  The reader was at the waves-water’s edge and then thoroughly surrounded by forest as one felt the character’s thoughts and feelings about the circumstances of the moment.  The reader is in the story and the story stays with the reader long after the last page has been consumed.

Kidman grew up in the Far North of New Zealand in small rural settlements where her parents farmed.  Later her family moved to the center of a major Scots migration.  In the thermal town of Rotorua, Kidman met her husband Ian, a schoolteacher, who is of Maori descent.  They live in Wellington now, and have lived there for 45 years, Kidman takes pride in the mixed cultural descendants who are Maori, Greek, Dalmatian, Spanish, and Chinese and is involved in refugee and migrant organizations.

Read more at  http://www.fionakidman.com

With unflinching honesty and characteristic compassion, Fiona Kidman deftly exposes the fragility of even the closest human relationships, as she weaves together the narratives of a family and its changing fortunes across fifty years and three generations. (cover)

Like a maker of fine lace, Kidman twists each thread of her plot – leaving some dangling while she gathers up others, weaving and crisscrossing each other until they meet to create a superbly crafted centre piece. (Daily Post)

The writing was so incredible in this book, I wish I could get many, many people to read this and enjoy the story.  Women do make change happen often.

Related:
Playing St. Barbara
Hannah Coulter
Sing Them Home

This lovely book was sent to me for review by:
Rachel Hundert, Senior Publicist
Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc.
P: 917-493-3601 RH@mzpr.com
www.MZPR.com
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THE CHALK MAN: A Suspense Novel ~C.J. Tudor

Monday, January 29th, 2018

THE CHALK MAN is about 5 children who at age 12 were a group trying to make sense of confusing community events and their small world – 4 boys and 1 girl.  1986 is the year where the story begins and 2016 is when the group comes together to discover the truth.

The children roam their sleepy English Village on their bicycles and find adventure while communicating with their chalk stick figure communications system.  The boys are pursued by mean older boys and need to hide from those bullies.  There is an accident at the summer fair when a ride injures a beautiful young woman, who later on the group finds murdered in the woods.   There are protestors against the new abortion clinic and this adds confusing information to the group and they are still figuring out what was going on back in the flashbacks.  Chalk figures are appearing everywhere.

There is speculation that this will be the Thriller or Suspense Novel of 2018.  It is predicted to be a best seller.  There is definitely a reason why these children are unable to leave town.  They have not done the work or tried to resolve their confused or disturbed behaviors.  Ed the prominent character in the story is drinking more and more and he is not even able to leave his parent’s home.  He is emotionally closed off and yet trying to be a great English Teacher at the school.

I had trouble with this book.  The writing is excellent, but I felt so awful about the problems the children were encountering and the abuse that was put upon them.  There was no one who could talk to them to relieve the pressures and provide understanding.  And the one teacher, who was trying his best was peculiar himself and the children were warned against him.  I wanted to help the children and thought about all the ways that we try to talk to children today to relieve trauma and bring about understanding.   I was kept awake by the violent death and the horrible violence perpetrated by the old boys.  I suppose this worry is what makes the book a winner in the suspense category, but it kept me awake for sure and finally I just barreled through to the end to find out what actually happened.  After you read this remarkable book, I want you to come back and tell me what you think happened to the head!

“I haven’t had a sleepless night due to a book for a long time. The Chalk Man changed that.” —Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow

C. J. TUDOR lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and three-year-old daughter. Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice-over, and dog walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much. The Chalk Man is her first novel.

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Related:
Thief’s Mark
Autumn in Oxford
Natchez Burning

US: A Novel ~David Nicholls

Monday, October 20th, 2014

“I had always been led to believe that getting older was a slow and gradual process, the creep of a glacier.  Now I realize that it happens in a rush, like snow falling off a roof.”  (I am advised not to use a quote from this copy because it is not a final copy – I did anyway- there were so many good quotes it was difficult to pick one.)


US is all about what a man is thinking; not just any man but a proper English Gentlemen who is very smart and has worked as a chemical engineer for a very long time.  US is also a love story of Douglas and Connie’s 24 years marriage and just what Douglas is contemplating about how he arrived at who he is presently and who he is becoming.  Douglas is contemplating so much about his love and life that he knocks down a row of “bikers” bikes, books a room in a boutique bordello for his family, and swims with stinging jellyfish.  There is that delightful British humor which just delights this reader and Douglas’s vast ability for a good pun.

Connie is an artist and painter and works at an art Museum in London.  When Douglas and Connie were married Connie stopped painting.  Together they lost baby Jane a few hours after giving birth and shared life for seventeen years with son Albie who is about to move on to University.   The family is making a Grand Tour of Art to give Albie an adventure and knowledge about the great works in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.   Connie several days before the Great Tour sits up in bed and says, “I think our marriage has run its course. Douglas, I think I want to leave you.”  Douglas and Connie decide to think about this course of action after the tour.  Douglas wants to strengthen their bonds of love with his wife and son on the tour.   Change is very difficult for Douglas and he has the same hopes and dreams he has been protecting and holding on to for twenty four years.  US is a wonderful read and I am sure I am going to read this book again.

tlc logo TLC Book Tours  sent me a copy of this book to review through a new e-book source for me – Edelweiss.   It is an unproofed, uncorrected copy of the book, which will disappear off my Kindle before this review is posted on PW.  I was so pleased to read this book, loved the humor and the story and thinking  happening, and even the trip and discussions of paintings that I am going to purchase this book so I can read it again in the future.  I was so reassured that an engineer could figure out his emotions, talk outside the rules, love, and could change, I found laugh out loud hope in this story.  I believe many of PW’s readers will enjoy this book and this story about change and love.

My best recommendation about this book if you are middle age and thinking about the future – Read US

David Nicholls in the Guardian, “I didn’t want to write a dodgy disappointment”
From Nicholls thought about ONE DAY:

“I worry sometimes that I’m a bit moralistic; always writing about men who are learning to grow up, not be so self-absorbed, selfish or badly behaved. I wonder if that’s dull and liberal and wimpy? I should probably write something that celebrates wickedness. Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/david_nicholls.html#BLKTLPofKmGZqHZv.99

Related:
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 
Walter’s Muse
Unfinished Business
Freedom