Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes

An Epic Read

Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes is a marvellous dual timeline novel that I just could not put down.

The novel is about three generations of women within a family – the grandmother, mother and daughter. Their relationships are strained with each other. The mothers do not understand their daughters and vice versa.

It has been many years since Sabine saw her grandparents. As her mother’s relationship breaks down – again! – Sabine is sent to her grandparent’s remote house in Ireland. Here, it is like stepping back in time, with servants and stabled horses; set mealtimes in the dining room and separate bedrooms. Although it is the 1990’s (the book was written in 2002) there is no internet or mobile phone for Sabine.

Sabine arrives, a moody teen from London who does not want to be in a remote location where horses and hounds are more important than people. As the time goes on, we see Sabine transform into a caring, compassionate girl as her moods are banished. It is beautiful to see her connecting and making relationships.

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Sisters Under The Rising Sun by Heather Morris

Powerful

Sisters Under The Rising Sun by Heather Morris is a powerful true story of survival in the Far East during World War II.

The novel starts in 1942 as the Japanese are invading Singapore. The fear and terror at the docks has been captured by the author. Some, make it home. However, the main characters are captured and spend the war in several Japanese P.O.W. camps. This is their story.

The women show much bravery and resilience. They develop a camaraderie, determined to keep going. Comfort is found in the setting up of an orchestra – which is just the women’s voices. They raise morale giving concerts which even the Japanese guards enjoy.

For the women, their war is one of death and disease in the tropical heat, as well as fear, starvation and cruelty. We witness man’s inhumanity to man.

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Second Chances At The Board Game Cafe by Jennifer Page

The Spirit Of Generosity

Second Chances At The Board Game Café by Jennifer Page is the most charming, contemporary read that warmed my heart.

Just once in a while, a book comes along that as soon as you start it, you just know that it is going to wrap around you like a warm blanket, leaving you feeling loved – Second Chances At The Board Game Café is one such book.

Everything between the pages delighted me. I chose to read the book because it is set in Yorkshire – my favourite place in the whole world. I thought that it could not get any better – but it did! Not only set in Yorkshire but the 1970 film The Railway Children, one of my favourite films, was continually referenced. And then to top it all off, Haworth, my favourite place to visit, was mentioned. This book was just made for me!

Second Chances At The Board Game Café is a book to savor, to keep, and to prompt you to buy the other two books in the series! I just cannot get enough of this book! I certainly hope there will be many more in the series.

All the characters were delightfully drawn and easy to empathise with. Max, who was in year four, brought out my mothering instincts. He has autism. Jennifer Page has perfectly captured Max with his mannerisms, fears and dislike of change. Likewise, leading character Harry also has autistic traits. Despite their age difference, Max and Harry understand and support each other as they navigate life.

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When The World Was Ours by Liz Kessler

Three Lives. One Photograph

When The World Was Ours by Liz Kessler is a powerful historical children’s novel, suitable for ages twelve years and over. Even as an adult, I found this book an incredibly moving read about a time when Europe was veiled by a terrible dark cloud.

The novel opens in Vienna in 1936 as we meet three nine year old friends, Max, Elsa and Leo, two of whom are Jewish. After one perfect day, captured on a photo, the three vow to be best friends forever.

When The World Was Ours is the story of their individual, and collective, war. Each one had different wartime experiences. Their stories are told in the first person from the three alternating points of view.

This is a powerful tale that is grounded in fact. This is a book that must be read in memory of the six million innocents who perished. May they never be forgotten.

As Hitler’s power increased, childhood was left behind. The three friends who vowed to be together forever, separated by the ravings of a madman.

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