Voicing choice, novels whose heroes refuse to be stereotyped

*****

» Top New Products

Heal Type 2 Diabetes
cs_image_0

Simple  3  step  approach  heals  type  2  diabetes  within  30  days.  Guaranteed                                                         

$39.95
Usui reiki healing master
cs_image_1

Became  a  powerful  reiki  master  using  a  simple  fool-proof  technique.                                                                 

$47.00
Heartburn No More
cs_image_2

Quickly  cure  your  acid  reflux    and    enjoy  permanent  freedom  from  heartburn                                                   

$47.00
Miracle Methods To Multiply Your Money
cs_image_3

Learn  How  I  Made  $1,006  From  $100,  Then  $257,000  From  $1,006  With  Bitcoin.                                                   

$29.99
MP3 Meditation Club
cs_image_4

High  Quality  Brainwave  Entrainment,  Only  $24  Each    and    Free  Shipping                                                             

$24.00
Games For Fun Kids - Mind Power Series
cs_image_5

Train  your  child  to  think  like  a  genius.                                                                                                                       

$37.00
Secret To Make Your Guitar Talk
cs_image_6

Learn  These  3  Secret  Basic  Skills  And  Techniques  Can  Transform  You  Into  A  Guitar  Legend                         

$197.00
Smoothies for weight loss
cs_image_7

Know  The  Delicious  Easy-To-Make  Smoothies  For  Weight  Loss  And  Incredible  Health                                         

$47.00
Secret To Become A Magician Fast
cs_image_8

Discover  secret  on  how  to  become  a  magician  fast  without  any  previous  experience                                       

$190.00
The Paruresis Treatment System
cs_image_9

Helps  You  Quickly  Learn  To  Relax  Your  Body  And  Mind  And  Make  Urinating  Easy  Again.                                   

$67.00
Best World Of Warcraft E-book
cs_image_10

Learn  how  to  play  and  earn  tens  of    thousands  of  gold  in  a  few  weeks.                                                             

$5.00
Learn The Thai Alphabets
cs_image_11

Quickly  learn  the  entire  thai  alphabet  and  number  system  in  60  minutes.                                                         

$19.99

Old Baggage by Lissa Evans (Doubleday, £14.99) 

It is 1928 and former suffragette Mattie lives in Hampstead with her friend, Florrie Lee, known as The Flea.

Mattie is 58, unmarried, writes a column for the Hampstead & Highgate Express and gives lectures on her days of political campaigning to halls of disengaged audiences.

She interferes unashamedly in other people’s business and is forthright, fearless and unconventional – when her handbag is stolen she hurls a miniature bottle of whiskey at the thief.

Then Mattie bumps into an old friend and former suffragette who is now, with her husband, running a fascist-leaning organisation for young people.

It makes Mattie realise she misses her campaigning days, so she sets up a feminist group for teenage girls who meet on the Heath for exercise, debate and political education.

We meet a rich and varied cast of characters across the social divide as Mattie endeavours to educate and empower her attendees. Mattie is a vibrant, formidable creation, beautifully drawn and fully realised by Lissa Evans. Headstrong and yet subtly vulnerable, she is a woman who, like so many of her generation, is clever and sharp yet lacks an outlet for her talents. The novel is joyously funny and the author has a fine eye for the comedic in everyday life.

But there is also much poignancy and social commentary.

Old Baggage is a gloriously entertaining and deeply moving novel about what courageous women do when society does not afford them a role and how one’s purpose in life can be found in the most unexpected places.

Hannah Beckerman 

**** 

Love & Ruin by Paula McLain (Fleet, £14.99)

Paula McLain has a rare gift for bringing history alive.

The Paris Wife transported us to the champagne sparkle of the French capital at the height of its irresistible jazz-age glamour as she charted the whirlwind romance of Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson.

Paula McLain confidently blends meticulously researched fact with fiction once more in Love & Ruin, taking up the story of Hemingway as he encounters the fiercely independent Martha Gellhorn.

This novel’s sweep is much broader as their stormy, tragic relationship plays out around a warring world, stretching from the ruined streets of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War to the opium dens of Hong Kong and the blood-soaked Omaha Beach at the time of the Normandy landings.

Recounting true events seen through the eyes of real people, including Ingrid Bergman and Eleanor Roosevelt, the novel never loses sight of the tangled emotional lives of Hemingway and the ambitious Gellhorn.

Both were talented writers and flawed individuals with a swashbuckling hunger for experience and an appetite for danger that seemed to make them a perfect match.

Gellhorn was at the beginning of her lengthy career as a distinguished war reporter and novelist when she met the author, a married man and father of three.

The novel captures the electric intensity of their attraction and her struggle to avoid becoming lost in the long shadows of Hemingway’s fame and volatile personality.

It often feels like a losing battle. Fast paced and compelling, this is a novel that screams out to be filmed, the bantering insolent dialogue and the sparring partner protagonists reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the film of To Have And Have Not.

A complex heartbreaker of a love story that makes for an enthralling read.

Allan Hunter 

****

House Of Gold by Natasha Solomons (Hutchinson, £12.99) 

Greta is unhappy.

She is a member of the Jewish Goldbaum clan, an international banking dynasty whose wealth, influence and power extends across Europe.

So her family has very definite ideas on whom she should wed – and they choose a fellow Goldbaum she has never met. Greta, rebellious, impulsive and strong-minded, is aghast at the prospect of marrying boring Albert whose “manners were as meticulous as his person”.

She tries “to imagine what it must be like to be an ordinary person and not a Goldbaum, and to be able to choose: a woman free to select her own husband; a man free to decide his own vocation”.

Greta’s brother Otto is similarly restricted, expected to become a banker when he longs to be an astronomer.

Natasha Solomons brilliantly sets the scene. The Goldbaums live a gilded life but a caged and claustrophobic one too.

It is a far cry from the world of Karl, a sewer rat who searches the tunnel beneath the Goldbaums’ Viennese mansion for lost or discarded coins, bones and assorted rubbish to sell. His life will become entwined with Otto’s as the world heads inexorably towards war.

The author follows Greta as she attempts to work out how to navigate her marriage.

It is a tricky task.

Greta is impassioned and emotional whereas Albert, a collector of butterflies and beetles, has very precise ideas about the role of women in relationships. Greta, on the advice of her mother-in-law, turns her attention to plants and begins to build “a garden of defiance” – wild, unruly and unregimented, a haven from emotional upheaval as war and loss make their mark on the family.

House Of Gold is a compelling read and full of lavish detail but undercut by the realities of war and what it means to be Jewish in an anti-Semitic world.

Eithne Farry 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Post Author: martin

Avatar
Martin is an enthusiastic programmer, a webdeveloper and a young entrepreneur. He is intereted into computers for a long time. In the age of 10 he has programmed his first website and since then he has been working on web technologies until now. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of BriefNews.eu and PCHealthBoost.info Online Magazines. His colleagues appreciate him as a passionate workhorse, a fan of new technologies, an eternal optimist and a dreamer, but especially the soul of the team for whom he can do anything in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.