All Our Yesterdays – By Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays

I love this book. This is one of those novels that book reviewers pull out all the clichés; a real page-turner, I couldn’t put it down, had me up all night. Because it’s true, I’m ‘exhibit A’ – The kid’s dinner went by the wayside, I was up all hours, zombie eyed; I was obsessed. Every moment I had, the book made its way back to my eagerly awaiting hands. I needed to know what was happening to the characters that had so quickly taken up residence in my life.

A quick plot outline – the two main characters travel back in time to try and save themselves and the world. To do this they must kill someone, but they find this more difficult than they thought.

That’s the gist of the plot I don’t want to spoil anything by giving too much detail. This book is the perfect example of “How to Start a Novel” Terrill puts you straight into the action –tick, questions are forming in your mind, has you curious – tick, tight plot – tick, early attachment to the characters – tick. The story has the essence of The Terminator films, which is fine with me, as I’m a huge Terminator fan; the fiction world has been waiting for a good time travel book for sometime. All I want to say is if you enjoy reading YA fiction then put this one on your shopping list.

 

TITLE: All Our Yesterdays

AUTHOR: Cristin Terrill

GENRE: YA

NB: was awarded the 2014 Thriller Award for Best Young Adult Novel by the International Thriller Writers

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The Company Of Liars

Company of Liars

 

How I came to possess this book was one of those surreal moments. I stood in the secondhand bookstore amongst the dusty shelves and tattered books, my eyes were glazing over, inundated with choice, but seeing nothing. I ran my hand along the binds until it stopped at one book jutting out amongst the nondescript tomes. I turned the book over and read the many encouraging reviews from, surprisingly, reputable sources.

“An infectious tale of medieval intrigue” -The Herald

“A ghostly yarn…. A richly evocative page-turner” – Daily Express

Finding this book was pure serendipity. It was published in 2006. How did those eight years pass and I did not hear of this novel? I’m not going to go through the whole story, but I will give you the dust-jacket blurb as it says it best.

Blurb

  • A scarred trader in holy relics  A conjurer. A musician and his apprentice. A one-armed storyteller. A young couple on the run. A midwife. And a rune-reading girl. A group of misfits bands together to escape the plague. But in their midst lurks a curse darker and more malign than the pestilence they flee.

The backdrop is England in the midst of the black-death plague, but it is the minor stimulus that brings our nine main characters together. These characters have so much life they are running off the page sitting in my lounge room having a cuppa and conversation; they are that vivid. The story is richly matted with medieval historical facts and the supernatural. Maitland blends these elements so seamlessly that you start to question the history of medieval superstition and wondering whether magic may have truly been afoot.

If you have not read this book go out and buy it now, NOW!!

Company of Liars By Karen Maitland

Publisher: Penguin

 

Bitter Greens

BitterGreens2

The reinventing of a classic fairytale is nothing new, it’s as old as the spoken word, but in recent years there has been a rush on this trend. To do this successfully the talent lies in making each story its own. The book and author who has done this with finesse and expertise is Bitter Green’s by Kate Forsyth.  In the reworking of the fable, Rapunzel, Forsyth has made a version that’s an intriguing blend of history and fairytale.

It is through Forsyth’s extensive research that we are transported to the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV in France where we follow Charlotte-Rose de la Force, one of the first writers of the story Rapunzel. Charlotte is banished to a convent for her scandalous behaviour. (Charlotte- Rose de la Force is such a fascinating person that everyone should follow this book with one of the biographies of her life). It is here that Charlotte meets a nun called Seraphina who tells her the tale of a young girl, with long red hair, named Margerita (Rapunzel) who is sold by her father to a Selena Leonelli for some bitter greens. Selena, also known as the La Strega Bella, is the muse for the renaissance artist Tiziano. Kate Forsyth’s writing is like delicate lacework  interweaving the stories of these women. Their lives are entwined through common threads of desire, love and obsession. We voyeuristically watch these characters through the hobbled streets of 16th century Venice and the grand palace of Versaille to the sparse convent of 17th century France. It is an intriguing journey of magic, tragedy, loss and consequences. Enjoy!

NB This book was published early last year, but with Kate’s soon to be released Dancing on Knives I thought I’d review her book, which is most dear to me.

Libraries

Sicily Library

Confession – I have an addiction to libraries. In my wallet, amongst the Boost Juice and Gloria Jeans loyalty cards, sits my many library cards. Like inching out the notches on a belt, my wallet needs more room, maybe a separate wallet just for them.

 Over the years I’ve had many fine library moments, running around London’s library was pure joy, Sydney University library, had my face pasted with a smile, like the joker, for the entire day. Recently I visited my local library after it had major renovations, and I declared I’d found my utopia. I also have fond memories of visiting the Lands Title’s office and feeling like Alice in Wonderland as I struggled to open the huge record books. The large tomes are the size of a house; well a moped at least – seriously! I still have a world of libraries to conquer. I may start with the one pictured; it’s the Anscient Ursino of rare books in Sicily, Italy, or we could search for the lost books/library of Alexandria. Does anyone want to join me?