Category Archives: Books Including Susie’s Monthly Friday Book Club

Monthly Friday Book Club.

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In keeping with the Royal Wedding tomorrow I thought I would share with you this book.  It was first published in 1998 but I have read it a couple of times and loved every page.

Georgiana Spencer (Princess Diana’s ancestor) became the Duchess of Devonshire and mistress of Chatsworth House in 1774.  She very quickly became the toast of London and Society very much adored by the Prince Regent and friend to Marie-Antoinette. 

Her clothes were copied, if she attended the theatre the play was a success and she also influenced the politics of the time.  However in private her husband, The Duke, was indifferent to her charms and had an affair with her best friend, Lady Elizabeth Foster.  For twenty years all three resided at Chatsworth which was at times fraught. 

210 years later a similar scenario would be played out within the walls of Kensington Palace with Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Mrs Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Amanda Foreman’s writing is very easy to read and although she is delivering historic facts, they are not the same old dry boring ones of your school history lessons! 

This book is definitely on my To Read list again.  It is available from Amazon in all versions.  If you like historical novels you will not be disappointed in this book.

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Georgiana by Thomas Gainsborough

I hope you are having a very happy Friday and looking forward to the Wedding of the Year tomorrow.  The weather is set to be sunny, warm and 19°C so everyone should have a lovely day ready for the open carriage ride of the Newlyweds.

Hugs, Susie xx

Friday Book Club for April.

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I have just finished this book and have been a big fan of Lee Child and his “Jack Reacher” series.  However at 391 pages long in the hard back edition the first 90 pages were to his usual excellent story telling standard.  In my opinion he then phoned the rest of the novel in until the last chapter! 

The chapters between page 90 and the last one had Jack and his current “partners” wandering around getting the same information from several “bad men” with one intention which was revealed very early in the book. They finally find what they are looking for after lots of very empty miles and very little action. 

It is a hard thing to say about a favourite author but I think Mr Child is going through the motions with these books now and he needs to change the way in which Jack Reacher appears, say settling down in an out of the way place.  We all know that Jack does not spend any more money than he has to so he must have a nice little nest egg and at his age it is now time for him to set down some sort of roots say in Wyoming.  Miles from anyone but a root and perhaps to get invovled with a woman with adult children and then perhaps problems could come looking for him. 

If Lee Child’s next book follows the same formula as the previous twenty two novels then I probably won’t be buying it. 

As an aside whoever let Tom Cruise buy the rights to the books and play Jack Reacher in the two movies needs their head examining!  It should have been Hugh Jackman; at least he is getting near to Reacher’s height of 6’5″ being  6’2″ instead of Tom Cruise’s 5’7″,  whose height depends upon whether he is wearing his lifts or not!!!!!

Don’t bother reading this unless it is in paperback form picked up for a £1 at the second hand bookstore.

Happy Friday Everyone.

Hugs, Susie xx

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Trip Down Memory Lane.

Having done a little trip down Memory Lane with Bedknobs & Broomsticks got me thinking of other programmes and books I loved as a child/teenager.

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I loved a lot of the children’s cartoons but this was my favourite.  I think I have always loved the space theme being a child of the 60’s and watching Neil Armstrong step onto the moon at I think 8.00am in the morning our time and the TV was actually on, because in those days there was nothing on TV until the children’s programmes at 4.00pm and then the TV programmes shutdown again at Midnight!!!!  How different it is fifty years later with hundreds of channels and 24/7 broadcasting.

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Jackanory was a programme developed to encourage reading among children.  Now I did not need to be encouraged anymore to read books as I inhaled books as a child, and still do, but I loved listening to celebrities of the day reading a book over five days.  Many, many famous faces appeared on the show to read the stories and they tried a few years ago to bring the show back for all us adults who used to watch it.  Unfortunately it did not work well. 

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As I became a teenager I obviously watched adult programmes and my most favourite was Starsky & Hutch.  I loved this show and can remember being outraged by this woman, Mary Whitehouse, in the UK who set herself up as a moderator of shows and she banned Starsky & Hutch for being too violent!!  Can you imagine in this day and age what she would think?  In fact she is probably spinning in her grave.  She also gave an award to a person in the UK for his programme for being wholesome family shows and he has since been exposed as one of the worst pedophiles in the country (they have both since died).  So much for her views!!!!

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This of course was one of my favourite shows ever and I loved the re-make a few years ago and wished they had done a few more seasons as it still had its identity. 

Now as you know with books it is very hard for me to choose my favourites as there are too many and I would bore you with all of them but here are a few from my childhood which I read again and again and loved them.

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This is the first of a series of five from Enid Blyton about a girl going off to Boarding School.  To me at the time Boarding School sounded wonderful especially as it was all girls and at the time I went to a school which was boys and girls and I hated all the boys (that changed as I got older of course!!!).  I loved this series.

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This is the second series of books I had which my parents bought me as a whole set and at the time was quite expensive.  Each book has a price of 20pence on which in today’s money is nothing but at the time was.  I loved the Narnia books and let’s face it who hasn’t wanted to walk through a wardrobe and find a snowy Narnia on the other side.

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As I got older I moved onto the Nancy Drew series and loved every one of the books and collected them all.

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I had always read older than my age from being little and at school, so before I went to Senior School I found The Hobbit and loved it so then started reading all the books in the series.

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By the time I got to Senior School I was devouring Agatha Christie Books and loved every one of them and although I have read them several times I can still re-read them again. 

I hope you liked this little wander down my Memory Lane and are having a Thrilling Tuesday. 

Hugs, Susie xx

Monthly Friday Book Club.

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Hi All and welcome to Monthly Friday Book Club, just a week late due to my not being very well!

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This book has been out for a while and can be found on Amazon in hardback/paperback/Kindle versions.  The reason I chose this book was because one of the Mitford Girls was Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, whose home is Chatsworth House here in Derbyshire.

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Deborah Freeman-Mitford was the youngest of six sisters and one brother and was born in 1920 to David, 2nd Baron Redesdale of Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire and his wife Sydney.  Her sisters were Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity & Jessica and brother Thomas.  She married the 11th Duke of Devonshire, Andrew Cavendish, in 1941 and they have three children living.  She sadly passed away in 2014.  DH and I had the pleasure of meeting her during a private tour of Chatsworth House and she was delightful.

Because of my interest in the Duchess I picked this book up and it is a fascinating look at a family at the height of the Golden Age of country house living in a privileged background where women were not educated but expected to marry wealthy young men.  As the girls grew and the political climate changed with the onset of World War II the sisters divided in their beliefs; Nancy was a moderate socialist, Tom was a fascist and refused to fight Germany but signed up to fight Japan and was killed in action.  Diana married Sir Oswald Mosley leader of the British Union of Fascists and was imprisoned during the War.  Unity was a big supporter of Adolf Hitler and was so distraught about the War tried to commit suicide but failed and died early of her injuries.  Jessica was a communist and because of this she and Diana never spoke again although the other sisters did correspond throughout their lives, despite their political differences.  

There were many marriages and divorces between the sisters over the years and controversy followed a lot of them.  Nancy became an Author and a lot of her books are based upon her early life and the people she knew. 

Deborah was seen as the most normal of the sisters marrying into the Cavendish family and at the time of her marriage would not become Duchess of Devonshire as her husband, Andrew, was the second son of the 10th Duke.   His brother, William would have inherited the title on his father’s death. William married Kathleen Kennedy, Sister to John F Kennedy,  in 1944 whilst he was serving in the Army during the War but was sadly killed four months later.  Kathleen, too, died the following year in a plane crash without them having any children, which is why Andrew Cavendish became the 11th Duke.

The book is very much a look at an age which is long past but if you enjoy Biographies and recent history then this is a must.  I hope that if you do read it you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Happy Friday everyone.

Hugs, Susie xx

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The 11th Duke of Devonshire, Andrew Cavendish and his Wife Deborah Cavendish in the Library of Chatsworth House (picture from Chatsworth House website)

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Susie’s Monthly Friday Book Club.

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Now when I wrote about my Book Club a lot of you said great, except you don’t like scary books, like Stephen King; the book I am reading at the moment.  So for February’s Book Club I thought I would tell you about a book I read before Christmas.

Always around Christmas I love to read a book about Christmas or set around Christmas.  I think it stems from reading to The Boys when they were little and we always read them Christmas books during December.  Anyway I read this before Christmas and loved it.

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Now I know we are in February but there is nothing to say we can’t read books about Christmas all year. 

It is about two women who have a very different approach to the festive season.  First Beth and although it is only September she has to plan and put on the annual Christmas Eve Village party, which was previously arranged by her husbands former wife as well as hosting Christmas for her step-children.  

Then there is Carol,  a glamorous magazine editor who is busy trying to find articles to help her ailing magazine and is completely oblivious to the coming festive season.  She develops a huge sense of guilt as she has done nothing towards Christmas for her young son, so decides to book a country cottage to try and have the perfect Christmas. 

The two women meet and between them manage to bring about Christmas for everyone, whilst still keeping their sanity.

It is a great read and no monsters in sight and does make you feel all warm about Christmas.  You can get it from Amazon as hardbook/paperback/Kindle/Audio book.

I hope if you do read it you will love it and I will sort out another book for March.

Happy Reading everyone.

Hugs, Susie x

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis

Friday Book Club.

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I am often asked, because I love books so much, why I am not a member of a Book Club.  In fact there is a Book Club in our village but my answer is always because they choose books which they feel are meaningful and should be read rather than reading a book for pleasure. 

For example Waterstones (a popular book retailer in the UK) have a Book of the Month and this month their fiction selection is “Midwinter Break” by Bernard MacLaverty.  The synopsis is:

“A retired couple, Gerry and Stella Gilmore, fly to Amsterdam for a midwinter break. A holiday to refresh the senses, to see the sights and to generally take stock of what remains of their lives.

But amongst the wintry streets and icy canals we see their relationship fracturing beneath the surface. And when memories re-emerge of a troubled time in their native Ireland things begin to fall apart. As their midwinter break comes to an end, we understand how far apart they are – and can only watch as they struggle to save themselves.”

Now I am sure that there are lots of you out there who would love to read this book and find it fascinating and that’s great, however to me this sounds like there is too much angst in it and I hate to say it there is too much of that in the World today already!  To me I want a book which takes me away from any issues and lets me escape into a World which is exciting or scary or into the past, to somewhere I can be a part of for a few hours which is why I always pick books which have great stories. 

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DH and I had some book tokens given to us for Christmas and this was my pick.  Stephen King is one of my favourite authors and I have all of his books. Here is the synopsis for this:

“All around the world, something is happening to women when they fall asleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed, the women become feral and spectacularly violent…

In the small town of Dooling, West Virginia, the virus is spreading through a women’s prison, affecting all the inmates except one. Soon, word spreads about the mysterious Evie, who seems able to sleep – and wake. Is she a medical anomaly or a demon to be slain?

The abandoned men, left to their increasingly primal devices, are fighting each other, while Dooling’s Sheriff, Lila Norcross, is just fighting to stay awake.

And the sleeping women are about to open their eyes to a new world altogether…”

Now I know that this is not everyone’s cup of tea but for me it is and it will take me into a scary World for a while and let’s face it, it is always worse in a Stephen King novel than real life!!!  It is also 713 pages long so I can’t wait to start it.

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I also bought this.  I love Kathleen’s small quilts and always think it is a great way to practice new blocks, so this will be on my shelf for when I have finished Evalyn’s Quilt and my UFO’s and also another good use for my scraps. 

Hopefully, depending upon how quickly I read this new book, I am hoping to do a Friday Book Club once a month so look out for that the second Friday of each month.

Whatever you are doing, have a wonderful weekend.  Me I will be quilting the weekend away.

Hugs, Susie xx

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Sneaky Friday!

 

I was supposed to be doing house jobs, I was supposed to be doing work, I was supposed to be organising the weekend; BUT I DIDN’T!!!!!! I snuck off to the spa for a back massage!!!!  I carry tension in my shoulders and it gets to the point where you could chop wood on my back it is so tense!!!!!!  The lady I see, who I have known for over ten years, has a horrible time trying to massage my neck and shoulders, I am sure she will need a massage herself by the time she has dug her fingers in to try and relieve some of the tension!!!  Not good!!!  Anyway I feel so much better now, but I don’t want to do anything else now!!!!

Everyone in the house has to be up super early tomorrow morning for swimming so I am going to get up then and do my jobs.  I have done my work though so that is one job off the list!!!  You remember those lists!!!!!

From today until Sunday it is the Malvern Autumn Quilt Show.  Unfortunately I can’t go but they always put on a good event.

Speaking of quilting I am still working on the two left super secret quilts which I need to finish, so this weekend along with my other jobs I am going to sort out into groups things I need to do!  I have also had a great idea of how to get the Boys quilts pinned.  DH has access to our village hall, so when it is not being used one evening, we are going to go down and get some of the big tables out and lay the the sandwich on that to pin it!  I think my knees will be thanking me, not so sure about my back though!!!  Can’t win!

DSC04927Treacle has had a few quiet days!  She has not been sick again, thank goodness, but has obviously been recuperating, although she did see the squirrel in the garden earlier and she was making a tremendous racket until I let her out.  It had long gone by then though!!!!

Well I hope you all made it to Friday fairly unscathed and have a great Autumn Weekend.

Hugs, Susie x