Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Thread by Victoria Hislop

This is a wonderful love story set against the sweep of Greek history through the 20th century.

Katerina the main character is a very likeable character, and I really felt for her from her separation from her mother, her arrival in Thessalonika where she was taken in by a kindly family to her work as a seamstress and her love for Dimitri. Dimitri and Katerina are separated for many years as he fights with the resistance fighters in the mountains. Will they be reunited?

All set against the turbulent tide of history taking in the Second World War, civil war, fires and earthquakes.

Hislop does a wonderful job of weaving Katerina's story in with the history. She writes beautifully (though sometimes doesn't trust her reader enough, over-explaining some things, which can be annoying!).

This is a timely novel given the current chaos in Greece. it was also a timely read for me personally as the theme of refugees here mirrors that same theme which plays an important part in the novel I'm writing!

As a crafter, I was also struck by the detail of the sewing that Katerina did, the wonderful clothes that she made even during times of hardship.

The Thread by Victoria Hislop published by HeadlineBooks

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Year of Doing Good by Judith O'Reilly

Judith O'Reilly made a New Year's resolution to do a good deed every day and in this book she records the deeds she did, how she felt about them and muses on the meaning of doing good. Along the way she makes friends, meets philosophers, carers, lifeboat volunteers and others who spend their lives 'doing good' or in the case of philosophers thinking about doing good.

Some of the good deeds are small, like letting people in front of her in queues, some are large (and ongoing) like teaching a disabled child how to write stories (I love the fact that one of the stories they worked on was called Bunny's Bad Day!). In addition she set up a fund-raising scheme for her local hospice, the Jam Jar Army which is still raising funds for good causes.Oh and she picks litter too.

This is a very entertaining book, which really gets the reader thinking about doing good deeds and being a good citizen.

A Year of Doing Good by Judith O'Reilly published by Penguin

Disclaimer - I won this copy of this book from Penguin's Readarama project.