My book reviews, promised and voluntary, are backing up so I'm telling you about 4 marvellous reads today just in case you're still considering your book buys for Christmas gifts or for holiday reading for yourself. What do you know? Amazon is offering free postage to Australia for once! That sure helps!
Cheery, I know, but I just watched as a person who'd just left this world and was taken away from Brisbane Square on a stretcher, just outside my library window. A sad event, rarely seen in Brisbane, but very common in some war-torn countries. During my research for my Afghani novel, I've read some wonderful, wonderful non-fiction and fiction (often based on real events.) I've already mentioned one or two. Here is the little gem that got me started:
It is written with relentless poetic passion right from the first sentence:
"In the middle of nowhere, a whirlwind spins like a sorceress flinging out her skirts in a macabre dance; yet not even this hysteria serves to blow the dust off the calcified palm trees thrust against the sky like beseeching arms."
Set in Kabul under the brutal rule of the Taliban, this is an extraordinary novel. It takes readers into the lives of two couples. Mohsen comes from a family of wealthy shopkeepers whom the Taliban have destroyed; Zunaira, his beautiful wife, once a brilliant teacher, is now no longer allowed to leave her home without her mahram (male relative) or without donning the full chadari (burqa). Then there is Atiq, a prison keeper who has secretly adopted the Taliban ideology and struggles to align these beliefs with his faith. His wife Musarrat is now dying of sickness and despair. Mohsen wanders aimlessly throughout much of the book, as there isn't a lot to do under the Taliban, where Kabul is as silent as an unscreamed scream - no music, no theatre, no kite flying, no school, no laughing. During one of his wanders, Mohsen is drawn into the hysteria of an execution and to his shame he joins in the stone throwing, killing a desperate woman. This is the catalyst that propels all four people to their destinies. There are many unforgettable scenes in this book, but there is one that I'll never forget and it has to do with the executions and women in burqas. What a twist! What a dazzling novel!
Available from Amazon for $10.91
Her Favoured Captain, Francine Howarth.
Francine Howarth's 'Her Favoured Captain' is not your usual historical romp with formulaic plots involving stunningly handsome heroes and heroines. It is a delightful short read, ideal for that trip on the train, but hold the blushes. The plot is not altogether unique, but the telling is, as the author captures a speech truly historical. It has been said that Francine’s stories could be likened to Stephanie Lauren's. Her style is different and the dialogue sharp and undeniably romantic throughout the story. The innocent, loyal and brave Lady Emerald is awaiting her fate - to be married to a nobleman, as yet unknown to her in order to pay for her brother's debts. Positively medieval, right? But while awaiting her fate, the lady happens upon a mysterious buccaneer, who first steals her kisses, then her heart. A great read for lovers of period romance. I’m looking forward to reading Francine’s latest, Scandalous Whispers.
Available on Amazon Kindle for $1.55
Release Date: 5th November 2011
Books in “Serenity Holland” series: Build A Man (#1) | Construct A Couple (#2)
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US
This is Talli Roland’s third novel published in 2011. All a riot and all best sellers. (Need promo tips? See Talli!) Her debut novel The Hating Game was great, better I think than her second novel Watching Willow Watts, but her third, Build A Man did not disappoint.