Friday, November 25, 2016

Local is lekker

I love finding a new author and when they are local then that's even better. Most of the books we read are set in the States or the UK or penned by authors from there and its so lovely to read words that are unique to your country and that are set in places you have travelled to. In fact I make a point of reading books set in the country I am holidaying in - I read Wilbur Smiths "The River God" in Egypt and Christie's "Death on the Nile", I read a thriller called, Mud, Muck and Dead Things by Anne Granger in the Cotswold's and Eucalyptus by Murray Bail in Melbourne.

So I found myself tucked up in bed with Tannie Maria and her Recipes for Love and Murder on a guest farm in the Karoo last month. A debut novel by Sally Andrews - I devoured every morsel.
It's set in Ladysmith in the Karoo and tells the story of aunty or 'Tannie' Maria who works in the small newspaper office as a food columnist. Her life changes when the editor is told to scrap her column for an advice column - you remember those interesting problem pages written by 'agony aunts' - then you get the picture. Tannie Maria loves food and decides that her delicious boer kos (farm food) can cure any problem and so she dispenses advice and recipes! She ends up in the middle of a murder investigation. You cannot help but relate to this character - everyone has an aunty like this in their lives and she is delightful. The book is a real page turner full of suspense and funny at the same time and there are real recipes that you want to try out too!
In  quick succession came Tanie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic and I expected to be disappointed but I am loving it. Not reading it in the Karoo but my mind is so there when I open the book. The second book features many of her characters from the first one and you get to know them and her better as a completely new mystery unfolds. Keep them coming Sally - our bookclub is loving them!

I seem to be in a rural roll as bookclub also enjoying a book called "The Trouble with Goats and Sheep' but this one is set in the UK and all the action takes place not in a rural town but in an industrial street. Mrs Creasy is missing as as the English summer holidays stretch endlessly ahead, ten year old Grace and Tilly become junior detectives determined to find out what happened to her. The neighbours are harbouring a secret from a decade ago and as the real police investigations into Mrs Creasy;s disappearance proceed, they become increasingly worried about what skeletons may pop out of the cupboard! Its a lightish summer read written in a naive style (which I personally don't much enjoy) but the story is sound and the characters dark and interesting, and if you grew up in England in the 60s and 70s then you will enjoy a trip down memory lane as I did.
Its a real feast for sequels and series and Lucinda Riley's 3rd book is out "The Shadow Sister" in the Seven Sister series.
Its sitting on my Kindle waiting for me so I can only go by reviews read here. It promises to be as good as the previous two in the series and I know I will love it as its set in Cumbria and in an antique bookshop in London - by all accounts the mysterious housekeeper, Flora's, story is entwined in this book too.
I have started another Lucinda Riley book, The Italian Girl (I hadn't realised she had written so many), but Tannie Maria and a bed in the Karoo with a crocheted coverlet beckoned me so I have yet to go back to it!
Not a book but a film - The Girl on the Train was released last month and was an excellent adaptation of Paula Hawkin's book. Its not often that the film lives up to the expectations created by the word but happily this one did.
If you are looking for other reading ideas for your down time in December then Good Reads have some great ideas on their site.

Please Please share your bookclub's favourite books by commenting here. Its difficult to choose sometimes and books are so expensive - its a costly mistake to make buying a dud!

Bookclub Christmas parties are in preparation all over the place and ours is Christmas by the Sea this year! Enjoy yours ...........

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