Over The Teacups, Review

Over The Teacups #11 Josephine Moon and Lisa Patton

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book coverWhy   I read a previous book by Australian author Josephine Moon The Beekeeper’s Secret and was very impressed by it. So when a new book came out I was very quickly putting in a reserve for it at the library. Actually now I wouldn’t mind my own copy!

Plot We first meet Lara in Italy – she has just arrived there from Australia. She meets a crusty old man,Samuel,  her caring nature comes out and before she knows it she is working for him at his villa. He sure has a back story and so does Lara. Slowly all this is revealed. Both have had very tough life experiences.

What Appeals To Me?  It is set in Tuscany and a little in Australia. It has a wonderful Italian flavour and goats, cheese making and food is very central. The writing is excellent as well. I loved Lara and Samuel and felt for them both. The story unfolded perfectly. There is a little romance mixed in, but mostly its a wonderful family story, but with some very serious issues explored. I don’t want to give away those because to do so would to start giving the story away.

And so… this is what I would call a keeper shelf book and I will be putting it on my list of 2018 top books.

book coverWhy? I noticed this book on a couple of book blogs that I follow and I decided to chase up the book on their recommendation. I found it through our library system and as I put in a reserve for it I was first on the list and read a beautiful new hardcover book.

Plot  The story centers around admitting girls to a sorority in what’s known as Rush. At ‘Ole Miss’ university in Oxford Mississippi. It is told from a number of viewpoints, a few girls, a mother and a housemaid at the Alpha Delt house. As well this book explores the lot of black Americans and racial injustice.

What Appeals to Me? Ha! Firstly as a person living in another country it took me awhile to work this whole sorority business out, but I think I have  a sort of understanding of it now! Wowee though, in this book the cost per year was a little mind blowing. I liked though the idea of friendship, kindness and forgiveness in this novel. The contrast of rich and less wealthy and the fact that its not what counts when it comes to the value of a person. I loved the characters, all of them even Mrs Whitless Whitmore was somewhat understood at least.    I really liked the social justice aspect and the fact the girls were willing to do something about an issue right in their midst. I felt the book had a universal aspect to it and I could identify with issues and characters, especially Wilda, one of the mothers.

And so… I’ll certainly look out for other books written by Lisa Patton, a new to me author.

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Review

The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns

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Published: MIRA (Australia)
Date: 23rd October 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 416
Genre: General Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Radio host Harper Drummond lives for her career. Every day she meets fascinating people doing extraordinary things, but has begun to wonder whether there could something more for her out there. She’s financially secure, happily married to Samuel and has a great group of friends — what more could she want? It’s only when she interviews one special couple that she starts to think about whether she could make a different kind of contribution.

Claire and Jasper Beggs are passionate about their thriving hot air balloon business and know they’re lucky to find such joy in their work and in each other. But while Jasper has accepted that he will never be a father, Claire has found it hard to come to terms with her infertility. She doesn’t want Jasper to regret choosing her over a child in the years to come. Is there a way to give themselves a real chance at being a happy family?

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In her latest book The Greatest Gift Rachael Johns explores the issues of wanting children but being infertile and the amazing role those who make egg donations take on, to help those who have a strong desire to be a parent. This was actually a new idea to me, not sure why I hadn’t heard of it before but I hadn’t and so this book was a marvellous way for me to gain insight into it.

Harper is a woman who doesn’t want children and neither does her husband Samuel. However Harper does want to contribute and find deeper meaning in her life so she decides to explore the possibility of donating some of her eggs. Thereby creating the greatest gift.

Claire is infertile due to a childhood illness and so when she wants children one possibility is to look for an egg donor. In Australia this is unpaid and donors willingly make the gift. How things follow up in terms of whether the egg donor has any further communication with the new parents was another interesting aspect.

Of course this is a story that does not just go from A to B and new baby and every one goes home happy. Rachael Johns throws in a few curly twists and turns that made for some heart in the mouth reading.

I liked the development of the characters, especially that of Harper – her journey was in the end the one that grabbed me. Jasper – husband of Claire, was another character whose reactions and feelings seemed totally believable. How they change and take up the challenges of the journey they are on made for some very good reading.