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 Beekeeper’s Secret. Josephine Moon

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Published:Allen & Unwin
Date:April 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages:362
Genre: Fiction
Source: Own purchase
Rating:
5 stars            Add to Goodreads

Maria Lindsey has secrets to hide. Living on top of a secluded mountain is a good way to hide from the world… until her past begins to track her down. The surprising and intriguing new novel about the astounding secrets we keep from those we love.

Maria knew about guilt. It was a stubborn, pervasive and toxic emotion, and incredibly difficult to shake. Especially if really, deep down, you didn’t think you deserved to let it go.

Maria Lindsey is content. She spends her solitary days tending her bees and creating delicious honey products to fund orphaned children. A former nun, her life at Honeybee Haven has long been shaped by her self-imposed penance for terrible past events. But the arrival of two letters heralds the shattering of Maria’s peaceful existence.

Pushing aside the misgivings of her family and friends, Tansy Butterfield, on the eve of her marriage, made a serious deal with her adored husband, Dougal. A deal she’d intended to honour. But, seven years on, Tansy is finding her current feelings difficult to ignore. And on top of those not-really-there feelings, Dougal wants to move to Canada!

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I first heard about The Beekeeper’s Secret from Deborah over at the Debbish blog. Her review catapulted me into wanting to read it. Not long after I was down at our local bookshop to buy it and I must say there are no regrets!
Australian author Josephine Moon has written a wonderful book that touched me on many levels. 
  • It is set on the Sunshine coast of Queensland and it was evocative of all that is beautiful there. While I have only visited  for a short few days, this book brought it all back to me. The flora and fauna, the coast. It breathes Australia.
  • I loved all the characters. They are varied yet all dealing with very human challenges and life events. There are a number of secrets, family not speaking to each other for years, marital disagreement and disappointment. There are some who want to change their path.
  • One aspect of this book (gently related) is about the abuse of certain supposed men of God and the abuse and cover up in the Catholic church. It was really well done, and the aspect of secrecy well explored. While I personally have never come up against this, I know it has gone on in many parts of the world. Not just in the church of course.
  • In the book one character makes a decision about his participation in the church and I liked that. While the wife is very miffed to put it mildly I liked the stand he took. In fact I loved this aspect of the book from the very dedication…                                                                                        For my sister Amanda, who in 1981 was adamant she would wear a lolly-pink dress to her first Holy Communion, rather than a white dress, thereby forever being the pink sheep in the formal group photo. I so love her individual spirit.
  •  Maria one of, if not the main character, is a strong and dedicated woman. A nun for many years, she has left her order and she now runs a business that keeps an orphanage in Cambodia running. Throughout the story her past is told – mainly to Tansy her niece, who finds her and wants to reconnect her with the family. And what a story!
  • As I was brought up in the Catholic church I identified with so much in this book and really liked the firm but respectful tone that the author takes in relation to it. It is balanced, positive, yet recognises some of it needs change. Not least in attitude – and to Finlay I say “I salute you”. Such courage of conviction.
  • Bees. I loved all the bee facts, they weren’t boring, they were informative and heartwarming. I already liked them, have lavender planted all about my place for them, but in this story I found them so delightful as well. There final salute had me swallowing hard.
  • I loved Tansy – she was determined to bring her family back together, had challenges to face and was a good friend and step mother. Look – I totally felt for 99% of the characters. You can guess the 1% I didn’t!
I could go on and on. I know this book is published in Australia, the UK and NZ, but I am not sure about elsewhere. A pity if its not, it should be.

 
And I highly recommend Deborah’s review of The Beekeeper’s Secret. You were right Deb it is my kinda book.