Book Review – The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci by Belle Ami

May 29, 2019

This is a well crafted thriller with a supernatural theme.

The narrative describes the hunt for a hidden painting by Leonardo da Vinci.  It spans countries and time zones and follows the fortunes of the main protagonists, art historian Angela Renatus and art detective Alex Caine.

Angela has several hallucinations, the first of which sends her spinning across time to when Da Vinci first created the painting.  Alex also experiences hallucinations, but these are clearly linked to Angela’s and are not so intense.  Angela’s part of the story opens at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, where she was working for the director, Albert Scordato who has been abusing her and becomes the central villain of the narrative.  Scordato has been secretly videoing her, witnesses the hallucinations and realises she may be a link to finding the missing painting which being by Da Vinci is worth a fortune.

The hallucinations are also witnessed by Alex, who falls in love with Angela and persuades her to leave the Getty and come with him to Italy to unravel the mystery behind her hallucinations.  Scordato follows, recruiting henchmen along the way, with the intention of ceasing the painting and doing the protagonists harm.

The author gets the feel of the different time zones in story right.  The dialogue used by the characters in the past times may not be strictly accurate, but this does not matter as it describes how they must have reacted and felt at the time the actions take place.  Belle Ami has obviously done a great deal of research about Da Vinci and the Renaissance.  She seems to know the period well.  The love she has for the art of this time clearly comes across in the book and made me want to revisit what I already knew about Da Vinci and the time in which he lived.  I am not so sure that the description of events in Florence during World War II ring as true.  But I will need to research that period myself to be sure of its accuracy.

The hallucinations and the time shifts they cause are expertly described.  The love scenes between Angela and Alex are also very well written.  The love they have for each other and food make the story extremely sensuous.  The character of Angela is well portrayed and believable.  She comes across as impoverished and downtrodden.  Alex, on the other hand, seems too good to be true.  He is a rich ex-military hero with a liking for fast cars and is an expert in the use of small arms.  Sordato appears to be almost a cliché of a James Bond villain.  There is nothing wrong with that as I love the James Bond books and films, but I would have liked a bit more originality here.

But despite these minor critisems I enjoyed the story and the originality behind the plot kept me reading right until the end.

Keith Jahans


Available as a paperback, ebook and audiobook

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Book Review – Sunday’s Child by Rosemary Morris

December 18, 2018

This is not a genre I would normally read but having met the author I was struck by her professionalism.  This is certainly borne out by the way she has crafted this excellent novel.  It is obvious upon reading it that a great deal of research has gone into substantiating the facts surrounding the life of the upper classes who inhabit the Regency period in which this story is set.

I found it an unexpected delight and I am sure that it will captivate the devotees of this form of literature.  The tale of Georgina, her family and her quest to find happiness is set against the background of the looming battle of Waterloo.  In the character of Pennington the author has created the perfect villain against whom Georgina needs all her wits about her to ensure the safety of herself and her sisters.  It is an enthralling story which kept me turning the pages to the end.

Keith Jahans

Published by BWL Publishing Inc.
and available as a paperback and ebook
on a number of different platforms

 

 

 


Book Review – Mark of the Loon by Molly Greene

August 8, 2017

I loved the banter between the lady protagonists who were wonderful characters.  The male characters were not drawn quite as well.  The plot was a little convoluted particularly towards the end and I had difficulty following.  However, I liked the house with its secret passages, locked doors and hidden keys.  The search to uncover the truth behind these was fascinating and kept me reading to the end.  The book seems to be the first in the series featuring one of the central female characters as a private detective.  I hope the series pans out well as the author has a fine aptitude for mystery and dialogue.

Mark of the Loon is available as a
free ebook on the Amazon Kindle Store

 

Keith Jahans

 


Book Review – Never Run Away by Julie C Round

April 23, 2015

I must confess that I have become a big fan of Julie Round’s writing and have reviewed her excellent Lane trilogy (Lane’s End, Un-stable Lane & The Third Lane) elsewhere in this blog. She is expert at describing the strains and stresses of married life. This is evident in the Lane series and is very evident when explored here. She gets to the heart of the flaws and the strengths of her characters that are all too apparent in the human condition.

The novel tells of how fifty year old Barbara leaves her husband after years of putting up with his bitterness and neglect for her feelings, and his attempts to find her and win her back. The inclusion of the “Lady Havisham” character, Ellen, in the story is a nice touch and acts as a great counterpoint to the other characters. It is a touching account of modern times and a good read. I highly recommend it.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press.

NRAwaycover

Never Run Away by Julie C Round
is published in paperback by Old Stick Books
and is also available from Amazon in Kindle Format


Book Review – Orange Juice and Cod Liver Oil by Peter Morley

November 7, 2014

This is an honest account of a chemical engineer from his childhood to his retirement. As a “Baby Boomer” myself, this is a narrative I can relate to, particularly his childhood in the post World War II period of depression.

I found his family history with his rise from poverty in rural southern England fascinating. I was also intrigued by his account of his development as an extremely proficient engineer despite not being able to grasp the technicalities of some of the details he describes. His political and religious views on the times he has lived through are understandable given his humble upbringing but will not be shared by everyone. However, I agree with him that we were indeed a lucky generation owing a lot to those who went through the war years immediately before us.

This is a well crafted book by an excellent storyteller which has been written with great charm and humour and should provide a valuable insight to anyone interested in the contemporary history of our generation.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

Orange Juice & Cod Liver Oil

Orange Juice & Cod Liver Oil by Peter Morley is published by Perfect Publishers Ltd and is available in paperback at £8.99


Book Review – ALEX y ROBERT by Wena Poon

November 27, 2013

Bullfighting is a practice (I hesitate to call it a sport) which a great many people find distasteful and is often condemned.  I was taken as a teenager by my father along with my brother to bullfights in Barcelona and Terragona in the 1960s and found the process of killing six animals one after the other repetitive, boring and thought it an unnecessary way of dispatching animals.  I certainly did not think of it as sport or indeed art but perhaps this was because I was not brought up in that culture.  The most famous writings on the subject are those of Ernest Hemingway but I am not sure reading those works will provide much enlightenment.

Many domestic animals would not exist if we did not keep them to kill and eat.  Even if a person is a meat eater or a vegetarian, they perhaps at some stage in their lives should witness an animal being killed so they can appreciate the spirituality of the event.  When I witnessed bullfighting I confess that I could not tell if the bull was suffering.  It was apparent that it felt pain and there was blood.  But is the infliction of pain always wrong and the animal experiencing that pain suffering torture?  I must admit to wanting to strike a doctor who jabbed my newborn daughter in the foot with a needle to deliberately draw blood for a biomedical test.  She certainly felt pain, did not understand why it happened and cried.

ALEX y ROBERT does not go into any great detail about bullfights and is more about culture and tradition, its relevance to modern times and the role of men and women in that culture.  The characters are beautifully drawn.  Alex is a feisty young woman of Spanish origin brought up in the USA and determined to break into a male dominated world because the life of the matador is an integral part of her family’s past.  She is managed by Roberto, a retired matador of her own age, because their childhood experiences are intertwined.  It is an extremely good read and I am not surprised that it was chosen as a BBC Radio 4 Book At Bedtime.

Alex y Robert Cover

Alex y Robert by Wena Poon is available in Paperback and for Kindle from Salt Publishing

 Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press.


Book Review – The Third Lane by Julie C Round

July 3, 2013

This is the third novel in Julie Round’s “Lane Trilogy”.  Once again it follows the life of the Longman family and describes how they cope with the strains and stresses of everyday living.  The author sympathetically describes how people may not be able to follow their dreams through circumstances beyond their control.  However, she tells how by adapting to these changes they can still lead happy and fulfilling lives.  Mother Katie’s dreams of romance, Father Bernard’s struggle with literacy, Son Robbie’s desire to care for animals and Daughter Heather’s ambition to become a champion athlete, convey this central theme.  All the books in this trilogy can be read in any order and are a delight to read.

Third Lane Cover

The Third Lane by Julie C Round is Published by Old Stick Books

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press.


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