Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore Weekly News with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
The first author today is Mary Smith with a review for her novel set in Afghanistan, a book that I can highly recommend…No More Mulberries
No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.
British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?
One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads
No More Mulberries is the beautifully written story of Miriam and Iqbal, and of their family and working life in the rural village of Sang-i-Sia, Afghanistan. Miriam is a midwife who was born in Scotland, but wholeheartedly takes on the traditions and culture of her life in Afghanistan. Iqbal, her husband, is a doctor who has returned home after experiencing far more freedom when he lived in Pakistan.
This is Miriam’s second marriage and as the story develops it becomes clear that her first husband, Jawad, with whom she had a son, Farid, was murdered. Now, she and Iqbal also have a daughter together, Ruckshana.
At the start of the story there is already tension building in the relationship as Miriam takes umbrage when Iqbal cancels the English lessons she was giving to some boys as he felt they were inappropriate. This tension escalates when their boss, Jeanine, arrives, to carry out an inspection of the clinics they run.
Soon Miriam has to take decisions that she knows Iqbal won’t like and ends up facing her past, many years after she should have done. But maybe, just maybe, this is what’s needed to bring her and Iqbal back together.
There is such a delightful attention to detail in this wonderful book. It felt completely authentic and I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing life in Afghanistan in the 1990’s. Highly recommended.
Also by Mary Smith
The next author is Elizabeth Merry with a recent review for her poetry collection Minus One.
About the collection
This collection sums up the life of the poet. It begins with memories of her parents, in The Red Petticoat: “The lighthouse sweep and beam/Of her glad eyes/Lit us all, haloed the room/Where we stood in a row/To admire.” And in Minus One: “Your absence grips my throat/Chokes my breath . . . How much of you is me/Stretching to close the circle?” Other poems cover growing up and speak of friends and lovers, moving forward to parenthood and beyond, to old age in Bones: “Don’t look too close/Disintegration has begun/And death will lend it speed/Until my bones are bare and/Waiting for the second coming . . . ” And to death in Mortality: “Tombstones/Pale and cold/Line up, waiting/For my name . . . ”
Throughout the collection there are sections of Haikus, many with accompanying photographs: “Child of my child, I/scoop you up and hug you, breathe/you in and keep you.” References to the sea and the harbour move through this collection, lending a special atmosphere. These poems are filled with the many emotions of our lives and will appeal to all of us.
A recent review for the collection
“Minus One” is a wonderful collection of poems that took me on an emotional journey. There was a mixture of Haikus and free verse that offered an insight into the highs and lows of life. Plus, there was the bonus of lovely pictures. Here are a few of my favorite passages: Seascapes, “Damp knees in the damp sand. Uneasy in the stillness, /watching for the yellow hair of fairies, /hidden in the tide, their voices from another world,” Haikus, “Blessed, healing rain/soaks my parched skin and/flushes out all grief,” and more Haikus, “Broken by the storm/branches bent as if with grief/hold their beauty yet.” A beautiful read that any poetry lover would enjoy.
Also by Elizabeth Merry for adults and children
The next review is for the latest release by J. E. Spina – Lubelia Alycea: One Hundred Years
About the book
Lubelia Alycea leaves her native country of Madeira, Portugal to travel to her new home – America.
This is the story of how a strong, resilient young girl grows into a formidable woman. She must survive many tragedies in her lifetime, separation from family, sickness, death, betrayal, and a lost love. Will she find happiness and a new love in her life?
Will she be strong enough to face the storms ahead and still keep her family together? Will the secrets in her life destroy her and all that she holds dear?
A recent review for the book
Lubelia Alycea- 100 Years is the kind of book I want and even need to experience because it is genuine. I have read a few of Janice Spina’s books in the past, but they were in the young adult genre, and Lubelia, while very different, is just as (or even more) enjoyable. With society is in the state it’s in, it’s wonderful to read a book about real-life human struggle and strength. The protagonist, Alycea, traveled the road from Europe to the US and fought through difficulties and realized her goals of a having a fulfilling life. I like reading stories about family, relationships, humor, and integrity. If you want to step away from a world that focuses on negativity and narcissism, you will thoroughly enjoy your time with this book. I will read it over again this summer just to experience it one more time
Other books for adults by J.E. Spina (her children’s books can be found in the Children’s Reading Room )
And the final author today is Joan Hall with a review for her short story. House of Sorrow: Legends of Madeira
About the short story
Ruth Hazelton is over the moon when her husband Lee agrees the nineteenth-century Victorian in Madeira, New Mexico, is the perfect home for them. While he starts his new job as police chief, she sets about unpacking and decorating.
But it’s not long before Ruth needs more. She becomes a fixture in the community, making time for everyone, volunteering, hosting events—she’s every bit the social butterfly her husband is not. Through her friendships, she learns several former residents of her home met with untimely deaths. If she were superstitious, she might fear a curse, but such nonsense doesn’t faze her.
Until the unthinkable happens.
Now, as the end of Ruth’s life draws near, she must find a way to convey her message and stop the cycle to prevent anyone else from suffering in the house of sorrow.
One of the recent reviews for the book
I’m really starting to love these short reads. Time is never on my side these days, and a complete story in a couple of hours is like a gift. House of Sorrow is a good one. I like knowing there will be more to come.
Others have weighed in on the plot, but I like the masterful way the mood changes over the course of the story. It starts out bright, cheerful, and full of anticipation. In a way it reflects the 1960s the story is set in. By the end the whole thing changed to tragic and, well, sorrowful. The way it was done shows real talent. It didn’t happen like flipping a switch, but slowly grew over the course of the story. Highly recommended.
A selection of other books by Joan Hall
Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read other reviews and follow Joan: Goodreads – Website: Joan Hall – Blog: Joan Hall – BookBub: Joan Hall – Facebook: Joan Hall Writes – Twitter: @JoanHallWrites
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books…thanks Sally