Food & Drink Magazine

Book Reviews September 2020

By Angela @daisyangel1
Book Reviews September 2020

I have some exciting and very different book reviews for you. A new YA book, a modern classic, and a historical book from Philippa Gregory. 
The Island by CL Taylor book review

The Island by C.L. TaylorI scored this book 3.5/5 on Goodreads
I was excited to get the chance to read this latest book by C.L.Taylor, I've very much enjoyed her previous books.  The Island is written for the Young Adult market but certainly transfers well as a fiction read, it also gives me the chance to read a book I can happily recommend for my nearly 15-year-old niece. 
So what's the book about?A group of friends goes on holiday with their families every year, this year they are holidaying in Thailand, for a birthday surprise, the teenage children are treated to a 'survival weekend' on an island. The children already have well-developed relationships, as their parents have known each other since the children were born.
They ship out to the island with a local survival expert Anuman. Some of the characters embrace becoming the next Ray Mears, whilst some are less than impressed they have no mobile phone coverage. But things very soon take a serious turn... death, equipment goes missing, lack of water and food, shelter, divisions in the group. But who is to blame and what can they do about it.
My thoughts on The IslandThrough the use of the survival weekend, the author tackles many subjects that have touched the lives of the children, including bullying, love, the death of a loved one, mental health issues, and self-harm. All of which are captured and told in a balanced way. 
This book is well-paced, will keep the reader engaged and eager to read more. Very occasionally I did think 'oh really' to the believability of the lack of injuries some of the characters suffered from. There was nothing overtly sexual or violent within the story.  Why have I waited so long to read another YA book?
Thank you to NetGalley and HQ publishers for an advanced copy of this book to review. The publication date is 21st Jan 2021.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier Book Review

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier 

I scored this book 4/5 on Goodreads

I was prompted to read this well-loved modern classic following a read-along on Instagram. 

SynopsisRebecca is the previous wife of Max De Winter, a well to do English family. The main character becomes the next Mrs De Winter, meeting Max in the south of France whilst she is the young companion to an elderly English lady. Swept off her feet she marries Max Du Winter and returns to Mandalay the grand house of the Du Winters sited on the coast of Cornwall. 

It soon becomes apparent that the previous wife Rebecca was very well-loved by the staff and locals before dying tragically in a sailing accident. Trying her best to settle in, no matter what the new Mrs Du Winter does it's not how Rebecca would do it. The more she explores in the house and garden, the more she realises something is not right.My Thoughts on RebeccaThe events that follow a huge house party, see the past rise again. But what does this mean to Max, was he involved in the sailing accident that killed his first wife. All is slowly revealed. It is at this point in the story that I could not put the book down.Another very good read by Du Maurier. I enjoyed following the development of the character the second Mrs De Winter, how clever she does not even have a name. Although at first I really did not take to her, she seemed very silly and nieve, but there is a significant point in the story when my opinion of her changed and I saw her as a woman and not a silly girl. I also enjoy the ending of a du Maurier book, the ending is never left with a nice tidy bow on it. It is often left with a question mark, or for the reader to decide a fitting ending based on the evidence/information in the story. Her book My Cousin Rachel is a good example of this. 

Respectable Trade Philippa Gregory Book Review

A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory
I scored this book 4/5 on Goodreads

Having read many Philippa Gregory books all of which have been a series of books. This was my first standalone book.
SynopsisSet during the 18th century, we follow a Bristol dockside trader, who wants to join the successful traders of Bristol and increase his standing and class in the city. To do this Josiah Cole needs ready cash and a well-connected wife. An arranged marriage to Frances Scott provides him with that step-up in society.  Using Frances connections he connects with the wealthy merchants in the city. Frances now finds that her life and fortune now depend on the respectable trade of sugar, rum, and slaves. 

My Review on A Respectable Trade (there are a few slight spoilers in my review)There are very few moments in this book that do not leave the reader in shock, disbelief, and despair at the actions taken by our ancestors. What is so very wrong to us today, is shouted out as being as the title of the book say 'respectable'.   

Poor Frances a weak and unhealthy wife wants so very much to move from the dank dockside home and warehouse to a house in a respectable area of the town. She comes face to face with slavery when Josiah's lastest shipment docks, bringing not just sugar and rum but a handful of slaves to their home. 

We follow the capture of the African slaves and in detail the horrendous journey to the West Indies and on to Bristol. Treated worse than dogs, not even thought of as human beings, many of them would rather kill themselves.It is for Frances to train these slaves, so that the upper classes may buy one as a pet. The more she knows them, the more she sees them as people, but Frances a woman in the 18th century has a duty to her husband and must do as she is told. The injustice of women during this time, the class system, slavery, and racial difference create an interesting and challenging read. Though occasionally I felt it a little too romance novelish.I was left not being able to comprehend how the people who like to think of themselves as eductated could not see how very wrong everything they were doing was. Blinded by money, ignorance, and money the worst of the human race.  Not only does Philippa Gregory portray to the reader the journey of sugar, and how this commodity drives the trade in slaves. But she also tells the reader the consequence of this on Africa, removing millions of people from their country and the longterm effect this has on the growth and future of Africa.  It certainly had me thinking. A harsh story but one that must be told.
I picked up a copy of this book for 99p when it was on offer as a Kindle read. Check out todays Kindle deals of the day.〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️Looking for books to read check out my book recommendation list. You can keep up to date with my past and present reads by visiting my Goodreads page, see the link in the sidebar on the right-hand side of your screen. 


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