The last of my 12 books (from a total of 100) for 2019. Remember they are in no particular order and I would be hard put to choose one above all the others.
THE MYSTERY OF JULIA EPISOPA by John I Rigoli
I have a weakness for historical fiction books set especially around the early Christian era. There is an aura of mystery surrounding the Vatican and the secrets of the early church and the manipulation of the elderly men who set a whole religion on a path that is still followed two thousand years later. An exciting, easy to read book which kept me turning the pages while the dirty dishes waited in the sink.
This was a great book to read. We meet Julia, the wife of a Roman official who was alive not long after the crucifixion of Jesus. Circumstances take her from Rome to Ephesus and then to Heracleum and back to Rome. In parallel, the story is set in the present day when two young archaeologists discover evidence of Julia’s life buried deep in the Vatican archives. What they find will rock the world. The tale moves at a great pace, not lagging for a moment and the characters were believable although I could relate more to Julia. Highly recommended.
THINGS FALL APART by Sharon Brownlie
An emotional journey of awakening, through broken trust, heartbreak, and family conflict. Despite being at the depths of despair, in the face of adversity, there is always a belief in the promise of a hopeful future. This is a coming of age story with a difference. Thirty-five-year-old single mother Mandy is forced to mature and grow up quickly. By the time we reach the final chapters of this incredible chronicle she moves from the blindness of naivety into pain, despair and eventually, at great cost, the maturity of hard-won wisdom.
Set in the mid-nineteen eighties in Edinburgh, a city dubbed as the drug’s capital of Europe, it’s a town where Mandy faces a mother’s worst nightmare. The warning signs are staring her in the face, but at first, she doesn’t heed them. All she wants to do is love, nurture and protect her family, but despite all her efforts she has to stand by, watching helplessly as it fragments, and things fall apart. How does she bring things to a peaceful conclusion? Is it even possible?
I know I am reading a good book when the dishes are ignored, the world goes by and I sit and read it from beginning to end. This story had me transfixed. I can’t praise it enough. I am not sure if it is in any way autobiographical, but if not, then this author can get right inside her characters. You feel their pain, their joy and their precarious position. This is a book which should be read by every parent with teenage children and the teenagers themselves. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07961BTBX/
CAPE OF STORMS by Bianca Bowers
Why did I choose to read this book? Initially, because it was set in and around Durban and Umhlanga and evoked almost forgotten memories of places I knew well having lived there for several years. I suspect the story has a hint of autobiography as the author grew up in South Africa and left to live in Australia when she was twenty-three, also considered by the heroine Rosalinde. The narrative is fast-paced and engaging as we first meet her as a young child questioning apartheid and its ramifications. The innocence of childhood accompanies her through school to university when she is brought face to face with a different culture and an alien mindset when her beliefs are shaken to the core. She is forced to face the same dilemma that so many white South Africans have encountered and to which there is no easy solution if there is any solution at all. The tension builds as Rosalinde is faced with the reality of being of Caucasian origin in the modern South Africa. Family members are brutally murdered, and from sitting at home with a panoramic view over the Indian Ocean, all this changes, to high walls, razor wire, and security cameras. She, like so many, becomes a prisoner in her own home. She struggles to understand the reasons for the anger and violence but it is hard to accept and she can see how the fledgling country is on the path to destruction. Not wanting to leave the land of her birth she acknowledges that leaving may be the only path to take to save her life. The dialogue is realistic, the narrative flows smoothly and once I read the first page, I did not put this book down until I reached the last one. If you have always lived in a western country and think you know what life in Africa is like because you have watched the news and read the papers, this book may open your eyes. It is a novel, yes, but nothing is far-fetched, it simply incorporates everyday life in a country I too fell in love with and was heartbroken to leave. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZJVKHPN/
If any of my top books sound fun, then do please go and check them out. They are the 12 best of the 100+ in 2019 that have taken me to new worlds, different places, and exciting situations. I could have included a lot more, many of the other books I’ve read this year have been good, but those I’ve featured over the last 4 weeks are the ones that have stayed with me and that is always the sign of a good book.
I’m currently scribbling my 14th book, it’s a follow on of my psychological thriller A Year in the Life of Leah Brand. You can take a look at all my books by clicking here https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914
I wish all my readers a wonderful Christmas or holiday season wherever you might be. I’ll be down south in Australia and wrenched away from my laptop, but I’ll do my best to keep in touch.
Stay safe and take care