On Jacqui's Bookshelf ...

Just started reading ... Thorn on the Rose by Joy Dettman
Synopsis: The second sensational instalment in Joy Dettman's epic new Woody Creek series.  Pearl in a Cage ended in May 1939 when, just fifteen years old, Jenny Morrison fled Woody Creek for a new life in Melbourne. She left behind a dysfunctional family, a town of small-minded gossips and, most tragically, a newborn baby - the product of a vicious rape. Mustering all her strength, she resolved to put her past behind her, reclaim her identity and pursue her dream of becoming a famous singer.

Yet just months later she is back - wiser and with an expensive new wardrobe - but with a second child growing in her belly.  Cruelly labelled the "town slut", she finds refuge in Gertrude, her kind-hearted, dependable granny and Woody Creek's indomitable midwife, and settles into a routine in the ever-expanding household. Exactly how Vern Cooper - the one man Gertrude truly loves - fits into this family of misfits is something that Gertrude will have to grapple with.

Jenny thrives and, daring once again to dream, leaves Woody Creek for a second time and moves to Sydney, where at last it seems that the beautiful young songstress may find happiness.  But can the past ever truly be buried? And will Jenny Morrison ever fulfil her destiny?

Just finished reading ... The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Synopsis: Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women: 

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new in town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

About the Author: Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she moved to New York City where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter. The Help is her first novel.

Jacqui's Review: I was fortunate enough to read The Help in one sitting which was just as well because I couldn't put it down.  Kathryn Stockett puts you in the room with the main characters, I literally felt like a fly on the wall. And how a white woman could portray life from a the perspectives of Minny and Aibileen, and do such a credible job of it (even if she was born in Mississippi) is remarkable.  Highly recommended.  4 out of 5.

Just finished reading ... Juliet by Anne Fortier
Synopsis: When a young woman inherits the key to a safety deposit box in Siena, she is told it will lead to an old family treasure. But her mysterious inheritance leads her on a perilous journey into the past - and to the true history of her ancestor, Giulietta, whose legendary love for a young man named Romeo turned medieval Siena upside down. As she crosses paths with descendants of the families involved in the unforgettable blood feud that inspired Shakespeare's famous tale, it becomes clear that the notorious curse "A plague on both your houses" is still at work, and that she is the next target. Both an inspired reimagining of the greatest love story ever told and a romantic, heart-pumping thriller, Juliet intertwines the fates of two fascinating women who lived centuries apart into one unforgettable tale no true romantic will be able to resist.

About the Author: Anne Fortier grew up in Denmark, but immigrated to the United States in 2002 to work in film. She holds a Ph.D in the History of Ideas from Aarhus University, Denmark, and co-produced the Emmy-winning documentary Fire and Ice: The Winter War of Finland and Russia.

Jacqui's Review: How to describe this book? A cross between Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Indiana Jones and peppered with a sprinkle of Mills & Boon for that little extra spice!!  This was a fun, easy holiday read but Romeo really was plucked straight out of a Mills & Boon book (not that there's anything wrong with that).  But even though a little cheesy at times I still wanted to know what happens at the end, although it wasn't really hard to guess, but I won't spoil it for you.  Most of you who read my reviews regularly will think that I have scored this book rather highly but perhaps that is reflective of the mood I was in when I was reading it.  Relaxing by the pool in the Gold Coast!! 3.5 out of 5.

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