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Book Review: A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

Book Review A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

At times when you are reading so many murder mysteries, an easy to read book with a focus on good relationships gives you a whiff of fresh air. And you really need that! A good balance of everything… And my first Maeve Binchy, A Week in Winter was exactly that for me!

In fact, it was like a best of both worlds – a novel + short stories collection, for the stories of the guests was exactly that. Each of the characters feel so real and the place, where the story is set in is truly magical.

Some of the beautiful lines of this book:

“How will I explain it all … to everybody?” “You know, people don’t have to explain things nearly as much as you think they do.”

Her life was like her house—a colorful fantasy where anything was possible if you wanted it badly enough.

So, get a cup of tea/ coffee, find a nice cozy corner of your home and read this book and smile.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chicky is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders hates his father’s business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone’s relief; the Walls are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, is afraid of her own psychic visions.

Sharing a week with this unlikely cast of characters is pure joy, full of Maeve’s trademark warmth and humor. Once again, she embraces us with her grand storytelling.

This is the last book that Maeve Binchy wrote before her sudden death. As are all her stories, it is her trademark warmth, humor and the kind of characters that will make her books live on. It is a privilege to be able to share this book with readers.

About the author:
Maeve Binchy was born on 28 May 1940 in Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland, the eldest child of four. Her parents were very positive and provided her with a happy childhood. Although she described herself as an overweight child, her parents’ attitude gave her the confidence to accept herself for who she was.

She studied at University College Dublin and was a teacher for a while. She also loved traveling, and this was how she found her niche as a writer. She liked going to different places, such as a Kibbutz in Israel, and she worked in a camp in the United States. While she was away, she sent letters home to her parents. They were so impressed with these chatty letters from all over the world that they decided to send them to a newspaper. After these letters were published, Maeve left teaching and became a journalist.

Maeve married Gordon Snell, writer and editor of children’s books. When they were struggling financially, Light a Penny Candle was published, which made her an overnight success. Many of her books, such as Echoes, are set in the past in Ireland. Some of her later novels, such as Evening Class, take place in more modern times. Her books often deal with people who are young, fall in love, have families, and deal with relationship or family problems. The main characters are people whom readers can empathise with.

She passed away on 30 July 2012, at the age of 72.


Rating: 10/10
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance
Book Name: A Week in Winter
Author: Maeve Binchy
Pages: 464
Publication Year: 2012

Book Review: April Lady by Georgette Heyer

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | April Lady by Georgette Heyer

While reading psycho-thrillers back to back, I thought to give it a break (recommended by one of my reading group members before I turn to the dark side. Buhahahahaha) and so I chose Regency Romance queen Georgette Heyer whose The Grand Sophy and Devil’s Cub I had completed few months back.

April Lady is a typical romantic book but which will make you smile. It is also an easy read, specially for the mind to relax, even after there is so much melodrama. In fact, it acted as the sort of relaxing/ meditating music one usually listens to for sleeping. And when I talk of sleep, yes, this time, I completed it slowly slowly in a fortnight.

However, if I have to recommend between this book and The Grand Sophy, I will pick the latter one only (for it had that X entertaining factor).

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Despite the scandalous blemish on the family name of his 18 year old bride, Lord Giles Cardross is convinced beautiful Helen cares for him. When newlywed begins to fill her days with fashion and frivolity, her husband has to wonder whether she really did marry him for his money, as his family so helpfully suggests. He thought they were marrying for love, but as the bills and extravagant debts begin to mount up, Giles begins to suspect that perhaps his adored wife isn’t as innocent as he supposed. Especially since, as of late, she’s been unable to look him in the eye…

Impetuous Lady Helen Cardross had collected quite a basket of little white lies in her efforts to help those less fortunate than herself. There were, for example; her own dashing, debt-ridden brother, and her husband’s love-sick, youthful sister. But to her adored (and adoring) lord and master, there could be no dissembling of integrity, honor, or truth. One faced up to grim reality — unless one were Lady Helen.

When his family’s priceless jewels disappear, Lord Cardross is aghast at the idea that his lovely new wife might be the culprit, but he soon discovers the truth about Lady Nell’s situation. And between his concern over his wife’s spending sprees, rescuing her impulsive brother from one scrape after another, and attempting to prevent his own half–it’s no wonder the much-tried earl can’t see where he’s gone wrong. And now owing a shocking amount of money, Nell doesn’t dare tell him the truth–that she’s loved him from the first, and thought he’d married her for convenience.

About the author:
Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her husband George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

Heyer was an intensely private person who remained a best selling author all her life without the aid of publicity. She made no appearances, never gave an interview and only answered fan letters herself if they made an interesting historical point. She sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Stella Martin.

Her Regencies were inspired by Jane Austen, but unlike Austen, who wrote about and for the times in which she lived, Heyer was forced to include copious information about the period so that her readers would understand the setting. While some critics thought her novels were too detailed, others considered the level of detail to be Heyer’s greatest asset.

Heyer remains a popular and much-loved author, known for essentially establishing the historical romance genre and its subgenre Regency romance.

Rating: 7/10
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Name: April Lady
Author: Georgette Heyer
Pages: 246
Publication Year: 1957

Book Review: Maidless in Mumbai by Payal Kapadia

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Maidless in Mumbai by Payal Kapadia

Maidless in Mumbai is the perfect read for one struggling to take care of baby or is without a maid or may be more than one (even if minus baby). Payal Kapadia has taken a hilarious take on sleepless nights, howling baby, maids menace, advices overdose from both mom-in-law and mom, unhelpful husband, desperate need to excel in job (workaholic mom) and trying to put everything synchronized. While reading the book, I felt as if this author is the only one who perfectly empathizes with me, no one else understands me better and my struggles. So what if I was at my parents place, the baby sitter was not there and the two days I went to office then, I had to come back home within two hours because the baby missed me and cried, cried and continued crying without any control. But then some days are like that! And most days, ah, when things are fine, I wonder at the bliss and happiness of motherhood. Okay okay, let’s cut my crap short since this is a book review and not my own story post. But let me ask you (female readers) the one question, will you choose husband or maid!?! 😉

So back to the book, all that is managed even in okayish form is still good enough and that is how the story ends. Oh, did I reveal the ending? But what else were you expecting when reading a light book and strictly not a murder mysery/ thriller? So just take hold of this book, sit back (okay no sitting back, if you have a baby or you do not have a maid), just find time in between feeds (because that is what I do) or before you doze off in any random posture (I do this as well during my night time reads, where some nights it is just two lines before I sleep with a kindle in hand and lights switched on).

Keep watching my blog for more and more book reviews. Cheers!

Book blurb:

I am on top of things. I have a seriously stuck baby inside me, and a queue of people between my legs. But I am on top of things. 

Career-driven reporter Anu Narain has a plan for everything till motherhood comes along. The baby poops/ cries/ pisses/ feeds round the clock. Anu loses her mind/ the plot/ the maid. And cabin fever strikes when her mother-in-law and her mother come over to help.

How does Anu become a working mom when her husband is happy playing the shirking dad? And when her house is a railway station where every maid is a passing train? Will Anu use wile and guile to make the maids stay and The Moms leave? Or will she succumb to that strange Indian malaise called maidomania?

Hysterically funny, unapologetically honest, and charming all the way, this is the diary of a maidless Mumbai mom who dreams of only one thing-the perfect maid to live happily forever with.

About the author:

Payal Kapadia’s Wisha Wozzariter won the Crossword Book Award 2013 for Best Children’s Book and is also on the “101 Indian Children’s Books We Love!” list. She is also the author of Colonel Hathi Loses His Brigade and Puffin Lives: B.R. Ambedkar.

Payal started her career as a journalist with Outlook Magazine in Mumbai and The Japan Times in Tokyo, after receiving a Master’s degree from Northwestern University, Chicago. But writing books was a childhood dream, and one day, it was not enough to dream of writing any more. With Wisha Wozzariter, the story of a 10-year old girl who wishes she was a writer, Payal stopped wishing and started writing.

Payal’s newest book Horrid High is a perfectly horrid adventure in the world’s most horrid school. In the pipeline is the second part of Horrid High and a book about two unlikely princesses, a must-have for every girl everywhere.

Twitter: @payalrkapadia
Rating: 8/10
Genre:Chick Lit
Book Name:Maidless in Mumbai
Author:Payal Kapadia
Publication Year:2017

Book Review: The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

EtherealJinxed | book review | the cafe by the sea by jenny colgan

After completing Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella, Cafe by the Sea was a better improvement, though I liked Jenny Colgan’s other book The Bookshop on the Corner much much better. Okay, so since this is another chick lit, so people who do not like this genre, can stop reading this review right away; do not tell me later that you wasted your time.

The book started with someone who has got attuned to a hectic sad urban life but does not want to visit her origins for it is too rustic. Now, does this not correlate with many of us, who are working out there in big cities so so far away from our hometown to make name and fame, or money for ourselves or loved ones? In that way, the book will make you reminisce and be nostalgic of those golden childhood days which we have forgotten. Check out this line: It was like walking into something he was already nostalgic for, without it ever being his, without it even having passed him by.

And since this is a romantic book with a girl infatuated tremendously with her boss, you can very much expect the story-line but with dollops of relationships dose (family ones too), scenic beauty (Northern lights and endless beaches), exotic animals (seals and whales) and the best part, i.e. mouthwatering food (ah the aroma of baked stuffs and pies – you know there are recipes at the end of the book as well, awesome right?). Even though the story is not as strong as I wanted it to be, it talks about finding passion in things you did not even know yourself. Which by the way makes me think, am I missing something from my life? Umm, no no, not at all; I am very happy with my son. But what about you?

However, am I reading another chick-lit or romantic book for a month? Meh! As years have flown by, I have realized that a romantic/ love story book has to be too excellent to pull me into a trance and for me to give it a favorable rating, else according to me, ye love-shab couple waala bakwaas hai (the heightened interest towards love between couples is too much over-rated).

Keep watching my blog for more and more book reviews. Cheers!

Book blurb:

The beloved author of The Bookshop on the Corner returns with a sparkling, sunny, soulful new novel perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand.

Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious… and hopelessly in love with her boss.

But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers — all strapping, loud, and seemingly incapable of basic housework — and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and find herself restoring dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a café by the sea.

But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes — and work out exactly where her future lies…

Funny and heartfelt, The Café by the Sea is a delightful summertime novel that puts a modern twist on the classic Seven Brides for Seven Brothers story.

About the author:

Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including The Little Shop of Happy Ever After and Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery, which are also published by Sphere. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013.

Twitter: @JennyColgan
Rating: 7/10
Genre:Romance, Chick Lit
Book Name:The Cafe by The Sea
Summer Seaside Kitchen #1
Author:Jenny Colgan
Publication Year:2017

Book Review: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

I remember reading Sophie Kinsella’s other books where the female protagonist was always a strong character, or is it it was so long back that I am now mistaken. I think that sometimes you have such a good view of an author’s writings that when you read her other books, you compare and find the latter ones so much lacking, be it with respect to the writing style or the story-line. This is what happened when I picked this book Wedding Night for I was looking for a light chick-lit and because it was written by Sophie.

While reading this book, I could not help correlating it with Undomestic Goddess all the time, which of course was too too good. But, now to come back to the book in question, the story is a good time-pass, a page turner but only recommended for those who simply love happy ending chick-lits be it what may. The way the sisters Fliss and Lottie (female protagonists) keeps on behaving makes you want to kick them or give a tight slap to them at least once to bring them back to reality. Oops, my bad my bad, no more spoiler alerts. Is the story unbelievable? Yes, but people in love can behave randomly, I know a few who have done what not, yes in real life and not just fictional! And you know the story seems to be based on the idiom doodh ka jala chhachh bhi fook fook ke peeta hai (once bitten, twice shy). But if this is going to be your first Sophie Kinsella, you must give it a skip.

Book blurb:
Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad — not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married . . . right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. But Lottie is determined to say “I do,” for better, or for worse.

About the author:
Madeleine Wickham is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her own finances. Throughout the entire series, her obsession with shopping and the complications that imparts on her life are central themes.

Twitter: @KinsellaSophie
Facebook: @SophieKinsellaOfficial
Rating: 5/10

Read reviews of Sophie Kinsella’s other books on this blog – Can You Keep a SecretMy not so Perfect LifeCocktails for Three, Shopaholic on Honeymoon, Finding Audrey and The Undomestic Goddess.

Genre:Romance, Chick Lit
Book Name:Wedding Night
Author:Sophie Kinsella
Publication Year:2014

Book Review: The House that BJ Built by Anuja Chauhan

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The House that BJ Built by Anuja Chauhan When the year ends, you complete all the pending reviews of completed books. Though I am finishing off my quota on the last day and why so? Because last few days had been very hectic, what with joining office taking a toll on night awakenings with baby and I am so tired that I don’t even feel like opening my Kindle/ mobile middle of the night but it was good that my book reading slowed to a tortoise pace for this is my last pending review this year. So, here is the book – The House That BJ Built by Anuja Chauhan where the main protagonist Boney is a ballsy female. A fast paced book and a sequel to Those Pricey Thakur Girls, it is an easy to read one with Hinglish (Hindi + English) thrown interchangeably, a characteristic of Anuja’s books. Lots of narration adds to the charm of visualising the dialogues played between individuals. The icing on the cake was that this ebook was available free for Amazon Prime users for the month of December ’18. Awesome no even though I had not yet read the prequel. Anything for free good books! Well, this book is good, but not that extraordinary; a one time read, perfect for your train/ flight/ other solitary travels. Keep watching my blog for more book reviews! And a very happy new year to all you readers 🎉🎊🥂

Book Review: Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

When you unexpectedly get a book as a gift, that too without an occasion, it proves you just have the right set of friends. Just kidding, it only proves that your friend is awesome. It so happened that in my reading group, an acquaintance of mine had mentioned that he had received a book as a gift from someone, and since there is only one friend of mine Kshama (my school-time friend) who have till date given a book to me without any occasion, it was my duty to tag her to remind her to do the same again. Mean of me, no? But she is so nice she actually couriered one to me and I clicked the pic as a proof as soon as I received the same. And hear this, she had not even read the book and sent to me for my feedback, so she can buy later on. And the mean girl I am, I asked her to keep up this spirit and keep on sending me books out of her big TBR.

Now, since I am on a no shopping spree for book, a gift of physical book was just the right gift for me. So, hey you all, who know me, if you want your name mentioned on my blog and be popular, please do do do send me a book asap. See see, I have put all this in bold, so that no one misses this point.

Now, back to the book, I like the way, it starts with a non-fictional touch to this fictional story. And the way Nicholas Sparks writes, as you all already know, with a big dose of romance, my heart was set to completing it in the exact right pace, no hurry hurry, but just slow and sweet. Sample these lines (ah, I am falling in love with the writer):

Falling in love is the easy part; making that love last amid life’s varied challenges is an elusive dream for many.

Meeting you and falling in love with you was an experience I would relive a thousand times in a thousand different lives, if I was ever given that chance.

I have not yet completed the book, but I am so hooked that I just wanted to pen down my thoughts. If I change my views by the end of this book, I will add a edit note at the end of this review.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews.

Book blurb:
In the romantic tradition of The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a story about a chance encounter that becomes a touchstone for two vastly different individuals — transcending decades, continents, and the bittersweet workings of fate.

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she’s been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family’s cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.

Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother’s early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.

Illuminating life’s heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, Every Breath explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties — and asks the question, How long can a dream survive?

About the author:
Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 105 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 75 million copies in the United States alone.

Sparks wrote one of his best-known stories, The Notebook, over a period of six months at age 28. It was published in 1996 and he followed with the novels Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999), The Rescue (2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), and the list goes on. Many of his books have already been adapted into movies.

Twitter: @NicholasSparks

Rating: 9/10


Genre: Romance
Book Name: Every Breath
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Pages: 408
Publication Year: 2018

Book Review: Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

Had you checked my review of Chocolat and its sequel The Lollipop ShoesIf not, click on the hyperlinks. Each was an amazing fantasy book with chocolate recipes weaved into the tale and I was so impressed with the writings of Joanne Harris, the author, that I had to give another book of hers a read. Now, this line I have just written you may find at contradiction with my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes where I did not feel like reading another book of the same author one after the other, but it so happened that I had read Five Quarters of the Orange a month back and forgot altogether about writing a review. I got reminded recently when a friend recommended me to read Joanne Harris books. But you know, a lot can happen in a month, your mind and heart can flip 180°.

So, about the book, it follows the same standard format of recipes (not chocolate this time) weaved in the storyline. However, I felt it was lacking in many fronts, especially the suspense of why the main protagonist has hidden her real name. In fact there were many questions I wanted answer of while reading the story, but of which the book did not conclude, e.g. what was it that led the main protagonist’s mother to fear orange. Probably it may not have resulted in fast forwarding the storyline, but I was assuming that there would be much more in the ending. Even the notes in the book is not leading to major disclosure (again I sort of expected this to happen). My bad, to have high expectations from a book or a person.

However, if you do not compare Chocolat and this book Five Quarters of the Orange, it is an “okay” book on its own. You can read it if are not able to find other better books.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
The novels of Joanne Harris are a literary feast for the senses. Five Quarters of the Orange represents Harris’s most complex and sophisticated work yet – a novel in which darkness and fierce joy come together to create an unforgettable story.

When Framboise Simon returns to a small village on the banks of the Loire, the locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the infamous Mirabelle Dartigen – the woman they still hold responsible for a terrible tragedy that took place during the German occupation decades before. Although Framboise hopes for a new beginning she quickly discovers that past and present are inextricably intertwined. Nowhere is this truth more apparent than in the scrapbook of recipes she has inherited from her dead mother.

With this book, Framboise re-creates her mother’s dishes, which she serves in her small creperie. And yet as she studies the scrapbook – searching for clues to unlock the contradiction between her mother’s sensuous love of food and often cruel demeanor – she begins to recognize a deeper meaning behind Mirabelle’s cryptic scribbles. Within the journal’s tattered pages lies the key to what actually transpired the summer Framboise was nine years old.

Rich and dark. Five Quarters of the Orange is a novel of mothers and daughters of the past and the present, of resisting, and succumbing, and an extraordinary work by a masterful writer.

About the author:
Joanne Harris is a British author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television.

In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.

Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She also spends too much time on Twitter; plays flute and bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16; and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.

Twitter: @Joannechocolat

Rating: 6/10
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Name: Five Quarters of the Orange
Author: Joanne Harris
Pages: 307
Publication Year: 2001

Book Review: Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer

Is it necessary that we need to read any book series in a particular order, i.e. chronologically? Yes, but if you are not able to find the previoust ones, should you skip on the sequels as well? Of course not. I mean this is what I think. So after completing The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (click on the hyperlink to check my review of this book read a month back), there were many other books recommended to me by the same author, one of which was These Old Shades and Devil’s Cub, but since I couldn’t get hold of the former one, I started off with the latter.

You know I had never heard of Georgette Heyer during my school or college days, I am sure I would have loved these even better then. In fact, the author has been very popular for many in my reading groups have entire collection of her books or have read each one of her books. But better late than never!

The book starts in a typical fashion – the male protagonist being a playboy and I wondered if it is going to end in a typical fashion. However, as I had heard that Georgette’s females have strong character sketches – feisty, witty, intelligent and sensible, I continued and glad I did that. Although there was too much drama in the end, it was an outright entertainer. And in the end, it brought a stupid smile on my face once I completed reading this book.

Please check below a few dialogues from this book:

“You will very soon be. Sit down. Why are you not at the ball?”
“I had no inclination for it, sir. I might ask, why are not you?”
“Not finding you there, I came here,” he replied.
“I am indeed flattered,” said Miss Challoner.
He laughed. “It’s all I went for, my dear, I assure you. Why was that fellow holding your hands?”
“For comfort,” said Miss Challoner desolately.
He held out his own. “Give them to me.” 

“You will like her,” he persisted. “Egad, she’s after your own heart, maman! She shot me in the arm.”

However, if I have to recommend between this book and The Grand Sophy, I will pick the latter one only.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Dominic Alistair, Marquis of Vidal is a bad lot – a rake and seducer, reckless, heedless, and possessed of a murderous temper. He is known by friend and foe alike as the “Devil’s Cub”. Yet as the handsome and wealthy heir to a Dukedom, he is considered a good prospect on the marriage market. Vidal currently has his eye on the young, lovely, and unintelligent Sophia Challoner, and Sophia’s greedy mother is more than happy to encourage his dubious attentions.

When lovely, saucy Mary Challoner had practiced her bold deception upon the hot-blooded, fiery-tempered young Marquis of Vidal–substituting herself for her young sister he had thought to carry off to France–she had little notion he would grimly hold her to her part of the bargain. Now he had left her, and she was alone, a stranger in a strange land, prey to the intrigues of glittering, heartless, 18th century Paris.

Only one person could rescue her–the Marquis himself. But how could she ever trust this man? How could she even hope to overcome the contempt in which he held her? And how could even the sudden flowering of her love ever bridge the terrible gap between them?

About the author:
Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her husband George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

Heyer was an intensely private person who remained a best selling author all her life without the aid of publicity. She made no appearances, never gave an interview and only answered fan letters herself if they made an interesting historical point. She sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Stella Martin.

Her Regencies were inspired by Jane Austen, but unlike Austen, who wrote about and for the times in which she lived, Heyer was forced to include copious information about the period so that her readers would understand the setting. While some critics thought her novels were too detailed, others considered the level of detail to be Heyer’s greatest asset.

Heyer remains a popular and much-loved author, known for essentially establishing the historical romance genre and its subgenre Regency romance.

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Name: Devil’s Cub
(Alastair-Audley #2)
Author: Georgette Heyer
Pages: 323
Publication Year: 1932

Book Review: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

The last romantic book that I had read was The Grand Sophy (check my review here) and that was just a while ago. And I liked it so much that I preferred giving yet another romantic book a shot, but this time I chose a little humorous one.

Though I am a little skeptical of choosing a book with old aged characters (my prejudice but I have hated such movies the recent one being 102 not out), this one was just the apt one for me. The Indian/ Pakistani angle simply added to the charm of reading in addition to the book references and discussions scattered in between. After-all it was on the pretext of Rudyard Kipling that Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali started to plan their meetings. The book’s wry light-hearted humor will endear you to Major Pettigrew who is older than you (for most of you, at least) and remind you that it is never too late to challenge traditions.

Here is the quote that I liked the best in this book:

Memories were like tomb paintings, thought the Major, the colors still vivid no matter how many layers of mud and sand time deposited. Scrape at them and they come up all red and blazing.

And few other ones:

I tell myself it does not matter what one reads – favorite authors, particular themes – as long as we read something. It is not even important to own the books.

But it’s not enough to be in love. It’s about how you spend your days, what you do together, who you choose as friends, and most of all it’s what work you do … Better to break both our hearts now than watch them wither away over time.

So, if you want to find out if it was all is well between the two main protagonists and between other couples, you need to follow through the book to know. The final takeaway is that some love stories do have a  happy ending, while others are simply cast as happy memories because to be together would have been simply suffocating.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson’s wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction, and from the very first page of this remarkable novel he will steal your heart.

The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?

About the author:
Helen Simonson is the author of the New York Times and international bestseller, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and now the proud author of a second novel, The Summer Before the War. Both are set in Sussex, England, where she lived as a teenager. She loves Sussex, but as a young woman, she could not wait to go to college in London, or to move three thousand miles away to America. She began writing as a young mother desperate for some small intellectual escape, and published her first book at the age of forty five – proof, she hopes, that it’s never too late to pursue your passion.

Twitter: @simonsonhelen

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Romance
Book Name: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Author: Helen Simonson
Pages: 359
Publication Year: 2010
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