Article by Ceri Wheeldon
To be honest, as much as I love to read, my ‘normal’ life is so hectic, that I rarely find time to do it! I just about manage to get through my Book Club’s choice!
As surreal as Lockdown has been, it has enabled me to catch up on some reading. I thought I would share some of the books I have enjoyed with you.
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield
American life is a fictional account of the life of the wife of an American President, from the early days of their relationship through to their time in the White House. It is loosely inspired by the life of Laura Bush. It is a fascinating read – and gives you a glimpse of what it like to be thrown into the public eye as you support your husband in his career ambitions. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Greek Island Escape by Patricia Wilson
If you enjoyed The Island by Victoria Hislop you will probably enjoy this one. Although set in the present, it has a lot of flashbacks to the past which cover a period of Crete’s not too distant history which I have to be honest and say that I was unaware of.
The book follows two mothers searching for their daughters – for very different reasons. One in the UK and the other in Crete. Both commit fully to their searches, and for eighty five year old Sofia in Crete time is running out. This book would, for me, have been a perfect beach read. Instead it made a great lockdown read as I sat in my garden with a glass of rose imagining I was on holiday!
Lily’s War by Shirley Mann
With the recent 75th anniversary of VE Day, this was a good book to catch up with. Lily’s War is inspired by the author’s mother who was a WAAF and her father who was in the English Army. It is a book about courage, sacrifice and how ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things in times of crisis. Determined to join the war effort before its too late, Lily takes herself away from her relatively comfortable and straightforward existence and joins the WAAF , becoming a wireless operator. Her experience changes her perspective on life in ways she could not have envisaged. For me when I read books from this era it makes me realise what the older generation lived through – you never know what that 90 something lady you meet may have done during the war!
A Precious Gift by Rosie Goodwin
Another book where the main character contributes to the war effort, but this time it’s the First World War. From a privileged background, Holly chooses to forge her own way in life, becoming a nurse as she seeks her independence in order to choose her own future – and husband! An excellent read – again highlighting just how resilient individuals can be when needed. This book has romance, twists, female friendship, bravery. Another great summer read.
Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner
Fascinating insights into the Royal Life and traditions as Lady Anne Glenconner shares her memories of her life alongside the Royals. As a childhood friend of Princess Margaret (who was liked her silver shoes) she grew up close to the Royals and Royal life. From being one of the Queen’s attendants at the coronation to being Princess Margaret’s trusted friend throughout her life (with its ups and downs), Anne shares her experience in a down to earth way with humour. Her own life was very colourful as she navigated marriage to a somewhat eccentric husband. An entertaining read.