Monday, 30 June 2014

Love, War & Florence

Love and War by Alex Preston is set in Florence immediately before and during the Second World War. Esmond Lowndes is the poster boy for the British Union of Fascists. He has been sent to Florence in disgrace for a misdemeanour at Cambridge, to set up a radio station to strengthen ties between the two countries Fascist Parties.

As war looms on the horizon Alex forms friendships, falls in love and meets Carita, the head of the Florence Fascists. slowly he begins to see that Fascism may not be the answer to his countries problems and when war breaks out he has to choose a side to be on - the Fascists or the Resistance.

I found the first part of the book hard going, Esmond is not the most likeable of characters but as the novel progresses he starts to come out from the his father's shadow and shows what he is truly made of. Combining explosions, love, food, car chases, violence and a host of characters - some real, such as Alice Keppel and Ezra Pound, and some fictitious, this book does grow on you. You will have to persevere through the pre-war section which I did find hard-going. Florence during the war and the wok of the Italian Resistance is fascinating.

Reading it on a Kindle made the sections where the author made use of postcards, letters and scripts from the radio station difficult to follow.

An interesting slant on war and fascism.

This title was given free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Highwayman re-imagined for the 21st Century

Glimpse by Kendra Leighton takes its inspiration from the poem The Higwayman by Alfred Noyes.
Liz is a 17 year old haunted by the fact she cannot remember anything before her 10th birthday. She had been in an accident which killed her mother and left her father traumatised with grief. She is struggling with her own grief and being bullied for her 'glimpses' of unexplained sights and sounds which no-one else can see and leave her shaking with fear.

When she inherits her mother's old home new opportunities present themselves, she is able to start over at a new school where no-one knows her and she can be 'normal'. But life is never that simple!

She meets a boy called Zachary and feels a connection to him that cannot be real, as she tries to help him come to terms with his own loss and longing for his Bess, Liz starts to unravel the secrets of her own past.

If you like ghost stories with a romantic, gothic edge this is the book for you. It is a quick read and offers a satisfying if slightly predictable conclusion but a good read and a great use of a popular poem updated to the the 21st century

This book was given free by Net galley in exchange for an honest review