Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Dean Mayes

I read some amazing books this summer and I thought I should share some of them with you, along with my reviews. It’s always great to get ideas for new books to read, even if you have a huge TBR list like me. Here are three I just loved.

The Artisan Heart

by Dean Mayes  Hayden Luschcombe is a brilliant paediatrician living in Adelaide with his wife Bernadette, an ambitious event planner. His life consists of soul-wrenching days at the hospital and tedious evenings attending the lavish parties organized by Bernadette. When an act of betrayal coincides with a traumatic confrontation, Hayden flees Adelaide, his life in ruins. His destination is Walhalla, nestled in Australia’s southern mountains, where he finds his childhood home falling apart. With nothing to return to, he stays, and begins to pick up the pieces of his life by fixing up the house his parents left behind. A chance encounter with a precocious and deaf young girl introduces Hayden to Isabelle Sampi, a struggling artisan baker. While single-handedly raising her daughter, and trying to resurrect a bakery, Isabelle has no time for matters of the heart. Yet the presence of the handsome doctor challenges her resolve. Likewise, Hayden, protective of his own fractured heart, finds something in Isabelle that awakens dormant feelings of his own. As their attraction grows, and the past threatens their chance at happiness, both Hayden and Isabelle will have to confront long-buried truths if they are ever to embrace a future. My review I am already a fan of Dean Mayes and am impressed with his ability to write in diverse genres while at the same time maintaining consistent quality. This book is a wonderful read, filled with incredible characters that jump off the page. I love how the characters play off each other so well. My favourite being Genevieve, a seven-year-old deaf child with spunk. I just wanted to hug her so many times. And then there is the wonderful setting of Walhalla, a cozy Australian mountain village, which is actually the main character for me. While reading this book, I felt myself walking the streets, smelling the freshly baked bread, smiling at the residents, listening to the birds and admiring the gardens. This is a place people come to get away from it all and discover who they are meant to be. A feel-good book with some tense moments, full of emotion and real people. I highly recommend this book. One I would read again.

A Place Called Winter

by Patrick Gale In the golden 1900s, Harry Cane, a shy, eligible gentleman of leisure is drawn from a life of quiet routine into courting and marrying Winnie, eldest daughter of the fatherless Wells clan, who are not quite as respectable as they would appear. They settle by the sea and have a daughter and conventional marriage does not seem such a tumultuous change after all. When a chance encounter awakens scandalous desires never acknowledged until now, however, Harry is forced to forsake the land and people he loves for a harsh new life as a homesteader on the newly colonized Canadian prairies. There, in a place called Winter, he will come to find a deep love within an alternative family, a love imperiled by war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism.

My review

I purchased this book after hearing the author speak at the Winchester Writer’s Festival. His books all sounded interesting but I was drawn to this one as it takes place in the early 20th century in the Canadian prairies. This is where I’m from and my great-grandparents were among the many immigrants who settled this part of Canada. I was not disappointed. The land, the people and the impossibly tough life were described so well, I felt like I was back there working alongside these individuals. It was all there, the unforgiving terrain, the threshing crews, chokecherries, bachelors’ balls, country churches and dashed hopes. The story centres around Harry Cane, a British gentleman who had never worked a day in his life. After being disgraced, he leaves England to stake out a homestead in Winter, Saskatchewan. Little does he know what awaits him. The story is so well written, you can feel the isolation and the cold. “As for the cold, he had never experienced anything like it, a dry, iron clamp upon the land, like death itself, full of unexpected beauty, like the hard crystals that formed on the inside of the windows. The cold did something to the quality of sounds around the farm, deadening all background noise so that the smallest scratching or whisper was emphasised.” Harry’s story is filled with incredible characters, pain and heartbreak. But it is also filled with love. A beautifully written book, well worth a read.

Apprenticed To My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010

When my father died in 2005, I assumed my mother would need more support and someone to help with decisions she previously shared with her husband. What I didn’t realise was the role she had in mind for me: a sort of Desmond 2.0. Over the five years until her death, I played the role of apprentice, learning more about her and her relationship with my father than I had gleaned in my previous 50 years. We laughed, we cried and, occasionally we disagreed, and throughout she manipulated me as, I learnt, she had my father. Neither of us minded much; we were both her so willing fools, for she was an extraordinary woman and we both knew we were in the presence of someone very special.

My review

A wonderful heartwarming book that will leave you laughing and crying, sometimes on the same page. Mr. Le Pard has a great way with words and gives us a delightful glimpse into the lives of his parents. Sprinkled in between amusing episodes of his life as the youngest of two sons, are poems brilliantly composed by his father, most written for his wife, the love of his life. The stories paint a picture of past times in a lovely part of England, where issues are resolved with a cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake. Barbara Le Pard is a delightful character, strong-willed, tough and with a huge heart. This book is well written, entertaining and most important, it is written with love. All of these books are available on Amazon, Kobo or through any good bookstore.  I will tell you about a few more in another post. If you have read a great book or two lately, please share in the comments.

I have been reading some very good books lately and thought I should share them with my readers. I write children’s books and read them as well, but lately I have been devouring some worthy adult novels. These stories have one thing in common, they are all well written and have characters you care about. You might want to check them out.

Gifts of the Peramangk, by Dean Mayes

 

From Goodreads

In 1950s Australia, during the height of the divisive White Australia Policy, Virginia, a young Aboriginal girl is taken from her home and put to work on an isolated and harsh outback station. Her only solace: the violin, taught to her secretly by the kind-hearted wife of the abusive station owner. However, Virginia’s prodigious musical gift cannot save her from years of hardship and racism.

Decades later, her eight year old granddaughter Ruby plays the violin with the passion Virginia once possessed. Amidst poverty, domestic violence and social dysfunction, Ruby escapes her circumstance through her practice with her grandmother’s frail, guiding hand. Ruby’s zeal attracts the attention of an enigmatic music professor and with his help, she embarks on an incredible journey of musical discovery that will culminate in a rare opportunity. But with two cultural worlds colliding, her gift and her ambition will be threatened by deeply ingrained distrust, family jealousies and tragic secrets that will define her very identity

My review:

Once in a while you read a book that makes your heart sing and weep at the same time. Gifts of the Peramangk by Dean Mayes, is one of those books. The story centres around two young girls with incredible musical talent. One, an aboriginal girl cruelly taken from her family at a young age and the other, her motherless granddaughter. The story shifts between the early 1950s to present
day Australia. The heroine of the story is Virginia, the family matriarch, who does whatever she can to keep her dysfunctional family together and to preserve the musical talent that has been passed down through the generations. Her strength and perseverance, even in deplorable situations and failing health, is remarkable. Dean Mayes has crafted a fine tale of hope. Hope when all is lost, hope against all odds, and hope when many would have given up. This is a must read.

Scarborough, by Ellen Ekstrom

 

From Goodreads:

When Quinn Radcliffe shows up in a village somewhere in the Cotswolds or Dorset, he knows he’s been there before. It’s a place out of a Thomas Hardy novel – or the imagination. There’s the Curiosity Shop with The Proprietress and her famous guests, the church at the end of the lane, and unbelievable but necessary journeys that test and affirm.  Now the conductor of a world-renowned orchestra, Quinn isn’t surprised by his surroundings – the love of his life, Alice Martin, told him all about the village but he has always and secretly thought it was the best part of a dream she shared after her life-threatening illness.
Until now. There are two sides to every love story.  This is the other side of the haunting and poignant romance that began with “Tallis’ Third Tune.”

My review:

If you loved Ms Ekstrom’s Tallis’ Third Tune, as much as I did, you are in for a treat with her latest novel, Scarborough. Once again the reader encounter’s the star-crossed lovers, Alice and Quinn, the curiosity shop with historical figures popping in and out, and wonderful scenes from York and Scarborough. This time, however, we hear the story from Quinn’s point of view. The author’s superb writing takes us into the mind of a brilliant, talented, tortured young man. His inability to make clear decisions and choices causes him much heartache. With the help of the likes of Thomas Wyatt, Richard III, Janis Joplin and Jane Austen, to name a few, he has a chance to make things right. You will not be disappointed in this, the second in the Midwinter Sonata series.

An Illusion of Trust, by Linda Cassidy Lewis
In this sequel to The Brevity of Roses, Renee Vaziri discovers that even when your dreams come true your nightmares remain.
When Renee Marshall locked the door on her dark past and married Jalal Vaziri, she hoped for a quiet life in a California coastal town. Now, with a sexy, adoring, wealthy husband, one beautiful child and another on the way, she dares to believe happily ever after could be her future. But doors don’t always stay locked. As the stress of living in Jalal’s high-society world increases, the traumas of Renee’s past begin to poison the present and threaten to destroy everything she treasures.Is it her imagination or is Jalal keeping a secret that will end their marriage and rip her children from her life? And could it involve Diane, the woman who reminds Renee too much of Jalal’s beloved first wife?
My Review:
This long-awaited sequel to The Brevity of Roses, is a must read. It is a story about how the past can destroy the future, if allowed to. Renee Marshall has done well for herself; a gorgeous, sexy husband, two adorable children, in-laws who provide the family she always longed for, a healthy bank account and a fabulous house in a privileged community. Then why isn’t she happy? She can’t seem to get rid of a past that haunts her and is bound to destroy her and everything she cherishes. This well written story is raw with emotions and seasoned with believable characters. I could not put this book down as I needed to know, will Renee be able to confront the past and make peace or will she lose everything? Thanks for writing this book, Ms Cassidy Lewis. It was worth the wait!
Have you read any good books lately you would like to share?

I was delighted to see this adorable photo of Lucy from Adelaide, Australia, holding my two books.

photo by Dean Mayes

Lucy is the sweet daughter of  Dean Mayes author of  The Hambledown Dream.    Dean’s latest book,  Gifts of the Peramangk  is soon to be released.

 

The family is currently reading the books and enjoying Amanda’s adventures.  The best gift parents can give a child is the love of reading and it is never too early to start.  Lucy is indeed a lucky girl to have parents that buy her books and read them to her.  She is also lucky to have Dad who is an author.

 

It was a feel good moment when I realized children all over the world are reading my books.  Yet another dream come true for this girl!

 


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