The Lily and The Rose – Flower Power!

The Lily and The Rose

by Jackie French

I love it when an author surprised you, and this week I was surprised by Jackie French’s book The Lily and The Rose. I love Jackie’s picture and tween books, and have reviewed a few of them. But her Young Adult series, Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies, really captured my heart and imagination.

In The Lily and The Rose,the second book in the series,  Sophie Higgs is an Australian heiress who has been through a war and found independence by running hospitals on the front line. When women are asked to return to their former role in society after the war Sophie feels there should be more to her life than the assigned the role of wife and mother. The book essentially tells of her journey to do just that. The book starts in England, but before she leaves Europe for her beloved Australia she needs to deal with her three suitors and her help a friend in need. Once home, she carves a new life for herself, but is forced back to Europe to finally face her true love.

On the surface this book may seem just another historical romance, but it is so much more than that as Sophie struggles to be independent, but also find the true meaning of love. In addition, this book looks at the developing role of women after the war as men try to wrest back their control of society. It also discusses the developing role of Australia in Europe as the traditional colonial nations try to reestablish their hold on the world. And it does this to the backdrop of the lull between the first and second world wars.

Sophie is a likeable character. We forgive her her entitled attitude to life because she is so big of heart and wants to do her best by others. Also, of she were not a wealthy heiress, she would not have been privy to all the political action of 1920’s London and Sydney, and the book would have been so much less without this historic background.

Although this book can be read by younger readers, Sophie is in her early twenties and I suspect much of the content will be of more interest to Young Adult readers of 18 plus. This story is well written and difficult to leave once you start. It can be read stand alone as I did, but it may have you wanting to go back and read the prequel Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies. I know I will be.

 

 

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The Witch’s Kiss

The Witch’s Kiss by Katherine and Elizabeth Corr

In traditional fairy tales witches are either good or bad, but in the modern day fairy tale The Witch’s kiss Merry finds that being a witch is much more about shades of grey. What a great book to lose yourself in on a wet day!

Merry has known she is a witch from a long line of witches since she was twelve. She has never been trained, but learnt to used her powers to help improve her life. When her actions resulted in one of her friends nearly dying she swears never to use witchcraft again. That causes a conflict when she finds that she is the witch that has been chosen to break a curse that has haunted her family for centuries.

Although this book is steeped in history and mysticism, it deals with the things that teenagers deal with every day: coming to terms with who they are and valuing their own self-worth; and of course the age old issue of love. That the Corr sisters have written all of these things into a novel that is a really good read is a testament to their skill in the Young Adult genre.

I read this book on a wet Sunday and found it really hard to put down when I finished Merry’s adventure I found I wanted to know what happened to the main characters after they dealt with the impact of the family curse, so I was delighted to find that there is a sequel, and I think that will also be finding its way to my reading list.
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The Starbound Trilogy – Beyond These Broken Stars


The Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

 

Some time ago I read and reviewed These Broken Stars. I really enjoyed the experience and always meant to read the rest of the series. I then got distracted reading all the other books I had to review and reading the other books in a series was pushed into the background. Then I had an idea – why not follow up on all the books I enjoyed reading that were a part of a series, and see if the series lived up to it’s initial promise? I am starting this exercise with the Starbound Trilogy.

I guess I have already given away that I enjoyed these books as I have included all three in the review. What you won’t know is that I enjoyed them so much I read the last two back to back. In These Shattered Stars we found Lilac and Tarver stranded after a spaceship crash. Their story of love and survival was the main story the first book. We also discovered that Lilac’s father was running experiments with beings from hyper-space.

The second book, This Shattered World, is another love story on another planet, where Jubilee is a soldier and Flynn a member of a local resistance. Their relationship struggles as they try to understand what is happening on planet they both live on. Jubilee is so concerned she calls in her former commander – Tarver  Merendsen – to help.

Their Fractured Light sees Gideon and Sofia investigating what has been going on La-Roux industries, and they stumble upon the existence of hyper-space beings being manipulated by Lilac’s father. They plan to foil his plot only to find that there are others working to the same end.

This series is very clever. On the surface these are classic love stories, but running through the books are some of life’s big questions. If a people are not like us are they then less than human and able to be treated as animals? And is it ok to sacrifice a few to improve the life of the greater population? These heavy themes are lightly and interestingly handled in these stories.

I also enjoyed the symmetry of these novels. Each of the stories are told alternating chapters by the main characters, who are all interesting and well rounded and have their own story to tell. All of the six main characters are interlinked and have continuing roles in the larger story. Each story is also viewed by a hyper-space being, which gives another dimension to our understanding of each of the characters and why they are important to the story as a whole.

All in all the series lived up to the promise of the first book, in fact I would say each book added to the whole making a truly memorable experience. If you have just finished your exams and are looking for some summer reading, I would recommend this series for a summer sloth-out.

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