Sunday, October 23, 2016

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante: a Dull and Longwinded Tale

I had high hopes of this book which were sadly dashed. I should have been warned by the list of characters at the beginning of the book - as if an author needs to have a list of characters, then they're really not doing their job correctly in bringing them to life for us in the text. And there are so many of them and they all sounded the same! I certainly couldn't keep track and wasn't interested enough to refer back to the list .. I found the main characters irritating as well, which didn't help matters. I wouldn't have been friends with either of them, LOL!
Anyway, the story is long and ambling and ends up in blind alleyways far too many times - it seems to be written in a very clunky and flat style, and focuses on the dullest parts of a scene rather than the most exciting ones. It's certainly no Dickens! There's a moment or two of excitement when Lena goes away to an island somewhere and has a few interesting experiences, but then she returns to the homeland (sadly) and her life falls back into its dull routine. The ending is abrupt and made no sense at all to me. Surely even in a series, a novel can't just stop for no apparent reason, but there has to be some kind of closure even though strands are left open for the next book.
As an aside, I really hated the cover - it's quite horrid. That said, the story idea is a good one (and deserving of 2 stars out of 5) but someone should write it properly.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor: a bleak but incisive novel

A subtly written book that’s very sharp about human nature. I was however hoping for something more light-hearted and vibrant, but those sections were few and far between. The picture of advancing age, vulnerability and approaching death, as well as the small but significant betrayals of family and friends, is essentially a grim one. It left me feeling very bleak.
3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Petition to Stop the Church of England Discriminating against Gay Clergy

I'm happy to announce that the petition to stop the Church of England discriminating against gay clergy with partners has now gone public. I would be most grateful if you could consider signing this if you live in the UK, thank you.

You can find the petition here:

Many thanks

Anne Brooke

Saturday, September 24, 2016

I See You by Clare Mackintosh: Gripping Crime Thriller

This novel has excellent pace and very good tension throughout. The female characters are very well rounded, and there is good development during the story. I also loved the fact that the violence was not centre-stage, but the focus was on the psychology of crime. The ending is totally fabulous and I really enjoyed THAT twist.

The only down sides to this book were the fact that the men weren't very well developed, and also the general cliche of women being victims of sexual crime - surely there are other crimes to explore! Anyway, that aside, this is a gripping read and I will be putting this author on my list.

Anne Brooke Books

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter: an average pot-boiler

Aspects of this novel which I enjoyed were: the fast pace; the strong women characters, the sections with the dead father; and the poignant ending.

Aspects I disliked were: the level of violence was ridiculously melodramatic and on occasions laughable (sorry!) - this is no Silence of the Lambs, that's for sure. The plot was highly unlikely, and also sometimes made me giggle with disbelief. The villain was very cliched and one-dimensional, and there were far too many coincidences.

On the whole then, not a great success and basically an average crime genre pot-boiler.

3 out of 5 stars.

Anne Brooke Books

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Petition against Gay Clergy Discrimination: Update 1

A brief update on the petition against discriminating against gay clergy in the Church of England - enough people have now signed it so the Government are checking it before it goes public, thank you. Here is the link for further details at this stage:

Many thanks indeed.

Anne Brooke

Message to the Church of England: Stop bullying gay people!

Well, I’ve finally gone and put my 'money' where my mouth is and made a petition – will you sign it?
My petition: Make it illegal for the C of E to discriminate against gay non-celibate clergy
The Anglican Church insists that gay clergy with partners live a celibate life if they wish to continue working as priests or bishops. This is an unfair burden on gay clergy as well as being discriminatory within the 21st century workplace.
I was moved to make this petition as a result of today's news that the Bishop of Grantham has said publicly that he is gay - which is great news indeed. However, in order to continue being a bishop, he has to tell the Church of England authorities that he is also celibate, even though he has been with his partner for a very long time. He may or may not be celibate, but frankly I don't care and it doesn't matter. This is grossly unfair, and nobody should be made to divulge any of their sexual practices in order to continue in their job.
After all, I don't attend a job interview and expect to be asked about my sex life. If I was, I would immediately walk out of the interview and report the company to the relevant authorities. Why should having a job in the Church of England be treated any differently? Yes, it's a vocation, but in the eyes of God, all our jobs are vocations, so we should either all be asked about our sex lives to see if we're suitable for any job, or none of us should be!
This is the 21st century, and we should protest against such arcane practices. It is not a crime, nor a sin, to be gay, in love and in a relationship. The sooner the Church of England understand this, the better.
Thank you.
Anne Brooke

Thursday, September 01, 2016

The Emergency Poet: An Anti-Stress Poetry Anthology

The Blurb: 

A brilliant new anthology of poems that will help you to overcome stress, depression and other anxieties. 

Arranged by spiritual ailment, the sections include a range of verse, new and old, which may be of comfort to those in need of a pick-me-up for the soul. 
The collection has been carefully compiled by Deborah Alma, the world's first and only emergency poet, who travels to schools, libraries, festivals and other events in her 1970s' ambulance to offer consultations and prescribe poems as cures for various maladies. This collection is designed to lift your mood and offers poetic help whenever it may be required.

My review:
This is a gorgeous selection of poetry and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some poems were old friends and it was a pleasure to reacquaint myself with them; other poems were totally new and I am adding these poets to my reading list. I love the way the poems are gathered into key themes as this is very helpful if you want something for a particular crisis occasion. I thoroughly recommend this book.

Anne Brooke Books