Tag Archives: 1920s

Review: City of Jasmine

jasmineCity of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publishers

There’s something glam about the world of the 1920s, isn’t there? And to top it of, the book is also set in the exotic desert land of Damascus. It’s the time when the Western world is digging for the riches of history to find all kinds of treasures. All this makes The City of Jasmine irresistible to me.

Evangeline Starke is a fun character to hang out with. She’s one spunky lady who dares to take on risks though really, this is a mask to the outside world. When she dared to face the past though, she found that things were more than they seemed. Gabriel Starke is a mysterious man and is, therefore, totally alluring. Really, I don’t want to say anymore about Gabriel because you really just need to read the book! 😉

I expected this book to be a light enjoyable romantic read. It was and more. Some of the turns of the story really took me by surprise and made it all the more exciting. I love the variety of minor characters and their quirks. oh, what would I give to have an elderly aunt like Aunt Dove! Each of these characters adds an additional dimension to the story. There is more to this book than just a love story; there is adventure, action, betrayals, intrigues, heroes, villains and forgiveness.

The City of Jasmine was a lovely read; full of evocative images (I feel the heat! That dry scorching heat of the dessert), exotic air (I kept trying to smell jasmine in the air), suspense (guns, planes, oh, let’s not forget the romance!), and just straight out fun (love the characters’ interactions). This is my first Deanna Raybourn but it’s definitely not the last! Did you know there is a prequel? Yep, that’s my next read, for sure!

Thank you, Harlequin Books Australia, for providing copy of this book

View all my reviews

Review: Careful, He Might Hear You

Careful, He Might Hear You by Sumner Locke Elliott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: My local library -get your own copy direct from Text Classics

This is actually my first read for 2013. We were going to the beach on New Year’s Day and I took the couple of days before to consider which book I’d like to start the year with. I still didn’t quite decide ‘til nearly the last minute. We went to Balmoral Beach and when I cracked this book open, by happy coincidence, it was set around that area (Balmoral Beach / Neutral Bay). I was stoked!
I made a mistake by reading the Introduction though for it told me more of the story that I’d like to know and I continued reading with a hesitant spirit. I wanted to get it over it but I kinda already knew that will happen and I hated that feeling! I resolve from now on to skip Introductions (maybe to save it til after the reading).

The Child and the Mother in me protest at calling a child PS (short for Postscript). Understandably, whilst it was the mother who began the nickname whilst bub is still peanut-size, I found it unbelievable that it would carry on for years! To read, in the Introduction, that “the painful struggles of PS…is based on his [the author’s] own experiences in childhood”, made this story especially painful knowing that it was partially, mostly true.

PS had 4 aunties (his mother’s sisters): one whom he lived with & mothers him so, one who adores him but only when convenient, one who believes the end of the world is coming in a few months’ time, and one who lives half a world away but is on her way to take charge of him. I did not find any of these aunties to be endearing and hence, my not liking this book so much.

Aunt Lila is basically the mother he knows but she is overly protective among other annoying habits. Spelling every inconvenient not-so-happy thing / someone or even disguising ‘unhappy’ bits to make them sound innocent and lovely was a bit much for me. Reading it was smothering and I can just imagine what effects it would have on a child who is now old enough to understand if some adult will take the time to explain things to him.

Aunt Vanessa wants him for reasons she herself doesn’t quite realise. She’s determined to change him, to mould him to what she wants him to be. PS is fascinated by her and at the same time, frightened of her and is disliked her for the changes she’s wrought in his life. Being pulled in 2 directions with family politics and machinations of which he isn’t aware of the details of but could understand enough from the moods of his aunties, that things aren’t well, distressed him. Aunt Vanessa’s silent treatment and moodiness upset him.

I’m not a perfect or the best mother around but the mothering in this book irks me so! It might have been typical of the time to assume that a child just will not understand many of the issues however it never does well to underestimate what a child will understand. In the end (as most of the book is told from PS’ perspective), it is PS who is empowered –who grasped the knowledge of self and grabbed hold of it, looking forward.

View all my reviews