I’ll Keep you Safe

How lovely to read a book set in the Outer Hebrides and find mention of places with which you are familiar. . . .Stornaway, The Digby Chicks, the library, the Lion Hotel and many of the place names on the island of Harris, it was like a revisit of our recent holiday there.

The book is I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May, renowned for the Lewis Trilogy among others.

I had this book on my reserve list at the library and finally it became available.  I read it in a couple of days.  Terrific book.  His descriptive writing brings the island of Harris to life.

From the book cover:

“Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.

As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs.”

This Peter May book did not disappoint.  There is a particularly good review on Goodreads by Jeffrey Keeten

A Long Way Home. . . . it has taken me a while to get around to reading it. I’m glad I did eventually.

Wow! What a story. My sister had recommended this book to me quite some time ago but I hadn’t got around to reading it. I am so glad I have now read it.  This story had particular impact with me as our son is adopted, not from India but from the Philippines.

“A moving and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds, celebrating the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit – hope.

When Saroo Brierley used Google Earth to find his long-lost home town half a world away, he made global headlines.

Saroo had become lost on a train in India at the age of five. Not knowing the name of his family or where he was from, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata, before being taken into an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite being happy in his new family, Saroo always wondered about his origins. He spent hours staring at the map of India on his bedroom wall. When he was a young man the advent of Google Earth led him to pore over satellite images of the country for landmarks he recognised. And one day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for.

Then he set off on a journey to find his mother.”

What an amazing story this is.  I kept looking at similarities in the adoption process when we adopted our son but fortunately for him he had not had to survive living on the streets at age five as our son was adopted when he was eleven months old.

If you haven’t read this book I suggest you do so.  The book has since been made into a movie called “Lion”.

My first book for 2019

This is one that I had borrowed from the library before Christmas but hadn’t got around to reading it until last week.  It was a quick read as the story got me hooked in right at the start.

The story is about two women separated by a generation, one living in Manhattan and the other in Australia.

1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.

2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette attends the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her grandmother’s work – one of the world’s leading designers of ready-to-wear clothing. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of heartbreak and secrets – and the sacrifices made for love.

You can read a preview of the book here and you may decide then to borrow the book from your library.

My last books of 2018


A few books to add to the Reading Challenge I set for 2018.  I aimed to read 104 books during the year but only managed 75.  It is still a few more books than the previous year.  I am not sure what my Reading Challenge will be for 2019.  I will need to get some inspiration from some other blogs.

I enjoyed all of these books except The Hypnotist’s Love Story and my favourite was Breaking Cover by Stella Rimington.

“A new cold war is coming, and Liz Carlyle is about to find herself on very thin ice. Still reeling from the loss of the man she loved in a botched antiterrorist operation in Paris, Carlyle has been posted to MI5’s counter-espionage desk, where her bosses hope the relative quiet might give her the chance to find her feet again.

However, they hadn’t counted on the aftershocks of Russia’s incursions into Crimea and President Putin’s determination to silence those who would oppose him, wherever they may be living in the world. As a result, Liz soon finds herself on the hunt for a Russian spy on British soil–a spy whose intentions are unknown, and whose presence is a threat not only to Russian dissidents living in England but also to the security of the nation itself. And with MI5 and MI6 coming under painful public scrutiny in the post-Edward Snowden world, for Liz and her team, security is something that is beginning to feel increasingly remote.”

Plenty of action and twists to the plot.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story was just not my cup of tea.  I read the first five chapters and then skipped to the last two chapters as the book seemed to be going nowhere fast.  I have enjoyed the other Moriarty books but not this one.

Books bought as a present to me from me.

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon.

I am not sure where I read a review of this book but it was encouragement enough for me to buy it.  I am so glad I did.

“There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she is my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.  And the third thing. . . . might take a bit more explaining.”

84 year old Florence had fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly.  As she waits to be rescued, she considers the charming new resident who looks exactly like a man she once knew – a man who died sixty years ago.  His arrival has stirred distant memories she and Elsie thought they’d laid to rest.  Lying prone in the front room, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light.

I was sucked in at the very beginning of this book and had no inkling of how it eventually ended.  It was quite a surprise.

I quote from Independent Ireland……….”There is much to enjoy in this tender, big-hearted read about events that shape us, and lessons to learn about growing old and learning to forgive.”

Which one was my favourite?

A while since I last posted about the books I have been reading.  As you can see there are a few but I am still a long way from my Reading Challenge goal.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper ,the author of The Dry and Force of Nature, this is her recently released novel.  It certainly did not disappoint me.  I read it in two sittings.  She encapsulates what it is like to live in the outback on a rural station.  The descriptions are so realistic and the plot line keeps you guessing the whole way through.  This is one that you should definitely put on your list to read.

My reading group introduced me to the books of Liane Moriarty and I was able to borrow Truly, Madly Guilty and  The Husband’s Secret from one of the other book group members.  I loved both of the books and I will be looking out for other titles by her when I next visit the library.

I had previously read   The Forgotten Garden  by Kate Morton and I spied the Secret Keeper when I visited the library so borrowed it.  Another terrific read.

” Shifting between the 1930s, the 1960s and the present, The Secret Keeper is a spellbinding story of mysteries and secrets, theatre and thievery, murder and enduring love.” from Kate Morton website.

The Precipice by Virginia Duigan was long listed for the Miles Franklin Award.  I loved that the story was in the first person and that the protagonist was a cranky, retired school principal.  The setting was in the Australian countryside in the Blue Mountains area.

“After losing her savings in the financial crash, she is forced to sell the dream house she had built for her old age and live on in her dilapidated cottage opposite.

Initially resentful and hostile towards the young couple who buy the new house, Thea develops a flirtatious friendship with Frank, and then a grudging affinity with his twelve-year-old niece, Kim, who lives with them. Although she has never much liked children, Thea discovers a gradual and wholly unexpected bond with the half-Vietnamese Kim, a solitary, bookish child from a troubled background.

Her growing sympathy with Kim propels Thea into a psychological minefield. Finding Frank’s behaviour increasingly irresponsible, she becomes convinced that all is not well in the house. Unsettling suspicions, which may or may not be irrational, begin to dominate her life, and build towards a catastrophic climax.”

Chain of Evidence and Blood Moon by Garry Disher.  I have read a few Garry Disher books and these two titles are part of what is called the Peninsula Series.  The Peninsula being the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.  The books are crime fiction in an Australian setting.

The Dragon Man (1999)
Kittyhawk Down (2003)
Snapshot (2006)
Chain of Evidence (2007)
Blood Moon (2009)
Whispering Death (2012)
Signal Loss (2016)

I still have two more to read.

The Book of Mirrors – When one man’s truth is another man’s lie by E.O. Chirovici was an audio book that I listened to while I was painting our bedroom suite.

“When big-shot literary agent Peter Katz receives an unfinished manuscript entitled The Book of Mirrors, he is intrigued.

The author, Richard Flynn is writing a memoir about his time at Princeton in the late 80s, documenting his relationship with the famous Professor Joseph Wieder. One night in 1987, Wieder was brutally murdered in his home and the case was never solved.

Peter Katz is hell-bent on getting to the bottom of what happened that night twenty-five years ago and is convinced the full manuscript will reveal who committed the violent crime. But other people’s recollections are dangerous weapons to play with, and this might be one memory that is best kept buried.”

Another crime fiction which was enjoyable to listen to while painting.