Book reviews: June 2016

The MCD team has selected the best of some recent inspiring reads.

Rachel’s Legacy Rachel 's -Legacy

Julie Thomas
Harper Collins NZ, $35

Cambridge, Waikato, writer Julie Thomas became intrigued by stories of family treasures confiscated by the Nazis from Jewish families during WWII. Little did she realise that the research would lead to her first self-published story The Keeper of Secrets. Nor that this would catapult her to international fame.

In this sequel to the first, the story also follows the fortunes of the Horowitz family from pre-war Berlin to the present. This time though, she begins the story in Melbourne where, on the eve of his departure for European sabbatical, Dr Kobi Voight is given a clutch of delicately bound letters that will bring him into intimate contact with the Horowitz family; and will change the course of his life forever. Brilliant and – like its predecessor – highly recommended. PS

A French Wedding A-French -Wedding

Hannah Tunnicliffe
MacMillan Publishers, $38

New Zealand author Hannah Tunnicliffe’s third novel explores her twin loves – books and food. The story focuses on Juliette who gives up her dream of owning a Parisian restaurant to return to her tiny coastal village and nurse her ageing parents. But she finds her home has changed, and things are not how she remembered them. Meanwhile Max is turning 40. He wants to celebrate his milestone birthday at his country home in France with six of his oldest friends. The perfect setting to reveal his secret: his undying love for his best friend Helen. As Juliette looks for a new beginning, Max’s birthday weekend may provide the perfect opportunity. As she begins to get to know him and his friends, Juliette also begins to understand more about herself.

A French Wedding is filled with love, lies, heartbreak and divine food. A charming book to curl up with over the cold winter nights ahead. CS

The Paris of the West Paris _of _the _West _cvr

Karen McMillan
McKenzie Publishers, $35

I have to admit I was a little reluctant to pick up this book. I’m not a fan of photo-style covers, and to be honest, this one just felt a little bit ‘dynasty’. But I am a fan of wartime novels, especially those that are historically accurate and draw you in to the horrors and humanity of war. I’m pleased to say the old adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ was definitely applicable in this case.

Set in 1948, this gripping follow-up to the bestselling The Paris of the East follows the lives of Celina, Raphael and their family who, against all odds, survived WWII and arrived in San Francisco with high hopes for their new lives. As war survivors, Celina and her family have faced unspeakable trauma. As new immigrants they have yet more hurdles and heartbreak to overcome. The story is one of love and loss, betrayal and forgiveness, and of having the courage to start over. CS

The Raw Kitchen The -Raw -Kitchen _Final _300dpi

Olivia Scott
Beatnik Publishing, $60

After many months of allowing my New Year’s resolution of healthier eating to fall by the wayside (again), I was very pleased to find a fresh surge of inspiration with The Raw Kitchen’s 120-plus raw recipes that are not only brimming with health benefits, they’re pretty tasty-looking too. Author Olivia Scott is a true believer in holistic wellness and a proud raw vegan. Having made the most of her passion for raw food by studying nutrition at Wellpark in Auckland, Olivia went on to found The Raw Kitchen – considered one of the country’s most recognised raw food businesses.

But you don’t have to be a raw food fanatic to enjoy this book, the recipes are simple, quick (no cooking required!) and yummy. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth like me, you’ll love such goodies as the caramel slice, raspberry cloud puffs, and white chocolate cake with fig which each look as good as they sound. CS

The Secrets of Happiness Secrets -of -happiness

Lucy Diamond
MacMillan Publishers, $35

Fans of bestselling author Lucy Diamond will be thrilled to pick up a copy of her latest title and delve into the extraordinary lives of stepsisters Rachel and Becca. Rachel and Becca have lost touch over the years, which isn’t surprising given they have little in common. Rachel seems to have all the trappings of a wonderful, happy life – a great career, a big house, and a happy marriage with three children. Meanwhile, artistic Becca, moves between dead-end jobs, shares a titchy flat, and has given up on love. The two haven’t seen each other since their father’s funeral over a year ago, but when Rachel doesn’t come home one night, Becca is called in to help. Once there, she quickly realises her stepsister’s life has been slowly falling apart. As Becca begins to untangle Rachel’s secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about her own life, and the future seems uncertain. CS

The Storyteller’s Secret Talk -like -ted

Carmine Gallo
MacMillan Publishers, $35

Whether your goal is to sell, educate, motivate or entertain, the ability to inspire, motivate, and spark action in others through storytelling is an incredibly valuable asset. In his hugely attended Talk Like TED events, bestselling author and communications guru Carmine Gallo found, again and again, that audiences wanted to discover the keys to telling a powerful story.

The Storyteller’s Secret unlocks the answer in 50 lessons from visionary leaders such as Richard Branson, Bryan Stevenson, Joel Osteen, Steve Jobs, and Sheryl Sandberg – each of whom cites storytelling as a crucial ingredient in success. Gallo explains why our brains are hardwired to connect with storytelling – why a good story causes us to pay attention, form empathy and feel good. An entertaining, informative and practical read that shares the secrets and techniques used by some of the world’s greatest motivators, entrepreneurs and leaders. CS

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