Book Reviews: March 2021

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THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS

Jodi Picoult

Allen & Unwin

RRP $36.99

Dawn Edelstein knows everything there is to know about dying. She specialises in helping her clients make peace with the end of their lives. But as she’s flying home from her latest case, she is forced to confront her own mortality for the first time. Instead of seeing her husband and daughter flash before her eyes in what she assumes are her last moments, only one face is clear: Wyatt Armstrong. Safely on the ground, Dawn faces a decision. Should she return to her family and the life she knows, or journey back to the archaeological site she left years earlier and reconnect with Wyatt? As the story unfolds, Dawn must confront the questions she’s never truly answered: When we depart this earth, what do we leave behind of ourselves? And who would you be if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are right now? 

 

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THE COMMONSENSE COOK

Colin Fassnidge

MacMillan Publishers

RRP $39.99

Colin Fassnidge knows good food. As a celebrated chef and popular television personality, he has built his reputation on delicious food and his distinctive, no-nonsense advice for home cooks. When it comes to cooking at home, Colin believes it comes down to common sense. Master the basics – a simple omelette, a great sauce that goes with everything, the perfect roast – and you have the foundations for countless meals. Embrace cheaper cuts of meat, minimise waste, keep a good stock of pantry staples and, whatever you do, don’t throw out those delicious parmesan rinds! Leftovers can be a thing of beauty: roast a show-stopping whole cauliflower and turn the leftovers into a miso-based soup; a beef cheek pie filling doubles as a delicious pasta sauce; choose your own ice-cream adventure with the perfect base for many flavours. A great recipe book that helps make creating real family food easy. 

 

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THE DRESSMAKER’S SECRET

Rosalie Ham

MacMillan Publishers

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Your Guide to Matariki

RRP $37.99

It is 1953 and Melbourne society is looking forward to coronation season, the grand balls and celebrations for the young queen-to-be. Tilly Dunnage is, however, working for a pittance in a second-rate Collins Street salon. Her talents go unappreciated, and the madame is a bully and a cheat, but Tilly has a past she is desperate to escape and good reason to prefer anonymity. Meanwhile, Sergeant Farrat and the McSwiney clan have been searching for their resident dressmaker ever since she left Dungatar in flames. And they aren’t the only ones. The inhabitants of the town are still out for revenge (or at least someone to foot the bill for the new high street). So when Tilly’s name starts to feature in the fashion pages, the jig is up. Along with Tilly’s hopes of keeping her secrets hidden… Rosalie Ham is the author of the bestselling novels The Year of the Farmer and The Dressmaker

 

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THE EVENING AND THE MORNING

Ken Follett


MacMillan Publishers

RRP $49.99

The Evening and the Morning is the prequel to The Pillars of the Earth. It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages, and England faces attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Life is hard, and those with power wield it harshly, bending justice according to their will – often in conflict with the king. With his grip on the country fragile and with no clear rule of law, chaos and bloodshed reign. Into this uncertain world three people come to the fore: a young boatbuilder who dreams of a better future, a Norman noblewoman who followed her beloved husband across the sea, and a monk, who dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a centre of learning admired throughout Europe. With England at the dawn of the Middle Ages, their lives intertwine in an epic tale of ambition and rivalry, death and birth, and love and hate. 

 

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Book reviews December 2019

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THE GOOD SISTER

Sally Hepworth

MacMillan Publishers

RRP $34.99

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be … dangerous. When Rose discovers that she cannot fall pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple. Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of unexpected love. Sally Hepworth is also the author of The Secrets of Midwives, The Things We Keep, The Mother’s Promise, The Family Next Door and The Mother-in-Law

 

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HUMANS

Brandon Stanton

MacMillan Publishers

RRP $49.99

Brandon Stanton’s Humans – his most moving and compelling book to date – shows us the world. After five years of travelling the globe, the creator of Humans of New York brings people from all parts of the world into a conversation with readers. He ignores borders, chronicles lives and shows us the faces of the world as he saw them. His travels took him from London, Paris and Rome to Iraq, Dubai, Ukraine, Pakistan, Jordan, Uganda, Vietnam, Israel and every other place in between. His interviews go deeper than before. His chronicling of peoples’ lives shows the experience of a writer who has traveled widely and thought deeply about the state of our world. Including hundreds of photos and stories of the people he met and talked with in over 40 countries, Humans is classic Brandon Stanton – a fully colour illustrated book that includes many photos and stories never seen before. 

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