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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Island Life on the ISLE OF WIGHT in 1976

Summer of '76 by Isabel Ashdown set on the Isle of Wight

"The distant whisper of the sea is always there, a transparent layer that lies beneath all other sounds, as it rolls over the beaches that surround the island, ever constant". Welcome to the Isle of Wight. 

This review can now be found on the new TripFiction website here

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The spirit of THE PEAK DISTRICT in fiction

The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell, set in the Peak District

The author talks to us about location. Plus our review can now be found on the new TripFiction website here

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Snow White in the Orangerie with the tire iron* TAUNUS/FRANKFURT Germany

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus translated by Steven T Murray

This review now appears on the new TripFiction website, here.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

"A heady noseful of MOSCOW"

Snowdrops by A D Miller - "A heady noseful of Moscow, an intoxicating perfume that will whirl you off your feet" Spectator

This post is now on the new TripFiction website here

Sunday, 15 September 2013

"Two Worlds Collide. Three Destinies Entwined" MUMBAI, PARIS, USA

A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison, set in India, Paris and USA

I don’t think I will look at a gated house or small lane with restaurants in the same way again after reading this book.

It is a debut novel for Corban Addison who is a legal professional with a particular interest in international human rights. The story involves two very different cultures and crosses three continents, with a common theme uniting them. Two sisters have the course of their lives abruptly and tragically changed by a tsunami that hits their home. What follows you could not imagine. Who can you trust?

In a country far away a 10 year old girl is snatched in broad daylight from a busy place from under her mother’s nose. This is witnessed by lawyer, Thomas Clarke, who is struggling to cope and come to terms with his own personal family tragedies. Because of this and a failed legal case he makes a decision to take a job with a non-governmental organisation in Bombay which is involved with anti-trafficking. Thomas becomes highly committed to helping the two sisters and his tenacious characteristics and network are highly valuable in exposing criminals and securing safety for vulnerable young women.

This book is set in Paris, Bombay (now Mumbai) and the USA. If you know Paris you will recognise the restaurant areas and the names of places. But this is not a book about location per se. It is about an activity that is illegal, degrading and in my view modern day slavery.

I tussled with this book. It is a page turner, but I didn’t want to turn the page because I was not sure I wanted to know what happened next. But I did. It hugely raised my awareness on human trafficking and abuse.

It is also an extraordinary story of touching relationships, effective friendships and family resolution. It all comes together, three stories interlinked.

Does it have a happy outcome for everyone?  Is there relief? Is there justice? Read it to find out.

What is happening behind that high, secure gate? Who is working in the kitchen of that popular restaurant? Who is in that car with blacked out windows? A novel that leaves you thinking and wondering....

Ann and the TripFiction Team

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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Illicit goings-on on the Ile de Ré, France

The Disappearance of Emily Marr by Louise Candlish set on the Ile de Ré

This post can now be found on the new TripFiction website here

Monday, 9 September 2013

A brush with VENICE - our novel selection

It happened in Venice by Molly Hopkins is a highly entertaining, funny and witty read. The author has done a great job in bringing her very human characters to life, with their flaws and inconsistencies as well as endearing qualities, and real and engaging dialogue.  My first impression in the first pages was that it was a crossover between Sex and the City and Sailor Moon (I don’t know if that’s good or bad, I guess it would depend on whether you like Sex and the City and Sailor Moon…).  On the whole, even with Evie’s overall aloofness (and recurring desperation), and Lulu’s insanity, I found the book heartwarming, and it left me with a cozy feeling of fulfilment.

The title itself is misleading… or rather, the back cover is misleading, for whatever happens, DOES happen in Venice (and we’re all the more glad for it to happen, by the way); but nothing happens as we are led to believe on the back cover, meaning a story taking place IN Venice, and instead we see Venice in just a few chapters.  That’s not a bad thing, however, because there is a handful of other cities that take over some of the other chapters and give the book a wonderful balance. For Evie’s story, every city counts, as they mirror her emotions at the time and convey a feeling of completion for the issues that she has to come to terms with.

Together with Evie we walk into the heartbeat of each city, Dublin with its cheery people, Amsterdam with its fast-paced way of life and beyond-gorgeous architecture, Marrakesh with its color and noise and flavours… and Paris, where heartbreak and strength meet at the Arc de Triomphe, as well as London, where real life prepares Evie for each one of her travels and for learning more about herself than she ever bargained for.  The way each city plays into the story is fascinating, almost as if they were characters themselves, all described with high-quality imagery and sense of place, and with a soul and a fundamental connection with Evie. Of Venice itself, I can hear Evie saying that voices make Venice stand out “over and above anywhere else… voices as opposed to the screeches of breaks and the roar of cars and buses”, and I have to say that it is one of the most beautiful and original ways I have ever heard a city’s essence described, and that I fully agree with her, because in Venice you get a higher sense of humanity than anywhere else, at least of those super-highly touristic spots where you have thousands of people every day and all year round. Amsterdam and Dublin get captured very cleverly as well in the final notes, as Evie tell us her anecdotes as well as facts about each city (and which made me laugh really hard).

I laughed a lot at different moments on each page, the dialogue is that good. Although I have to admit that I found Evie (and Lulu, but that was the point of her) very annoying at times. Evie’s twin nieces were perfectly portrayed for reality and comic relief, and John’s and Nikki’s places for grounding Evie were absolutely fantastic, particularly by the last chapters. And speaking of Nikki, he and his Greek family were another great way of making us travel within the pages, even if it was a little over the top at times…  Three of my best friends in the world are Greek, so I really enjoyed laughing on their account, although my Konstantinos is not a lazy teenage waiter, my Spyros is not a bad-tempered middle-aged uncle, and my Nikolas is not a hot blooded body-builder. All are good-looking and all are taken, sorry girls.
It happened in Venice is a great summer read, light and funny, definitely chic lit for the smart chic… so, enjoy!

In the mood for a little more reading that involves a brush with Venice? We have two more novels that feature the city on the cover but will also take you further afield (you even get Lake Como, Falmouth and London, for example are thrown in for your delectation)!

Do you have enough romance in your life?Journalist Kirsty Bailey would have to answer no. She has the essential starter kit - a boyfriend - but somehow Joe seems to have skipped the vows of for better/for worse and gone straight to for granted.But then just as she's on the verge of settling for a swoon-free existence, Kirsty's magazine sends her to a majestic Venetian palazzo to attend the much gossiped-about Love Academy... Her undercover mission? To prove her editor's theory that this 'school for singles' is nothing more than an escort agency with a sexy accent and fancy glass chandeliers. But what if her editor is wrong and their promise of true amore is for real? Will Kirsty be able to resist the kind of moonlit temptations she's been dreaming of for years, or is her relationship with Joe going, going, gondola?If you think Casanova was a bad boy, just wait until you see what Cupid has in store for Kirsty...

A girl flees to Venice to escape her dangerous past in this electrifying novel of intrigue, psychological tension and suspense... For Lucy Riddick, Venice has always been the dream destination. A dream inspired by the pretty picture pinned to her mother's kitchen wall. To Lucy, Venice seems the ideal place to lose herself. And now she needs to do just that. The secret she's been keeping from her boyfriend and her friends has finally caught up with her and Lucy needs to disappear - and fast. There's no better time to pack her bags and head for Italy. But what if, when she sets foot in Venice, Lucy finds that the one thing she has been running from, the one thing she has been trying to escape, is already there, lying in wait for her? Time to run away again? Or time to end the chase, once and for all?

Happy reading from Sandra and the TripFiction Team – and click on the title to catch Sandra’s own novel La Sombra Detrás (in Spanish) here And our full collection of novels set in Venice can be found here