Author Archives: happyanddandy

About happyanddandy

40 something living in NW London UK. I work as a Practice Nurse and have a husband, 2 teenagers,1 dog and 2 cats at home. Never without a book or some knitting. Favourite writers are Anne Tyler, Barbara Trapido and Monica Dickens among others. Looking forward to reviewing here.

Rumours of a Hurricane by Tim Lott

Synopsis from Amazon; –

The death of homeless man Charlie Buck is unremarkable to everyone except the few passers-by who witness his drunken–and apparently voluntary–fall beneath a speeding lorry. No loved ones or friends attend his last breaths in hospital–his possessions amount to a National Insurance card, a digital watch and a newspaper obituary for a dead composer. But Charlie was a person. He had a wife and a son, his own set of dreams and personal demons, a biography no more and no less studded with dramas, defeats and victories than anyone else’s.

This is the mission of Rumours of a Hurricane, Tim Lott’s second novel: to chart the life of a single man, revealing it to be remarkable in its ordinariness and epic within its narrow confines. The backdrop to Charlie’s tragic saga is the relentlessly changing Britain of the 1980s, a nation twisted by greed and discontent. History weaves gracefully in and out of the tale, its hero riding high as he buys his own council flat and invests in the stock market; laid low as the great storms and the recession hit his home and his business. But Lott’s grasp of the recent past is by no means his most impressive talent–what dazzles on every page is his powerful grasp of the human soul and his ability to turn harsh truths into some truly fascinating fiction.

The author tells us of the demise of the main character right at the beginning of the book. The story of Charlie and Maureen Buck unfolds through the reign of Maggie Thatcher and their life reflects the impact of her policies. Charlie is a printing press compositor, a union man living in a city council flat. Maureen is a meek housewife without dreams. Their lives change dramatically over 11 years of the iron lady’s reign. What a riveting read. Unusual in that you know ultimately what is going to happen in the end.

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The Simple Rules of Love – Amanda Brookfield

Synopsis from Amazon;-

For some families, a year can feel like a lifetime. The Harrisons are a large and extremely close-knit family. But with the grandchildren fast becoming adults and elderly Pamela struggling to adapt to widowhood and the emptiness of Ashley House, the four children of the middle generation find themselves equally lost in a changing world. As preparations for 42 year-old Cassie’s long-awaited wedding gather pace and an exotic family holiday is planned, sibling and marital bonds are stretched to breaking point: adultery, an unwanted pregnancy, shadows of past losses, suddenly a year of celebration threatens to become one of painful upheaval. Beset by such emotional chaos, how can the adults hope to guide their children in matters of the heart? Or are the children the ones who should be guiding them? A multi-generational story of love, lies and family ties, “The Simple Rules of Love” presents Amanda Brookfield at her perceptive and poignant best.

When I started reading this book I was delighted to find out that it was a sequel to a previous Brookfield novel ‘Relative Love’ which I read maybe 5 years ago. I was pleased to find out what happened to the numerous characters in the Haarrison clan. The book is almost 600 pages long and is about the ups and downs of an extended middle class family over the space of a year. Unwanted pregnancy, separation and attempted suicide are all here.

The book is too long and even more annoying is that all the ends are tidied up pat and happily. Relationships end up perfect for example Serena and Charlie are just not believable in the end. However it is well written, thorough and descriptive and it was not a chore. Brookfield has a blockbuster in there somewhere but this is not it. However I still very much enjoy reading this author, this being the fifth novel of hers that I have read so far.

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The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller

Synopsis from the back of the book;-

Meet Pippa Lee, a thoroughly modern heroine.

She is the devoted wife and mother of a brilliant man thirty years her senior, proud mother of grown up twins, and an adored friend and neighbour. But when once she was content with this seemingly enviable world, Pippa finds her life beginning to unravel. Amid the lawnmowers and suburban coffee mornings, she starts to wonder, how did she find herself in this place?

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is a story of wild youth, unexpected encounters, affairs, betrayals and the dangerous security of marriage. It brilliantly captures the challenges, confusion and excitement of modern life – and all the possibility that it holds.

This book starts seemingly as a safe predictable read about a middle aged woman and her much older husband moving into a retirement community. However it soon changes changes into something entirely different when we are taken back to Pippa’s dysfuntional childhood and teenage years. It then appears to go down into the sado masochistic and drug scene for a while. When Pippa starts a relationship with Herb Lee 30 years her senior who ultimately becomes her husband, a truly shocking event seems to trigger a period of domestic harmony and a perfectly behaved Pippa for the next 20 years or so.
In the third part of the book yet more unexpected things happen. Pippa befriends the strange son of her new friend who is portayed as an almost supernatural god -like being especially during one intimate scene which some readers might find offensive.
I enjoyed reading this book and liked Pippa Lee especially when she behaves like the perfect housewife on the outside but has rebellious thoughts all cooped up inside.
The author writes well in my opinion and I would definitely pick up another of her books.

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