Two Book Reviews and a Nod to Spaghetti.

My genetic disposition means that I rarely look back. I inherited my fathers survival skills in that I continually look forward. So 2017 – All over, Red Rover.

My mother’s input into the equation means that I have never set goals nor been ambitious. It has always simply been the case of putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, and moving forward. Therefore, no New Years Resolutions. No list of books to read, no places to visit, nor new things to learn over the coming 365 days.

Thankfully, this morning is cooler and it seems that South East Queensland is finally getting a break from the oppressive heat and humidity that we’ve been experiencing since Christmas. You know the humidity is high when the makeup slides off your face……

So, my reading drought is well and truly over thanks primarily to the weather. Just finished another two books of very different natures.

City of Crows by Chris Womersley had received so many good reports from the blogging community that I downloaded this one from the local library. It is set in 17th Century Paris when France is rife with the Plague, and is a tale of a recently widowed woman who heads to the capital with her one remaining child. They are attacked mid journey and she is left to die whilst her young son is kidnaped, presumably to be sold as a slave. She is aided by an old woman with “powers” and teams up with a gent of questionable history and intent to save her son. There is much about demons, witches, and spirits, and just what a mother would do to save her only child.

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This novel was well written, though I kept dithering whether or not to push myself to finish it. It became a task of conscience and I am blaming myself, the heat, and a subject of absolutely no personal interest. I guess it says something in that I continued to the very end. Let’s just put it down to wrong time of the year for something so dark in nature, though I am led to believe, historically accurate.

My boss, another book hound, often leaves reading material on my desk that she has picked up in a sale. I had put reading The Old Fellow’s War by Edmond Nyst off for several months but so enjoyed it these past few days.

This book was published when Nyst was 80 years of age and he comments that “ all of a sudden I find myself writing about events that I have tried all my life to forget”.

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Nyst was 15 years of age when the Germans marched into Marseilles during World War 2. Born in France he was of Dutch parentage and helped his father ( who was later knighted for his services to humanity) hide Dutch Jews in surrounding villages. The three sons and mother were then sent to separate hiding spots though the author joined the Maquis, which was similar to the Resistance, yet operated within France under the direction of England.

This is another tale of skirmishes and brutality told with sadness as well as some humour, albeit black. It also includes a sorry episode about a small town, by the name of Oradour, which was totally wiped out by the Nazis just a few days after the landing at Normandy.

Nyst ends up enlisted and his military training sends him to army camps in both NSW and Queensland. His descriptions of major railway stations in both Sydney and Brisbane during the 40’s should bring a smile to anyone with any familiarity. He is then sent to Java to assist with the repatriation of the Dutch from the POW Camps.

Finally he returns to France to reconnect with family, though then travels back to Australia where he take up citizenship, starts a family, and is admitted as a barrister at the High Court of both NSW and Qld, and the High Court of Australia.

Ahhhhhhh, a girl does like a happy ending…….

Because we are also catching up on Movies I think it will be Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca tonight for a little bit of the Nazis marching into Marseilles.

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Oh, and Happy National Spaghetti Day on January the 4th.

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