Rose Cottage – Mary Stewart

This I think is not what you normally expect from Mary Stewart, there is not much of the ‘other worldly’ element to it, nor is it anyway a runaway suspenseful mystery. It is simply a story of Rose Cottage and it’s inhabitants as well as the estate where it is located and the village where it all happens.

Kate, returns to Rose Cottage at her grandmother’s behest to retrieve family papers and small treasures before the cottage is renovated and reused as part of the estate’s future. Kate remembers living their with her mother and grandmother and it being a happy home, despite not knowing her father.

When Kate’s Great Aunt Betsy moves in the place changes and it is not as rosy as life could be for a small child. Even more so, when her mother runs off with a gipsy and never returns. The only news that she has died in a bus accident some years later.

Back at her childhood cottage with her childhood friends around her, Kate begins the task she set out to do, retrieve the papers but it seems that someone has got there before her.

Despite the cottage being emptied since Kate’s grandmother left, it appears to have been occupied somehow. There have been lights seen. The garden has been dug in places.  And a mysterious figure or two has been spotted.

It all seems rather strange and ghostly, but this does not stop Kate facing these ghosts and staying at Rose Cottage to see her task through to the end. Kate finds out a lot about her family through the secrets that Rose Cottage seems to be holding and along with the premonitions from the local witch, and some interfering village gossips, it seems that perhaps it is not all that mysterious and very straightforward.

This was a nice gentle novel. It reflected the lies that are told within families, to either protect them from the past or even the future. Mary Stewart creates an atmosphere with her novels but describing the landscape in detail as well as the life of a little village, where despite a war and a marriage Kate seems to be still known to many. Especially a local lad who she grew up with, but has never ventured very far from his home.

An ideal novel, for a cosy afternoon and if in a cottage then even better.

I read this as I was joining in the with Gudrun’s Tights Mary Stewart Reading Week which she ran for the second year September just gone. I was all set, to finish the book and review it. Then I fell ill to a nasty stomach bug. The book was finished but the inclination to do much else was lost and is still taking a while to materialise, if truth be known.

So I am a little late to this party but better than never having turned up at all!

It is thanks to last year’s reading week that I even started reading Mary Stewart, she was an author who I had come across on blogs but never actually read. Which is why I am also joining in Fleur Fisher’s Margaret Kennedy Reading Week as this is an author I have not read before. 


A Piece of Cake – Trisha Ashley

You can probably review this very short story in one or two sentences. Many other reviewers before me have done so.

Kate a Wedding Cake maker is asked to make the cake for best friend, Laura who is marrying a well known footballer. Trouble is the best man another footballer seems to have the misfortune to be in the way of the cake. At a previous encounter with Kate and her cakes, he was right in the centre of it.  All Laura wants is to bring two people together, it seems Kate has other ideas.

The story is a good indication of the type of writing that Trisha Ashley is known for. However short the story, this exclusive on kindle is really about teasing you with quite a few pages from her new novel out in 2015. I for one, dislike the first chapter or chapters at the end of books and never read them, especially when you have to wait so long before you actually get to read the whole thing. It is like being given a chocolate bar, allowed to unwrap it and then told you cannot eat it!

I am sure those who buy these exclusives do so because they are fans of the author and therefore would buy the new book anyway, regardless of a few teaser chapters. I feel it is all a bit of a con. I am more than happy to read short stories by some of my favourite authors but I feel in this case I have been conned out of 99p.



Books · Jottings · Witterings

September Roundup

Where has September gone? It seems to me to have gone in the blink of an eye and so much has happened within in it.

Six books, which I consider pretty good going as I have been back at work and also had a number of days sick, with some sort of bug which limited my reading rather and all I could cope with was awful television programmes and films, of which I dozed through a great many.

It was because of the bug that I was unable to finish and post about Mary Stewart – Rose Cottage* for the Mary Stewart Reading Week hosted by Gudrun’s Tights. I will of course review the book and it will be added to the list, albeit a little late. This was my third Stewart book and I really enjoyed it.

Marika Cobbold – Frozen Music was the second novel I have read by this author. It was very much different from Drowning Rose but was a very thought provoking novel. Marika writes with such prose and atmosphere that I really felt in Sweden. I am going to try another of her novels to experience some more of her writing.

2014 and this blog has certainly been about the author Vanessa Greene – as I have read all her books. Her latest The Seafront Tea Rooms* is released on 9th October. I can say it is a brilliant book and I devoured it within 24 hours. It focuses on that wonderful institution of tea and even more importantly afternoon tea. One of my most favourite things!  I am slightly bereft now as I will have to wait ages for her next one.

Talking of tea Trisha Ashley – A Piece of Cake* this was a short diversion and perhaps not the most delicious of cake but still, it filled a gap!

Two new authors to me came in the form of Stephanie Lam – The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House* I was fickle and fell in love with the cover of this book and the dual narrative was an interesting one, from not the normal chosen decades, present and the war years but from the twenties and sixties. Castaway House was a mystery and one I hope many others get to read.

The choice for my book club was Jojo Moyes – The One Plus One* an author I have seen and heard of, but read nothing. I have no idea why, as I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to cry and laugh in equal measure and although being perhaps a bit too long it was a jolly good read.

Other exciting news was my lunch with the author Lucinda Riley. I have yet to tell you all about that and share the photos and the lovely other bloggers that I met there as well. It has been overshadowed by me falling ill and not feeling like doing much.

Just when I thought I might have gained some momentum in returning to normality – I had my broadband upgraded. Which has resulted in no phone line and no broadband. Apparently it is a minimum of 6 days to fix and it is probably my fault and I will have to pay £100+ to sort it out. All I had to do was unplug one hub and plug in the new one. I was rather forthright on the telephone, when I eventually got through and said this was unacceptable and that the customer service was very patronising, in fact when I thanked them for being patronising – I got told ‘you’re welcome, we aim to please’. Needless to say I really don’t think they understood what I meant, all the way over in India.

It just means I have not caught up many of your blogs, I will do once I am back up and running or if I am visiting my parents, so I have not disappeared just sort of in limbo!

*Review yet to appear on blog