Children of the Wise Oak by Oliver J Tooley

Children of the Wise Oak by Oliver J Tooley

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Children of the Wise Oak

by Oliver J Tooley

“Children of the Wise Oak” is an epic journey written in a magical world where the Celtic-Roman era meets magic and mythology. It reminds me of Assaf Mehr’s Felix the Fox’s world only slightly more suitable for younger readers (led philosophical if you may).

Blyth and his younger brothers live in a remote Celtic village, in a lifestyle and surrounding of harsh survival where the tribe is put above all. When his father returns from distant lands, with apocalyptic prophecies that involves the newly formed Roman Republic – they are forced to flee from home. Guided by Gwenn, a powerful mage who knew their father, their journey leads them across the continent straight to the heart of the Roman Republic. They learn magic and shapeshifting, they come across new people and cultures and they learn to admire the amazing Roman architecture which is a million light years advance from anything they ever knew.

This book is the first in the “Wise Oak” series, the second being published soon, which has excited me a lot. I don’t tend to read fantasy, but the historical accuracy is so refined that I almost forget about the magical elements in the novel. In a sense – it can get teenagers to relate to historical event and would be appealing to mature readers with Tooley’s great figurative language and carrying imagery.
Looking forward to the next one!

 
Women Like Us by Jason Pomerance

Women Like Us by Jason Pomerance

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Women Like Us

by Jason Pomerance

Women Like us is the debut novel by Jason Pomerance. It tells the story of Susan, a chef in her late 30s, whose life’s course had been somewhat re-routed by an unexpected pregnancy and marriage at college age, to Andrew, a privileged law student from a Pasadena “aristocratic” family.
Having divorced, and carried on with their respected lives, Henry their son had been practically brought up by the all mighty Grandma, Edith (Edie) Vale, a control freak, old fashioned Pasadena strong woman, who run her house and family like a tight ship.
When Susan has a midlife crisis and decides to take a road trip with Henry, that’s where our story truly begins… or has it actually begun years and years ago?

Anyone who knows me, knows that this is not my particular go-to genre. Having disclaimed that, I must confess that I could not leave this book alone. The story is intriguing, the characters are deep and complex (you simply want to know more of all the little stories the writer so eloquently throws your way here and there); the rapports between the characters are intriguing (i.e. Susan still being artificially entwined into the family); and the dialogues are witty and full of subtle humour which reminded me a lot of Howard Jacobson‘s writing style.

Give this awesome tale a chance – you won’t regret!

Goodreads Book Page

Buy now on Amazon

 
Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

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Birdcage Walk

by Helen Dunmore

I have never read Helen Dunmore books prior to Birdcage Walk and I wanted to thank Netgalley and the publisher on the opportunity to review this amazing masterpiece.

The novel starts with a discovery of a long-lost headstone for Julia Elizabeth Fawkes. Research had resulted with few if any details, save that Julia was an author read by many, and the wife of Augustus Gleeson, a noticeable pamphlet writer of the late 18th century, a time when the French revolution was in its height and the reports of the bloody streets of Paris inflamed the anti-Monarchy British intellectuals such as himself.

When it was apparent that none of Julia’s Writings have survived, Dunmore took it upon herself to revive the old pioneer English woman writer, maybe seeing much of herself in her imaginary character. The story takes place in late 18th century Bristol, when amidst the speculation about war with France, the real-estate market has collapsed – sending the economy, the entrepreneurs and many workers to chaotic desperation.
The story (in Brief) is cleverly told by Lizzie Fawkes, now Mrs Tredevant, Julia’s sole daughter. Having brought up in a liberal house, encouraged to act and think for herself, to be opinionated and never timid, Julia has broken from that suffocating shelter that her family provided to marry a speculate called John Diner, a widower who has made a small fortune by building houses and has now undertook a grandiose project of building the houses overlooking the Bristol Avon Gorge.
As Lizzie discovers that not everything is as perfect as she had convinced herself, we learn about her husband’s jealous character, his endeavours which are slowly but surely going bust, and Lizzy’s warm relationship with her mother and Hannah (their servant and close friend from when she was an infant). The subplot is that of the French revolution, as perceived by random reports that make it in, whether by post or by newspapers, and how differently they are perceived by John Diner and by Augustus and his milieu.

This is an historical fiction, but branding it as such does it little justice. Dunmore has managed to bring life into characters that existed (or some have) in real life, with such intensity that makes you forget yourself, all set into motion from a small script on a headstone!
The shadow of Dunmore’s disease must have entwined this novel in grimness that is leaping out of the pages – but give this novel the true colour of life in England and Europe in the 18-1900s. It is a masterpiece, and I dare say – Dunmore will be missed.