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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     

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 Henrietta Sees It Through: More News From the Home Front 1942 - 45 by Joyce Dennys

A Bloomsbury Group book

 

A continuation of Henrietta's War and equally as enjoyable.

 

★★★★

Edited by poppy

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On ‎9‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 1:19 AM, itsmeagain said:

Eleanor Oliphant sounds very interesting Poppy.😅😂

 

It reminded me a little of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

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Bombs On Aunt Dainty by Judith Kerr

 

Judith Kerr is the children's author of the Mog books and The Tiger Who Came To Tea, all delightfully written and illustrated by her. I particularly loved reading about Mog the cat, to children.

 

Bombs On Aunty Dainty is a YA semi-autobiographical book from a series of three. Like Judith, Anna is a German-Jew who escaped with her anti-Nazi family just before WW2 and were refugees in a number of countries before settling in Britain where this book is set.

Although aimed at a younger audience, I enjoyed this book and it gave some interesting insights into how hard it was to be a refugee of German descent in Britain during WW2, even when clearly holding anti-Nazi and anti-Fascist views (her father had written several books openly criticising the Nazis.)

 

★★★

 

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I like the look of this Poppy. I really enjoyed Sandi Toksvig's 'Hitler's Canary' when I read it, which is also aimed at a younger audience. 

 

Just looked it up, and hadn't realised that it is the 2nd in a trilogy. Such a shame that I will have to buy three new (to me) books. :D  :readingtwo:

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19 hours ago, Chrissy said:

I really enjoyed Sandi Toksvig's 'Hitler's Canary' when I read it, which is also aimed at a younger audience.

 

I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I picked it up at a library sale, it sounded interesting, but I hadn't heard any reviews about it, so it's nice to know someone I know, enjoyed it :).

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On ‎14‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 3:50 AM, Chrissy said:

I like the look of this Poppy. I really enjoyed Sandi Toksvig's 'Hitler's Canary' when I read it, which is also aimed at a younger audience. 

 

Just looked it up, and hadn't realised that it is the 2nd in a trilogy. Such a shame that I will have to buy three new (to me) books. :D  :readingtwo:

 

I'm not sure if I'll go on to read the other two although they are available in kindle form as a trilogy. I borrowed the ebook from the library. :)

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Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim

 

I've been meaning to read this autobiographical book for some time as I've seen it recommended in several places. Elizabeth is English and marries a German Count (who she refers to as 'The Man of Wrath') and creates a garden at their home in the German countryside. She writes in a witty style but I imagine it would mainly appeal to those interested in gardening. She grows a large number of old-fashioned roses, of which I'm a fan, and it was interesting to see several I recognise. Interestingly, Katherine Mansfield was her cousin.

 

 ★★★

Edited by poppy

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Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson

A Bloomsbury Group Book

 

Mrs Tim writes in diary form covering a period of about 6 months. Written in the 1930's this doesn't feel particularly dated apart from the fact army wives had cooks, housemaids and nannys. Mrs Tim is witty and amusing and the characters are well drawn. In the second part of the book she holidays in Scotland with friends and I found some of this a ittle unbelievable, particularly her apparent oblivion to the fact she is being pursued by one of her husband's colleagues. A light and mostly enjoyable read.

 

★★★

 

 

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Mrs Ames by E. F. Benson

A Bloomsbury Group Book

 

The author of the Mapp and Lucia books, this has the same small British village setting with similar characters.  However, it's not nearly as lighthearted and humorous as the Mapp and Lucia books and at times I felt it rather belaboured the points Benson was trying to make and became long-winded. Benson is very good at witty dialogue and bringing the characters alive but they all seem to live shallow, dissatisfied lives. Perhaps that's the point he's making.

 

★★★

 

 

Edited by poppy

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Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym

 

Barbara Pym has been described as the most underrated writer of the century (presumably the 20th) and this is a delightfully humorous book set in the university neighbourhood of Oxfordshire in the 30's.  My favourite character is Miss Morrow, a thirty-something spinster, who handles her demanding, interfering and gossipy elderly employer with a sense of  ironic humour and common sense. Pym's characters are very well written and I thoroughly enjoyed this gentle read.

 

★★★ 1/2

 

 

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Anybody Can Do Anything by Betty MacDonald

(Audiobook narrated by Heather Henderson)

 

Have discovered e-audiobooks are available from the online library I use. :yahoo: They are wonderful for taking the mind off humdrum jobs like peeling potatoes, scrubbing pots and making cut lunches.

I was delighted to find this one, I've read most of Betty MacDonald's books which include The Egg and I, The Plague and I and Onions In My Stew but have never seen this one before.

Betty MacDonald is a very funny and witty writer and this involves her many varied jobs during the 1930's depression after leaving her husband and chicken farm and returning with her two children to live with mother, three sisters and brother. Sister Mary, in spite of Betty's total lack of office experience, propels her from one secretarial job to another with an indefatigable 'don't-take-no-for-an-answer' attitude. The results are hilarious.

The narrator, Heather Henderson, does a wonderful job making it feel that Betty is the actual one talking.

I thoroughly recommend this, or any of her books, for lifting the spirits and giving you a jolly good laugh.

 

★★★★

 

 

Edited by poppy

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Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker

A Bloomsbury Group Book

 

The premise of this book is excellent. Two young men invent an 83 year old woman and mail her a letter as a game and are horrified when she turns up on their doorstep along with her parrot, hip-bath, harp and lapdog. It could have been a very funny book, at times it was humorous but Norman, the main character, vacillates between loving and hating Miss Hargreaves in a most annoying fashion. I felt the book dragged after the excellent beginning.

Originally published in 1940.

 

★★1/2

 

 

Edited by poppy

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The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

 

Read this again because I was watching the BBC TV series and wanted to see how they differed. They certainly did and I actually thought the series was more suspenseful and superior to the book.

 

★★1/2

 

 

 

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The Doctor Wears Three Faces by Mary Bard

 

Mary is the sister of Betty MacDonald, the author of the well known Egg and I book and several others. Although this is also very humorous at times, I felt it wandered off too often in an attempt to impress with technical medical terms. I feel Betty is definitely the better author of the two.

 

★★1/2

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Your last 3 reviews were all books you didn't like too much! I hope your next reads will be more enjoyable :).

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I wouldn't go as far as to say I didn't like them, and parts of all of them were very good, but I felt they were let down by inconsistency, particularly Miss Hargreaves and The Doctor Wears Three Faces. I am a hard marker, I'm getting quite critical in my old age :blush:

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The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald

 

Another audiobook read by Heather Henderson who does a superb job. I have read this book several times but it always makes me laugh and is very easy listening when you're doing other things. Betty MacDonald writes very well and I love her descriptive passages. My only bugbear with this one is her derogatory, racist remarks about the local native Americans (although a lot of this concerned their sexism towards women).

If you can put that aside and remember that this was the 1920's and attitudes like this were probably common, it's a thoroughly enjoyable read.

 

★★★★

 

 

 

 

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I'm glad your last read was a bit of an improvement on the previous three :lol:. It has an intriguing title too!

 

 

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19 hours ago, Hayley said:

I'm glad your last read was a bit of an improvement on the previous three :lol:. It has an intriguing title too!

 

 

 

She lived with her first husband on a chicken farm in a remote part of the state of Washington, so chickens and eggs featured strongly :D 

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6 hours ago, poppy said:

 

She lived with her first husband on a chicken farm in a remote part of the state of Washington, so chickens and eggs featured strongly :D 

Ah, that makes sense! I was wondering if it was someone's nickname :lol:

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17 hours ago, Hayley said:

Ah, that makes sense! I was wondering if it was someone's nickname :lol:

 

Haha, yes I can see how you could think that :lol:

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