The Winship Family by Michael J. McCarthy

 

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Description: From his humble beginnings in 1851, as the son of a native Irish gardener, Seamus Tobin endures a terrible tragedy that leaves him orphaned in early childhood. His fortunes change when he is adopted by his father’s employer, the lord of an ancient Anglo-Irish estate in County Cork and a leading member of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy in Ireland.

As James Winship, the young man lives the life of a privileged aristocrat, as the young master in the Great House and in school at Eton College and Oxford University. But he squanders the opportunities in a series of misjudgments and mishaps. A final chance at redemption is afforded him as a cavalry officer in British India, where he learns to play polo, hunts wild game, befriends the local rajah, and, most dramatically, leads his troops in a series of pitched battles against the Empire’s enemies.

Returning home to Ireland, James Winship becomes involved in the Irish independence movement, which dominated British politics for nearly forty years, working with Charles Stewart Parnell and William Ewart Gladstone.

A duel at Dieppe

Opening:THE FATHER, William Winship, The Eighth Lord Milleston. London April 1850: Lord Milleston’s Choice.

The Carleton Club, one in the morning: Entering his rooms, William Winship felt a little light-headed. Stetching out on the couch, replaying the day in his mind, he thought, What the hell is going on?

Hmm, that was not exactly an attention grabbing start and as it turned out the whole caboodle was dry and lacklustre. A lot was told not shown, and the episodic nature drove me mad. So, not what you could call a bad encounter, yet I have no urge to read the next two books when I have Trinity in the TBR. Two Irish tricolours:

I thought I would get into the swing of things. FutureLearn course: ‘Irish Lives in War and Revolution, Trinity College Dublin’ starts next Monday.

Dead Man’s Time by Peter James

 

Description: New York, 1922. Five-year-old Gavin Daly and his seven-year-old sister, Aileen, are boarding the SS Mauretania to Dublin—and safety. Their mother has been shot and their Irish mobster father abducted. Suddenly, a messenger hands Gavin a piece of paper on which are written four names and eleven numbers, a cryptic message that will haunt him all his life, and his father’s pocket watch. As the ship sails, Gavin watches Manhattan fade into the dusk and makes a promise, that one day he will return and find his father.

Brighton, 2012. Detective Superintendent Roy Grace investigates a savage burglary in Brighton, in which an old lady is murdered and £10m of antiques have been taken, including a rare vintage watch. To Grace’s surprise, the antiques are unimportant to her family—it is the watch they want back. As his investigation probes deeper, he realizes he has kicked over a hornets nest of new and ancient hatreds. At its heart is one man, Gavin Daly, the dead woman’s ninety-five-year-old brother. He has a score to settle and a promise to keep—both of which lead to a murderous trail linking the antiques world of Brighton, the crime fraternity of Spain’s Marbella, and New York.

Dedication: FOR PAT LANIGAN
This book would never have happened without your generosity in sharing your family history with me

Opening: Brooklyn, February 1922
The boy’s father kissed him goodnight for the last time – although neither of them knew that.
The boy never went to sleep until he had had that kiss. Every night, late, long after he had gone to bed, he would lie waiting in the darkness, until he heard the door of his room open, and saw the light flood in from the landing. Then the shadowy figure and the sound of his father’s heavy footsteps across the bare boards. ‘Hey, little guy, you still awake?’ he would say in his low, booming voice.

I so love the casting here, especially Glenn, and the over-arching storyline of their personal lives. We are still waiting for a resolution over Sandi, and each book I wonder: ‘will this be the one where we get to know her fate?’

Because I love these characters, so much so that I like to point out things that seem slightly out of step with how I perceive the set-up:

Okay, here’s the thing: Cleo, in the view I have had built up for me by Peter James would not be reading Fifty Shades of Grey, now would she.

Oh! look at this: R.M.S Mauretania

Best line: ‘exuded all the personality of an unplugged fridge’

Disputing the ease of location 100/433: If you want a telegram from the Queen on your 100th birthday, be prepared for a frightful slog”

The music:
BEETHOVEN.ODE TO JOY
Dr. Hook – The Millionaire
Marla Glen – The Cost Of Freedom

4* Dead Simple (Roy Grace, #1)
4* Looking Good Dead (Roy Grace, #2)
4* Not Dead Enough (Roy Grace, #3)
4* Dead Man’s Footsteps (Roy Grace, #4)
4* Dead Tomorrow (Roy Grace, #5)
3* Dead Like You (Roy Grace, #6)
3* Dead Man’s Grip (Roy Grace, #7)
3* Not Dead Yet (Roy Grace, #8)
4* Dead Man’s Time (Roy Grace, #9)

The War That Ended Peace: The Road To 1914 by Margaret MacMillan

bookshelves: summer-2014, wwi, nonfiction, radio-4, published-2013

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: farmwifetwo
Recommended for: Laura, Susanna
Read from June 23 to August 05, 2014

 

Farmwifetwo alerted me to this article.

As Caroline so aptly notes in her review, one has to keep abreast of which book will suit each reader best. Having just come out of the dense July Crisis by Otte, I feel this book may be a hurdle too far in self-hurt.

SCRAP THAT – the BBC radio 4 has been broadcasting MacMillan’s work day by day and it is excellent.

Frustrated Falcons: The Three Children of Edmund of Langley by Brian Wainwright

Frustrated Falcons: The Three Children of Edmund of Langley - Mr Brian Wainwright BA (Ho

bookshelves: summer-2014, history, published-2013, biography

Read on July 27, 2014


Description: This is a biography of the three remarkable children of Edmund of Langley, first Duke of York: Edward, his successor, Constance, Lady Despenser and Countess of Gloucester, and Richard, Earl of Cambridge. This is first time that the facts of their lives have been assembled all in one place, and is based largely on the research the author did for his novel, Within the Fetterlock, with some new information added more recently.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot. See that biography description? What really is happening here is a few paragraphs that seems to be just an aide memoire for authors. You can tell by the Contents page:

P4…Authors Note
P6…Historical Background
P10… The Parents – Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, and Isabella of Castile, Duchess of York
P13…Son and Heir – edward, Earl of Rutland and Cork, Duke of Aumale, 2nd Duke of York
P26…Daughter of York – Constance, Lady Dispenser, Countess of Gloucester
P39…Richard the Obscure – Richard ‘of Conisbrough’, Earl of Cambridge
P47…Select Bibliography

Eyrie by Tim Winton

bookshelves: published-2013, lit-richer, fraudio, contemporary, australia, midlife-crisis, teh-demon-booze, next, abandoned

Read from March 03 to 05, 2014

 

rosado mp3. Read by Michael Veech (sp?)

Description: Eyrie is beautifully written and wonderfully funny and marks the return of master storyteller Tim Winton. Eyrie tells the story of Tom Keely, a man who’s lost his bearings in middle age and is now holed up in a flat at the top of a grim highrise, looking down on the world he’s fallen out of love with. He’s cut himself off, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman he used to know when they were kids, and her introverted young boy. The encounter shakes him up in a way that he doesn’t understand. Despite himself, Keely lets them in. What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting – populated by unforgettable characters. It asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing.

Zikes, the opening tips one straight into an overblown thesaurus session voiced by a whiny middle-aged self indulgent waster. Surely I must have to give it more than 10 minutes to be fair :O/

[not much later] I think this is where Winton and I agree that we are wanting to go to different horizons.

2* Land’s Edge
AB Eyrie

The Great & Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms: How One Man Scorched the Twentieth Century But Didn’t Mean To by Ian Thornton

2 of 5 stars bookshelves: summer-2014, e-book, net-galley, wwi, published-2013, next

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Ellinor
Read from July 07 to 10, 2014


HarperCollins UK. The Friday Project.

Description: Johan Thoms (pronounced Yo-han Tomes) was born in Argona, a small town twenty-three miles south of Sarajevo, during the hellish depths of winter 1894.

Little did he know that his inability to reverse a car would change the course of 20th Century History forever…

Johan Thoms is poised for greatness. A promising student at the University of Sarajevo, he is young, brilliant, and in love with the beautiful Lorelei Ribeiro. He can outwit chess masters, quote the Kama Sutra, and converse with dukes and drunkards alike. But he cannot drive a car in reverse. And as with so much in the life of Johan Thoms, this seemingly insignificant detail will prove to be much more than it appears. On the morning of June 28, 1914, Johan takes his place as the chauffeur to Franz Ferdinand and the royal entourage and, with one wrong turn, he forever alters the course of history.

Opening to the prologue: 2009, Northern England: I sat with my grandfather Ernest in a very comfortable, spacious ward in the hospital in Goole. The doctors had said he would not live for longer than a week.

Goole is as Goole sounds, a dirty-grey inland port in Yorkshire not far from England’s east coast. More than one hundred years earlier Count Dracula might well have grimaced on his way through, en route from Whitby to Carfax Abbey.

The idea behind this story is a feasible up to a point; I couldn’t buy into the whole quilt trip that Johan took upon himself and which subsumed the rest of his life.

The modern flippant tone does not help immerse the reader into the period, and one-liners akin to a Friday night Workingman’s Club stand-up comedian completely ruined the spell for me.

Timely publication to cash in on the hundred year anniversary, and that cover is splendid, however that strapline ‘How One Man Scorched the Twentieth Century But Didn’t Mean To’ is clunky isn’t it.

In the interests of honest reviewing I can only give two black pawns as a rating.

Book trailer

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

bookshelves: summer-2014, published-2013, young-adult, suicide, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, skoolzy-stuff, recreational-homicide, art-forms, games-people-play, fraudio, slit-yer-wrists-gloomy

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: B&B (do it for the crumpets)
Read from June 26 to 27, 2014

 

http://www.audiobooksync.com/free-syn…

By Matthew Quick
Read by Noah Galvin
Published by Hachette Audio

Description: Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him.

“Leonard Peacock is a complicated character, and narrator Noah Galvin quickly conveys his disturbing emotions.”
– AudioFile Magazine

Longbourn by Jo Baker

bookshelves: summer-2014, spring-2014, flufferoonies, period-piece, published-2013, fanfic-writeback, chick-lit

Read from May 22 to June 07, 2014

 

BABT

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b044gs0q

The story of ‘Pride and Prejudice from the servants’ point of view.

Description: It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House and Sarah’s hands are chapped and raw. ‘If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats’, Sarah thought, she would be more careful not to tramp through muddy fields.’

Episode 1: The peace – or monotony – of domestic life below stairs is about to be disturbed the the arrival of a new footman, James.

Episode 2: Sarah is suspicious of the new footman, James Smith, even though his presence lightens her workload.

Episode 3: Sarah notices the presence of the militia makes James uncomfortable.

Episode 4: Sarah is charmed by the Bingleys’ footman, Ptolemy.

Episode 5: Sarah gets to know the Bingleys’ footman.

Episode 6: It is the day after the Bingleys’ ball, and everyone is feeling unsettled, including Sarah

Episode 7: Mr Wickham is bothering the servants.

Episode 8: Sarah is to go to Kent with Elizabeth Bennet but she does not want to leave James.

Episode 9: James has left without saying goodbye. Sarah and Mrs Hill are both distraught.

Episode 10: Sarah still has had no word from James, but the Bennet daughters have good news.

Dancing on the Edge by Stephen Poliakoff

bookshelves: summer-2014, film-only, play-dramatisation, published-2013, music, racism, cults-societies-brotherhoods, nazi-related, journalism, mystery-thriller, period-piece

Read from May 30 to 31, 2014


Description: The series follows a black jazz band’s experiences in London in the 1930s. Made up of talented musicians and managed by the compassionate yet short-tempered Wesley Holt, the band gets a gig at the Imperial Hotel, by the way of the cunning journalist, Stanley Mitchell. They prove to be a hit, and become a success at the hotel. Countless aristocrats—and the Royal Family—ask the band to play at parties. The media rush to interview and photograph the band—including the ambitious American businessman, Walter Masterson and his enthusiastic employee, Julian. The band’s success spirals, they’re being offered record deals. But tragedy strikes, setting off a chain of events that may wreck the band’s career.

Chiwetel Ejiofor
Matthew Goode
Angel Coulby
John Goodman
Anthony Head
Jacqueline Bisset
Composer: Adrian Johnston

(view spoiler)

That ending – there is a sequel in the pipeline, dontcha fink? Excellent fayre.

Dancing On The Edge: Mel Smith and Matthew Goode

My Poliakoff Past:

3* Shooting the Past
TR Blinded by the Sun
4.5* Playing With Trains
5* She’s Been Away
4* The Tribe
3* A Real Summer
5* Dancing on the Edge
2* Soft Targets

Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo

bookshelves: spring-2014, afr-congo, nonfiction, journalism, published-2013, radio-4, travel, autobiography-memoir

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from May 16 to 23, 2014


BOTW

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b043wvxd

BBC Description: Stringer is Anjan Sundaram’s vivid account of self-discovery and danger in the heart of Africa. In 2005, at the age of 22, the decision to become a journalist takes Sundaram to Congo where he spends a year and a half cutting his teeth as a reporter for a news agency. With the 2006 elections approaching he immerses himself in the everyday life of this lawless and war torn country. This intense period takes him deep into the shadowy parts of Kinshasa, to the dense rain forest with an Indian businessman hunting for his fortune, and culminates in the historic and violent elections of 2006.

Episode 1: First impressions of Kinshasa, and an encounter with a group of orphaned children

Episode 2: A frightening encounter compels Anjan to re-double his efforts to find work as a reporter,

Episode 3: A journey along the River Congo leads to new insights for the journalist

Episode 4: Anjan Sundaram heads east towards the conflict and conducts an extraordinary interview.

Episode 5: Anjan observes the elections and is caught up in the disturbing aftermath.

Anjan Sundaram is an award-winning journalist who has reported from Africa and the Middle East for the New York Times and the Associated Press. He received a Reuters journalism award in 2006 for his reporting on Pygmy tribes in Congo’s rain forest.

Read by Riz Ahmed who is best known for his work in film. He has starred in The Road to Guantanamo, Shifty, Four Lions, Ill Manors and The Reluctant Fundamentalist which he also read for Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime.

Abridged by Richard Hamilton
Produced by Elizabeth Allard.

THE BUZZ ABOUT THIS BOOK:

ONE OF the most talked-about incidents at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year was the dismissal by British MP Kwasi Kwarteng of Anjan Sundaram’s decision to leave behind a cushy life in academia at 22 and travel to Congo to report on the civil war as just another case of a rich kid displaying only a voyeuristic interest in Africa. While the consensus among the chattering classes was that Kwarteng had been needlessly belligerent, it is possible to see his point of view: Sundaram had said that he went to Congo because, as he writes in Stringer, “I had lived in man’s genius for so long. I wanted to know our destructive capacities.”The Rough Guide to Reporting

Bongo-Bongo in the Congo