Hello lovely ladies,
Here we are again, getting ready to join all you ladies at the T-Party hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.
I apologize for not commenting on everyone last week. I've had my friend from Holland staying with me. We go back 51 years! (When we were at uni together).
First off is my postcard:
It comes to me from Murmansk in Russia. The sender is called Anna and is the same age as me (70).
The stamps are pretty, especially the one on the left which features an Iris Tigridia.
The Iris Tigridia is a tiger iris which grows naturally in Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and Chine. In Russia it has been put on the 'rare' list as far as conservation is concerned. (Hence the stamp I suppose)
Here is a better picture:
Tiger iris (Iris tigridia) — occurs in the Altai Territory, the Altai Republics (the village of Chechulikha-the classic location), Tyva, Khakassia and in the southern part of the Krasnoyarsk Territory (Sayan and Kurtushibinsky ranges).
The stamp series has three more irises:
All of them Russian irises.
As the card is about books, I thought I'd write about the books I have been reading.
The Huntress - Kate Quinn
Die Again- Tess Gerritsen
The Bean Tree - Barbara Kingsolver
Daughters of the dragon - William Andrews
Daughters of the Dragon - William Andrews
When twenty-year-old Anna Carlson travels from America to a Korean orphanage to locate her birth mother, she’s devastated to learn the woman is already dead. But just when it seems her search is over, a stranger hands her a parcel containing an antique comb—and an address.
That scrap of paper leads Anna to the Seoul apartment of the poor yet elegant Hong Jae-hee. Jae-hee recounts an epic tale that begins with the Japanese occupation of Korea and China during World War II, when more than two hundred thousand Korean women were forced to serve the soldiers as “comfort women.” Jae-hee knows the story well—she was one of them.
As Jae-hee’s narrative unfolds, Anna discovers that the precious tortoiseshell comb, with its two-headed ivory dragon, has survived against all odds through generations of her family’s women. And as its origins become clearer, Anna realizes that along with the comb, she inherits a legacy—of resilience and courage, love and redemption—beyond her wildest imagination.
I really enjoyed this book, because there was a good bit of history woven into the story. I knew nothing about Korea and how they became separated into north and south. Neither did I know about the 'comfort women' during WWII. The protagonist is an American girl who was adopted as a baby and she wants to find her birth mother. The story flashes back and forth from Anna's story in the present to her birth mother's story in the past.
I have since found out that there are two more books in this series, but I haven't read the others yet. (But I will if I can)
The Bean Tree - Barbara Kingsolver
The blurb goes something like this:
Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.
I did not like this book at all. The protagonist is a girl I cannot identify with at all. She comes across as intelligent but leaves home without any money, a barely functioning car and no clear destination. Someone gives her a three year old child! She keeps the child, doesn't go to the police (really?).
She settles down in a random place and makes friends with an equally weird girl with a baby. It's all very strange.
I had read La Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver and thought very highly of that one. Loved it (About Frida Kahlo) and I also liked her non-fiction book about growing her own food (Can't remember the title) which I liked. But The Bean Trees (Even the title is strange... is there such a thing?) I did not understand at all.
Book number three is Die Again by Tess Gerritsen. I will pick up a book by this writer and not even read what it's about as all her crime novels are good. This one is no exception. The protagonists again are Rizzoli (a female detective) and Maura (a pathologist).
Boston Detective Jane Rizzoli is on the case of a big game hunter found dead in his apartment, alone with the body of a beautiful white snow leopard he had recently been commissioned to procure and stuff for a high-profile museum in the area.
Medical examiner Maura Isles connects the case to a number of seemingly unrelated deaths where the victims have all been found hanging upside down, the hallmark of a leopard's kill.
Rizzoli follows the puzzling trail of clues all the way to Botswana, where she uncovers the unsolved mystery of a deadly camping safari six years prior. When she realizes the two cases are connected, Rizzoli must track down the sole survivor of the tragic trip to discover who - or what - is behind these gruesome deaths.
I loved this one. Or should I say: I 'devoured' this book, which was set partly in Botswana and partly in Boston. The story starts in Botswana with six people on a safari that goes horribly wrong. The Boston part is where Rizzoli tries to solve the murder of a big game hunter. Both storylines were as exciting as one another. Of course the stories are related but they develop parallel and kept me on my toes. I read this in a few days in spite of the fact that we had visitors (I lost sleep over this one).
The last book I want to mention is The Huntress. Possibly the best book I have read this year!
I have already reviewed a book by Kate Quinn in my blog of the 7th of September this year. (The Rose Code). This book is possibly even better!
Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying. When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. When she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, and only Nina’s bravery and cunning will keep her alive.
Transformed by the horrors he witnessed from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials, British war correspondent Ian Graham has become a Nazi hunter. Yet one target eludes him: a vicious predator known as the Huntress. To find her, the fierce, disciplined investigator joins forces with the only witness to escape the Huntress alive: the brazen, cocksure Nina. But a shared secret could derail their mission unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.
Growing up in post-war Boston, seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride is determined to become a photographer. When her long-widowed father unexpectedly comes homes with a new fiancée, Jordan is thrilled. But there is something disconcerting about the soft-spoken German widow. Certain that danger is lurking, Jordan begins to delve into her new stepmother’s past—only to discover that there are mysteries buried deep in her family . . . secrets that may threaten all Jordan holds dear.
So there are three women and three stories and all three begin near a lake. The stories of these three women are linked although you don't see this to start with. My favorite character is Nina, the Russian pilot. Again, I like the bit of history thrown in. I didn't even know that Russia had female pilots during the war. I won't say any more other than: You've got to read this!
To finish off, here are some photos from our little holiday a while back:
This is a little town called Nijar. We had a beer at a bar which had seats across the street in the shade of a large tree. This is my 'ticket' to the T-Party.
We were invited to enter this little museum. I don't like these people that stand outside some attraction and try to lure you in, but we did enter this one and we were not disappointed. The man in the photo led us through the museum. The old photos were very interesting as he had a story about each one of them.
This loom was in another room. I thought of Kathy and took several pictures of it.
The next photo is outside the bar where we had the beer. Blogger doesn't always put the photos in the order I want them in!
This is another photo from the museum. It shows crafts that were practiced in that town, and that are still practiced in our village. Like the baskets on the wall. They are made of asparto grass. My neighbour makes those.
I plan to write a blog post about this grass as there is a lot to tell and show you.
This post already is very long, so it will be for another time.
That is it from me today.
Wishing everyone a happy T-Day,