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book reviews


The book worm Our regular book worms have digested another two books for our readers and give their verdicts “


A beautifully writen rich period piece, filled with many details of their social life


The House of Velvet and Glass


This is Katherine Howe’s latest release following her successful first book, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane which was published in 2009.


Sybil Allston the eldest living daughter is keeping house for her father Lan in 1915 Boston, USA. After her mother and sister tragically perished on the Titanic Sybil constantly seeks answers and solace from a medium Mrs Dee and the spirit world. Unbeknown to Sybil she is not the only one in her family struggling with life.


Her brother who was kicked out of Harvard takes up with an actress named Dovie and it is her that introduces Sibyl to the pleasures of opium.....Sybil is so sure she can see the final hours of her mother and sister in a scrying glass when she is in the grips of the opium pipe...


This is a beautifully written rich period piece, filled with many details of their social life, working alongside and written in so perfectly are ‘interludes’ that give us a window into Eulah and her mother’s final hours on the Titanic and also the youth of the father Lan Allston.


I have to say, I did come to appreciate the unfolding of this book the more the story progressed.


The House of Velvet and Glass is quite a slow read and it is not until you get to the last third that it draws you into an unexpected revelation and then you simply cannot put it down until you know what happens.


Reviewed by Angela Norris


Reviewed by Angela Norris 


“  Written by Katherine Howe • Published by Penguin • ISBN 9780141038179


London got the 1908 games by accident... 1908 The first London Olympics


It’s been often said that the 2012 London Olympics were one of, if not, the greatest games held in the modern era, with all it’s hi-tec wizardry and the BBC devoting over 32 channels to the event. We perhaps forget that there were two other London games, both of them heralded as a triumph by the watching and participating world and putting London firmly on the map.


1908 The First London Olympics took me back to a world where the ‘gentleman’ was king and there was almost no room for female athletes nor the Paralympians. Totally unacceptable in todays modern view, but back in 1908 it was the done thing and few questioned it.


London got the 1908 Olympics totally by accident. Originally planned for Rome, the eruption of mount Vesuvius in 1906 meant the ancient city was unable to host the games and it was agreed London should step up to the mark. Just 22 nations came to the games which covered 22 sporting events. 2008 athletes took part and astoundingly only 37 of them were women!


The games were opened by King Edward VII who needed some persuasion and this sets the tone for the book which goes behind the story and explains in easy to read detail how these early games helped in the formation of what we know and love today. Well known by all is the little Italian marathon runner Dorando Pietri. We all know how he finished the marathon but what happened next? This book explains his and many other other heartwarming stories.


1908 The first London Olympics is a great weekend read, once picked up you will not want to put it down. .Reviewed by Brian Case Written by Rebecca Jenkins • Published by Piatkus • ISBN-13: 9780749929404 www.lifebeginsmagazine.com Life Begins 25








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