#BookReview by Lou Orphans of the Storm by Celia Imrie – rated 5 stars @CeliaImrie @BloomsburyBooks #HistoricalFiction #WomensFiction #GeneralFiction #OrphansOfTheStorm #Titanic

Orphans of the Storm
By Celia Imrie

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Orphans of the Storm is a refreshing and captivating historical read that show a different side to relationships in the 1900’s. This is gripping and so engaging, with a fascinating truth about the characters within the story at the end. This is a book I highly recommend!
Discover more in the blurb and then onto my full review.
*Thanks to Bloomsbury for gifting a copy of the book, in exchange of an honest review.

Orphans of the Storm cover

About the Author

Celia Imrie is an Olivier award-winning and Screen Actors Guild-nominated actress. She is known for her film roles in The Best Exotic Marigold HotelThe Second Best Exotic Marigold HotelCalendar Girls and Nanny McPhee. Celia Imrie has recently starred in the major films Bridget Jones’s BabyAbsolutely Fabulous: The MovieYear by the Sea and A Cure for Wellness. In 2016 she also appeared in FX’s new comedy series Better Things, and returned to the stage in King Lear at The Old Vic. 2017 so far has seen Celia Imrie appear in psychological horror A Cure For Wellness. Celia Imrie is the author of an autobiography, The Happy Hoofer, and two top ten Sunday Times bestselling novels, Not Quite Nice and Nice Work (If You Can Get It).

Website: http://www.celiaimrie.info   Twitter: @CeliaImrie

Blurb

‘Gripping … An epic adventure’ ROSIE GOODWIN

‘Smashing … I was hooked on page one and literally could not put it down. I loved all that she wrote about the true story behind this thrilling tale’ JOANNA LUMLEY

Orphans of the Storm coverNice, France, 1911: After three years of marriage, young seamstress Marcella Caretto has finally had enough. Her husband, Michael, an ambitious tailor, has become cruel and controlling and she determines to get a divorce.

But while awaiting the judges’ decision on the custody of their two small boys, Michael receives news that changes everything.

Meanwhile fun-loving New York socialite Margaret Hays is touring Europe with some friends. Restless, she resolves to head home aboard the most celebrated steamer in the world – RMS Titanic.

As the ship sets sail for America, carrying two infants bearing false names, the paths of Marcela, Michael and Margaret cross – and nothing will ever be the same again.

From the Sunday Times-bestselling author, Celia Imrie, Orphans of the Storm dives into the waters of the past to unearth a sweeping, epic tale of the sinking of the Titanic that radiates with humanity and hums with life.

Review

Orphans of the Storm whisks readers back in time to September 1911, Nice, France, where readers meet Marcella, who has children and is in the process of divorcing her husband. Celia Imrie really captures that sense of nerves as Marcella wonders if she should go through with it or not, even though she has already stepped foot into the solicitor’s office. Readers also see what happened in the lead up as time flips back to 1907.
It’s an interesting part of history with this slant of life, as not many women would have contemplated this at that time, but there were some that certainly did. It brings a bit of history that isn’t talked about much or shown very little at this time. It’s certainly attention grabbing and brings, perhaps, a fresher appeal, so even if it is isn’t a reader’s usual genre or time period for reading about, I think they’ll find something different in Orphan’s of the Storm.

Marcella works as a tailor and readers are treated to all sorts of fabrics, in words, but really she would rather be a singer. The romantic entanglement was one between Marcella and Michael, but all isn’t what it seems. It becomes one of controlling behaviours. Celia Imrie captures love and this darker side very well and shows how things start to turn in this relationship and the increasing jealousy of Michael. It’s written with disarming authenticity and readers can really be pulled in further by this.

There is also some humour to be found within the characters, which lifts it and brings something more jovial to the story.

The book also shows what was happening from Michael’s life from 1912 in Calais and the people he meets. It also shows his life in London. The attention to detail is inspired. Celia Imrie has a talent for creating an epic story that enthralls and holds you there in the world she creates. There’s the crowds of people at RMS Titanic and the atmosphere and the sense of the scale of the journey being embarked, that readers then join too.

There are twists and turns that ensue, involving Marcella, Michael and the children in reaction to what happened in previous years.
There is also the fact of being on the Titanic. Although everyone knows what happens, there is still drama injected from involving the family and of course the iceberg. Tension, action and emotions are written very well, in a believable manner. The book also takes readers beyond that fateful day of the Titanic and illustrates what happened next most excellently. Moving onwards from that is a bit about the characters you’ve just read about. This book is based on some real people. A great deal of research has clearly gone into this to create not only a compelling story, but one that goes onto say a bit more about the people behind the fictional story beforehand, which is as fascinating as fiction.

The Orphans of the Storm is even better than I thought it would be and the writing really is exquisite and captivating. This is a book I highly recommend.

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#BookReview by Lou of The Artful Dickens by John Mullan #JohnMullan @BloomsburyBooks #NonFiction #Dickens

The Artful Dickens
By John Mullan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A hugely insightful book into the writing of Charles Dickens, I have a review and blurb you can check out to find out more…

I thank Bloomsbury Publishing for gifting me The Artful Dickens.

The Artful Dickens

Ever since I saw A Christmas Carol and Oliver when I was in my teenage years and in my adult years, saw a one man show of two short stories by Dickens and stage show about Charles Dickens by the great actor – Simon Callow, I have found him to be fascinating and been entertained by some of his works. Now, John Mullan has written about him too in The Artful Dickens… This book would be good for authors, lovers of Dickens and scholars. It is one for dipping in and out of, more than anything, or can be a bit heavy. It is non-the-less a valuable book to include in people’s Dicken’s collections as it is insightful.

The Artful Dickens is an incredibly indepth study, not just about him and his life about his books and elements of the man himself. Each chapter is used as different themes, whether it is smells, speech, humour, characters or writing, including changes in tenses.
It demonstrates how daring Dickens was when he wrote and changed the “shape” of writing, from what was perhaps fashionable at the time. The book demonstrates many features of the phraseology and much more, by using relevant segments of his well-known books, which are explored in great detail, but, as far as I can see, not giving spoilers as such; although this is a book that is probably best read, if you are at least a bit familiar with Dicken’s works beforehand. It would then make much more sense to the reader.
I shows that Charles Dickens was a daring writer in a sense and liked to break the rules. Tying into this is an indepth look into naming characters, coincidences and even a section on “Enjoying Cliches”. For the section on cliches, he also takes a look at what Martin Amis said about them and how Austen and Flaubert used language; as well as how cliches are and can be used. It very nicely then goes onto the spoken word. The book flows seemlessly from on subject to another, as bit by bit each book is examined to such a great deal of depth, disected and written. The research and the thought process, seems immense!

Interestingly and quite astonishingly, but true, Dickens is still influencing post-modern writers (and Ian McEwan’s book – Enduring Love is used as an example), in his so-called “unconventional narration” and how he liked to “break the rules”. The book demonstrates there is a lot to be gained by Dickens and that he did leave a legacy, in that sense, as well as his books.

Mullan then goes onto write about the smells, and let’s face it, there would have been plenty of those in Dicken’s time and not always pleasant ones; he insightfully links many to Dicken’s books, but also to what Dicken’s had said to friends, such as Wilkie Collins. Then examines the changes in tenses, starting with Edward Drood, before looking at the paranormal in a few books, but most famously – A Christmas Carol, which is always pleasing to read or hear anything about. It’s more than just the books though as he takes a study of Dicken’s life within the realms of ghosts in a surprising way.

I like that there is an examination of humour as there is plenty of that, with a mix of pathos in the likes of The Pickwick Papers. Mullen examines, quite acutely just how Dicken’s manages to make people smile and/or laugh in so many of his books.

Blurb

 

The Artful Dickens‘This is a marvellous, endlessly illuminating book … It doesn’t go on the shelf alongside other critics; it goes on the shelf alongside Dickens’ Howard Jacobson

Discover the tricks of a literary master in this essential guide to the fictional world of Charles Dickens.

From Pickwick to Scrooge, Copperfield to Twist, how did Dickens find the perfect names for his characters?

What was Dickens’s favourite way of killing his characters?

When is a Dickens character most likely to see a ghost?

Why is Dickens’s trickery only fully realised when his novels are read aloud?

In thirteen entertaining and wonderfully insightful essays, John Mullan explores the literary machinations of Dickens’s eccentric genius, from his delight in clichés to his rendering of smells and his outrageous use of coincidences. A treat for all lovers of Dickens, this essential companion puts his audacity, originality and brilliance on full display.