The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Widely regarded as a modern classic, The Stone Diaries is the story of one woman’s life; that of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman born in Canada in 1905. Beautifully written and deeply compassionate, it follows Daisy’s life through marriage, widowhood, motherhood, and old age, as she charts her own path alongside that of an unsettled century. A subtle but affective portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional life, this multi-award winning story deals with everyday issues of existence with an extraordinary vibrancy and irresistible flair.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this novel and it didn’t take me long to realise that I had never read anything like it before and it would be a long time before I would again. 

It starts in 1905 when Daisy is born and steadily covers all of her life and a short period after her death. She doesn’t have an overly exciting life, just a normal one but it was fascinating to see how she coped with love, loss and family life. She sees a lot of change during her long life. Both wars and Kennedy’s assassination are mentioned but only briefly. None had a huge impact on her and those she knows.

It’s not just her version of history you see. Her children, friends and brief associates also have their voice and I found that I learned more about Daisy from them rather than her. Some had more of an impact than others, in particular her mother in law who did make me smile initially but I also saw a venomous streak.

One of my favourite parts which didn’t really include her was when her father in law, Magnus, returned to his roots. It showed how just one of the many who crossed the seas yearned for their former life.

It’s often witty, often sad but what stands out is this is just a normal life. 

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

The Rain Watcher is a powerful family drama set in Paris as the Malegarde family gathers to celebrate the father’s 70th birthday. Their hidden fears and secrets are slowly unraveled as the City of Light undergoes a stunning natural disaster. Seen through the eyes of charismatic photographer Linden Malegarde, the youngest son, all members of the family will have to fight to keep their unity against tragic circumstances. In this profound and intense novel of love and redemption, De Rosnay demonstrates all of her writer’s skills both as an incredible storyteller but also as a soul seeker.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Having read and wept through Sarah’s Key a few years ago I knew I’d be reading something special. I wasn’t disappointed but this book is completely different to that.

It is set during the Paris floods when the family meet up to celebrate the birthday of Paul, the father, and also his and Lauren’s wedding anniversary. But with the floods and the health of both of them the weekend doesn’t go as planned.

At first it appeared that nothing much was happening but then I started to see it a bit differently. If you don’t enjoy nature or photography much of it may not be appreciated. The author shows how the natural world is something special, it is needed to help keep us safe from various things, including dangerous weather conditions, and over building is destroying it and could cause irreparable damage to the way we live. And there is the side to it that makes you feel safe and at a distance from the more dubious sides of society. How being to identify flora, fauna and wildlife can give you a special feeling. Even the names of the younger members of the family have a connection to nature. Linden, Tilia and Mistral.

With the photography the author shows that there is more happening around you than the touristy scenic shots. There was a part where a photograph was taken during the devastation of the Versailles gardens that showed poignancy but nothing was staged. It was raw desolation and it was something I could visualise very clearly. It wasn’t the only scene, the trip along the river, the deserted areas and ruined properties. Linden could see beyond the selfies of people with umbrellas.

And she shows how many families can’t or don’t speak to each other. As the weekend progresses secrets are revealed and dealt with. All of them show that it is important to talk and a how lot of misery could have been avoided by doing so. The characters are amazing, particularly Mistral, Linden and Paul.

It is only a short novel but it isn’t a quick book to read. I found myself on the internet a lot, looking at photographs of Paris under water. It is one I will definitely need to read again because there will be a lot I missed.