Order In Court – Book Review

Order In Court by David Osborne is an odd, but fun little book. Each Chapter is a new adventure by Barrister Toby Potts. From his love life to his court life, everything is just a little odd – but so are all his clients.

I purchased the book because the tease said it was humor, and I was pleasantly surprised his unique style of writing made me laugh out loud. Mr. Osborne has a gift for turning your tongue. And his subtle humor and innuendo is refreshing.

“Gettig squiffy on rough cider” makes it clear what was going on. Mr. Dan D Lyon is yet another of his characters you’ll want to know more about. He pokes fun at just about everyone, but in a kind way. And you’ll need to be paying attention as you read, the hidden barbs and twists are cleverly woven into the text and all are worth a chuckle.

4 Stars for Mr. Osborne’s latest.

The Flower Sellers – A Tale of Two Sisters

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

That phrase never appeared in my latest read – “A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers” by Hazel Gaynor. The children of historic London were the flower sellers – watercress, roses, lavendar, shamrocks, each season there was one special nosegay Spirit of 13 - Book Reviewthey sold on the street to the affluent Britains. It was there they learned to take each day as it comes, don’t wrorry about the future, leave the past where it is. It was there that “little mothers” were born. They were the children who raised their younger siblings in the absence of any parents. It was there the street Urchins might meet Mr. Shaw and be chosen to live and work at his Watercress and Flower Girls Facility in Clerkenwell.

The street urchins of London in the 1800’s, results of polio, accients and abandonment, were like most of the street children – they wore tattered,m dirty frocks, which hun off their undernourished bodies and went about barefoot. Mr. Shaw “sensed that it would be only y housing the girls, removing them permanently from theirlife on the streets and providing them a purpose, that we could ever make a real and lasting difference to their lives.”

The houses were called a “Crippleage”, but they were places where children learned that “to love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth”. They learned to make silk flowers by the hundreds, and they learned to care and share.

This is my best read of 2015, at least thus far. Ms. Gaynor has done a wonderful job telling their true story, all the while asking “Is this an ending or a beginning?” Good question – one I should have asked myself over the years. The love of two sisters, the sorrow of childhood poverty, the history of women in society, the compassion of a London man who owned an engraving business who had #enough and hired a room for hot cocoa and bread and butter.

A must read.

The Strength to Take Criticism

I haven’t posted any reviews lately because I’ve been Beta Reading for a variety of authors.  What fun and how talented these women are.  And I think the most impressive part is their willingness to accept comments on their efforts.

I do believe writing a book is like raising a child, at least the first time out.  They grow inside you until you deliver the product to your own world.  Then you spend the next period of time developing them to greet the outside world.

And then the criticism begins – too big, too little, not focused, confusing storyline, etc.  You hate to think your child is less than perfect, but those that ask for feedback are the champions.  Their work improves and they write better.  As parents we get help from family, friends and physicians and we product healthier children.

And when the product is done and out on its own we have all those wonderful memories.  For the Author, you start another story.  For the parent, you can either start again with grandchildren or maybe write a story.  Either way, the process begins again.  Be proud of your success and unafraid to ask for comments.  I get better books to read and the world gets better people.

I’ll have a couple of reviews for you in the next month.  Until then – – –

Jana

The Crimson Petal & The White – Review

An historical novel of England and its many houses of ill repute. One Lady of the Night, Miss Sugar, has her special story told when she’s discovered by a wealthy industrialist.

There were three issues I had with the book that made it a difficult read for me. First, the author spent 1/3 of the book in lurid sexual scenes and encounters that really, in my opinion, added little to the overall quality of a great story.

Second, Miss Sugar spends hours following her benCrimson Petalefactor and his wife around in public places and is never noticed? I found that difficult to believe and that made it hard to believe in the other characters.

Third, the author missed an opportunity to introduce Miss Sugar and her mother at the beginning of the story to give the ending more significance.

The ending has been discussed by some of our book club members, and other reviewers as awful. I didn’t mind it. The author really had no place to go except there and he did leave an opening for Book 2. But Book 2 would have to be better organized for me to purchase it.

This long, wordy novel would be a fine check-out for Prime Club Members, but not for your hard-earned dollars, thus I rated it 3 Stars.

Before Versailles: Before the History You Know…a Novel of Louis XIV

Before VersaillesBefore Versailles

Karleen Koen writes the life of Louis XIV during a three month period in 1661.  At 22 years of age, he has the opportunity to change the face of the court and its workings by taking charge of departments upon the death of  Cardinal Marzarin.  Although he is replaced by an equally powerful man, Viscount Nicholas, ultimately King Louis removes him from office.

The intrigues of court would not be complete without the intrigues of the women that made the court their life.  Intrigue, rivalries, jealousies, and outright power struggles between the women were normal and the writing helped to define the role of women in society at the highest level.  The dress, help, social mores and values help to clearly define the progress for women from slave and bedmate to business owners and elected officials.

I found the social aspects of the period colorful, dangerous, and full of intrigue.  Written from a woman’s perspective, it may not have the swashbuckler of other authors about the King, it has immense value in defining “the game of court”, the concept of marriage, and the true test of the period – loyalty.