If you're feeling like curling up with a hot drink and a feel-good book then have I got a recommendation for you.
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It's getting a little cooler in the evening for me here in Australia so I love pulling a throw over me, having a nice cup of tea (Twinings Chamomile, Honey & Vanilla is my current favourite for this activity) and reading a good book either in paperback version or on my Kindle.
I read this charming novel by Phaedra Patrick on my Kindle (for free with my Kindle Unlimited membership). I had never heard of the author before, but looking at the reviews this seems to be her best novel to date. I had just finished reading a couple of psychological thrillers so wanted something easy to read and with a feel-good vibe - this one sounded like it would suit.
When we are introduced to Martha she is a single, middle-aged woman who people seem to walk all over, somewhere along the way she seems to have lost her voice and confidence. She loves books which makes her job as a volunteer librarian or in her words, 'a guardian of books' perfect for her (although she can't seem to get employed as a full-time librarian - that's another story, prepare to be frustrated on her behalf!).
I will admit there were times when I wanted to shake Martha and get her to stand up for herself, but mostly I felt very sad for her. The book went back between the present time and earlier times in her life, I couldn't help but think how different Martha's life might have turned out if her beloved grandmother Zelda had lived.
It appears as though the loss of Zelda in Martha's life saw her become more introverted and subservient, just as her father wanted. I must admit that after finishing the book I did stop and reflect on my own life because the loss of people in our lives really does have a huge impact on the things we do - but back to the review!
When Martha was younger she would write her own stories and share them with her grandmother who loved to hear them and encouraged Martha with her imagination, enter the mysterious part of the book.
Martha finds a parcel addressed to her outside of the library where she works. Inside the parcel is a book missing its cover and title page and looking very battered. On top of the book were a business card and a handwritten note from the owner of a used bookstore indicating that the book had come into his possession and was obviously unsellable, but could be of interest to her because of the message inside.
When Martha turned the pages to find what the bookshop owner meant she came across an inscription "To my darling, Martha Storm...." it was signed by her grandmother, however, the date was three years after she had died. To make it even more mysterious when Martha looked at the stories in the book she recognised many of them as ones that she had written as a child.
Join Martha on her journey, solve the mystery and see how with a little help from Suki, Owen and Siegfried Martha learns to be less of a doormat and becomes more confident in herself. I thoroughly recommend this novel for some stress relief reading on a winter's evening. If you do read it please come back and let me know your thoughts.
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