Friday, 24 April 2015

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: April 2015

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

It's been quite a good reading month for me with seven books read, one book that really wasn't up to much but filled the time in, three books that were OK and quite pleasant and three books that were really good. 

Out of the three really good ones, two were by British authors and one by an American author so I think my bias is showing when I have chosen an English author as my best book this month.  

All three were totally different genres and times so it was difficult to choose because they are not like-for-like.  All were missing that elusive fifth star rating but all three books I would recommend to others to read.

So my book of the month is: 

A Rose in Flanders Fields
(The Oakland Manor Trilogy) Book 2
Terri Nixon 

Book Description from Amazon
Publication Date: 17 July 2014
1917. Driving an ambulance through the mud in Flanders, aristocrat Evie Creswell is a long way from home. At Oaklands Manor all she had been expected to do was to look pretty and make a good marriage. But with the arrival of World War One everything changed…

And Evie, to the horror of her family, does not choose a husband from her blue-blooded set; instead she weds artist Will Davies, who works as a butcher’s apprentice. Soon she is struggling nightly to transport the wounded to hospital, avoiding the shells and gas attacks – her privileged home life, and her family’s disappointment at her marriage, a lifetime away. 

And while Evie drives an ambulance in Belgium, Will is in the trenches in France. He withdraws from her, the trauma of his experience taking hold. Evie has the courage to deal with her war work, but it breaks her heart to think she is losing Will’s love. Can their marriage survive this terrible war? That is, if they both get out alive…

This is Book 2 in the trilogy which I didn't realise when I downloaded it but it made no difference to my enjoyment of reading the book.

1912 and the times and culture are beginning to change, women and the suffragette movement, the rich and the poor, upstairs/downstairs.  Evie, born to privilege, falls in love with Will who is working as a butcher’s boy, keeping their romance a secret due to the differences in their class they decide that they will marry.

World War I arrives and Will enlists and Evie becomes an ambulance driver near the front line.  The reader becomes emotionally involved with the two main characters and supporting characters have a main part in the book as well.  There are shocks, there are romantic moments, there are many threads to this book that come together.

The dire conditions of the trenches, the cold, the mud, the tragedies that occur will keep you biting your lips and thinking about what the brave men and women did during this horrible period. 

The times have been well researched and well written (a few typos on Kindle) and the action moves quite quickly although I did wonder how they were able to travel reasonably freely from France to the UK and back.
I will now seek out Book 1 and Book 3 in the Oakland Manor series. 
in case you were interested in my other two 'really good books' they were:
Book Description from Amazon
Publication Date: 22 Nov. 2013

Master Sergeant Lauren Harper, an African-American career soldier, always has her eye on the mission, especially when on a deployment to a war-torn country like Bosnia. While Harper is dedicated to her mission, she’s not a super combat operative trained to kill people with her bare hands. She is a smart, but human military professional caught in an impossible situation.

When Specialist Virginia Delray, a soldier under Harper’s authority, is murdered, military investigators need a speedy resolution. Delray is Harper’s roommate and the young southern girl’s incompetence had sparked Harper’s temper more than once for everyone to witness. For the investigators, the shortest route to closing the case could lead directly to Harper.

When investigators find evidence of an attraction between Harper and her commanding officer, Colonel Neil McCallen—an attraction the married man returns but has never acted on—covering up an illicit affair becomes the motive the investigators searched for.

Harper’s freedom hinges on the answer to one question: If she didn’t kill Delray, who did?

With help from British Special Operations soldier, Sergeant Major Harry Fogg, Harper learns Delray’s murder is only one piece in a much larger conspiracy. The details come into focus, first on life at a remote NATO base, then on misery in the aftermath of war, and finally on the brutal truth.


Book Description from Amazon
Publication Date: 8 April 2013
When a young woman is found dead on an allotment early one morning, Furnivall and Stubbs are summoned to the scene. She is lying on her back, fully dressed in undamaged clothes, and yet somehow she has bled to death. A monster has come to stay in a slightly run- down suburb in a small town at the heart of Queen Victoria’s Empire. The investigation will take them into the world of hard- headed criminal business as well as to the heart of one man’s madness.


  1. WWI is getting a lot of overdue attention these days. Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances generally works well for stories, too.

  2. Hmm... Well, none of those three actually seem to be up my alley, though I like the title of the second one.

  3. I've seen some TV shows and movies in which Brits go to the rescue of family members in hospitals near the front. Maybe it really did happen.


  4. I love historical romance. Thanks for your thoughts on this book! Might I recommend a couple? Lisette's List and At the Water's Edge are two I really liked recently--they are WWII-era mystery/thriller/romance.

    Thanks for sharing!