Book Review - Dead To Me

by Lesley Pearse (Michael Joseph) ISBN: 9780718181215

Dead To Me begins in 1935 in Hampstead Heath. Verity is a well-mannered rich girl who meets the dirty and uncouth Ruby on a spring day. When their circumstances are reversed, they help one another through the transition. Their friendship lasts a lifetime, through tragedies and injuries, and troubles with parents and boyfriends. 

Although Verity is in London and Ruby in Babbacombe for most of the Second World War, and an incident leaves them estranged for years, they eventually reconnect at just the right time. 

The novel is a harrowing story of trials and tragedies for both characters. The story makes the realities and daily life of wartime Britain more tangible. After all the challenges the two face, it is good to see their resilience shine through.  Dead To Me is a good read. 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
www.writerswrite.co.za
3.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Managing Diabetes

by Dr Arien van der Merwe (Human & Rousseau) ISBN: 9780798169417 


South African medical doctor and holistic integrative medicine practitioner, Dr Arien van der Merwe, explains the causes of diabetes and how to manage the condition in this book. 

The three different types of diabetes are explained as are the physical to emotional causes. The link between insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome to diabetes is made as well as the connection with heart disease, Alzheimer's and depression. 

There are a number of lifestyle, exercise and nutritional tips and stress management techniques. The overall advice is that the mind-body connection is key, and there is hope for the management and even reversal of the condition. 

An interesting read even for those who do not suffer from diabetes, as it is a holistic manual for how to live a healthy, happy life. 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
www.writerswrite.co.za
3/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Zodiac

by Sam Wilson (Michael Joseph) ISBN: 9780718181536 


Imagine if everything you did and were taught was determined by your Star Sign. This is the stunningly original premise of Zodiac. 

When a string of high profile, seemingly unrelated murders begin to threaten the community of San Celeste, top Detective Jerome Burton is brought in to help solve the mysteries and restore order to the city. He enlists the help of Lindi Childs, a seasoned astro-profiler to help bring the killer to justice. 

Together they begin to piece together a complex puzzle that crosses all sign-lines, that makes them start to question those higher up the chain of command and puts them in immense danger. Zodiac manages to be both a taut crime-thriller, as well as an acutely critical look at how we judge and categorise each other. 

Set in a society divided along Zodiac lines, where your identity is determined by when you were born, and cross-sign breeding is seen an abomination, this is a clever commentary on the absurdity of racism. Written by local South African author Sam Wilson, Zodiac leaves you pondering the nature of human beings, while still reeling from the final reveal. Well worth the read. 

Merissa Himraj
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Trump & Me

by Mark Singer (Allen Lane) ISBN: 9780141984971


With the presidential race ensuring a steady stream of Trump footage and memes, I had to wonder why no one had eagerly snapped up this little book to review. Then again, after the November 2016 election results people’s feelings towards the new President Elect left nothing to the imagination. 

As uncouth and bigoted as we’ve been led to believe the ‘Trumpster’ is, one still has to wonder if there is more to this man. And much to the dismay of Mark Singer from The New Yorker, there isn’t. 

Trump has become a modern day caricature who is a parody of everything the modern world has tried to disown. He is a relic who, despite being something of a maverick in his heyday, has now become like the unruly drunk relative at social gatherings who speaks his mind and sends us sprawling for cover. 

Singer discovered that there aren’t any real anecdotes or introspective slices of life when it comes to Trump. What you see, is exactly what you get. It’s a small book with a quote by Trump which sums up his feelings for this book perfectly: “Mark, you are a total loser! And your book (and writings) suck!” You be the judge. 

Ashleigh Seton-Rogers
www.writerswrite.co.za
3/5 

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - More Braai The Beloved Country

by Jean Nel (Jacana) ISBN: 978-1-4314-2429-0


More Braai The Beloved Country is the sequel to Braai The Beloved Country, and I can only imagine the delicious recipes I have missed out on from the first book. With summer on its way and braai season in full steam, it was a delicious pleasure to try some of Jean Nel’s tasty recipes. 

I loved preparing the pork belly with quince and old brown sherry sauce, whilst the men stood by the fire meeting the guidelines of Nel’s fire cooking requests. Rubbing the combination of fresh spices into the meat and glazing it with a sweet sherry chutney-like marinade, was so inviting that the two-hour cooking time was worth the wait. 

Jean’s step-by-step instructions and appealing recipes come from the heart and his favourite memories are beautiful presented in this recipe book. He uses only the best cuts of meat and recipes that can jump from the fire onto the frying pan. 

From fish to salads, and my favourite - melted brie on a plank with roasted almonds- this book is not only for braai lovers but for all food fanatics. 

Tammany Barton
www.writerswrite.co.za
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - 113 Minutes

by James Patterson with Max DiLallo (Book Shots) ISBN: 978-1-786-53041-7


The school has called Molly – it is an emergency and her son is in trouble. As she races to school, she expects the worst. But Molly is too late - her son has died from a drug overdose. She is determined to find the person who gave him the drugs and killed her son. Evidence points in one direction. 

The problem is that Molly has no money and her farm is about to be repossessed. With the help of her brothers, she robs banks and manages to pay off her debts and begins the hunt to confront the killer. The problem is that Special Agent Mason Randolph is investigating the bank robberies and Molly may spend the rest of her life in jail. Time is important. 

Patterson’s stories ‘at the speed of life’ are easy to read, and perfect for holiday getaways. Although the ending of this thriller was unpredictable but when I did reach it, I was disappointed. 

Ulrike Hill
www.writerswrite.co.za
3/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Conclave

by Robert Harris (Hutchinson) ISBN: 978-0-09-195917-3 


The Pope is dead. The eyes of the world turn toward Rome and its most powerful spiritual institution that must now find a new leader. Cardinal Lomeli is the Dean of Cardinals and the responsibility falls to him to oversee this precarious and complex process. 

Cardinals from across the globe gather at St. Peter’s for a new conclave, trusting in divine guidance to elect a new Shepherd. But there are powerful factions at work and competing agendas. Not only is there the perennial tussle between conservatives and liberals, but could the time be right for the first African Pope? Likewise, Italy has not seen a native Pope for decades and there is a strong drive for an Italian candidate. 

Lomeli has his work cut out for him, and as the Conclave is sequestered within the confines of the Sistine Chapel, he discovers that agendas are not as divine as they should be. He must work tirelessly to uncover conspiracies and treachery. Then there is the sudden appearance of a new Cardinal - previously unheard of, but chosen by the late Pope. Can he perhaps tip the scales of the Conclave? 

Conclave is a page-turner. I could not put it down and it kept me guessing till the last line. 

Wayne Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Broke And Broken

by Lucas Ledwaba and Leon Sadiki (Blackbird Books) ISBN: 978-1-928337-30-0


Lucas Ledwaba is a veteran journalist who has worked for a number of national publications and is the 2010 recipient of the CNN African Journalist Award. Leon Sadiki is a photojournalist who received the Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Award Story of the Year 2013 and CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards for his work on Marikana. 

Their collaboration in this book exposes the haunting tale of the harsh and negligent treatment of mine workers in the gold mining industry in South Africa. 

Part one of the book is a collection of stories from men who have been retrenched from various mines due to their medical inability to work. Due to their inhalation of dust in the mines, they all contracted silicosis. This is a debilitating and progressive disease of the lungs. Part two tells the stories of the families and orphans left behind due to their breadwinner dying of occupationally contracted lung diseases. Part three outlines the mine workers’ legal battle against the mining houses for re-compensation. 

Gold mining built South Africa into what it is today, and this book is a stark look at the treatment of mine workers. Broke And Broken is a compelling read with a poignantly human angle. 

Ewa Fabris
www.writerswrite.co.za
3.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Safest Place You Know

by Mark Winkler (Michael Joseph) ISBN: 9781415209097 


Home should be a refuge and solace - the safest place you know. This is not the case for Hennie Durant or Antoinette Maidenstone Basset. Both children of abusive, cruel fathers, Hennie and Antoinette are kindred spirits. 

Having lost most of his family to tragic circumstances, Hennie lives with his father Hendrik on their struggling farm, until he gets a letter from his sister, Rose. Rose has not been in contact with Hennie for six years. The letter sets in motion a chain of violent events that result in Hennie leaving the farm. 

In Cape Town, Antoinette Maidenstone Basset returns to the estate she has inherited from her estranged father. Antoinette hated Oliver Maidenstone Basset and his controlling nature. Even in his death, she finds herself tied to the estate forever due to a clause in his will that prevents her from ever leaving. 

Hennie and Antoinette’s lives intersect when Hennie arrives one afternoon at Antoinette’s wine estate, bringing with him a young mysterious girl called Charlotte who may be his long lost niece. 

The Safest Place You Know is a well-crafted story of love, betrayal and redemption.

Merissa Himraj
www.writerswrite.co.za
3.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Long Wave

by Tom Dreyer (Penguin Books) ISBN: 9781415208953


Gilbert du Toit is on a mission. He has seen fish in the sky two weeks after his father’s death. Not just one, but ‘a single mass of glistening fins’. When a shoal of fish appears for a second time, he knows these visions have meaning. 

He leaves his girlfriend and his work and goes on a road trip through the Karoo to decipher the message the fish contain. On his journey he meets several people, seeing patterns and believing there are no coincidences. ‘Without purposes things are random. And if you’ve got randomness, you’ve got nothing.’ 

I liked this book, full of symbols and deep and emotional themes. It made me think about the nature of coincidence. But there were also moments that I had to put the book away, because it almost became too repetitive. Is it a story of survival? I think it is. Du Toit needs to solve something that happened in the past. But it’s also about finding patterns in randomness. There’s even a name for it. Apophenia. Intriguing. 

Dreyer won the Eugène Marais Prize in 2001. 

Pauline Vijverberg
www.writerswrite.co.za
3.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.