Book Review - The Bridge Ladies - A Memoir

by Betsy Lerner (MacMillan) ISBN: 9781447272519


Award-winning author and long-time editor Betsy Lerner is a partner in a literary agency when her husband’s job relocation brings her back to her childhood hometown of New Haven, Connecticut. The prospect of living a stone’s throw from her 83-year-old, widowed mother makes Betsy anxious. Their relationship has always been a brittle affair. 

Now, at 54, can she find a way to stop reacting like a rebellious child to the perceived criticisms her mother fires at her? Can her stoical, disciplined Jewish mother let her guard down for a daughter who wears her heart on her sleeve, doesn’t have her hair done or visit a manicurist weekly, isn’t always dressed up and accessorised meticulously? 

Betsy takes to attending her mother’s Monday bridge club get-togethers with Bea, Bette, Rhoda and Jackie. For 55 years the bridge club has been an integral part of the ladies’ lives and friendships. In time Betsy gets to know and appreciate the ladies. She takes bridge lessons. 

Gradually she realises that she has gained far more than a skill and passion for the game; she has learnt much about herself and finally has discovered how to enjoy a rewarding mother-daughter relationship. 

Irene Roper
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 - Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter

by Diana Athill (Granta) ISBN: 9781783782543


Diana Athill OBE was born in Norfolk in 1917. After graduating from Oxford and working for the BBC throughout WWII, Diana entered the publishing industry where she was an editor for over 50 years, collaborating with many well-known authors. 

While maintaining an unusual lifestyle filled with unconventional relationships Diana blossomed into an award-winning author, becoming best known for her memoirs. 

In this collection, Diana’s essays tell of childhood adventures in her grandparents’ large garden at Ditchingham Hall, of romances and love affairs, of the sad loss of her baby and brush with death during a miscarriage at age 43, of growing old and moving into a care home to find unexpectedly rewarding relationships and a new kind of happiness. 

I enjoyed all of the essays but the one that I found most thought-provoking told of Diana’s thoughts on the situation in Trinidad and Tobago. Her insights into the interaction between the people of Tobago and British expats living on the island, also the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago raise questions about colonialism and its aftermath. 

Irene Roper
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 - Stars of Fortune

Book one of The Guardians Trilogy by Nora Roberts (Piatkus) ISBN: 978 0 349 40780 7 


Sasha is a successful young artist, solitary, contented in her North Carolina mountain cottage. She begins dreaming night and day about five young people whom she feels she knows yet doesn’t. They urge her to travel to a place where she will gather them around her. As a team they will embark on a dangerous quest to find the star. 

Sasha has no idea what this means, but knows she is a seer who can no longer downplay her gift. She must trust her dreams. She will meet a dark haired man whose intense eyes mesmerise her. He carries lightning in his hands. Long, long ago she loved him deeply. She sees a tall man with a sword, another with a golden compass and two beautiful, magical women with secrets. Sasha creates detailed sketches and paintings of them all. She will know them when she finds them. 

She sees cliffs and wild seas, sunlight and great beauty, but also darkness, storms, blood and pain. She must journey to the Greek island of Corfu to meet her destiny. 

Irene Roper
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 - The Way Things Were

by Aatish Tazeer (Picador) ISBN 9781447272724 


At thirty-something, Skanda is living and studying Sanskrit in New York City when his father dies. Skanda accompanies his father’s body to Kalasuryaketu, a remote Indian village where his father will be laid to rest. This is his father’s birthplace and the backdrop to his parents’ passionate but ill-fated relationship that ended when Skanda was ten. 

Reconnecting with family and friends in India takes Skanda on a journey of discovery that re-shapes his outlook on life. It deepens his understanding of these people, of suffering and survival and of his father’s teachings. He owes his own abiding love for Sanskrit with its golden thread of ancient Indian history to his father. 

The 565-page (times two) adventure that I undertook with Skanda captivated me so completely that I am considering reading the book for a third time, a unique idea in my book-reading history. 

Aatish Tazeer, 36, lives in New Delhi and New York. His writing is poetic but unsentimental. I find his rich vocabulary and etymological take on words fascinating. His previous three books have enjoyed literary acclaim. He and his mother are journalists. His father, as Governor of Punjab, was assassinated in 2011 for opposing a law criminalising blasphemy. 

Irene Roper
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.