#AWW2016 Review – A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester #kissfitz

#kissfitz

I’ve been a follower of Natasha Lester’s blog for some time now – she always has fantastic information for writers – even before I’d read any of her novels! I think I fell in love with ‘A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald’ from the moment I first read about it, and I certainly was not disappointed.

‘A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald’ is a break from Natasha’s previous publications which were both more literary: ‘What is Left Over, After’ and ‘If I Should Lose You’. (I haven’t read ‘What is Left Over, After’, but I loved ‘If I Should Lose You’ – it reminded me very much of Jodi Picoult’s novels).

#kissfitz (as the twitter hashtag goes), is a historical romance set in 1920’s New York [think Great Gatsby], but it’s not your average romance either. Evie is coming of age in a time where it’s still the accepted thing for young women to marry and stay home with their needle-work. But Evie wants something more – in fact, at a time when Universities were only just opening their doors to female students, she wants to study medicine.  Unfortunately her family and intended fiance, Charles Whitman will not abide by it. Luckily she has a supporter in Charles’ mother, and she soon finds support from another, rather unexpected source.

This is a beautiful book, and such a well-written story! Highly recommended, I was hooked right from the start!

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Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2014

awwbadge_2014

I made a pledge at the beginning of this year to read and review 6 books by female Australian authors. I thought it would be easy – I read all the time and writing a review of each book would be no trouble.

Sadly I got a little sidetracked along the way – the later stages of pregnancy and the early stages of having a newborn took up a good deal of my attention – especially the newborn bit – and then in more recent times there have been other issues taking up my  time and energy. In the end I managed to review the following (click on each title to go to the review):

The Sinkings by Amanda Curtain

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

if I should lose you by Natasha Lester

I also managed to read Elemental by Amanda Curtain, Land of the Sleeping Gods (non-fiction) compiled by Jane Cooper, Tiddas by Anita Heiss, and probably several others I forgot to record!

I am hoping to repeat the challenge next year, with a new lot of novels by female Australian authors, so look out for a post early in the new year with more details.

In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful and safe holiday period, and a very happy new year!

if I should lose you – Natasha Lester – Review #aww2014

if I should lose you

I’ve been following the blog of Australian Author, Natasha Lester for a while now. She has some great content, and her books have been on my reading list for some time. But it was this blog post that propelled her novel ‘if I should lose you’ to the top of my TBR list.

In the post, Natasha gives 10 tips on how to write a brilliant beginning, and then she does a very brave thing – she allows us to see the original draft of the first chapter or so of ‘if I should lose you’, and compare it with the final published version, so we can see where the first draft was lacking, and how those issues were cleared up in the final copy. If you’re a writer, you might want to check it out, and even if you are not, it’s really interesting to see the changes that were made from first to final drafts.

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‘if I should lose you’ tells the story of Camille, a transplant coordinator whose role is to support families through the difficult decision to donate their loved ones organs. At home she is on the other side of the fence, desperately awaiting a donor liver for her own sick child. The stress has impacted on her marriage, which seems to be slowly and surely crumbling away. When she’s asked to curate an exhibition of her late father’s sculptures she jumps at the chance to add a bit of interest and excitement to her life, but in the process learns more than she bargained for about her (both deceased) parents.

This may sound like an odd thing to say, but I was really satisfied with the ending. I can’t really say why without giving any spoilers, except that it was not the ending I was expecting (because I had an expectation that most books end in a certain way, and so I thought this would be ‘most books’), and while this left a little uncertainty about certain matters, I felt it was the right way to end the story.

Natasha Lester does a remarkable job of delving deep into the emotions of parenthood, marriage, and the horror and guilt of waiting, or worse still, hoping, for the death of another child so the life of your own might be saved. If you’re a fan of Jodi Picoult, I highly recommend you pick up this book.