Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Non Fiction, New Books, Non-Fiction

Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters Andrew Morton 4*#Review @OMaraBooks @andrewmortonUK @LoveBooksGroup @Lovebookstours #lovebookstours #ElizabethandMargaret

The first in-depth dual-biography of Elizabeth & Margaret, written by the bestselling royal biographer, Andrew Morton.

They were the closest of sisters and the best of friends.

But when, in a quixotic twist of fate, their uncle Edward VIII decided to abdicate the throne, the dynamic between Elizabeth and Margaret was dramatically altered. Forever more, Margaret would have to curtsey to the sister she called ‘Lillibet’. And bow to her wishes.

Elizabeth would always look upon her younger sister’s antics with a kind of stoical amusement but Margaret’s struggle to find a place and position inside the royal system – and her fraught relationship with its expectations – was often a source of tension. Famously, the Queen had to inform Margaret that the Church and government would not countenance her marrying a divorcee, Group Captain Peter Townsend, forcing Margaret to choose between keeping her title and royal allowances or her divorcee lover.

From the idyll of their cloistered early life, through their hidden wartime lives, into the divergent paths they took following their father’s death and Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne, this book explores their relationship over the years. Andrew Morton, renowned bestselling author of Diana: Her True Story, offers unique insight into these two drastically different sisters – one resigned to duty and responsibility, the other resistant to it – and the lasting impact they have had on the Crown, the royal family and the way it has adapted to the changing mores of the twentieth century.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from O’Mara Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a fascinating insight into the Windsor sisters life and relationships.

It is extensively researched and peppered with anecdotal and historical details. The sense of duty expected from the royal princesses is evident throughout this biography. The writing style is intimate, and immersive drawing the reader into the Royal world at a time of constitutional crisis and change.

The book is both entertaining and informative. There are scandalous elements, although these are quite sedate when compared with twenty-first-century scandals. The enormity of becoming Queen at such a young age comes across well in this book.

This is an enjoyable, insightful read with some lovely images to illustrate the text.

ANDREW MORTON is one of the world’s best-known biographers and a leading authority on modern celebrity. His groundbreaking 1992 biography revealed the secret world of Princess Diana, prompting Tina Brown to declare in The Diana Chronicles, “The journalist Morton most reminds me of is Bob Woodward.” Diana: Her True Story became a #1 New York Times bestseller, as did Monica’s Story, Morton’s portrait of the young woman behind the blue dress in the Clinton White House.

The winner of numerous awards, including Author of the Year by the British Book Awards and Scoop of the Year by the London Press Club, he lives in London and has travelled extensively in the U.S., Canada, and Europe in his research for this biography.

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Bookstagram, New Books, Non-Fiction

Hamilton and Me {An Actor’s Journal} Giles Terera 5*#Review @GilesTerera @NickHernBooks @midaspr #Acting #musicaltheatre #diversity #journal #BlogTour #BookReview #nonfiction #motivational #HamiltonandMe

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and Nick Hern Books via MidasPR in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Based on Giles Terera’s journal entries, this book gives the reader insight into the actor’s process as he auditions, prepares, rehearses and performs the character of Aaron Burr in the London production of the musical Hamilton.

Whilst I’ve heard about this musical I have never seen it, but I quickly became absorbed in this actor’s view of the production. It’s easy to read and hard to put down. Honest, insightful and reflective, the book takes the reader to the heart of this iconic piece of musical theatre, its motivations and outcomes and what it meant to play such a pivotal role in it.

Interspersed with images from the show, at its various stages, and the author’s thoughts about the casting and the company, it gives the reader a unique perspective on what is involved in bringing a musical theatre production to life.

The relationship between actor and character is particularly fascinating.

A book that will have wide audience appeal whether you are a Hamilton fan, a student of acting or someone seeking an informed, intense and intriguing read.

Giles Terera

Giles Terera MBE is an award-winning actor, musician and writer. He trained at Mountview Theatre School and has worked consistently at venues such as the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe. He is best known for originating the role of Aaron Burr in the London production of the award-winning musical Hamilton, for which he won the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Memoir, Non-Fiction

When Harry Met Minnie Martha Teichner 4*#Review #Biography #Memoir @Octopus_Books #MarthaTeichner #WhenHarryMetMinnie #NewYork #Friendship #Loss #Serendipity #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours

I decided to write this book, because I didn’t want to stop living the story of what happened when Harry met Minnie. I didn’t want to forget any of it, even the sad parts. This story of unexpected friendship, of love, was a wonderful gift, and in the end, it made me and Minnie happy.

Martha Teichner, CBS Sunday Morning News correspondent and multi-award-winner.

There’s a special camaraderie among early-morning dog walkers. In this special space and time, a chance encounter with an old acquaintance changed Martha Teichner’s world. As fate would have it, her friend knew someone who was dying of cancer, from exposure to toxins after 9/11, and desperate to find a home for her dog, Harry. He was a Bull Terrier, the same breed as Martha’s dear Minnie. Martha agrees to meet Harry and his owner Carol. What begins as a transaction involving a dog becomes a deep and meaningful friendship between two women with complicated lives and a love of Bull Terriers in common.

Through the heartbreak and grief of Carol’s illness, the bond that develops changed Martha’s life, Carol’s life, Minnie’s life, Harry’s life.As it changed Carol’s death as well.
Loneliness as a topic is becoming more and more prominent – especially in these uncertain times. This book explores what can happen when we take the time to talk to those around us.

This is a memoir of love and loss, of being in the right place at the right time, and of the mysterious ways a beloved pet can bring people together.

I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Emotional, honest and well written, this story is about pet friends, serendipitous meetings and the power of love. This book is full of interesting facts about New York, television journalism and design. With some lovely images in the centre of the book that poignantly illustrate the text.

Harry Met Minnie is lovely if a little sad to read. Those who share their lives with dogs will relate to the humour and poignancy of this book. The characters, both dog, and human are easy to like drawing the reader into their lives.

I enjoyed reading this biography/memoir.

Martha Teichner has been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning”
since December 1993. Since joining CBS News in 1977, Teichner has earned multiple national awards for her original reporting, including 11 Emmy Awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and five James Beard Foundation Awards.

Martha has reported on some of the largest national and international stories of
this era, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the run-up to the war in Iraq, the death of Princess Diana and the life and death of Nelson Mandela. She’s interviewed world leaders and other newsmakers, including then-first lady Hillary Clinton.

Now based in New York, Teichner spent more than a dozen years as a foreign correspondent covering major international news. Teichner was twice assigned to the CBS News London bureau (1980-1984, 1989-1994), covering the Northern Ireland hunger strikes, the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and was one of only a handful of female war correspondents.

Teichner covered the Lebanon War, the 1st Intifada in 1988 in Israel and the West Bank, embedded with the US First Armored Division in the Persian Gulf War, covered the conflicts associated with the collapse of Yugoslavia (Slovenia,
Croatia and Bosnia) and spent three years in South Africa during the last years of apartheid. She reported on the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the Romanian revolution. Teichner also spent several weeks in the Bolivian jungle covering undercover operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction

Under the Light of the Italian Moon Jennifer Anton 5* #Review @boldwomanwrites @AmsterdamPB #HistFic #Italy #WW2 #Women @RandomTTours. #Love #Family #underthelightoftheitalianmoon

A promise keeps them apart until WWII threatens to destroy their love forever

Fonzaso Italy, between two wars 

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.

When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.

As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…

A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events.

Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into WWII.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publishers in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Inspired by the author’s family history, this story focuses on the community of Fonzaso in Northern Italy. It spans two world wars, political extremes and working in America. It celebrates the important role of courageous women during this time of atrocity and deprivation.

Vividly portrayed characters draw the reader into the women’s world. Highlighting their courage, ingenuity, losses and sacrifices, as they keep their community viable, families fed, and the vulnerable protected.

An epic love story sits at its centre, which is gentle, enduring and passionate. The immersive writing engages, and likeable protagonists ensure the reader’s empathy.

Jennifer Anton

Jennifer Anton is an American/Italian dual citizen born in Joliet, Illinois now living between London and Lake Como, Italy. An advocate for women’s rights and equality, she hopes to rescue women’s stories from history, starting with her Italian family.

In 2006, after the birth of her daughter, Jennifer suffered a life-threatening postpartum cardiomyopathy, and soon after, her Italian grandmother died. This tumultuous year began a 14-year journey to capture the stories of her female Italian ancestors and develop them into a historical/biographical fiction novel. In 2012, she moved with her family to Milan, Italy. Later, she moved to London where she has
held leadership positions with companies including Revlon and Tory Burch.

Under the Light of the Italian Moon is her first novel, based on the lives of her Italian
grandmother and great grandmothers during the rise of fascism and World War II

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Historical Non Fiction, Non-Fiction

Jane Austen’s Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd. Zoe Wheddon 4*#Review @ZoeWheddon @penswordbooks #nonfiction #Biography #JaneAusten #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #JaneAustensBestFriend

All fans of Jane Austen everywhere believe themselves to be best friends with the beloved author and this book shines a light on what it meant to be exactly that. Jane Austen’s Best Friend; The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd offers a unique insight into Jane’s private inner circle. Through this heart-warming examination of an important and often overlooked person in Jane’s world, we uncover the life changing force of their friendship. Each chapter details the fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. Within these pages we will relive their shared interests, the hits and misses of their romantic love lives, their passion for shopping and fashion, their family histories, their lucky breaks and their girly chats. This book offers a behind the scenes tour of the shared lives of a fascinating pair and the chance to deepen our own bonds in ‘love and friendship’ with them both.

Amazon UK Amazon Waterstones Pen and Sword

I received an digital ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a well-researched biography of Martha Lloyd, a close friend and confidante of Jane Austen. It’s informative yet lively writing style brings characters and events to vibrant life. The book explores Martha’s life and highlights their friendship at pivotal times. Chapters on their first meeting, her influence on Jane’s early writing career, their forays into romance, and their love of fashion all illuminate their friendship in an engagingly vivid way.

The author’s depth of knowledge and respect for the writer is evident and makes this an enjoyable read for all.

Jane Austen’s Best Friend – Extract – Zoe Wheddon

It is so true that all of us who love Jane Austen would love to have been one of her actual friends. This extract goes right to the heart of the book – it focuses on the reason why we so want to read it – to get closer to Jane and to stop and pause for a moment to soak in all the wonder of what it would have been like to have been her very best friend. It is also a lovely moment to pause and reflect on the overwhelming gratitude we feel as her fans that she did indeed have such a friend, to love and cherish her as we would all do if we only had the chance.

Martha Lloyd occupied a sure and steady place centre stage in Jane Austen’s heart from a young age, and Jane held on tightly to her friendship throughout her journey towards a literary career and beyond, even to the very end of her life. Although heartbreakingly they would become sisters, in the legal sense, only posthumously, Jane often referred to Martha in the most familial of terms and felt as though she had been blessed with a treasure, another who occupied the same precious place in her heart and mind as her blood family.

Zoe Wheddon

‘A native of Jane Austen’s beloved county of Hampshire, Zoe Wheddon, lives in a village on the outskirts of the touwn that she and her husband Matt grew up in, with three grown up children and a cat called Leia.

She co-presents the popular podcast What Would Jane Do and writes articles and book reviews on matters relating to friendship, self-compassion and personal development on her blog. When not researching or writing her next book, Zoe can be found in the classroom teaching Spanish and French or singing ABBA songs loudly in her kitchen.’

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Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Non-Fiction

5*#Review The Philosopher Queens: The lives and legacies of philosophy’s Unsung Women @RebeccaBuxton @lisawhiting_ @unbounders #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours #ThePhilosopherQueens

#ThePhilosopherQueens
Backcover

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Unbound Publishers in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The Philosopher Queens is a beautifully illustrated collection of biographies of female philosophers from ancient time to the present time. This is just a few of the women who most books on great philosophers overlook, more are listed at the end. There is also a list of further reading sources and details about the contributors. A colourful illustration prefaces each concise biography. It is of interest to those who like to learn but also a textbook for those studying philosophy more widely.

This is a well-presented book. It informs and intrigues the reader to find out more about these remarkable women and their work.

Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting

The Editors…

Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting met at secondary
school, where they discovered a shared passion for
philosophy. Rebecca is a DPhil student at the University
of Oxford, where her research focuses on the political
rights of refugees and forced migrants. Lisa is completing
her MSc in Government, Policy and Politics at Birkbeck,
University of London. Alongside studying, she works as a
policy advisor in areas concerning practical ethics. Both
Rebecca and Lisa are available for events, interview and
features, as are various contributors.

Posted in Biography, Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction

Love in the Biltz Eileen Alexander 4*#Review @WmCollinsBooks #EileenAlexander #LoveintheBlitz #Biography #Memoirs #LoveLetters #WW2

When the papers say that people in London are behaving normally, they’re telling the truth. Everyone is pretending as hard as possible that nothing is happening … I don’t think Hitler will destroy London, because London, if its legs are blown away, is prepared to hobble on crutches.

In summer 1939, war was brewing. Eileen Alexander was a bright young graduate just leaving Cambridge and newly smitten with Gershon Ellenbogen, a fellow student who had inadvertently involved her in a car crash. Her first letter to him, written from hospital, sparked a correspondence that would last the length of the war and define the love of their lifetimes.

Love in the Blitz is a remarkable portrait of one woman’s coming-of-age. Her previously undiscovered letters are vivid, intimate, and crackling with intelligence. She is frank about sex and her ambitions, hilariously caustic about colleagues, rationing rules and life on the homefront, and painfully honest about loving a man away at war. The discovery of these magical letters must count as the greatest literary find of the 21st century.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from William Collins Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts….

A chance discovery, these love letters give a young woman’s insights into wartime Britain. The book begins with a history of the letters and a history of the woman and the wartime period. There are many letters, only a few are featured. They are honest and reveal the young woman’s beliefs, feelings and motivations.

This educated and privileged perspective of wartime living is intrinsically valuable. The letters ramble in parts and are full of the writer’s idiosyncrasies. Rather like a good fictional character, these are flawed but more relatable because of this.

This is a book for those who like wartime history, love stories, personal observations and reflections.

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction

Living Among The Dead – My Grandmother’s Holocaust Survival Story of Love and Strength -Adena Bernstein Astrowsky 5* #Review #memoir #BlogTour #BookReview @adena_astrowsky @AmsterdamPB #RandomThingsTours #AmsterdamPublishers #FridayReads #NeverForget #LivingAmongTheDead @annecater

This is the story of one remarkable young woman’s unimaginable journey through the rise of the Nazi regime, the Second World War, and the aftermath. Mania Lichtenstein’s dramatic story of survival is narrated by her granddaughter and her memories are interwoven with beautiful passages of poetry and personal reflection. Holocaust survivor Mania Lichtenstein used writing as a medium to deal with the traumatic effects of the war. Many Jews did not die in concentration camps, but were murdered in their lifelong communities, slaughtered by mass killing units, and then buried in pits. As a young girl, Mania witnessed the horrors while doing everything within her power to subsist. She lived in Włodzimierz, north of Lvov (Ukraine), was interned for three years in the labor camp nearby, managed to escape and hid in the forests until the end of the war.

Although she was the sole survivor of her family, Mania went on to rebuild a new life in the United States, with a new language and new customs, always carrying with her the losses of her family and her memories.

Seventy-five years after liberation, we are still witnessing acts of cruelty born out of hatred and discrimination. Living among the Dead reminds us of the beautiful communities that existed before WWII, the lives lost and those that lived on, and the importance to never forget these stories so that history does not repeat itself.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This memoir is something everyone should read. It’s honest, sad and shocking. It gives a personal testament to the atrocities of The Holocaust during WW2. The contrast of ordinary family life and the genocide that ripped it apart is portrayed poignantly and effectively in this first-hand account.

The childhood and family memories are relatable, but what follows is unimaginable. The courage Mania Lichtenstein demonstrates as she survives, the horror that destroyed so many resonates and is a lesson to us all.

The importance of never standing by and letting something so terrible happen again is the message of this memoir. It makes its point eloquently but with transparent emotion.

Mania’s writing is poignant and shows the reader the life sentence of grief she carried with her, despite her remarkable survival and the life she achieved.

Praise for ‘Living With The Dead –

Adena Bernstein Astrowsky

Adena Bernstein Astrowsky describes an important and tragic chapter in world history in “Living among the Dead.”  In sharing the story of her grandmother through WWII and the Holocaust, she reminds us that we must remember these experiences so that they are never allowed to happen again. – Harvey Mackay, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

I was honored when asked to read and review Adena Astrowsky’s book, Living among the Dead. What stood out for me is how different this book is from many of the other Holocaust books. I was most impressed with two things: 1) the amount of important documentary information which is often not known or forgotten, and 2) the details about her grandmother’s life in labor camps. I feel it is a very important and well-written book that the world needs to read. As I told Adena, she did a “Mitzvah” (a good deed) for the world by documenting her grandmother’s story in such an excellent way. – Ben Lesser, Holocaust Survivor, Author, Speaker, and Founder of Zachor: Holocaust Remembrance Foundation

An inspiring story of values and tradition from generation to generation by a granddaughter who has dedicated her life’s work to being a prosecutor of victim-crimes. Narrative history of the Holocaust through discussions with her grandmother “Bubbie” who wrote poetry during the Holocaust as well as her thoughts through the years.  “Bubbie’s” poems, such as The Nostalgic Past, could easily be adapted to middle and high school class lesson plans. – Jay Levinsohn, teacher

Even though it is incredibly difficult to read about the soulless cruelty inflicted upon Jews and other groups during World War II, it is imperative that we do so. The idea that the recurrence of the demonization of an entire race could ever happen again should seem not just implausible, but impossible. Tragically, however, we find ourselves in a world reeling from a resurgence of hate and violence. Against this backdrop, Adena Bernstein Astrowsky’s Living among the Dead can help serve as an important wakeup call. Kudos to Astrowsky, Mania Lichtenstein’s granddaughter, for preserving her grandmother’s wartime experiences. “I was in elementary school when I first learned that my grandmother was a Holocaust survivor,” says Astrowsky. That early exposure to stories of the unthinkable cruelty inflicted on her grandmother left an indelible mark. Through their eyes, Living among the Dead — a collection of Lichtenstein’s writings and her granddaughter’s observations — becomes a gift of immeasurable importance for us all. This book should be found in every library from middle school on up. Readers will come away feeling a range of emotions. Mine is of enormous sadness tempered with gratitude and the eternal hope that these lessons are not lost on this and future generations.Linda F. Radke, President, Story Monsters LLC, formerly Five Star Publications, Inc.

Living among the Dead is Adena Bernstein Astrowsky’s loving and careful reflection of passages from her grandmother’s private journal that Mania Lichtenstein kept as a way of coping with the memories of what she’d survived in World War II. In addition to these notes written by Mania Lichtenstein, Astrowsky also spent years talking with her grandmother about her experiences, difficult as though many of these conversations were.  So do we need another Holocaust book? The answer becomes obvious when one sees the rise of hate groups. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, agnostics, and atheists— we are all brothers and sisters. But when hatred and discrimination, born almost entirely from ignorance and fear, enter the mainstream of our lives, we very much need this book. Living among the Dead is another valuable brick in the “never again” wall that demands constant attention and refortification.Paul M. Howey, writer and editor

Wonderful book – a treasure of individual strength, family love, community solidarity and Jewish History. – Marcia Ruth, retired writer and editor

Using both her own words and her grandmother’s, Astrowksy weaves the story of survival against all odds during the Holocaust.  Before I had even finished the book, I felt I knew “Bubby” and could hear her unwavering voice through her poetry and her amazing story of war and strife in Eastern Europe. – Kimberly Klett, Museum Teacher 2003-04, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Executive Deputy Director, Educators’ Institute for Human Rights

Living among the Dead is a riveting, heart-felt glimpse into one young girl’s path into and out of the Holocaust. A childhood once filled with joy and innocence was replaced with utter despair as she lost her entire family and had to learn to survive on her own. While her survival was nothing short of a miracle, the true significance of this story is the ultimate triumph of good over evil through a life well lived, and a legacy secured. Living among the Dead transforms the study of the Holocaust from a distant event to a personal journey. As a teacher, I believe reading this book will help my students develop a richer, more intimate understanding of this period in history, and better equip them to do the important work of sharing the lessons of the Holocaust with future generations.Sarah Armistead, M.P.A., 8th Grade History Teacher

Adena Bernstein Astrowsky

Adena Bernstein Astrowsky has dedicated her career to helping the most vulnerable of our society. She did this by prosecuting child sexual abuse cases and domestic violence cases within the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. She became the local expert concerning the prosecution of domestic violence related strangulation cases and taught extensively on that subject. Currently, she handles post-conviction cases on appeal and foreign extradition cases. Adena taught Sunday School at her temple for eight years, and in her last two years she co-taught “Character Development Through the Studies of the Holocaust.” Adena contributes articles to MASK (Mothers Awareness on School-age Kids) Magazine, often writing about children’s safety, drugs, law and order, etc. Once a month Adena volunteers at a local Scottsdale library with her therapy dog, Charlie, as part of the Tail Waggin’ Tales Program. Adena has also chaired events to raise money for the Emily Center of Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Recently, Adena was recognized for her professional and philanthropic work with an Amazing Woman Award from the Phoenix Suns and National Bank of Arizona. Adena’s greatest role, however, is as the mother of three very active children. She, and her husband, Brad, are kept very busy with their respective dance, theater, music, and athletic activities.

Posted in Biography, Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction

If Clouds Were Sheep Sue Andrews 5*#Review @ShepherdessSue @CrumpsBarnStudio #AutoBiography #memoir #sheep #farming #motivational #BookReview #Paperback #IfCloudsWereSheep #Cotswolds #Dreams @MsLornaGray

mde

If Clouds Were Sheep…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This honest and humorous memoir gives a unique insight into sheep farming in the Cotswolds.

When their friendship leads to love, Sue is happy to share Aubrey’s boyhood dream of farming sheep. Sue shares life experiences, people who influenced their lives and the characterful animals integral to their farming dream.

It’s an engaging and immersive read, sharing life’s ups and downs, of farming sheep. Their dedication and respect for the animals are evident, and the reader soon realises that farming is a way of life rather than a job. Humorous and poignant anecdotes, fill the pages of this memoir. There are lots of interesting facts about sheep farming.

An inspiring and motivational memoir that proves dreams can be chased and won.

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Non-Fiction

18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics Bruce Goldfarb 3*#Review @bruce_goldfarb @Octopus_Books #18TinyDeaths #ForensicScience #Biography #nonfiction #RandomThingsTours @annecater

For most of human history, sudden and unexpected deaths of a suspicious nature, when they were investigated at all, were examined by lay persons without any formal training. People often got away with murder. Modern forensic investigation originates with Frances Glessner Lee – a pivotal figure in police science.

Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962), born a socialite to a wealthy and influential Chicago family, was never meant to have a career, let alone one steeped in death and depravity. Yet she became the mother of modern forensics and was instrumental in elevating homicide investigation to a scientific discipline.

Frances Glessner Lee learned forensic science under the tutelage of pioneering medical examiner Magrath – he told her about his cases, gave her access to the autopsy room to observe post-mortems and taught her about poisons and patterns of injury. A voracious reader too, Lee acquired and read books on criminology and forensic science – eventually establishing the largest library of legal medicine.

Lee went on to create The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death – a series of dollhouse-sized crime scene dioramas depicting the facts of actual cases in exquisitely detailed miniature – and perhaps the thing she is most famous for. Celebrated by artists, miniaturists and scientists, the Nutshell Studies are a singularly unusual collection. They were first used as a teaching tool in homicide seminars at Harvard Medical School in the 1930s, and then in 1945 the homicide seminar for police detectives that is the longest-running and still the highest-regarded training of its kind in America. Both of which were established by the pioneering Lee.

In 18 Tiny Deaths, Bruce Goldfarb weaves Lee’s remarkable story with the advances in forensics made in her lifetime to tell the tale of the birth of modern forensics.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Octopus Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This biography explores significant forensic science developments and Frances Glessner Lee’s role in them. Focusing predominately on North American forensic science, the book sets the scene by highlighting defects of the legal-medico and Coroner’s system, before the development of modern forensic science.

Details of Frances Glessner Lee’s ancestry, upbringing and life, show how remarkable her legacy is, at a time when women were sidelined by society. This is a biography of a notable woman, interwoven with developments in forensic science. For those who enjoy historical biographies, her life is intrinsically interesting. Frances’ interest in making miniature figures and pieces is documented, something which she later used for teaching purposes in forensic science.

Early developments in forensic science and crimes and the development of the medical examiner role and autopsy are explored through case studies and historical characters. Lee’s role in developing a department of legal medicine is documented in detail. As are the model scenes she creates, these are illustrated.

This is a factual, interesting biography, which will appeal to those, interested in the origins of, and players in, forensic science in North America.

Bruce Goldfarb

Bruce Goldfarb is the executive assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland, US, where the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death are housed. He gives conducted tours of the facility and is also a trained forensic investigator. He began his career as a paramedic before working as a journalist, reporting on medicine, science and health.

He collaborated with Susan Marks – the documentary filmmaker who produced the 2012 film about Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshells titled Of Dolls and Murder.