After years of feeling that love was always out of reach, journalist Natasha Lunn set out to understand how relationships work and evolve over a lifetime. She turned to authors and experts to learn about their experiences, as well as drawing on her own, asking: How do we find love? How do we sustain it? And how do we survive when we lose it?
In Conversations on Love she began to find the answers:
Philippa Perry on falling in love slowly Dolly Alderton on vulnerability Stephen Grosz on accepting change Candice Carty-Williams on friendship Lisa Taddeo on the loneliness of loss Diana Evans on parenthood Emily Nagoski on the science of sex Alain de Botton on the psychology of being alone Esther Perel on unrealistic expectations Roxane Gay on redefining romance and many more…
I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
An enjoyable and useful collection of emotional experiences, interviews and thoughts on love. It explores what it means to us and how it manifests in our lives. The writing is eloquent, engaging and transparent. The author shares her experiences and her motivations for writing the book. The interviews are intrinsically interesting and thought-provoking. Some experiences and ideas will resonate, but all are fascinating.
This book is a riveting read and also something to revisit at different times in your life.
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.
I received an digital ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
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 occupiedthe same precious place in her heart and mind as her blood family.
‘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.’
A large black cast iron range glowing hot, the kettle steaming on top, provider of everything from bathwater and clean socks to morning tea: it’s a nostalgic icon of a Victorian way of life. But it is far more than that. In this book, social historian and TV presenter Ruth Goodman tells the story of how the development of the coal-fired domestic range fundamentally changed not just our domestic comforts, but our world.
The revolution began as far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when London began the switch from wood to coal as its domestic fuel – a full 200 years before any other city. It would be this domestic demand for more coal that would lead to the expansion of mining, engineering, construction and industry: the Domestic Revolution kick-started, pushed and fuelled the Industrial Revolution.
There were other radical shifts. Coal cooking was to change not just how we cooked but what we cooked (causing major swings in diet), how we washed (first our laundry and then our bodies) and how we decorated (spurring the wallpaper industry). It also defined the nature of women’s and men’s working lives, pushing women more firmly into the domestic sphere.
It transformed our landscape and environment (by the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1603, London’s air was as polluted as that of modern Beijing). Even tea drinking can be brought back to coal in the home, with all its ramifications for the shape of the empire and modern world economics.
Taken together, these shifts in our day-to-day practices started something big, something unprecedented, something that was exported across the globe and helped create the world we live in today.
I received a copy of this book from Omara Books in return for an honest review.
If you have an interest in social history, this book explores an important aspect. The Domestic Revolution began in the late sixteenth century. London’s population started to move towards coal rather than wood as the fuel of choice. Well-researched, this book illustrates how the domestic use of coal changed the fabric of the landscape and society.
The book layout has easy to read chapters with pertinent illustrations. It follows the domestic move towards coal as household fuel and its effects. The engaging writing style brings history to life and shows its importance to environmental issues faced today.
A thought-provoking book that shows that history is important to our lives today.
For the first time, shows how the Industrial Revolution truly began in the kitchen – a revolution run by women
Told with Ruth’s inimitable wit, passion and commitment to revealing the nitty-gritty of life across three centuries of extraordinary change, from the Elizabethan to the Victorian age
A TV regular, Ruth has appeared on some of BBC 2’s most successful shows, including, Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm, Tudor Monastery Farm, Inside the Food Factory and most recently Full Steam Ahead, as well as being a regular expert presenter on The One Show
The critically acclaimed author of How to Be a Victorian, How to be a Tudor and How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is a travelogue through the historic counties of England, with an engaging often humorous narrator. The book takes the form of a diary as he journeys through England with his truck (Mileage given at the start of each chapter), his tent and his thoughts on life and its mysteries.
Whilst travelling, the author shares his thoughts on aspects of life and his beliefs. Not all of these will be relevant to the reader, but if you like to understand others, there’s intrinsic value in this. Full of historical interest, authentic characters and vivid imagery this is a lovely book to read.
The only thing that’s missing is illustrations of the journey or photographs which would have added to the shared experiences.
Jack Barrow is a writer of books and blogs about ideas based on popular philosophy in modern life. He is a critical thinker but not a pedant. He has an interest in spiritual perspectives having been brought up as both a Mormon and a Jehovah’s Witness. He’s not sure, but he believes this particular ecclesifringical upbringing makes him a member of a pretty exclusive club. He is also fascinated by science. At the same age as his parents were taking him to church services, he was also watching Horizon documentaries and Tomorrow’s World, becoming fascinated about science and technology. Perhaps around the time of the moon landings, when he was six or seven, he came to the conclusion that, sooner or later, people would realise that the sky was full of planets and stars, science explained the universe, and that there was no God looking down. He really thought that religion’s days were numbered. Declining congregations seemed to back that up, but since then there has been a growth in grass roots movements that seem to indicate people are looking for something to fill the void left by organised religion. He now has a particular interest in the way people are creating their own spiritual perspectives (whatever spiritual means) from the bottom up using ideas sourced from history, folkloric sources and imagination. Rather ironically it was members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who first introduced him to the landscape of Wiltshire, with its stone circles and ancient monuments, which later kindled his interest in spiritual beliefs taken from more ancient perspectives.
He has also written a novel; The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil is a story of a group of magicians who discover a plot to build casinos in Blackpool and so turn the resort into a seedy, tacky, and depraved town. During this hard-drinking occult adventure, with gambling and frivolous trousers, Nigel, Wayne and Clint travel north on Friday night but they need to save the world by Sunday evening because they have to be back at work on Monday morning.
Jack lives in Hertfordshire, England, where he earns a living writing about things in engineering; this usually means photocopiers and bits of aeroplanes. He shares his home with R2D2 and C3PO, occasionally mentioned in his blog posts. People used to say he should get out more. At the time of writing he is currently shielding from the apocalypse, having been of a sickly disposition as a child, and wondering if he will be able to go to a live music pub ever again.
Till now, Stephanie has done her best to play by the rules—which seem to be stacked against girls like her. It doesn’t help that she wants to play football, dress like a boy, and fight apartheid in South Africa—despite living in rural middle England—as she struggles to find her voice in a world where everything is different for girls.
Then she hears them on the radio. Greenham women—an irreverent group of lesbians, punk rockers, mothers, and activists who have set up camp outside a US military base to protest nuclear war—are calling for backups in the face of imminent eviction from their muddy tents. She heads there immediately, where a series of adventures—from a break-in to a nuclear research centre to a doomed love affair with a punk rock singer in a girl band—changes the course of her life forever. But the sense of community she has found is challenged when she faces tragedy at home.
“I read the first 200 pages of Other Girls Like Me in one sitting, I couldn’t put it down. It’s my story and yet it’s not. It speaks to all of us radicals, feminists, and lesbians who grew up in the 70s and 80s. Stephanie’s warmth and compassion shine through these pages. What a life!” — NERI TANNENBAUM, PRODUCER, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
“Other Girls Like Me is funny and sad, powerful and inspirational, especially in these times that are calling for all of us to become activists. And Stephanie Davies can write. Her prose is lyrical, even at times mesmerizing.” — Beverly Donofrio, Riding in Cars with Boys
“Other Girls Like Me is about women being concerned about the horrors in our world and being willing to protest and take nonviolent direct action – which is a very good thing. I do hope that lots of people read it and are inspired to take action themselves!” —Angie Zelter, Founder, Extinction Rebellion Peace
“Other Girls Like Me is a lyrical, fluent and elegant read—it is also funny and poignant in equal measure. In the pre Greta Thunberg era, this personal account of one young woman’s journey into activism is captivating and compelling—and a salient reminder of how the power and solidarity of communities of people with shared values can shape and change our lives—for good!” — Ann Limb, Chair of the Scouts, #1 2019 OUTstanding List of LGBT+ Public Sector Executives
Stephanie Davies is a communications consultant who worked for many years as the Director of Public Education for Doctors Without Borders. A UK native, Stephanie moved to New York in 1991, where she taught English Composition at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus and led research trips to Cuba. Before moving to New York, she co-edited a grassroots LGBT magazine in Brighton called A Queer Tribe. Stephanie earned a teaching degree from Aberystwyth University in Wales, and a BA in European Studies from Bath University, England. She grew up in a small rural village in Hampshire, where much of her first book, Other Girls Like Me, takes place.
Bedazzled Ink is dedicated to publishing literary fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books that celebrate the unique and under-represented voices of women.
Are you a carer or companion to someone who is ageing? Are you looking to enhance every moment of their lives to the end yet feel full of trepidation at the prospect? Leaves of Love is a simple yet essential guide for both layman and expert to keep by your side as you learn the beautiful and ancient art of accompanying another over these final transitions. Leaves of Love is laced with inspiring real-life stories that depict the rich gleanings to be found within ageing and the unexpected opportunities that can reveal themselves when we embrace the reality of our dying. These stories bring with them a tool bag of ideas and practical tips to empower the carer within all of us to value our own unique gifts and love as we have never loved before. With nature as our guide we learn how to be present when we visit a care home, what matters most as we sit with someone and how and what to expect when we are accompanying a dying person.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Dying is one of life’s certainties and also one of its greatest mysteries.
Experienced in helping people with ageing and dying well, the author shares her personal and professional experience in this friendly, short, but informative book. Divided into case studies and reflections, practical considerations and a helpful glossary this book is user-friendly and full of sensitively delivered information.
The book emphasises the positive aspects of this final journey and the importance of respecting the person’s wishes whatever they may be.
Worth reading to add to your knowledge, but invaluable if you are facing this eventuality. I wish I’d had something like this or someone like the author when my mother died.
Lucy Aykroyd, a life-enhancing caregiver and end-of-life doula, raised a large family in Aberdeenshire. She paints, pots and prints, practises yoga and travels about with a massage couch. Passionate about the land and the environment, she lives out her wilderness training, disappears for hours into her garden and springs to life with her dogs on the shoreline near her East Lothian home. Lucy celebrates her own ageing and helps others to make the most of theirs with a lightness of touch, a compassionate heart and a good smattering of humour.
This is her first independent publication. Her short stories have been included in some anthologies by The Huntly Writers
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.
I received a copy of this book from William Collins Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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.
Are you concerned about the state of our planet and hope that governments and corporations will find a sustainable way for us to live? If you do not think about it too hard, that may work, but will it? Left on their own, with drivers of popularity and profits, I am not too convinced that it will.
The missing part of this equation is you and me. Individuals who believe that corporations and governments can do better. Individuals who believe that through action, we can buy a bit more time to develop and implement solutions to our critical issues.
Did I hear a groan out there when you read the word ‘actions’? Do not worry! Most of the actions that I am referring to will not only help save the planet, but will benefit you right away through saving money, time, better health, and having a happier life in general.
Sustainability goes beyond controlling our consumption and pollution. There are key social, political, and economic areas that need to be addressed as well, and there are several steps that individuals can take to help in these areas.
For those of you who feel we could do more, this book is for you and is loaded with actionable activities, the reasons for doing them, and explores why we are not doing them already.
Every journey starts with a first step. Hopefully, this book will lead to those first sustainable steps and that will change the world.
Ken Kroes is the author of the Percipience Eco-Fiction Series and the non-fiction books, Feasible Planet and Feasible Living. He is passionate about our relationship with our planet and applies his diverse background which includes agriculture, mechanical engineering and information systems into his writing. Born in Calgary, Canada he has bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and has had the pleasure of living in many locations in North America and has travelled extensively.