Moggach, Deborah (2013) Heartbreak Hotel. Chatto & Windus. Reminiscent of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Deborah Moggach again takes on the challenge of running a dilapidated hotel, this time in rural Wales. Irrepressible retired actor Russell ‘Buffy’ Buffery, ups sticks to take-on a decrepit B&B that needs a boost in patronage. Under his tutelage his moneymaking venture ‘Courses for Divorces’ brings together a mismatched group of oddballs seeking to relearn skills they never thought they would need again. Amusing and comforting read. Rating: 8/10.
Hawkins, Danielle (2012) Dinner at Rose’s. Allen & Unwin. Jo flees a disintegrating relationship to her small home town in rural New Zealand, and a cast of eccentric characters, led by Aunty Rose. Rose lives in a valley with her pet piglet, four dogs and two sheep. When she is hit by illness Jo moves in to look after her and before long the mischievous Rose is playing cupid. A charming story with a strong agarian flavour that is written by a part-time vet. Rating: 8/10.
Schamroth, Natalia and Carl Koppenhagen (2012) The Engine Room, no 115. Random House. The Engine Room is a popular award-winning Auckland eatery. This recipe book shares 100 recipes served by the bistro. An interesting feature of the book is the industrial black and white photographs on the day in the life of the resturant by Kieran Scott. Rating: 8/10.
Brown, Dan (2013) Inferno. Bantam. Eminent Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon awakes in a hospital bed with no recollection of where he is or how he got there. Nor can he explain the origin of the macabre object that is found hidden in his belongings. A threat to his life will propel him and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, into a breakneck chase across the city of Florence, with only a few lines from Dante’s Inferno, to guide them. They must decipher a sequence of codes buried deep within some of the most celebrated artefacts of the Renaissance. Rollicking thriller by a popular author. Rating: 7.5/10.
Walliams, David (2012) Camp David: The Autobiography. David Walliams was launched to fame with the record-breaking Little Britain comedy television series. David shares the “part of my life you will know least about” up to 2003, after the first series entered popular culture. This entertaining and complex person, with many secrets, tells it like it is with refreshing honesty. A man of contradictions and many talents, playing up his campness one minute, and then completing mighty swimming feats the next; he is also the author of bestselling children’s books. A delight. Rating: 8.5/10.
Treasure, Rachael (2013) The Farmer’s Wife. Harper Collins. When Rebecca Saunders married larrikin Charlie Lewis and they settled down together on her beloved property, Waters Meeting, she thought she knew her future. But ten years on, two kids later, and with a failing farm, Rebecca is beginning to face some hard questions. The sequel to the bestseller Jillaroo. A story of self-discovery, but somewhat disappointing in that it lacks the warmth of the earlier novel. Rating: 7/10.
Brackston, Paula (2010) The Witch’s Daughter. St Martins Press. Modern witch and a fiercely independent woman, Bess Hawksmith, must confront the evil which has haunted her for centuries. In this tale of sorcery and immortality we travel with Bess through history and historical events, all the while searching for clues of hidden danger in the form of her nemesis, Gideon. An original take on the historical romance genre. Rating: 7.5/10.