Good Reading : July 2007
general fiction word of mouth The Mesmerist Barbara Ewing Cordelia Preston and Rillie Spoons, two ex-actresses in their forties, are such likeable women that, even though this novel is not especially exciting, you’ll want to read on to share the twists and turns in their fate. Born into 19th-century London, they witness the crime and poverty (and the dirt and stench) of the East End, the power of the upper classes and the perfidy of men. Innately refined, they struggle to rise above it all: Rillie through good economic manage- ment and Cordelia through her skill in mesmerism. Phrenology and mesmerism (and later, tentative experi- ments in hypnotism) divided Victorian opinion – science or theatre? Ewing has struck a rich vein here. It gives substance to the novel. As Cordelia gradually hones her skills, helped by a family friend and mesmerism expert, Monsieur Roland, clients seek her help. She and Rillie ear n enough to enjoy middle class comfort. But Cordelia has a dark and sorrowful past, and when she is called as a witness to a murder it becomes public.Victorian prudery is outraged; the press has a field day. Her loyalty and courage are put to the test. Then evil lurks in the murky fog and the lives of all Cordelia’s loved ones are dramatically changed. Romance readers should enjoy The Mesmerist. ★★★ RG Sphere $32.95 Reviewed by Barbara Baker The Hindi Bindi Club Monica Pradhan This is one of those feel-good books that come along every year. It’s the story of three women who’ve grown up between two cultures – caught between the white picket fences of America and the old ways and traditions of India. Kiran is 32 and recently divorced. Her parents never approved of her husband and returning home she dreads the ‘I told you so’ from her mother.With her biological clock ticking, she decides to let her parents arrange a marriage for her. Priety is the golden girl of the group, married with a perfect life, per- fect husband, perfect children and perfect dog. But she has a secret which could destroy her perfect world. Rani is an artist who has supported her family in America and India. On his deathbed her father, who never knew she supported them, told her he would never forgive her for shaming the family. All three girls grew up together then drifted apart as their busy lives took hold. But their mothers remain close and meet regularly as part of the Hindi Bindi club. I really enjoyed this book. It’s a great insight into how conflicting it must be to be caught between two worlds, wanting to adopt the new culture but finding things in the old that can still be relevant. ★★★★ Bloomsbury $32.95 Reviewed by Kylie Field BLUEPRINT By Lynnette Vaughn $27.95 ISBN 9780977553501 Blueprint is a story about Arielle, (who lives in heaven) and is up for a substantial promotion to Archangel. Before this happens, she must reincarnate to Earth one last time. The integral first step in the process is the creation of a Blueprint to desribe the intimate details of the new life before the incarnation. Putting a new twist on the proverbial dinner party, Arielle invites her friends for dinner to brainstorm ideas and options for her next life. As the evening progresses, and more wine is consumed, imaginations run wild leading to hilarious consequences and outlandish possibilities. Some guests even volunteer to cast themselves in certain roles so they too can reincarnate and witness Arielle’s final life. After days of deliberation, Arielle builds on the ideas generated at the dinner party and develops her Blueprint. However, during final preparations the tables are turned at the last minute when the Council appears to advise Arielle that she must leave that night. With no final Blueprint in place, it is up to her friends to complete it for her, with many surprises of course. But who better than your closest friends to write the details of your life .... right? Blueprint is a delicious romp into the possibilities of what life has to offer and why we have the lives we do. www.lynnettevaughn.com AVAILABLE NOW at all good bookstores or purchase direct from www.lynnettevaughn.com Distributed in Australia/NZ by Dennis Jones & Associates.