These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach

These Foolish Things by Deborah MoggachBlurb

Enticed by advertisements for a luxury retirement home in India, a group of strangers leave England to begin a new life.

On arrival, however, they discover the palace is a shell of its former self, the staff are more than a little eccentric and the days of the Raj appear to be long gone.

But, as they soon discover, life and love can begin again, even in the most unexpected circumstances.

My Perspective

These Foolish Things is about a retirement home that is set up in India for those living in Britain. Instead of wiling away the rest of their years in some dreary place in the UK, instead they could be enjoying the best that has India has to offer – and for a fraction of the cost. The story follows a few different characters and their different perspectives on the place.

When i found out that the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, was based on a book, i really wanted to read it. It only took me around five years!

I really enjoyed the story. It was well written, interesting and flowed at a nice, even pace. Although i had watched the movie and knew the basic premise, the book is quite different with more characters and different story lines. There were a few similarities however not enough that you knew the story or how it would end. I can see why they changed what they did for the movie (too many characters in a movie can make it hard to follow).

The characters were really well developed. They were diverse and you couldn’t help but love most of them even if they weren’t lovable! I love reading books where it’s written from the perspective of a few different characters as i find it really lends a depth to the story and makes it that much more interesting.

There wasn’t really any sex per se in the book however there were a few sexual references that were quite blunt and descriptive. I actually found some of it was a bit out of place and i didn’t really understand the relevance or need for it.

Overall this was a really enjoyable read that was fresh and different to a lot of what’s out there. I would definitely recommend it.

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A Cup of Light by Nicole Mones

A Cup of Light by Nicole MonesBlurb

As an American appraiser of fine Chinese porcelain, Lia Frank holds fragile beauty in her hands, examines priceless treasure with a magnifying lens. But when Lia looks in the mirror, she sees the flaws in herself, a woman wary of love, cut off from the world around her. Still, when she is sent to Beijing to authenticate a collection of rare pieces, Lia will find herself changing in surprising ways…coming alive in the shadow of an astounding mystery…

As Lia evaluates each fragile pot, she must answer questions that will reverberate through dozens of lives: Where did these works of art come from? Are they truly authentic? Or are they impossibly beautiful forgeries–part of the perilous underworld of Chinese art? As Lia examines her treasure, a breathtaking mystery unravels around her. And with political intrigue intruding on her world of provenance and beauty, Lia is drawn into another, more personal drama–a love affair that could alter the course of her life…

My Perspective

This book was lent to me by my mother-in-law.

A Cup of Light follows Lia as she flies to Beijing to examine a set of valuable porcelain pots. As an appraiser, she is one of the best, however what she arrives to is greater than she imagined.

This is a book that i would not normally read however I’m glad that i did. It’s always good to broaden your horizons.

The story was fairly slow to start off with and didn’t really pick up the pace until at least a third of the way through. Even then, it was still quite a gentle pace.

The descriptions in the book intrigued me. I felt like the author was trying to write in a way that tapped into your senses however i don’t think it quite hit the mark so instead felt a little forced.

I couldn’t figure out whether i liked Lia or not. It wasn’t that she annoyed or frustrated me, there was just something about her that prevented me from connecting with her. I didn’t really like Michael, however considering what he’d just been through, he was a little messed up. I actually liked all of the other characters, which thinking back on, were all Chinese! Not sure what that’s about.

The suspense in this book is good. It slowly builds and builds without you ever realising it until you’re actually holding your breath. What i loved is that from the style and the writing, you couldn’t figure out whether the author was going to have a happy ending or not. Even though it sucks if everything falls apart, it’s a lot more interesting wondering whether everything will actually work out in the end or not. A lot of books have the suspense but you always know it will be fine…this book, it kept me guessing.

I’ve never really thought about porcelain pots in depth before however from reading this story i want to find out all about them. It was really fascinating and when i visit China next, i really want to visit The Porcelain Trail!

There was some slight sex in this book and one scene was actually quite in your face, albeit very short. I don’t like reading content like that, however the fact that i know my mother in law read it makes it even more awkward!

Although the blurb hints at it, i didn’t realise this was a romance novel. Yes, it has a lot of other aspects to it, however underlying, it’s just a romance novel. I was kind of disappointed as i didn’t actually like that part of it. I would have happily enjoyed it without any of the romance.

I was fascinated with the way in which Lia used the Greek/Roman mnemonic system to memorise every pot she’d ever beheld plus any information she’d ever read. At first i found it unbelievable however i researched it and found out that it is actually a real thing. It may have been taken slightly further in the book than is actually possible however it was still very cool.

Overall it was an interesting and unique story. I would recommend it to those who like art and/or cultural fiction.