Erfskandes – Trisa Hugo

Op ʼn plaas in die ou Transvaal het ʼn man gewoon. ʼn Welgestelde boer. Hy was nooit getroud nie, maar wou graag ʼn erfgenaam hê. Hierdie is ʼn verhaal oor twee babas. Daar was die lykie van ‘n baba, wat die boervrou onder die lemoenboom uitspit, met die geroeste bloudraad om die nekkie. Die ander baba in die verhaal het wel bly leef, want daar is ʼn duur prys betaal vir die baba, met verraad op verskillende vlakke. Die toesmeer van gebeure en ongeregtighede op plase is soos die geroeste draad om die baba se nekkie, verstrengel deur die verhaallyne. Uiteindelik is daar dít wat vandag se kinders geërf het – Skandes wat toegesmeer is uit elkeen van ons se verlede – ERFSKANDES.


River People – Margaret Lukas

River PeopleRiver People by Margaret Lukas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“This ain’t your home no more.” The young Effie was sent away in marriage with Rev Jackdaw by her father, in a time when girls could get married at the age of ten, just by lifting a Bible. After a grueling trip, she was left alone with Bridget, or Rooster as the reverend calls her. Guilt feelings about Bay Sally’s death kept her from loving Bridget.

It is a story of suppression, patriarchy, prejudice, perceptions, hopes, dreams and broken promises – Rev Jackdaw se vision of his own Missionary in Omaha, Mae who was traded at eight for a gallon of whiskey with the promise of a new dress, Bridget who lived for the day Mum and Pappy came for her and Effie who dreams of a house and a family.

At first Chief is the only good person around, fighting off his own demons at night. Yet Effie avoids him at all cost with her own prejudice. Effie never really learns to accept kindness, and her heart never really softened up to Bridget, who mostly acted as the adult. Being the main character, the reader keeps on hoping for a bit of character development.

In places Effie’s voice become muddled with the narrator’s, as if she is just too wise for a girl her age, given her upbringing and social isolation. However, she also was confused enough to be totally incompetent and without any social skills most of the time.

Bridget’s brother Rowan told her that her Mum is a Selkie, and that all water, rivers and streams are connected. Clinging to her grandma Teegan’s braid and the mythical Nera kept her going, always hoping to be reunited with her mum and her pappy.

Bridget is a clever one, who despite her circumstances, wants to become a doctor. Interesting analogy because she acts as a literary archetype of the child savior, through whom others found their truth and worth, helping them heal their own wounds.

Words and phrases put you right in the era where the story belongs. Neatly done and very convincing.

This is a gripping novel in the historical fiction genre, with truly unforgettable characters.

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Shade and Light – Maryann D’Agincourt

The echoes of the past resonate through the lives of two families living in Boston. The secrets of the past where one family was helped by the other in Trieste, are never revealed, yet the threads of it are woven through their lives. It is a slow and easy read, not much happening. The reader stays an outsider, much like the characters themselves.

Jonas sketches Jenny and the final product resembled his aunt Belinda, who was the only one telling him some of the history of the two families. Jonas spends a lot of time in a coffee shop, sketching people. He once saw a man, and imagined him to be Harold, his mother’s lover. He was quite disillusioned to learn that Harold was not the man in the coffee shop.

Jonas was quite bewildered when he learned that the reality of marriage was not as dry and stilted as defined in his mother’s old Webster.

Jenny set up a rigorous schedule to finish as much classes as possible, before getting married to the much older Eric.

I was not drawn into the story in the beginning, the narrator’s voice was stronger than those of the characters. The characters never came to life for me, I could not resonate with one of them, but therein lies the strength of this novel. They stay in the shade.

There is very little dialogue and the personality of characters did not develop. I only later realized how clever it was, to portray Jonas as the observer of the world around him.

When Eric told Jenny about their parents in Trieste, it was in a cold, absent way. In fact, everything in this book happened in a cold, distant way as if one looks at the lives of the characters through a transparent curtain. They say in the shade, but for huge parts of the book, unfortunately so is the reader.

Soul Conversations by Austyn Wells

Review done for NetGalley.comSoul Conversations: A Medium Reveals the Secrets to Developing Your Intuition and Connecting with the Spirit World
by Austyn Wells

This book explains difficult concepts in such a way that even people with little background on soul matters, can understand. The cover is lovely and well chosen.

The exercises are easy to do and it does not feel like “work”. Some can be done as you are reading.

Unfortunately the links to the following website does not work. I trust that this will be updated for the final product. It would have been great to get access to the meditations and links mentioned.

Very interesting is the way the writer discusses the role color plays, from different perspectives. The concept of “imprints” is clearly explained, I liked that. The concept of Prayer is explained better than any religious book I’ve ever read.

The chapter on Chakras could be streamlined a bit.

Chapter 5 seems to be a cannon, firing shots of a whole bunch of loose concepts, with no order, without explaining properly, for instance the Automatic writing is just mentioned but not explained.

As a whole, I would say the book is an interesting read for people interested in alternative healing methods and psychic communication. It covers a whole spectrum and there are examples of relatively easy exercises. However I found the net too wide – almost like a box with all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle thrown and mixed up in the box, with little heaps of pieces sorted in colours. This reader expects well organized chapters, neatly tied together. The content is interesting, but I personally find it too loosely constructed.


Die seuns van Bird Island – Mark Minnie

Die seuns van Bird Island: 'n Skokkende onthulling uit die hard van die NP-regeringDie seuns van Bird Island: ‘n Skokkende onthulling uit die hard van die NP-regering by Mark Minnie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Twee sterre klink min om vir ‘n boek te gee wat ek tot op die einde gelees het. Ek het egter gekyk waarvoor staan elke ster, en 3 *** sou beteken “I liked it”. Daarom 2**, “It was OK”.

Dit sou arrogant van my wees om my opinie oor die egtheid van die beweringe in hierdie boek uit te spreek, veral vandag wat dit ook bekend gemaak is dat die skrywer, Mark Minnie, homself vermoedelik om die lewe gebring het, maar daar ook deur ‘n gerekende joernalis, Marianne Tham gevra word: “’n Mens wil nie bespiegel nie en ek sal wag vir die polisie se ondersoek. Maar as ’n mens kyk na die konteks van sy dood, is daar definitief ’n paar vrae wat gevra moet word.”

My “It was ok” dui meer op die onvermoë van die skryfwerk om entoesiasme by my op te wek. Die stem en emosie van Minnie het vir my die feite ‘n bietjie gekleur met my eie vooroordeel. As ek hierdie boek vergelyk met Ek is Liza Smit deur Raquel Lewis en Liza Smit, is daar ‘n baie groot verskil. Lewis en Smit het die storie vertel op ‘n manier wat die leser die emosie gevoel het, jy moes nie deur die skrywer se emosies probeer kyk na die storie wat hy vertel het nie.

As ek egter vir moed van Minnie en Steyn moes sterre toeken, sou dit 5 ***** wees. Vir elk.

Ek vermoed ons het nog lank nie die einde van hierdie verhaal gehoor nie.

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Patagonië – Maya Fowler

PatagoniëPatagonië by Maya Fowler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Die twee parallelle stories is baie slim verbind, om die ooreenkomste saam te vleg, die storie wat in die agterkleinseun se lewe herhaal. Die man vlug na ‘n skandaal, die vrou sit hom agterna Pategonië toe. Is Tertius en Alta dalk Basjan en Salomé gereïnkarneer?

Was die vroue ook ‘n metafoor vir die manne se gewete, hulle skaduwee/skadukant waarvan hulle nie kon ontvlug nie? Salomé se verhaal is minder volledig as diévan die ander drie, dis jammer.

Toe ek Patagonië klaar gelees het, het ek gedink dis ‘n wonderlike storie, maar ek het nie een deel in my Kindle gemerk vir besondere woordgebruik nie. Nie dat daar enigsins fout is met die boek nie, maar sekere skrywers se taalgebruik vibreer met my wese en ek vergewe dikwels ‘n swak storie omdat die taalgebruik so mooi is. Hierdie een is (vir my) net ‘n baie goeie storie.

Ek huiwer tussen drie en vier sterre, maar as ek oor iets twyfel, is daar (vir my) altyd ‘n rede. Dus ‘n baie subjektiwe drie.

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‘n Engel in die hoenderhok – Gerda Taljaard

'n Engel in die hoenderhok‘n Engel in die hoenderhok by Gerda Taljaard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hierdie was vir my ‘n uitstekende voorbeeld van domestic noir, nog voordat dit as genre beskryf en gewild geword het.

Die boek lees maklik en vinnig, maar het baie diepte en jy lees van die paragrawe oor en oor, die donker kante van mense word so onthutsend eerlik en in gewone taal geskryf, dat dit as sulks nie skok nie.

Ek is jammer dat ek nie die boek op my Kindle gelees het, dat ek die stukke kon merk nie. Helena, nog onder haar ouers se dak, moet tydelik ‘n kamer deel met haar ouma. Almal wat in die 70’s grootgeword het, sal die lewe in Pretoria se Moot herken. Helena en haar ouers se lewe is in die tipe huis wat jy as jongmens vermoed het dalk bestaan, waarvan jy gehoor het, maar nooit eerstehands ervaar het nie. Gerda Taljaard bring jou tot binne-in so ‘n huis.

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