Sunday, September 29, 2013

Havana Queen

By: James Bruno

It is evident that our author, Mr. Bruno, put all his experiences, his theories and knowledge into the Havana Queen, as far as the government would allow him.
I enjoyed the continuous action. Reading this book was like driving down a road, coming to a fork in the road and thinking you would continue straight on but, instead, you are taken to the left. Not only did the storyline continually surprise me, but the characters thinking also.
We see the FBI inter-agency conflicts, and we see how prevalent it is. It is the same with MI-5/MI-6, the FSB.  And we see the conflicts between the USA and Cuba. These dances go on all over the world, and we learn an agent must learn the steps, and when to side-step.
He shows understanding of the tenacity of the Cuban government. He gives us food for thought as the future draws nearer to the point when the Castro brothers will no longer be in power.  What will happen to these people, and what affect will North Korea have in the future of Cuba.
My final thought: In mentioning Carlos the Jackal, why did he never assassinate the Cuban leader?  Are there understandings that certain individuals are untouchable? Are there considerations that the alternative to this fascist may be worse, or that chaos would ensue and the door would be opened for the North Korean's?

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Regency Rakes Triology

An Affair of Honor
Book Three
by: Candice Hern

On the Thornhill equestrian/stud farm in Suffolk, Meg Ashburton finds the wreckage of a curricle belonging to Colin Herriot, Viscount Sedgewick.  She danced with him some six years prior and fell in love with his beauty and charm. He was the only one who would dance with the six foot, gangly redhead, and she never forgot him.

With the help of her brother, Sir Terrence Ashburton, they brought him home and under the care of their herbalist grandmother, Mrs. Lattimer, together nursed him back to health.  He went in and out of a coma and, during his conscious periods, he swore there was a red haired angel looking over him. When he finally came to, Meg tendeded him and kept him company during the long hours of the day when he was stuck in bed with a broken leg. He was smitten with her beauty and the regal way she carried herself.

Our hero began experiencing a series of 'accidents' starting with the wreckage of his curricle. Ashburton found the front axle cut almost through, but Sedge insisted it was an accident.  After he became fully conscious he was to drink an herbal tea made by Gram. Meg happened to recognize something about the drink did not smell right and prevented him from drinking, what turned out to be, a poisonous mixture. When he finally was able to walk about with crutches, he almost slipped on an oily mixture at the landing of the stairs. Again, Meg was assisting him and saw it before Sedge stepped in it, thus preventing a certain broken neck or death.

At this point the ever present, ever helpful cousin, Albert, had a talk with Terrence, suggesting that Meg was getting too close to Sedge and would certainly get her heart broken.  On the way back to his London home he was stopped by some thieves. He shot one and the other two scattered.  Then at his home, his bedclothes caught fire.

Through a series of miscommunications, Sedge's proposal of marriage did not come across as such, it sounded like he wanted her for his mistress. When Terrence learned of this, a dual ensued. Meg put on her breeches and went to stop it because she knew there was someone in common with these accidental occurrences. Another almost mishap shone a light on the betrayer.

This is an exciting story of love, friendship and family. A well written first edition of the series, not serial. There is good dramatization  and character development. A perfect weekend read.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Bull By the Back Door

By:  Anne Loader

It isn't that this is one of those typical 'we bought a run down farm in France and fixed it up' books. You know, the ones that make you feel inadequate because you will never have the money to do same.  
 It wasn't until after I retired that I fell in love with the UK and Europe. By that time I was too old and arthritic to venture across the ocean.  That being said, I now live vicariously through books and this is my first reading of a journal style genre. I thought it would be too clinical but this is a charming story of Anne and Jack's experiences. I especially liked the relationship Anne carried on with the previous and deceased mistress, Marguerite.  Ms. Loder gave her a personality and emotions. She is happy to share her aberration with us.
There is a smorgasbord  of ex-pats in the town, that was once a busy farming community, and as this house is re-established so is the town and the familial friendships that will last over the years.
This is a well written book and left me wanting to continue my voyeuristic visit to their home.