Friday 31 August 2012

Who’s Your Daddy, Baby? by Lisa Pell

The lovely and emotional roller coaster ride story of Lori Pomay. Whilst undergoing tests for genetic testing prior to having IVF Lori establishes that the man she has grown up with as her father is not fact her father. This is the journey of that discovery. Coming to terms with the news, and the path Lori takes as she sets upon trail of establishing her biological identity.

I loved the modern research aspect of the story line, which is based loosely on true events. I loved the mix of medical data, and the complexities of genetics and the use of social media, which has changed the way in which individuals can correspond and research ancestors and missing relatives with a click of a button.

Most of all I loved the mixed emotions and the complexities of dealing with the financial issues of raising funds for treatment, emotionally coming to terms with the realisation that perhaps it was simply too late to start a family and then the added issues of Lori's own parentage.

Without a doubt one of my best reads for the year.

Disclaimer - I was provided with a free e-book edition in exchange for an honest review.

Tour hosted by JKS Communications

Thursday 30 August 2012

Carnival Of Genealogy 121 - Great Discoveries

Over the years there have been so many wonderful discoveries. We can I am sure, all identify with those moments when it seems that time has stood completely still as we see in front of us a document or record that details OUR ancestor.  It is at that exact moment that the individual stops being a name and a few dates and becomes a "real" person. One that you wish you could ask questions of.

I had planned to write of an occasion which I know I have mentioned before, then just at the weekend I received an email from someone with an attachment of a photograph. All the email said, was had I seen the attachment and was the family mine?

I almost deleted the email, thinking I might see a dubious picture or have something rather dodgy happen to my laptop then I spotted the typed link in the email. I then followed the thread and typed the link into my browser and I had one of those moments.

Everything stopped. Regular thinking, dinner planning and contemplations of domestic chores. All that mattered was the details on my laptop, my files and notebook. Dinner was for that evening a takeaway. Poor hubby spent the evening with me muttering oh my every time I spotted something. I was irritating him, I could tell as the volume on the television got a bit louder! It did not disturb me, a herd of buffalo or an explosion could have happened, my complete focus was on the documents I saw before me as I contemplated the archives that we perhaps under estimate in our research.

In many rural locations vicars and curates kept meticulous notes and information relating to their parishioners. Apart from showing an interest in their parishioners, it also passed the time away in 19th Century England. So, I sat in my 21st Century lounge using a laptop reading a photograph of a document that had been written in about 1870. Isn't that amazing.

I had known of the existence of the actual notes made by the vicar concerned. The originals are in Surrey and were in fact on my next to do list. The email that I had received alerted me to the hard work of the local history society who with the aid of volunteers transcribed and photographed the notes. Transcribing is tiring work and takes time before being checked and published. I was therefore most fortunate to see the document relating to my own family and spot a further connection between two branches of my ancestry that I had not established.

Isn't that a great discovery?

Taking part in the Carnival Of Genealogy, hosted by CreativeGene

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Library Loot - 29th August 2012

I have not been to the library this week, but did last week for the book group meeting. As I didn't get around to posting my library loot last week I am running a week behind!

Well, the book discussion was The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham and you can read my thoughts HERE.

I managed to avoid library fines by renewing a book that I had not completed, which is success! I skimmed the reserved shelf as I had requested a book, slightly disappointed when I realised the book was not there for collection. I should not have been disappointed as I had not had the email telling me it was there!

Then I was just about to walk pass the best sellers stand and there was my book. So I grabbed it and advised the librarian that my requested book was in fact on a shelf so I could I cancel the reservation? Luck was on my side and I could. Apparently books that are best sellers and have sticky labels inside the cover are not used for reservations which was why I was able to grab it off the shelf, so it was simply a case of great timing!

As you are all itching to know the book - here it is

The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the…

By coincidence, I was briefly in contact with the author for this book. I have a family in my own ancestry that did exactly what the subject matter of this book is all about. I would have submitted my family information, except that my family were not within the time frame of this book. Great shame, but fascinating nonetheless.

Another book featuring India was also spotted on the shelf and again I could not resist.

One Last Look by Susanna Moore

The third book I carried home was the next one for the book group.

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Taking part in Library Loot and you can read the details HERE

Tuesday 28 August 2012

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

The Midwich Cuckoos by John WyndhamThis was the read the August meeting of the local book group. Not my usual read, as I am not overly keen on science fiction, but it was an interesting book and whilst I am glad I read it, I can not say that I would particularly read it again.

This is quite a dated book, written in 1957. The storyline is an interesting concept and posed quite a discussion at the group.

Set in a village location, a dome is placed across the village. Once the dome is lifted it is established that every female in the village is pregnant. Once the children are aged 9 years it has become apparent that the children are not ordinary children and in fact they pose quite a threat. That threat has to be confronted and there are serious repercussions and consequences of doing so.

I did like the suspense factor. How was the issue going to be dealt with? and by whom? The book concludes, but there is no definitive conclusion, thus making way for another book. (A search via Google indicates that Wyndham did write 4 chapters of a sequel which he disbanded). Some of the writing was not especially fluid, but this was written in the late 1950s and whilst it would not be a book of choice it was a good read and a really good discussion followed.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

The Forrests by Emily Perkins

About The Forrests
Dorothy Forrest is immersed in the sensory world around her; she lives in the flickering moment. From the age of seven, when her odd, disenfranchised family moves from New York to the wide skies of New Zealand, to the very end of her life, this is her great gift and possible misfortune.
From the wilderness of a commune to falling in love to early marriage and motherhood, from the glorious anguish of parenting to the loss of everything worked for and the unexpected return oflove, Dorothy is swept along by time. Her family looms and recedes, revelations come to light, death changes everything, but somehow life remains as potent as it ever was, and the joy in just being won’t let her go.
In a narrative that shifts and moves, singing with color and memory, growing as wild as its characters, The Forrests speaks to the unexpected ways in which life can change—“if you’re lucky enough to be around for it.”
Praise for Emily Perkins:
“A writer very much in command not only of her language but of the unique and surprising variations she brings to the form.” —T. C. Boyle, author of When The Killing’s Done
“Brimming with talent.” —Esther Freud, author of Hideous Kinky and Lucky Break
“An expansive and ambitious novel, beautifully written, and covering great swathes of emotional territory.” —Lawrence Norfolk, author of Lempriere’s Dictionary

About Emily
Emily Perkins was born in 1970. She is the author of Not Her Real Name, a collection of short stories that won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was short listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and the novels Leave Before You Go, The New Girl, and, most recently, Novel About My Wife, winner of the Believer Book Award. She lives in New Zealand.


This is the complex story of the dysfunctional Forrest family. Frank is the head of the family, an aspiring actor he moves his family from the States to New Zealand to progress his career, only to find that he does not succeed and the family are then required to live on his trust fund. Sadly the trust fund is not enough to return his family to the States. The novel follows the storyline of Dot, from childhood through into her adult years to finally the elderly stages of life, where she suffers from dementia.

I was frustrated by the characters, and every time I pondered whether I should stop reading because I was so frustrated something compelled me to continue reading. This is a modern, moody family saga.


Wednesday, August 8th: Unabridged Chick

Friday, August 10th: The Lost Entwife

Monday, August 13th: Bookish Habits

Wednesday, August 15th: Book Reviews, Fiction Reflections, N’ More

Thursday, August 16th: So Simply Sara

Monday, August 20th: BookNAround

Tuesday, August 21st: Silver and Grace

Wednesday, August 22nd: Angler’s Rest

Monday, August 27th: Col Reads

Wednesday, August 29th: Reading Envy

Thursday, August 30th: In the Next Room

In Association with 

Monday 20 August 2012

Historic Newspapers - A Review

A few weeks ago I received a very nice email asking me if I was interested in reviewing the services of a company that specialised in old newspapers. Intrigued, I accepted with the suggestions of newspapers from around the Second World War era and if possible could the area of review relate to the Channel Islands or Surrey.

A few days later a box arrived where contained within was this. Presentation is everything.

Upon removal of the lid the newspaper was wrapped in archive standard tissue paper.

There was also a rather nice letter and details of a discount code that I can share with readers of this site.

Beneath the tissue paper was two newspapers from the German Occupation period of the Second World War, both relating to the Island of Guernsey.

Both newspapers are slim volumes, just 4 sides of news each, but remember the island was an occupied territory. Nonetheless, it was comforting to read that life in some ways simply carried on.... Here are a few photos to show what I mean.

The newspapers are original and a real treasure. Newspapers are greatly undervalued as a research medium. They represent a snapshot of life and are an ideal way to commemorate a special birthday or anniversary. My husband had a special birthday just before Christmas last year and I marked the event with a personalised mug from Emma Bridgewater and a special bottle of whisky. I never contemplated a newspaper and wish I had!

The historic newspapers site is HERE. At the site is possible to search via a date or a specific newspaper. Remember these are original newspapers.

We have been kindly provided with a discount code which is 15TODAY and that will reduce your purchases by 15%.
As I said almost at the start, presentation is everything. The moment I opened the blue box and saw the newspaper wrapped in tissue it was easy to see that this would be a special gift for someone.

Disclaimer - I have been provided with a free copy of two newspapers in the presentation case in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sunday 19 August 2012

Sunday Salon - Bookish Thoughts & Challenges

I have missed the last few Sunday Salon's. Life has simply taken over and I find that I do not seem to have enough hours or energy in a day to achieve what I want to.

I sat a few weeks ago on the settee, with the dog watching the opening ceremony for the Olympics. I thought we did a fantastic job of presenting a great lead up to the games and I suddenly thought of a great idea for a book challenge based upon the Countries participating in the Olympics - all 204 of them. The challenge to be completed by the time of the Olympics in Rio in 2016. 204 books in 4 years. I can do it, do you want to join me? You can read the details of the challenge HERE.

Since I last wrote I have been contributing to the long admired blog, Historical Tapestry. The site has a nice new template and continues to be a great book and historical site.

I finally found a local book group, which meets every month at the library. Last month's book was a challenge  - Slaughterhouse - Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Our current read, for discussion this week is The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. Review will be up soon!

Meanwhile, I read and reviewed a great book, aimed at children, but I loved the mix of history and postcards. The book was Postcards from a War by Vaita Oelschilager, which had some great illustrations. It is a quick read and whilst aimed at children, it is well worth a read for all ages.

Anyway, that is it for this week. Hope to be back next week. Organisation allowing!

Thursday 16 August 2012

Postcards of a War by Vanita Oelschilager

This was a lovely book. Written with children between the ages of around 4- 8 years of age in mind, the intention is to educate them and help them understand the issues surrounding a parent who is serving in the armed services.

Inspired by the letters and postcards the author received during her childhood from her father who was serving during the Second World War.

The story focus is on young Matthew who spends his afternoons, after school with his Grandfather. His father is working and his mother is serving in the military. During the course of the afternoon's Matthew explores his confusion regarding where his mother has gone, whilst looking at the postcards his grandfather has from his father, also sent from a tour of duty.

Together they build a scrapbook of those early postcards and the subsequent letters, postcards and emails from his mother.

This was a beautiful book with lovely illustrations and was a real joy to read.

Monday 13 August 2012

Family History by Hazel Hart

This was a nice easy read story, full of twists and turns and some real surprises in the final pages.

The story starts off with Crystal who is furious that her family has not been chosen to represent the town in a local history book, so she enlists the help of another researcher. Hot on the trail she heads over to her sister only to find that her sister has been seriously hurt.

The story unravels and the locals believe that Crystal is to blame and Crystal is keen to dispel such rumours and moves into her sister's home in an attempt to find out exactly what has happened. She uncovers her sister's diaries and starts to read and is overwhelmed with what she discovers along the way and with what is located in the basement.

Saturday 11 August 2012

Library Loot - 6th August 2012

My main event for last Monday was not to just browse the library, but also to return a book and collect one that had been reserved for me.

As luck would have it I managed to renew the book that I had almost finished and collect the book that I had reserved. I also spotted another couple of books. Then just before I headed out I renewed all the books so that they were all due the same day. It helps me avoid library fines!

Mum's List: A Mother's Life…Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma…The Ship Thieves: The True Tale of James…

Taking part in Library Loot and you can read the details HERE

Ramblings from my Desk.....(8)

At the risk of sounding confessional, it has been 10 days since my last blog post. I know, it is unusual, but then the last 33 days have not been usual at all. The reason is that I have been home alone and quite frankly I have been exhausted.

Hubby arrived home today, the car chockabloc with luggage, clothes, uniform, footwear and a very large pile of dirty washing. Hubby has been away at one of the Olympic venues and has been gone a total of 33 days. Believe me when I say it has been a very long month. He trundled off on 11th July and we spent, for the first time in 18 years our wedding anniversary apart. We have seen each other during the month when I have travelled to his location, but all that travelling on top of my working week, and a dodgy back it has taken its toll.

At the time of writing this Team GB has 59 medals and I am very proud of the achievements that those who have represented us have made. The opening ceremony was amazing and in some ways I can not believe that all the hype and it is almost over. The closing ceremony is tomorrow and then at the end of August for 2 weeks we head into the Paralympics.

In the meantime, I plan to catch up on the various draft blog posts, book reviews and genealogical posts. So normal service will be resumed soon.

In the meantime, I have made some headway with my Olympic Reading Challenge - are you going to join me?

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Carnival Of Genealogy 120 - Business and Commerce

My Grandmother always said "Uncle Joe had a shop and he went to Canada, but they didn't like it so they came back"  - It is not much to go on, but I did establish who Uncle Joe was and just where he slotted in to the family history.

My Grandmother's Aunt was Eliza Elstone, born in 1862 in Bramshott Hampshire to James Elstone and his wife Mary Denyer. In 1887 Eliza married Joseph Parslow in Kingston Upon Thames and together they raised a family of four children.
  • Lilian Sophie born 1890 in Ontario Canada
  • Emma Mary born 1893 in Ontario Canada
  • Richard Henry born 1895 in Ontario Canada and died 1897 in Kingston Surrey
  • Dorothy Edith born 1898 in Kingston Upon Thames Surrey
The Census reveals that Joseph was originally from Waltham Abbey in Essex where he had been born in 1863. At some point the Parslow's moved to Kingston as there is a well known population of the family there. Kingston is a Royal Borough and sits on the Thames and is technically in Surrey, and was originally in part of Greater London. 

So where was the shop and what sort of shop was it? Uncle Joe  had a second hand and antiques shop in in Woking and the family can be traced at an address in Monument Road Woking during the 1921 - 1923 period.  The 1901 Census shows the family living at Chertsey Street Woking, which is parallel to the work address, so that was a fairly easy commute to work!

There is so much work still to do with this family line. There was all sorts of stories from my Grandmother, a daughter, was killed by a Doddlebug during the war, twin boys called Pip and Squeak. All stands of mystery, some of which have been unravelled, although not fully. The daughter "killed by a Doddlebug" was in fact not killed and research has shown that she married and raised her family not more than 50 miles from where I am now sitting!

Taking part in the Carnival Of Genealogy, hosted by CreativeGene

Library Loot - 1st August 2012

Well I was impressed with the electronic library book system operated by Devon Libraries. On my first attempt I downloaded the maximum 3 books and then read and reviewed one of them. I investigated if I could return it early and thankfully I could.

As I am reading in Bluefire Reader, you simply go to the book and once it has opened click on contents and then select item info and then hit the  return item button. Simple!

The next books I downloaded were these two.

Spuds, Spam and Eating for Victory:…Ox-Tales:Earth by Oxfam

Taking part in Library Loot and you can read the details HERE

Rosie's War by Rosemary Say & Noel Holland

The sobering account of Rosemary Say, known as Pat who found herself in France at the outbreak of the Second World War.  The events are presented in a very matter of fact way, which has a genuine feel to it and as I read I wondered if I would have faired better given the situation? I suspect not.

Pat is a young girl in her early 20s who sets out to explore and meet others in a foreign country. That country is France and she is employed as an Au Pair to a family in Avignon.

Therefore as Europe heads into the turmoil of War, Pat finds herself in France, as the German troops invade. Pat is young, isolated and has very little money. She seeks assistance at the embassy in Paris only to find that the employees who could have helped have left and made their way back to England. She eventually finds some work within the cafe at the police station, but that is short lived and she is eventually interred in a camp.

The story continues to unravel the events that happened once in the camp, how Rosie copes with a loss of liberty and functional belongings such as a toothbrush. After a period of time, Rosie is determined to escape and with another internee she indeed does escape and makes her way, eventually across France into the region known as Free France, through to Spain and finally to home.

There was huge amounts of fear and uncertainty. Not just for Pat, but also for her family who had eventually managed to correspond with Pat through the help of the Red Cross. Once Pat is an escaped prisoner and effectively on the run in enemy territory, her parents are bewildered as to what had happened.

This was a remarkable story. Pieced together by archives and letters written and collated by Rosie's father, notes written by Rosie before she passed away and then by her son.


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