Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman

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Dr. Emma Lewis is a 30 year old neuropsychiatrist living in London. She is offered the case of a lifetime, one which could make her career.  A well respected doctor in her field offers her the case of Mr. Nobody.  The man was found on a beach, drenched to the skin and having no apparent memory of who he is or where he is from. Could this be an actual rare case of fugue?

If you recall, back in 2005 there was a similar real case called The Piano Man, the circumstances of his case very similar and probably (in my opinion) gave our author the inspiration for this story. True story you may read about by clicking the hyperlink above.

By page 76 the plot dances around the fact of an incident with Emma and her family, so bad her family needed to be relocated and given new identities. As a reader I think it would have been better to reveal what her horrific experience was much earlier in the book. You learn why at page 200+

Anyway, she decides, against her brother`s advice, to return to Norfolk as it is a  career changing case. Also weird was a government agency did an intense background check on her, knows her identity and why she left Norfolk 14 years ago.  Lots of mystery about the government agency and what happened to Emma and her family. She was required to sign a confidentiality contract before proceeding. Hmmm…..they must know or suspect something about this Mr. Nobody.

I ask, if they wanted HER in particular why not relocate the man with fugue to a London hospital where Emma Lewis is working and reduce risk of her former identity revealed near her childhood home? Logical question.

The psychological mystery does wrap up with a few twists that were nicely incorporated.  The mystery man knows so much about Emma already although they’d never met.You have to suspend disbelief on some scenes, I wont give spoilers, but it is a decent enough mystery to make me look for her other publication.  This one is her second book.

Catherine Steadman is an actress based in North London, UK, and the author of Something in the Water. She has appeared in leading roles on British television as well as on stage in the West End. In 2016, she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Oppenheimer. She is best known in the United States for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from Random House and LibraryThing. I was not compensated and opinions are all mine.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

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The Year of the Dog by Vincent Musi

The Year of the Dog is a beautiful book. It’s one I will keep on the coffee table and can recommend it as a Christmas gift for any dog lover. Gorgeous photos with accompanying stories about each dog.

Vincent Musi is a National Geographic photographer who was frequently in challenging situations photographing tigers, lions and other wildlife in the field.  When he decided to suspend travel to be with his family for a year he took up a challenge of opening a studio exclusively for dog portraits.

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This heavy and lovely book is the result.  The photo below reminds me of our old chow Sally.  I wanted to share at least one dog profile so you could see one of the photos and format.

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Again, if you are a dog lover you’ll love looking through this book and reading about each animal.

*This was a complimentary copy from LibraryThing and I was not compensated for my review.  Thank you LibraryThing and Chronicle Books.

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

huntressOnce again, Kate Quinn has written a story with compelling characters.  Quinn’s previous novel, The Alice Network, was hard to put down and she’s done it again with The Huntress.  We have several unique points of view telling their stories about WW II.

Ian Graham was a war correspondent but he’s burnt out after witnessing so much horror.  Currently Ian and his partner Tony are Nazi hunters.  The big score would be the elusive Die Jägerin – a female killer (the Huntress) who mercilessly killed anyone in her path, including women and children. Ian Graham has a personal interest in her as she is evidently responsible for his young soldier brother’s death. 

Nina is a Russian aviator with quite an interesting back story. She is a Siberian “night witch” who flies with her all female comrades in WW II.  I really felt for Nina, all she endured, yet she’s the toughest of the bunch. Dangerous, skillful, sexy and extremely driven.  Our author did her homework about the Russian female aviators.  There really was a “night witch” group who served their country.

Last and certainly not least is Jordan McBride.  She’s a young woman living with her widowed father in Boston.  She has a passion for photography, her dream job would be a photographic journalist, traveling the world.   In the 1950’s a career is not encouraged, as much as sh’d love to attend college her father doesn’t approve.  When dad meets a young German widow his life changes, as does Jordan’s life.  Her story dovetails with the other three mentioned above.

I enjoyed every story line, every perspective and can recommend this to anyone who enjoyed The Alice Network.  Once again Kate Quinn hits it out of the park.

Foodie references weren’t abundant but Nina could tuck into a hamburger with such gusto that Ian enjoyed watching her enthusiasm. She had a style of putting jam in tea (I’m not trying that) and there were mentions of borscht, a Thanksgiving dinner and 1950/60’s comfort food from the McBride’s kitchen.

For Nina

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Thanks to LibraryThing for the advanced readers copy of this book.
Sharing with Heather for her March Foodie Reads event.

2019 Foodies Read

Food Whore by Jessica Tom

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Food Whore by Jessica Tom is an interesting concept for foodie book. It’s a story about Tia Monroe and her goal of becoming a food writer in New York City. She and her college boyfriend move to NYC to pursue their individual dreams. Tia wants to be in the food industry while her boyfriend Elliott is involved with environmental studies. They support each other emotionally but don’t have a deep knowledge or passion regarding each other’s life work.

This book is pack full of descriptions of meals and foods. It’s also heavily laced with brand names in the fashion industry as Tia becomes a shopper at Bergdorf Goodman.

For Tia this is a story about growing up as well as the dashing and simultaneous realization of her dreams. She has some great experiences and even greater embarrassments. When Tia sets her sights on an internship with famed cookbook writer Helen Lansky she is sidelined by a famous restaurant critic, Michael Saltz. He shares a secret with Tia, one that could end his career – he has lost his sense of taste. Everything tastes like cardboard to Saltz so he needs Tia to eat at restaurants with him and describe the taste and textures of the food.

She is more than annoyed that Saltz hijacked her internship with Helen Lansky but what is offered has its appeal. She will have unlimited shopping resources with an account at Bergdorf Goodman, the opportunity to learn from Michael Saltz and seemingly endless dining experiences at 4 star restaurants in NYC. Once she agrees to this her life changes dramatically. Her boyfriend Elliott was never glamorous but the newly styled Tia with designer clothes and fabulous experiences looks at him with less lust than she did before. Tia is also meeting well known chefs. One in particular is quite sexy, pursuing and flirting with her; Tia is beginning to believe the designer clothes and lavish life style will be a part of her life from then on.

She is also dealing with seeing her words, describing the nuances of an elaborate meal, printed I the New York Times under Michael Saltz’ name. Will she ever get a byline, a credit or a jump start to a new career in the food writing industry?

Since I don’t want to give spoilers I can’t vent on about certain characters that displayed despicable behavior. I will say that I liked Tia less by the end of the book than I did at the beginning. Food Whore is appropriately titled and while it spun a good tale, Tia Monroe isn’t someone I would ever be friends with. I would read more by this author unless it was a follow up to Tia’s story line. The writing is descriptive and rich. The food references and descriptions are out of this world. Very vivid.

*I won an advanced reader’s copy of this book from LibraryThing. All opinions are mine.