Recent trips to the wilds of Epsom and Ashtead have rewarded me with plenty of fruit for my autumn jam making which I must say is not always appreciated by my husband who believes we could feed an army with the stock we currently have – it will however find its way into hampers at Christmas and happy recipients I am sure.
This brings me quite nicely to my latest reading material, for Cloudberry Castle by Janey Louise Jones opens at Christmas and whilst, despite its charming name, there is very little mention of berries it remains a charming and captivating story for younger readers, fans of ballet in particular. Gently written, touching on difficult issues such as bereavement and grief as well as family tensions this story finds its young heroine, Katie, showing strength in adversity and having a great adventure at the same time. It is a charming, beautifully written story with lots of pace and great appeal.
Perhaps at the other end of the scale are two books for teens which whilst they don’t link to my opening paragraph have still featured in my reading this week and have links to Cloudberry in that they both touch on some hard-hitting themes but do so with great skill so that the reader does not feel bogged down by issues but rather that they are working with the character to face adversity and overcome it. I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter may be a long title but it is an immediate draw!
Its lead, Cammie Morgan, knows seven ways to kill a man but is about to go on her most dangerous mission for Cammie is a member of the Gallagher Girls and whilst the Gallagher Academy may look like any other highly respected girls school from the outside it is what inside that matters and here it is a school for spies and assassins. With a fast pace and gripping story line this is one book that my senior girls can’t get enough of! However as there aren’t enough copies to go round I have been able to tempt at least some of them with Joss Stirling’s magnificent Finding Sky. From its evocative cover, a barbed heart set on a black background to its distinct character this is a book that deceives. I thought I was going to be reading another Twilight spin-off but what I found was a love story with true grit and realism. Coming of age is never easy. When you are in a new country among strange people with new powers it is even harder. Effortlessly blending fiction with fantasy this is a must read for young teens this autumn.