Book Reviews: My Bali Book List
Three days before we head back to New Zealand and I’ve timed my reading perfectly! I’m on my final book of three that I packed and I’ve loved them all.
To be honest, I probably haven’t spent as much time on a lounger reading as I would have liked, I totally should have left my laptop at home ergo, I should NOT have worked for two weeks! But who can do that when they’re a girlboss?
The Roanoke Girls – Amy Engel
Published by Hachette New Zealand. 14 March 2017 RRP $37.77 / EBK RRP $19.99
The Roanoke Girls is a bonafide, can’t put down page turner. As the novel unfolds, it flips between ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ narratives, gradually unravelling the secrets and lies lived by The Roanoke family.
Two cousins, Lane and Allegra, become inseparable over the summer after Lane’s mother commits suicide and she moves to rural Kansas to live with her cousin and maternal grandparents.
City-girl Lane’s initial concerns are around adjusting to the quiet routine of small-town life. The challenges she faces, however, are much closer to home and much more sinister.
Engel’s poignant characterization of polar-opposites Lane and Allegra sets the scene for Roanoake history to repeat itself and yet another tragedy to unfold.
Loved it. Awesome, compelling read.
The Perfect Girl – Gilly MacMillan
Published by Hachette New Zealand. 25th October 2016 RRP $27.99
There’s a bit of a girl theme going on here isn’t there lol. MacMillan brings an eerie calmness and slightly detached sense of reality to her anti-heroine Zoe in The Perfect Girl.
The initial hook with which the reader is caught subtly becomes a secondary story-line as we meet the new players in Zoe’s ‘Second Chance Life’.
Everyone in The Perfect Girl is wound tight like a spring and the tension all becomes too much during Zoe’s first public performance since The Accident. Zoe is a prodigal piano player and the irony of her immense talent, the very thing that defines her as a young girl, is that it kick starts a chain of events that leads to the death of her mother the same night as her return performance.
The Perfect Girl delves deep into the complexities of self, of family and the unravelling of both. Zoe finds an ally in her step-brother Lucas and a reason to fight for her family in order to protect her little sister Grace. How she does so is the ultimate finale.
An epic read, spanning a couple of days in the life of a young teen plagued by tragedy. Edgy and gritty with a mean twist. Loved it.
Woman in the Wilderness – Miriam Lancewood
Published by Allen & Unwin New Zealand. April 2017
I deliberately left this book until last on my holiday reading list as I wasn’t sure if it was for me. Two weeks on and I’m relaxed enough to really appreciate a non-fiction account of two nutters (I affectionately call them that lol), who went bush in the New Zealand wilderness.
Miriam is a dutch native who met her partner Peter whilst travelling in India. Their story is one of a road less travelled, without the material encumbrances (trappings?) of modern life in the privileged west.
Miriam’s writing is honest but not harsh. In fact, the whimsy of it can take a while to get used to. Once I settled into the prose, I began to get quite attached to the ‘characters’ in Miriam’s life and to Miriam herself. Peter’s liberated world view and philosophy seem at once magnetic and infinitely wise, as if you could spend a lifetime of days with him and always learn something new.
Mouse’s story and relationship with Miriam is one that I eagerly waited for updates on. He is so relatable to me and particularly reminds me of the kiwi blokes I now call friends in my late 30’s. It is easy to understand what must have been a great attraction to Miriam; she’s exotic, foreign but with all the makings of a stand-up kiwi girl but she has partnered with a man 30 years her senior.
A complex situation indeed!
Miriam’s story is fascinating, as is her drive and intense lust for knowledge and harmony with the world. I think this is something more and more of us are searching for as minimalism trends are becoming ever popular both in New Zealand and around the world. Her travels and life adventures with Peter around beautiful New Zealand are both incredible feats of endurance and tenacity as well as wonderfully inspiring. In fact, I’ve got a summer holiday plan for our family brewing as a result of reading Woman in the Wilderness!
An excellent foray away from fiction. A refreshing change and an eye-opening account of a different side of my own country. Great reading.
The Co-Creative Age – The Next Evolutionary Phase In Leadership, Sally Anderson
Purchase at via amazon, links below, RRP $39.95 NZD
A New Zealand woman who showed incredible determination to find a way to heal herself after one of the most dehumanising experiences, has written a book for leaders outlining her insights into the human psyche and how to advance it.
Co-creative is a term Sally coined and refers to tapping into the ‘unknown, and from her personal experience she believes it is a missing link in most of the teachings of business leaders today.
“Most leadership training is linear, because everything in the ‘unknown’ is collapsed into religion, and that’s too political, personal and complex to fit into the business world. And spiritual has negative connotations. So the question is, how do you evolve a leader without talking about faith? My book addresses this and I’m adamant the leaders of today must be as comfortable with the known as the unknown to lead people and companies through this disruptive age,” she says.