I welcome Brenda Brittan, Writer from The Greek Mani Writer's Group to share her favoured summer reads.
As I Walked Out One Midsummer
Morning – Laurie Lee
delightful sequel to Cider With Rosie, is an ideal summer read when one wants
to escape the restrictions of everyday life and visit somewhere different. This is a captivating tale of a curious young
man who does this when he decides to leave the security of his village and see
more of the world.
rural Gloucestershire Laurie Lee begins his ‘walk’ taking the road to Southampton
supporting himself by playing his violin.
Encouraged by this ability he heads for London managing to pay rent for
a room by working as a wheelbarrow pusher’ on a building site and by playing
his violin. When he has to leave his room due to his landlord letting it out to
a prostitute and realising the building he is working on is nearing completion he
knows he needs to move on and on the basis of knowing the Spanish for ‘Will you
please give me a glass of water’ he decides to go to Spain landing in Galicia
on the north west coast in July 1935.
wanderings with only his violin to pay his way and the optimism and freshness
of an idealistic young man take him from Vigo in the north down to the southern
coast crossing a county where signs of an impending civil war were in
evidence. He befriended locals who more
often than not gave him shelter and food.
travels were stopped at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War however in 1937
he returned to Spain to enlist for the International Brigade to fight against
Franco. Despite suffering epileptic fits
his officer described his conduct as ‘excellent’.
of Murano – Marina Fiorato
‘Murano is a series of islands in the Venetian
Lagoon linked by bridges and is famous for its glass making. It was once
an independent commune, but is
now a frazione of the comune of Venice.’
The story begins in 1681 with thirty-year-old
Corradinio Manin looking on the lights of San Marco, Venice for the last time. He is being hunted but there is one last thing
he has to do before his hunters catch up with him. He hears footsteps behind
him, at last he reaches the Calle della Morte – appropriately named the street
of death – he stops, as do the footsteps.
His last words are ‘Will Leonora be safe?’ The last words he hears are ‘Yes, you have
the word of The Ten’.
In Venice in 1681, glassblowing is the lifeblood of
the Republic and Venetian mirrors are more treasured than gold. The Council of Ten will go to any lengths to protect
the glassblowers of Murano and their methods, virtually imprisoning them on the
island. Corradinio Manin has sold his methods to a person. In their eyes he has
In the present day, Nora Manin, a teacher in ceramics
and sculpture wakes at 4am. Her marriage
to a doctor is over, shattered. Today is the day she is going to leave England
and begin a new life in Venice as a glassblower
And thus the scene is set for a combination of
mystery, historical intrigue and love, written by an English/Venetian author,
telling a story of passion, genius and betrayal linking the present and the
– A Long Way Back - Saroo Brierley
‘As a five-year old in India, I
got lost on a train. Twenty-five years later, I crossed the world to find my
way back home.’
In the early 1980’s an Indian man walked out on his
family leaving his wife and children in a state of poverty. The wife found work
in construction whilst five-year-old Saroo and his older brothers begged at
railway stations. One evening Saroo went with his older brother Guddu on a
train from Kwanda to Burhanpur. Saroo
collapsed with tiredness and fell asleep on a train. When he woke Guddu was not there. Panic set in, he tried to remember which
train he should take to get home but without success and eventually he ended up
on the streets of Calcutta (Kolkata).
The story follows his life on the streets, an inner sixth sense helping him
to survive including escaping from a railway worker who befriended him and then
showed him to a friend. Saroo felt something was not right and he ran from the
house where he had been ‘invited’ to stay. Eventually a teenager took him to a
police station and he was taken in by the Indian Society for Sponsorship and
Adoption. The Society tried unsucessfully to locate his family. What Saroo did not know was that he had been
unable to give them enough information for them to trace his hometown and he was
officially declared as a lost child.
There was an adoption scheme between the Indian and Australian governments
and Saroo was adopted by a family in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, the Brierley
family. His new life began in
During the relatively short passage of time from the late 1980’s to the
present day, the world wide web became part of everyday lives and following a
lead, Saroo realises he may be able to trace his family in India by using the
Social Media sites.
The Messenger of Athens – Anne
A light-hearted summer murder mystery read set in Greece. It is set on the
fictional island of Thinimos and is the first book in a series based on the
Seven Deadly Sins. This being based on ‘Lust’ and features a rather strange
detective, Hermes Diaktoros of whom little is known, other than he appears when
what is seemingly a straightforward death has occurred.
Mystery surrounds him. Could he be an ‘avenging angel’ only reporting to a
‘higher authority’ and there to ensure justice is carried out?
His methods of investigation are unorthodox, his trademark a pair of
immaculately kept white plimsolls, possibly a modern version of the winged
sandals worn by his namesake Hermes, messenger of the Gods. The reader is never
told how he gets his information thus adding to his mystique.
In this first book based on ‘Lust’, a young girl’s body has been discovered
lying at the bottom of a mountainside.
Her death is shrugged off by the local police as an accident or suicide
until Hermes appears on the scene. He is determined that the truth of her death
will be told and his investigations depict a darker side of Greek life in a
protective community where myths, lies, corruption and tragedy along with a
touching love story are revealed.
Despite the fantasy element it is a good mystery story and a must for anyone
who loves to read about Greek culture other than the sun, sea and sand holiday
Thank you, Brenda, for sharing your summer reads.
May I also say that my new novel The Woman in the Shadows about Thomas and Elizabeth Cromwell will be published by Accent Press on 4th August 2017. Pre Order on Amazon.