December 22nd, 2011

andrew potter

Mary Burchell (1904 - December 22, 1986)

Ida Cook was born on 1904 at 37 Croft Avenue, Sunderland, England. With her old sister Mary Louise Cook (1901), she attending the Duchess' School in Alnwick. Later the sisters took civil service jobs in London, and developed a passionate interest in opera.

A constant presence at Covent Garden, the pair became close to some of the greatest singers of the era; Amelia Galli-Curci, Rosa Ponselle, Tito Gobbi and Maria Callas. They also came to know the Austrian conductor Clemens Krauss, and it was through he that Cooks learned of the persecution of European Jews. In 1934, Krauss's wife asked the sisters to help a friend to leave Germany. Having accomplished this, the sisters continued the good work, pretending to be eccentric opera fanatics willing to go anywhere to hear a favourite artist. Krauss assisted them, even arranging to perform in cities they needed to visit. The sisters made repeated trips to Germany, bringing back jewellery and valuables belonging to Jewish families. This enabled Jews to satisfy British requirements as regards financial security - Jews were not allowed to leave Germany with their money. Using many techniques of evasion, including re-labelling furs with London labels, the sisters enabled 29 persons to escape from almost certain death.

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Mary Burchell's Books on Amazon: Mary Burchell

Source: Passion's Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon

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andrew potter

Franky Gets Real by Mel Bossa

I started this book expecting to read a romance and ended witnessing to an almost therapy session where everyone joining the session was at first “normal” and exited it on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

It’s also a story about the death of illusion, or better the reaching of a point where you need to really stop and decide what it will be of your life. It’s about Franky and Alek, but also Wyatt, Nevin and Holly, and all those characters wandering around them. Franky is presented as a bookish type, someone who befriended the same bookish boy Alek when they were teenagers; but today Franky is a salesman, something that is quite far from the career you would expect by someone loving literature. Then you learn that Franky’s girlfriend, Geena, is also Franky’s boss, and so maybe, you think, she is the one who tried to shape Franky to her own imagine of a perfect boyfriend. Doesn’t matter that, apparently, it’s quite clear that Franky is gay, or at least bisexual. For fear or weakness, Franky has never acknowledge his feelings for Alek, or Alek’s feelings for him, and he has opted to basically cut his bond with his best friend.

But now the fabulous five, Wyatt, Holly, Nevin, Alek and Franky decided to go on a weekend trip together, living at home wives, parents, children, boyfriends and all. They want to have yet again a weekend for them, a time when they can be again the same as they was, free and innocent. Only that it’s not so simple, even if they have left at home the evident “troubles”, the more dangerous are there with them, ready to explode. Alek is gay and he is tired, for various reason, to stay in the closet; if Alek comes out it’s obvious that Franky is involved: until his best friend/possible lover is in the closet, Franky can ignore his own feelings, but if Alek decides to be open, and to have a boyfriend, then Franky cannot allow it to be someone else than him.

Even if Franky and Alek took the major part of the novel, another interesting evolution is the one Wyatt is going through; Wyatt stubbornly denies his brother his gay since, admitting it is like admitting his own past experience of having being molested. Wyatt sees being gay as being a pervert, and of course he cannot accept that of his own brother; if, and only if, he is ready to admit his brother is gay, than it’s for sure some psychological illness, something that he has to be cured for.

Good stories also for Holly and Nevin, but I would like to highlight the one of Eli and Vlad, they feel so good and real that I’m pretty sure the author had a story for them, something she has already written or maybe is in the phase to plan out. If not, I strongly suggest her to do so.

Amazon: Franky Gets Real
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (December 20, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602825858
ISBN-13: 978-1602825857

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

Traveling Light by Lloyd A. Meeker

From my point of view, Traveling Light is more a romance than what other reviewers let imply, but it’s not an ordinary romance. The love story between Ta-Kuat and Ian arrives also to a physical level, but it’s not really the focus of everything. I found Ian to be very “physical”, someone who needed to express his feelings also through his body, and Ta-Kuat found a way to allow that.

Ta-Kuat is a shaman of the XIII century, Ian an hospice nurse and wanna-be shaman of the XXI century; almost 800 years divide them, and it’s really impossible to hope they will find a way to be together forever, but as I said, that is not their main reason to be. From my perspective, Ian needs to find a center, to be able to first understand himself to then being able to understand and help other people. It’s an hard test what destiny put him through, hurting him deeply with the death of his own brother, tempting him with the idea of vengeance, and basically depriving him of security, even arriving to break the bond with his own boyfriend, Sam.

I follow Ian through his path, in a way with the wrong expectation: I found myself in the middle between Sam and Ta-Kuat, at time hoping Ian would choose one or the other, and then when Gerard entered the scene, I sometime was half-hoping he would be the answer. But I was wrong, since my expectations were wrong. The ultimate target of Ian’s quest was not to find love, but to find balance. His ultimate scope is to become the right man to help other, and if that means to be alone, at least for a bit, so it will be. Of course the author is not so bad to not let Ian with a little hope of happily ever after also for him, but that maybe will be the object of another tale.

It was difficult for me to soak up all the notions this novel put in motion, basically since you can’t face them with a clinical mind, but you have to have blind faith, something I sincerely am missing; Ian is not at all Christian, but some of his attitude is a bit like that, blind faith religion, believing that everything, even the most threating evil can be “cured” by faith. That is something I sincerely am not able to accept, probably since I was burned more than once. On the other side, I believe in some sort of fate, of helping/healing power from something you don’t see or understand, and of that this novel is plenty.

I will not arrive to suggest this book to everyone, especially not if you are searching something light (despite the title); but if you are ready to read something that will test your beliefs, that will question your faith, and will leave you with some answers to understand, well, Traveling Light is your choice.

Amazon: Traveling Light
Amazon Kindle: Traveling Light
Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (March 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608203174
ISBN-13: 978-1608203178

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

The Next Best Day by Kelly Graves

This is only a short story, but it’s sweet and romantic, and, well, real. The two guys are not romance hero, but your everyday guys with their simple but big dream of being a family, an happily ever after story.

Rory is a construction worker, Jamie is in-live partner; I didn’t really catch if Jamie has a steady job, what I for sure understood is that Jamie is very good in taking care of Rory, he is the perfect househusband. Rory comes home tired and a little stressed, and Jamie is ready to relax him; Rory is late for their anniversary, and instead of finding a complaining Jamie, he finds an hot bath and dinner ready. Of course he would be crazy to let this perfect dream man gone, and indeed Rory has a plan to make their relationship very, very permanent.

There is reality waiting outside their perfect little home waiting for Rory and Jamie, but this night, this perfect planned night, is all for them, and reality can wait, the hate, the prejudices have not space, and even if they are an ordinary couple, they will have a movie-like happy ending.

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle