Thursday 3 March 2011

New Authors - Ella Griffin and Johanna Moran

I've been really lucky to be able to read some fabulous books before they have been officially published.  Discovering a new author is wonderful, there have been some really excellent debuts just lately.

Two of my favourites lately have been Postcards From The Heart by Ella Griffin and The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran - very different stories, but both excellent reads.

Both Johanna and Ella have contacted me since my reviews were published and I keep in touch with them both via Twitter and Good Reads

Postcards From The Heart is the debut novel from Irish author Ella Griffin.  The novel is warm, funny, engaging and full of emotion and places Ella Griffin well and truly up there with some of the best modern female Irish authors.  Anyone who enjoys Marian Keyes, Cathy Kelly or Patricia Scanlan is going to really enjoy this.
If this were a film, it would be a rom-com, definitely funny and most definitely full of romance, but not slushy or overly sweet - it's down to earth and Griffin's characters are likeable and well drawn.  The story revolves around two couples - best friends for years but living very different lifestyles.  Saffy and Gregg are rich, successful and famous whilst Conor and Jess are poor but very happy.  It's about falling in love, hanging on to love, losing love and then finding it again.   
There are some complex relationships, not least between Saffy and her mother, and at times the story is very emotional, yet even when dealing with the heavy issues, the touch of humour is always there in the background.   Jess and Conor's twin children are amazing characters with both of them having some fabulous one-liners.
I think Ella Griffin has a real hit with this novel and I'm looking forward to reading more from her.

In the early 1890s, British accountant Henry Oades accepts a new job in New Zealand.   Henry, his wife Margaret and their two children travel across the world and whilst Henry is quite excited and adventurous, Margaret is more of a home-bird who loves her family.

The family make a new life for themselves in a place that is somewhat coarser and rougher than expected, but seem happy.  Until one night Margaret and the children are kidnapped by Maori warriors.    

Henry goes almost crazy in his search for his family and finally can take no more and moves to San Francisco. Eventually he meets and marries a young widow.    Margaret and his children have been enslaved to the Maori for five years before they make their escape and eventually end up on Henry's doorstep.   So Henry now has two wives - what is to be done?

The story is based on a true legal case that the author's father discovered in some old legal papers, and is a really riveting read.   Mostly told through the eyes of the two wives - it is beautifully written with lots of humour splashed throughout.  It really is a remarkable story that reads perfectly.  The two wives are courageous and dedicated and as the novel unfolds they become closer and more loyal to each other, whilst still both adoring Henry.
A fabulous debut novel

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