Bookshelf Review~The Spy by Paulo Coelho



Historical fiction I love. This author’s work I love. This book brought to life the historical story of Mata Hari (Margaretha Zella) who became famous as an exotic dancer and high-end prostitute to powerful and rich men. The character is painted as a strong and independent woman whose ” only crime was to be an independent woman.” She was betrayed, executed, and used as a Scapegoat to distract the publics attention from the brutal loss of young men’s lives due to the war at that time.

Immediately the book grabbed my attention from the very beginning starting boldly with the execution. It was engaging, easy to follow and told in the first person by Mata Hari and the Lawyer through letters they wrote.

It creates Mata Hari as a very strong character who had come from difficult circumstances. She was raped at 16, then found herself in a physically and sexually abusive marriage, she suffered the death of a son, whilst her abusive husband had custody of her daughter. I felt her desperation to survive and thrive. I felt her courage and strength to reinvent herself and do what she needed to do to survive. I don’t know that she had many choices however she chose a daring and controversial path.

It was a great read, although I feel it glamorized her position as a dancer and prostitute. I really wonder how much choice she really had, how much pain she suffered, and how difficult it must have been for her at the time. The book makes it sound like her time as an exotic dancer and prostitute were easy.

However, I liked that I could admire her for being strong, taking control of her life, and daring to think out of the box, use her smarts, looks and talents to survive and thrive. Whilst from the beginning to end she was treated unjustly, especially the final betrayal by men and her country France, and yet she never acted like the victim, rather with pride.

Overal it was an interesting and engaging read, I think I would like it more had it been a little grittier.

Wishing you all a wonderful day





Book Review~ The Food of Love Cookery School.


I am always looking for a book to encourage me and give me good ideas of how to live more beautifully, and this was one of those books.

The Food of Love Cookery School by Nicky Pellegino, this is a lovely fiction book, perfect for that holiday read. It explores the journey of four lovely ladies and a owner of an Sicilian Cooking school which dose small holiday groups. It was easy to relate to the characters and fall in love with the story. It made me wish and dream about going on a cooking adventure for a holiday. At time of reading this book I was on holidays so it inspired me to enjoy my meals out a little more, and be more selective about what I was eating, savouring all the flavours. 

Some of the take-aways I got from reading this book, was that we can enjoy our own daily  cooking adventures, from selecting good fresh seasonal ingredients to cooking simple and flavourful dishes. Also the joy of enjoy food and sharing the experience with others. 
Whilst one of the characters highlighted another important point, “ All I need is a decent cookbook and I can go anywhere at all from the comfort of my own kitchen: Morocco, Mexico, China, you name it.” Moll is passionate about her cooking and talks about her cooking adventures at home. “ On weekends I’m always off on little adventures. I love finding spice shops or Italian delis and just breathing in the air. I lust after new recipes and the flavours I might find in them.” I finds such words and her characters story so inspiring and it made me more aware how I could have more of my own cooking adventures at home. Whilst the characters grandmother Nonna, reminded me it was not all about perfection rather the passion to come up with good dishes, and to be a little adventurous seek out new dishes and make them your own. 
I really enjoyed reading this book the love story about food and the lovely story that unfolds throughout  the novel. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters and learning about their journey. This book I felt was an encouragement to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, to pursue dreams and really enjoy food and the creating and sharing of food dishes.
Whilst it is the Easter weekend and I am spending Easter at work this year, even on special weekends and public holidays people get sick and need to be cared for, so off to work I go.
Wishing you all a wonderful Easter!