My February/March Reads: Drag Queens, Murder, Magic and Vintage Italy

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THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO BY MITCH ALBOM

Mitch Albom, for me, is genuinely one of the greatest storytellers out there, his brilliant prose drawing you straight into the heart of those stories. He has soul, he makes you cry for a character, root for a character and Frankie Presto epitomises that.

This is a big, sprawling novel. It takes in the lifetime of Frankie, a kid with a unique musical talent. At 9 years old he is sent on a boat from Spain to America with only his old guitar and six precious strings. Frankie is fictional but Albom cleverly weaves him into the rock n roll landscape impacting on very real stars like Hank Williams, Elvis, Carol King and KISS along the way.

He becomes an adored pop star himself but his gift is also a burden as he realises that his music actually affects people’s futures. At the height of fame, he disappears and his legend grows. Decades later, though, he reappears to change one more life.

This is a classic in the making. Or should be. Relentlessly heart-breaking yet moving, every page holds a surprise twist or bombshell. It’s magical yet real. A thing of beauty. The kind of book that takes over your life whilst your reading it. As I finished the last page, I sat stunned with the book on my lap, still mesmerised. 9.5/10

THE ENCHANTED APRIL BY ELIZABETH VON ARNIM

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Desperate for a sunny escape from a cold, rainy February on the south coast, I engrossed myself in The Enchanted April over the half term break. First published in 1922, it was in part responsible for hoards of English tourists suddenly holidaying on the Italian Riviera and I can see why.

A notice is placed in The Times addressed to ‘Those Who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine.’ It alludes to a small Italian castle which is to be let for the month of April, an offer quickly snapped up by four very different women who flee unappreciative husbands, love-sick men and the effects of ageing, on the shores of the Med. Beauty, warmth, gardens and leisure cast a spell over them all and their lives are changed forever.

I found this the perfect novel to cheer up a blue Monday. Continue reading

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What if you could talk to the dead?

THE FIRST PHONE CALL FROM HEAVEN

BY MITCH ALBOM

American writer Mitch Albom is one of my best loved authors. He has sold more than 34 million books worldwide which is no surprise to me as his thought provoking novels are such lovingly crafted reads.

I have previously enjoyed 5 of his magnificent stories:mitch albom

  1. The Five People You Meet in Heaven
  2. Tuesdays With Morrie (Memoir)
  3. For One More Day
  4. Have A Little Faith and
  5. The Timekeeper

And his latest release is no let down! The First Phone Call From Heaven is a story of hope, loss, love, faith and the existence of Heaven. Residents in the small town of Coldwater, Lake Michigan begin to receive phone calls from loved ones that have passed away.

The world and its media descend on Coldwater hoping that this is the greatest miracle ever. Deceased sons, sisters and even former employees appear to be calling the people they left behind from the afterlife.

But not everyone is convinced. Some suspect a hoax, like lead protagonist and grief stricken single Dad, Sully Harding. Watching his son Jules waiting for a phone call from his dead Mum breaks Sully’s heart and he vows to uncover the truth. Continue reading