#Blogtour Grace’s Table by Sally Piper @SallyPiper @Legend_Press #Grace’sTable

Grace's Table Cover

Grace’s Table by Sally Piper  Legend Press  August 1st 2019

Grace has not had twelve people at her table for a long time. Hers isn’t the kind of family who share regular Sunday meals. But it isn’t every day you turn seventy.

As Grace prepares the feast, she reflects on her life, her marriage and her friendships. When the three generations come together, simmering tensions from the past threaten to boil over. The one thing that no one can talk about is the one thing that no one can forget.

Grace’s Table is a moving and often funny novel about the power of memory and the family rituals that define us. 

My Review

There’s nothing like a big birthday to bring all the family together, to stir up memories both good and bad and this is what Piper’s novel Grace’s Table did so brilliantly.

Grace herself, was 70, a widow, with a lover her family could not accept and a lifetime of motherhood, work and hardship. As she cooked dinner with her daughter you could sense the simmering tensions of things left unsaid, of her children’s expectations of what a mother should be. It was almost as if Grace’s life was not her own, that a life spent in a retirement home would make their life simpler, less worrisome. I loved that Grace rebelled, held on to her independence, refused to conform.

As various members of the family arrived so Piper revealed more of Grace’s story, of a husband who ruled the home, of children who grieved and of an empty seat that you sort of knew who it belonged to but not how it came about.

Pipers narrative was wonderfully vivid, the food beautifully described, the emotions of the characters poignant, full of regret, but there was also the beginnings of acceptance and forgiveness. A smashed plate, a revealing of truth long buried were much like opening a champagne bottle letting the bubbles escape, yet none of the celebration.

I riled at her children, could have shaken them with frustration at their selfishness, at their blinkered version of events. I loved the innocence, the honesty of their own children who saw their Grandma for who she was, an acceptance that she had her own life, her won wants and needs.

Piper infused her narrative with humour, with mouth watering descriptions of food, food that fed a family, that identified with the traits of the individuals. It was clever and insightful, utterly engaging and an absolute delight.

I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of Grace’s Table to read and review and to Lucy Chamberlain for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Sally Piper Author cropped

Sally Piper is an award-winning Brisbane based writer.  She is a former nurse and nurse educator, specialising in neurosurgical critical care, and has worked in both Australia and the UK.

Sally has had short fiction and non-fiction published in various online and print publications, including a prize-winning short story in the first One Book Many Brisbanes anthology, The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Saturday Paper, Weekend Australian and WQ plus other literary magazines and journals in the UK. She has been interviewed for radio, been a guest panellist at literary festivals and delivered many author talks and readings.

Sally holds a Master of Arts (Research) in Creative Writing from Queensland University of Technology. During her post-graduate studies she also tutored on the QUT Creative Writing program. She currently presents workshops and seminars for the Queensland Writers’ Centre and mentors on their ‘Writer’s Surgery’ program.

sallypiper.com

Follow Sally on Twitter @SallyPiper

#Blogtour The Woman In The White Kimono by Ana Johns @author_AnaJohns @LegendPress #TheWomanInTheWhiteKimono

The Woman in the White Kimono cover Radio 2

The Woman In The White Kimono by Ana Johns   Legend Press  July 15th 2019

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage secures her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community. However, Naoko has fallen for an American sailor and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovač, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation. Setting out to learn the truth, Tori’s journey leads her to a remote seaside village in Japan where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

Inspired by true stories, The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.

My Review

If you want a contemporary  novel that’s a little bit different then The Woman In The White Kimono is definitely for you.

Set in the present day and 1950’s Japan it told the story of Naoko and Tori.

Naoko, a young woman who attempted to navigate a new way of thinking and life in Japan held back by a family still intrinsically stuck in tradition. Her love for an American sailor versus an arranged marriage with a Japanese man, was always destined for disaster, for conflict and consequences that were utterly devastating. And this is where the novel excelled as Johns interwove old folk stories and Japanese traditions into her narrative. I have no words that I can find to say how beautiful it was, how John’s turned what was just an ordinary love story into something that was hugely affecting and poignant.

She gave us a young woman who was brave, so committed, who gave up everything, and in the end made the ultimate sacrifice that you could not help but be moved by what you read.

I loved how Johns used Tori, an American journalist, and her unravelling of the questions in her fathers last letter to provide the contrast, to discover a life her father had never spoken of. It was only as you read that you saw the links, that you held your breath, wondered if Tori would find answers, and indeed peace for herself and maybe redemption for her dead father.

Nothing was quite as it seems or what I expected and indeed the final truth was one of the most moving piece of writing I have ever read. The horrors that Johns unearthed of a past Japan seemed unbelievable yet you knew they were based in truth and just so sad and cruel.

The Woman In The White Kimono was superb and it’s inclusion as part of the Radio 2 Bookclub well deserved and I hope the readers will appreciate this beautifully moving and poignant novel.

I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of The Woman In The White Kimono to read and review and to Lucy Chamberlain for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Ana Johns

 

Ana Johns, a Metro-Detroit native who now resides in Indianapolis, studied broadcast journalism and worked over twenty-years in the creative arts field, as both a creative director and business owner, before turning her hand to fiction. 

Her debut Historical Fiction novel, THE WOMAN in the WHITE KIMONO, both a Globe and Mail instant bestseller and BBC Radio2 Book Club Pick, while fiction, is crafted from historical events and real stories, including her father’s. She was inspired by his story of the beautiful Japanese girl he loved while enlisted with the US Navy and how her family had invited him to a traditional tea.

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