Secrets and Sapphires

Secrets and Sapphires (also known as Cinders and Sapphires in America) was written by Leila Rasheed and first published in 2013. It is a historical romance set in 1912 that focuses on the lives of the people who live on a wealthy English estate. The novel forms the first part of the At Somerton series and is followed by Diamonds and Deceit (2014) and Emeralds and Ashes (2015).

For the first time in years, Lord Westlake and his family have returned from India to their ancestral home of Somerton. However, he has brought with him a surprise. The Lord is to be wed to the affluent Fiona Templeton, and Lord Westlake’s two daughters – Ada and Georgiana – now must grow accustomed to sharing their father with Fiona’s three children.

Life on the estate seems simple and glamorous for the young ladies who live there however, as Ada prepares for her coming out, she increasingly realises that life is more complex than she first imagined. She has two ambitions in life – to study at Oxford University and to marry her true love, Ravi, yet neither can be. As the heir to Somerton she is expected to marry someone wealthy and maintain the family name. Ravi is a penniless Indian scholar and her reputation would be ruined if anyone found out.

However, Ada is not the only person with a secret. Beneath the glamour and civility of Somerton, almost everyone is hiding something. Ambition, forbidden love and dangerous secrets are rampant and, if they were to be discovered, would spell destruction a dozen times over for the name of Westlake. However, there are always those who are desperate to profit from a good scandal… More

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

Firstly, I would like to begin this review by thanking everyone who has followed and supported this blog over its six short months of existence. This post marks my 50th review on this site and come just a few weeks after its half-birthday. In order to commemorate both of these events, I thought I would take a look at a very popular novel to see if it stands up to the hype that it has generated. I hope that you enjoy my review and I look forward to seeing what the next six months will bring.

The Fault in Our Stars was written by John Green and first published in 2012. It immediately debuted at number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List and was later named the 2013 Teen Book of the Year at the Children’s Choice Book Awards. The story is a coming of age tale told from the perspective of a sixteen year old girl with terminal cancer as she narrates the story of her first love.

Hazel Grace Lancaster has been growing increasingly reclusive since her thyroid cancer metastasised to her lungs and her parents are concerned that she is suffering from depression. After much coaxing, they convince her to attend a cancer support group. Although Hazel is initially reluctant, it is here that she meets Augustus Waters, a seventeen year old boy who has recently lost a leg to osteosarcoma.

Hazel and Augustus begin to bond over films and their shared experiences with cancer. They also exchange their favourite books so that they can discuss them together – Augustus offering a violent video game tie-in while Hazel shares a novel about a girl with cancer. When Augustus finishes the novel and discovers that the fates of the characters are left ambiguous, the two share their mutual dissatisfaction with this ending.

Using his “Wish” with a children’s charity, Augustus surprises Hazel with tickets to Amsterdam. He has been in contact with books author and he has agreed to a meeting with them so long as they can attend in person. However, Hazel is growing concerned that their relationship is moving too fast. She knows that her illness will eventually kill her and that the closer Augustus gets to her, the more devastated he will be by her passing. How can she continue to date him when she knows that she will soon have to hurt him?


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