The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Anstey Harris. After Cate’s best friend and husband Richard passes away, she loses her teaching job in London. Unable to pay the rent on her flat she with their son Leo, moves to the small town of Crouch-on-Sea to take up residence in Richard’s grandfather’s old Victorian museum.
Cate is determined to revive Hatter’s Museum of the Wide Wide World with its quirky taxidermy exhibits and sprawling grounds but with few visitors, it is faced with closure. On the day of the grand reopening all derails and Cate’s self-doubt spirals. Eventually she has to face the reality of Richard’s death and the role she played in it. The Museum of Forgotten Memories weaves life with death, past with present, grief with hope in this moving and curious novel.
Arcadia by Di Morrissey
Arcadia is set in 1930s southern Tasmania, Australia. Although some readers say “Arcadia” is predictable, I very much enjoyed the Mystery, History, Family-ness, embrace of Environment, Scientific experimentation and the importance of Conservation of the ancient forests.
As an artist, explorer and ex-yachtie certainly I was swept into the tale. I connected immediately with the characters and wept at certain events. And I enjoyed the in-tandem story which thoroughly connected the whole.
The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn
Anna, a gardener in Sydney Australia, inherits from her grandmother an old house. During renovations, a diary and mysterious box containing “dazzling” botanical watercolours, a photograph dated 1886, and a bag of seeds are discovered. Anna tries to decipher the diary entries and sets out on a quest to find out who E is.
Despite family protestations, she leaves her well-ordered life and gardening clients to track down Florence Deverell, a descendant of John Trebithick, plant-hunter and adventurer.
In the parallel time-frame headstrong Elizabeth leaves her rambling family home, Trebithick Hall, in Victorian England’s Cornwall, and takes to the sea for Chile where her late botanist father had been searching for a rare and miraculous plant. Elizabeth faces dangers and treachery while present-day Anna faces her own demons.
This book grabbed me for the adventures, strong women, art, plants and complications of life and family.
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
At first I was a little lost in some of the time shifts but, once in the swing, I am thoroughly enjoying the story. Particularly with the hieratic (of or in the ancient Egyptian cursive writing system used by priests) and the hieroglyphs. And archaeology of course. And choices one has to face.
The opening sentence of the Prologue: “My calendar is full of dead people.” alone, grabbed me. And I was swept to a dig in Egypt enjoying the parallels of the past and present, life and death, and complications of love and family.