‘Porters are not the carriers of bags, they are the keepers of keys!’
As one of the most ancient and esteemed establishments of the academic elite, Old College is in for something of a shock when it appoints its very first female Deputy Head Porter.
She struggles to get to grips with this eccentric world, far removed from everyday life. PorterGirl, the proverbial square peg in the round hole, begins to wonder quite what she is doing here.
PorterGirl – First Lady Of The Keys is a touching, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, glimpse into a world that is usually reserved for the upper echelons of society.
Whether she is chasing after naked students, drinking copious amounts of tea or getting embroiled in quaint, polite murders, Deputy Head Porter is never far from adventure.
I’ve had PorterGirl on my must read radar for some time. For three reasons, one it’s set in Cambridge, (and I live in Cambridge too,) and two I have enjoyed reading Lucy’s blog Porter Girl and following her.
Also, my youngest daughter works part-time as a waitress in one of the colleges in Cambridge so I hear all about college life from her, and all about the sumptuous food….
So my impressions of PorterGirl… I really enjoyed PG. It’s one of those books that lifts your spirits up and puts you in a fantastic mood. It prompts you to put the kettle on and eat lots of forbidden biscuits! Lol… Porter G’s experience as the first female porter of a prestigious Cambridge University college is a lively riot from start to finish, full of humour, tea, and jokes about eating fabulous food when and wherever PorterGirl can… Being a foodie, this constant ambition to raid the fridges and steal food from under her colleagues’ hungry noses had me in stitches, as did crazy but ever so serious tasks such as PorterGirl rescuing a most important College cat via a precarious punting escapade. There’s never a dull moment, but a dollop of rising fear ensues as PorterGirl discovers murders are being committed in Old College. She begins to fear for her life, but PorterGirl is no coward, (a former copper,) she manages to keep herself safe, until…. it gets a bit hot under the bowler hat. Even so, her bowler hat remains proudly on top of her head, never to be removed not even in the most dire, calamitous of circumstance!
My recommendation: 4 stars. A favourite read that will make you smile a lot – and smiling is one of my favourite pastimes. Lucy has a pleasing writing style that makes you feel as if you know her personally. But, this novel should come with a health warning: This will make you laugh so much that you will splutter out your tea and biscuits! I reckon our friends across the water will find the copious amount of tea drinking that is a signature style of PorterGirl exceedingly amusing!
Opinion: I felt that perhaps PorterGirl lacked the ‘real’ names (and from Lucy’s point of view the promote-able aspects,) of the ‘real’ Cambridge. I would love to have read about the ‘real’ University college that Old College applied to, and the ‘real’ haunts that Lucy mentions. But, I can understand why Lucy didn’t do so, why she used fictitious names. I expect she wanted to keep the secrets of the establishment, and anonymity of some of the characters in the book. If she had set it in the ‘real’ Cambridge, (and put a few folks noses out of joint,) for me it would have been a five star read. But, that’s just me…. and of course I can see why she wouldn’t want to do that! Lol…
I’m really looking forward to reading more from Lucy Brazier.
I recommend that you get a copy of PorterGirl, rush, before Lucy’s tea gets cold!
Lucy’s next novel:
Lucy has a new fan. 🙂
Bye for now,
I’ve been so busy recently with editing my manuscript, gathering promotional ideas, etc, that I have neglected my much-loved book reviewing. So, to remedy this a little I’m doing a few mini reviews:
Starting off with….
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.
When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
My review: 4.5 stars. This debut novel surprised me. I started off not being too sure about it and then loved it! Sometimes I’m like that, I can be a bit slow on the uptake! I need a little convincing and then kapow – it hits me full force. Great idea, fantastic characters, particularly the main protagonist Aaron Soto, thought provoking questions about his emerging sexuality, and interesting setting – the Bronx. Have added to my favourites list. Read? Yes, yes, yes.. !!!
A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
In the tradition of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls comes a warm and tender novel in which a father and his autistic son connect over the game of Minecraft.
Alex loves his family, and yet he struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. The strain has pushed his marriage to the breaking point. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world’s most uncomfortable blow-up bed.
As Alex navigates single life, long-buried family secrets, and part-time fatherhood, his son begins playing Minecraft. Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. Together, they discover that sometimes life must fall apart before you can build a better one.
Inspired by the author’s own relationship with his autistic son, A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, funny, and, most, of all true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.
My review: 4 stars. I discovered this book via my good blogging friend Annika Perry. She had written a detailed review and it piqued my interest: https://annikaperry.com/2016/07/15/a-boy-made-of-blocks-a-book-review/.
Annika enjoyed this novel but didn’t love it, and I enjoyed it too but it didn’t quite make my favourite list either. Author Keith Stuart used his own experiences with his son to write A Boy Made Of Books, and reveals the complexities of coping with day to day activities with a child on the autistic spectrum. Even going to the park can become a major worry particularly if you meet a dog who might set off your child’s anxieties. In my experience, I found it to be well written throughout but the latter part of the novel was more emotionally engaging. Read? Yes, particularly if you are interested in novels about autism, and family/son relationships.
Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
My review: 4 stars. This deserves all the hype. It is an entertaining, sweet read, a must read YA novel… grab a copy! Read? Yes, most definitely Read!!!
Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty
Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she’s a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who’s sitting across from her, watching: a man who’s also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has charmed and haunted her. This is a tale of sexual intrigue, ruthless urges, and danger, which has blindsided her from a seemingly innocuous angle. Here in the courtroom, everything hinges on one night in a dark alley called Apple Tree Yard.
My review: 4.5 stars. Really enjoyed this a lot. I grabbed it off my mum’s bookshelf in Edinburgh… I’m always pinching books… beware! A fascinating tale of how the most unlikely of women could end up having such a wild and crazy affair, (I kid you not!) leading to such dire consequences. Highly recommended. Read? Yes, Read!!!
Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens
Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending the Christmas hols in snowy Cambridge. Hazel has high hopes of its beautiful spires, cosy libraries and inviting tea-rooms – but there is danger lurking in the dark stairwells of ancient Maudlin College.
Two days before Christmas, there is a terrible accident. At least, it appears to be an accident – until the Detective Society look a little closer, and realise a murder has taken place. Faced with several irritating grown-ups and fierce competition from a rival agency, they must use all their cunning and courage to find the killer (in time for Christmas Day, of course).
The fabulously festive fifth mystery from the bestselling, award-winning author of Murder Most Unladylike.
My review: 4 stars. A very fun murder mystery set at Christmas in the colleges of Cambridge. Particularly enjoyed reading this as I live in Cambridge and it was nice to recognise some of the familiar settings. Read: Yes, particularly if you like an easy, entertaining, enjoyable read.
Following on from this I am currently reading Lucy Brazier’s Porter Girl so more about soon…
And after that I have various beauties on my TBR pile including The Words In My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd, (Costa book awards shortlisted author,) who I met in person at a recent inspiring event held by Cambridge Writers.
Bye for now,
My New Facebook club: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club
Reblogging this from Amorvitam – YA book recommendations
Hi there! Thanks to the YouTube account of an awesome girl named Sanne (booksandquills), I’ve been reading quite a lot lately and have totally gotten into reading YA (= Young Adult) books. I’ve kind of got the book virus I suppose, since I have the constant urge to order a bunch of books online all of the time. In this post I will discuss three books which have made an impression on me and which I would love to talk about.
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