Cambridge University

My Kyrosmagica Review of PorterGirl: First Lady of The Keys by Lucy Brazier

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Goodreads Synopsis: 

‘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.

 

My review

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.

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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!

Portergirl BOOK 1 MASTER WEBSITE

Buying links: Amazon – Lucy Brazier: Porter Girl – First Lady of The Keys

Lucy’s next novel:

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Lucy has a new fan. 🙂

Bye for now,

 

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Five Photos Five Days Challenge Day 1- Lost Dreams, Drug Oblivian

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I’m currently taking part in the 5 Photos – 5 days challenge after being nominated by Annika Perry – Annika Perry’s Writing blog.

I would highly recommend that you check out Annika’s blog.

Here’s the link : https://annikaperry.wordpress.com/

Firstly, the rules are as follows:

‘Post a photo each day for five consecutive days, and tell a story about each photo.  The story can be truth or fiction, poetry or prose.  Each day one must also nominate a fellow blogger to participate in the challenge.’

Here is my photo and writing for Day 1.

This is my photo of the one of the locked gates of Cambridge University. Somehow my photo of this beautiful gateway inspired me to write a very sad piece of flash fiction. The mind works in very mysterious ways, well mine does anyway! Forgive me for putting a dampener on such a beautiful setting.

Lost Dreams

Heidi peered through the locked gate, in the distance she saw the neat manicured lawn, the suggestion of a life well lived. There was a brand new bike propped up against the wall facing away from the exit. Heidi wondered who the bike belonged to and why it had been abandoned by its owner. She sighed, climbed onto her own rusty bike and cycled away.

The next day she returned, but the bike was gone. Everything else was just as it had been before. Heidi stood by wistfully peering through the ornate bars. She saw a group of people coming towards the gate, a bunch of undergraduates no doubt. They opened the gate, and each of them seemed to individually register her presence with a quizzical glance. She wanted to stroll in, but she knew she couldn’t. If she did that would just make matters worse. They would see her as she was now, so she stayed outside the gate. Safe. Behind secure bars.

I know without any doubt that Heidi believed that she belonged within the walls of that forbidden garden. It wasn’t her fault, she’d say. Heidi’s downfall started at sixth form, everything started to slip. Leaving secondary school had seemed such a liberation to her but her departure should have come with a warning sticker. Beware: Sixth Form Can Seriously Screw You Up. To begin with the changes in Heidi were barely noticeable, but soon, the pressure built up. An outlet had to be found, a way for her to cope. She ended up at wild parties once a week, and when once a week wasn’t enough, every night became the norm. Then she started to experiment. Her motto became: it’s easy to anaesthetise yourself, pretend you’re okay, when you’re not. At first mum and dad didn’t notice but when her grades started to slip they woke up. Fast. Their perfect princess was no longer bringing home A’s the best she could do was a D, a D  with drugs, dangerous boys, and doubtful friends.

Of course the inevitable happened Heidi missed classes, came in drunk, she got kicked out of sixth form. No second chances. Then mum and dad did what they had to. They couldn’t cope, the stealing did it. I tried so hard to help, believe me I did.  We all did. I blame myself so much. We all do. Now Heidi’s lost. All her dreams are blossoming in that beautiful garden locked within sight but way out of her reach. She might be light fingered but she has no hope of stealing those dreams back. They’re gone forever. Who knows who she might have been? Where she might have gone? All she has now is dream words, I’ll be okay. A new false promise. Health Warning: Time To Fix Herself.

In my dreams I see my sister clearly. I picture envy. She’s leaning on that gate, but the gate isn’t supporting her. I see her ugly red marks, needle impressions and fingers shaking. She’s tugging at its unforgiving bars, raging, pulling them towards her. She doesn’t say a word but I can hear her pain, screaming. I can taste the loss in her throat like it is I who has swallowed the bitter pill of failure. I see her as she used to be, my perfect little sister, and I cry, cry because that is all I can do.  That is all I am left with. That gate is always locked.  The dream is never different.  Her hope lies crippled, planted like a false seed in that immaculate, well kept garden. Many view that ornate gate as a walkway to fulfil their dreams but it bars Heidi entrance, and reminds her of her own prison cell. Life.

© Marjorie Mallon 2015 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.

Today I would like to nominate two bloggers, rather than just one!

Lauren at https://courageisnotanoption.wordpress.com/

and Victoria Davenport at https://coffeewriterepeat.wordpress.com/

Thanks for dropping by.

Do pop by again soon, and leave a comment if you can, I’d love to hear from you.

kk

Kyrosmagica xx

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