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Archive for June, 2008

A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer | Review by Paula Marais

June 24th, 2008 by admin


Jeffrey Archer fans will be delighted with his latest offering. Reminiscent of Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, Archer’s most recent novel is a whirlwind of intrigue, retribution and masterful plotting, keeping you hooked from the first page. Meet Danny Cartwright, who is wrongfully accused of murdering his best friend, the brother of his fiancée, in a knife attack. Then meet the men who help incarcerate him – a barrister, an aristocrat, a popular soapie heartthrob and a successful partner in a well-known firm. Sentenced to twenty-two years in prison, Danny has not much else but time on his hands to plot his revenge – that and the friends he makes behind bars who believe in his innocence. As Danny’s fiancée fights for justice outside of Belmarsh prison, little does she know how far he has dared to go to settle the scores with the men who put him away. While A Prisoner of Birth may be a little formulaic, Archer’s formula is still one that works. And with his own experiences both inside and outside Her Majesty’s Prisons, Archer offers touches of realism that keep you gripped to the novel’s unexpected conclusion.  

(R229, Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-230-53142-0)

A Handful of Honey by Annie Hawes | Review by Paula Marais

June 24th, 2008 by admin


For those who have ventured during a holiday into Morocco or Algeria, A Handful of Honey, gives you answers to all those questions that you didn’t really get answered while you were travelling. How for instance, do you know that it is the women’s session at a hammam? Answer: a piece of cloth is hanging outside, but it is absent when it is time for the men to use the facility. Annie Hawes, the author, has a wonderful sense of place, picking up on the minutiae of daily life, relationships and realities in North Africa. This is the kind of armchair travelling when all your senses are assailed. You can almost taste the pigeon pastilla, smell the chicken tagine and hear the early morning muezzins calling people to prayer. Annie and her travelling companions clearly have the flexibility to accept the invitations of the people they meet along the way. How else to they end up staying with cannabis farmers or eating camel meat as they prepare to sleep outside in “a hotel with a thousand stars”? A Handful of Honey is not fast-paced and riveting, but it is a slow, comfortable journey that you can pick up whenever you have a yearning for the exotic.   

(R110, Pan Books, ISBN 978-033-045-722-4)