Florence’s Book Club

Florence’s Book Club is back! Hooray!
You might have noticed that BC this month has a slightly different format.  That’s because we’ve noticed that there seems to often be a lot of book chat on twitter when something really captures our imaginations, but sometimes not the same engagement on the blog. A good read is hard to find and can often be a really personal thing! That’s why we’re asking for your recommendations – just send them in to hello@florencefinds.com and I’ll round them up.

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

This book was given to me by a colleague who thought I might like it after I bestowed them with The Language of Flowers – a recent favourite of mine, so I was intrigued. Set in the farming bible belt of America, it focuses on the migration of the monarch butterflies who make their home on Dellarobia’s farm, thousands of miles north of their usual home in Mexico. Initially the story is a slow burner, setting the scene of the poverty and family dynamic Dellarobia is a part of. The butterflies attract attention at first from local church going miracle seekers, then from environmentalist and scientists. The second part of the book focuses on their arrival and work with the butterflies, which Dellarobia joins.

What struck me more than the characters was the over-riding theme of despair and hopelessness, both that the butterflies would survive their unusual surroundings, the significance of that situation with respect to global warming, and Dellarobia’s own limited life experience. As I write, I’m 150 pages from the end and still curious to see how it turns out.  – Rebecca

Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan

Kate Kerrigan is an author who has had a top spot on my Amazon wishlist for a while, and had even made it onto my bookshelf, but for one reason or another was overlooked every time I chose my next book. Eventually curiosity got the better of me and I decided that I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and read a brand new author. so Ellis Island was chosen as my next book to devour, and I am so glad that it was.

Ellis Island follows the story of Ellie and her childhood sweetheart John. When John is injured in the War of Independence, Ellie travels to America to earn the funds required to pay for an operation to allow John to walk again. When she arrives Ellie discovers that Jazz Age New York is not only a million miles away physically, the lifestyles are far removed as well.

When Ellie emigrates to America the story follows her journey and her experiences, but we continue to learn of John’s plight through his letters to Ellie.

Ellis Island is an evocative and powerful love story. In parts it actually physically warmed my heart, and at times it made it ache. I was utterly captivated by the story, I warmed to Ellie’s character instantly and hoped for her to triumph, in whatever way that might be.

Ellis Island is a story about finding your place in the world and who you are destined to share it with. I adored it, and I think you might too…

Emma – Aphrodites World

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters – A nostalgic story of a young Italian man falling in love with a wannabe Hollywood actress who appears at his small family hotel on the Cinque Terre coast, sent there by some reckless Hollywood actor/director. The books travels between 50’s Italy and today’s America as the Italian man tries to find his long lost American beauty. The book is funny, well written, bittersweet, a great read.

Push: A Novel by Sapphire – The book inspired the movie Precious. This is the story of teenager Precious Jones as she attends “special needs” English lessons to learn to read and write. Her story is nothing but abuse, neglect, violence and negativity. It is told in her own words in broken, mis-spelt English and reading the book is like having Precious sitting in front of you telling you her story. Very real, never patronizing, a real, inspiring book to which I think the film didn’t do justice at all.

A Night Without Armor: Poems by Jewel – poetry collection by the famous singer songwriter. This is not your high school poetry book by any means! contemporary, heartfelt, Jewel’s poems are a reflection on love, society, and growing up in Alaska.

Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed – real story of a young American woman goes on a trail on the Pacific Coast Trail as she grieves for the loss of her mom and tries to recover from a series of failed, broken relationships.

– Celine.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – Matthew Quick
Those of you who know me or who’ve read Florence’s Book Club before will know that I am a bit obsessive when it comes to books, and also that I read a lot and often, so when a novel stands out for me, it REALLY stands out.  Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is the latest offering from Matthew Quick, who also wrote the critically acclaimed novel-turned-awesome-film-starring-Bradley-Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook.
Leonard Peacock made me cry as well as laugh out loud, which is a tall order.  And Mr C-S read it as well and enjoyed it, which is even more of a tall order (he tends to just re-read the books he likes, which is basically everything George Orwell ever wrote and the odd crime novel if it’s by a Scottish author.)
So, in a nutshell, Leonard Peacock is technically a YA novel and it’s about a teenager who, it’s safe to say, has a lot going on in his life and who is in desperate need of, well, something.  I could go on, but I won’t, I’m simply going to add in the blurb from the jacket which is what said to me ‘Gemma seriously read this book.’

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first, there are four people he wants to say goodbye to. Most of the time, Leonard believes he’s weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he’s not. He wants to thank them, and say goodbye.

So readers, we hope you’ll find at least one title in here you’re keen to curl up with on a rainy afternoon.  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and hear more suggestions!



ps.  I am going to buy A Night Without Armor: Poems for my husband.  When we were first going out he’d never even heard of Jewel.  😉


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13 thoughts on “Florence’s Book Club

  1. Thanks for this post, I’ve added a few more books to my ever increasing wish list! I am definitely keen to read the Matthew Quick book, I am a huge fan of Silver Linings Playbook and generally enjoy YA, having just read John Green’s The Fault in our Stars and Allegiant, both of which I really enjoyed.

    I have just started John William’s Stoner which I have heard good things about so we’ll see!

  2. Forgive Me Leonard Peacock sounds brilliant, really want to read that. And also like the sound of the Barbara Kingsolver book, her book Poisonwood Bible was an amazing read.

    I’m reading something I really like at the moment so when I finish I will definitely write a recommendation for FF!!

  3. Gems, have you read The Universe Versus Alex Woods? It’s by Gavin Extence. I haven’t read Leonard Peacock but from the description it sounds like you’d enjoy Alex Woods as well, it was such a good book that I sat at dinner with my family on holiday, ignoring them all to read it as tears streamed down my face. None of them actually found this behaviour odd, to be fair.

    I shall add Leonard Peacock to my list of books I might buy next time I pass a bookshop, which is often. I also have the Barbara Kingsolver book already on my shelf, I had forgotten that!

    Some other books I have read recently that I enjoyed: Capital by John Lanchester (oddly compelling tale of modern life), Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (completely different but brilliant surreal fantastical murder mystery), Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (not sure if this was fantasy or YA, either way it was brilliant), The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Flavia like Miss Marple but 9 years old and obsessed with poisons, such a good book), City of Thieves by David Benioff (unputdownable adventure in search of eggs in war-torn Russia), and The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick (if you like historical fiction, you need to read Elizabeth Chadwick. Fact.)

    Um, I could go on, but you all probably have places to be that aren’t the bookshop. Sadly.

    KL xx

    • Alex Woods is def on my list Katie!! And I have read Laini Taylor as well and loved them BUT Rivers of London (if is the one I’m thinking of, with a like blue and red cover?) has a few typos and spelling mistakes in it which totally put me off… x

  4. Yay for book recommendations! and just in time for Christmas!

    Gwen recommended The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin 1) by Boris Akunin and oh WOW! I loved it, devoured it really quickly and have moved onto the second book.

    If you like detective stories, Russia, abstract, intrigue and general craziness this book is for you!

    I’d also tell anyone who’d listen to read Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and My Father’s Notebook by Kader Abdolah and Susan Massotty.

    Sorry not a long comment! back to work I go!

  5. My most favourite book recently is the 100 year old man who climbed out the window and ran away. Such a funny sweet story, a real joy to read, and so different from your run of the mill stuff. Highly recommend it.

  6. Thanks so much for the great review of Ellis Island – I delighted you enjoyed it! So lovely to have people pick up books that were written a few years ago, it brings them back to me in a really special way and BTW – love your beautiful blog and love the way you mix books in with lovely ‘things’ and ideas – all the more when the physical entity of books is being replaced more and more by e-books. Thanks again – and do pop over to my Facebook page and say ‘hi’ if you get the chance. https://www.facebook.com/KateKerriganAuthor

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