A mixed selection of reads from or about the local area.
The Feather Thief
By Kirk W Johnson
This is a slight diversion from our normal book reviews, which generally feature local authors. Our publisher Alison was intrigued by this title and had been wanting to read The Feather Thief for some time. She writes:
This is a fascinating insight into the mania of exotic birds and feathers of the Victorian era combined with the obsession and the art of fly-tying, and in particular of salmon flies.
The story covers the very real crime of the greatest feather robbery of all time, and from the Natural History Museum in Tring.
Before buying the book, I had no idea whether the heading was fact or fiction, but I was absolutely hooked (if you’ll forgive the pun) from page one – it makes for compulsive reading, you’ll romp through it!
Goldfinches, Daffodils and Sunshine
By Maria Oliver
Yoga teacher Maria has come up with a clever way to help children focus on their mental health and wellbeing. The book is a collection of relaxation scripts, inspired by observing nature on daily lockdown walks, and designed to spark children’s imagination. It also includes techniques to help boost self esteem and connect with trusted adults. Children will be transported on the back of a dragon, under the sea alongside merpeople, or up into the clouds.
Maria teaches yoga to adults, expectant and new mums, and children in and around Hemel Hempstead.
From A Hard Place To A Rock
By Timandra Slade
Accounts from World War Two often focus on the ‘big events’. The evacuation of Dunkirk is well documented, but less is known about the regiments who defended the outer perimeter. These brave men fought the German onslaught, while sacrificing their own chances of evacuation. Many paid with their lives, or were forced to surrender. This fascinating book tells the story of four officers of the British Expeditionary Force who were captured and then escaped, making a perilous journey through Spain, France and Gibraltar to try to make it home. Told through accounts and letters and with sketches and photos, it’s a tale of courage and determination that deserves to be shared.
Timandra lives in Chesham. She found a briefcase containing details of her father’s wartime escape – and here she brings to life his extraordinary story.
Techniques in Painting: Learning from the Dutch Masters
By Brigid Marlin
This beautifully illustrated book by accomplished artist and lecturer Brigid Marlin brings to life the techniques used by the Dutch Masters from the Golden Age and shows artists how they can use them in contemporary works.
Brigid demonstrates how to use the techniques of Rembrandt when painting a portrait, using step-by-step images to show how her portrait comes together, as well as creating a still life using multiple glazes and white egg tempura in the style of Jan Van Eyck. She offers an exercise in using the art of imagination, inspired by Hieronymous Busch, and shows how contemporary artists have used the techniques in their painting.
For practised students it includes techniques and advice in using materials and methods in your work – but for the less artistic of us, it is a fascinating insight into the work of the Old Masters. Anyone who has wandered a gallery wondering ‘how did they do that’ will find this an inspiring and informative read.
Brigid lives in Berkhamsted and her work is included in many important collections including: the House of Lords, Westminster; National Portrait Gallery, London; the National Museum for American Artists and Illustrators and Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.
Before You Go and The Mother’s Secret
By Clare Swatman
If you enjoyed Clare’s latest Book How to Save a Life (reviewed in our last issue) you might be interested to know that two of her books are being re-released and can now be pre-ordered.
Before You Go tells the tale of Zoe and Ed. After meeting at college and having a whirlwind romance, their lives travel on separate, parallel paths, but always destined to meet. When love does finally strike, Zoe and Ed are sure they will be together forever.
Then the unthinkable happens – Ed dies and Zoe is left facing a lifetime of what-ifs and could-have-beens. But what if Zoe had the chance to change Ed’s destiny…
In The Mother’s Secret, sisters Georgie and Kate have always been close. Brought up by their mum Jan after the death of their father, this family of women have always been able to rely on each other.
But secrets have a nasty habit of refusing to stay hidden, and the sisters
are about to discover that while lies can cause pain, the truth could destroy them all.
Clare is a former editor of Berkhamsted Living and lives in the town with her family.