Everybody’s Somebody by Beryl Kingston #FridayReads #RBRT

Everybody's Some

In Beryl Kingston’s latest novel, we follow the life of Rosie Goodison, from the day she sets out to become a nursemaid at Arundel Castle, at the age of 12.  She is told that she is, “nobody of consequence,” but she is a strong independent girl of the early 20th century and she is determined to take on everything she can attain.  A few years later she finds a temporary job as housekeeper to two young toffs on holiday from Eton and when one of them gives her a reference to take to the RAC club in Pall Mall, she has no idea that his signature, Anthony Eden, will be of significance in the future.

 

On her afternoon off she meets Kitty, a young suffragette, whose brother Joe is a docker.  Soon Rosie meets them regularly, increasing her political understanding as well as enjoying trips to Music Halls.  Romance blossoms as war approaches and both Rosie’s brother, Tommy, and her sweetheart, Joe, become soldiers.  There is tragedy and there are life-changing consequences.

 

But we first meet Rosie in a painting in an art gallery many years later, so how did that happen?  While working at the RAC club, Rosie had made the acquaintance of a young artist who wished her to model for him and when she finds herself unemployed at a difficult time in her life, Rosie agrees.

 

This novel is a superb description of southern England from the turn of the century until 1939.  Through the lives of poor families in the countryside and in London, the struggle to succeed and even to survive, despite war, unemployment and hardship, is shown clearly.  Rosie’s warm, vibrant character makes each event human and I identified strongly with her hopes and wishes for her family.  She embodies the title, “Everybody’s Somebody.”

Everybody’s Somebody can be found on Amazon UK

beryl2

Beryl Kingston

 Rosie's Book Review team 1
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The Lover’s Portrait by Jennifer S. Alderson #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Lover's Portrait

American Art History student Zelda Richardson loves her life in Amsterdam, but entrance into the Master’s course in Museum Studies depends on her performance as an intern at the Amsterdam Historical Museum. She is asked to work on an online project to restore 1500 paintings stolen by the Nazis during World War Two to their rightful owners or descendants but she is not welcomed onto the project by the stiff, unfriendly Huub Konijn, senior curator at the Jewish Historical Museum, who designed the website.

But not content with her editing role, Zelda uses her previous web design experience to brighten up the front page, with her own choice of paintings, in an animation. Despite Huub’s criticism, one of these paintings, Irises, triggers a claimant almost instantly. Rita Brouwer, a large, jolly American woman claims it was painted for her elderly sister, but as Zelda begins to warm to this lady, another claimant turns up. Karen O’Neil is an unpleasant socialite, accompanied by her German lawyer, Konrad Heider. She has paperwork listing the painting in the Gallery of her grandfather, Arjan van Heemsvliet.

In parallel with events in 2015, we read about how many valuable paintings belonging to Dutch Jews were hidden in 1942 by Arjan and his friend, picture framer, Philip Verbeet who was Rita’s father. But both men disappeared and the location of the paintings is still unknown. We know more than Zelda about whom she should trust but part of the mystery is concealed until the end and Zelda’s impetuous, proactive investigation leads her into danger and thrilling action.

The novel gives a detailed account of the large quantity of art that was stolen and how rightful ownership is carefully researched, which of necessity slows down the first part of the story, but there is also a compelling mystery which makes the rest of book a real page turner. Zelda is a determined young woman who stumbles into predicaments because of her desire to reveal the truth and the other characters also have convincing motives and characteristics. A great read.

I have since discovered that this is the second book about Zelda, so I am now looking forward to reading Down and Out in Kathmandu: A Backpacker Mystery, Book one in the series.

The Lover’s Portrait can be purchased at Amazon UK or Amazon US

Rosie's Book Review team 1

#AtoZChallenge Letter V

V is for Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter of domestic interior scenes of everyday seventeenth century life.  Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, and frequently used very expensive pigments. He is noted for his skillful portrayal of light.  He was a reasonably successful painter in his lifetime, but he left his wife and children in debt at his death.  Nowadays Vermeer is most famous for his painting Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Vermeer

This simple picture of a woman with a milk jug inspired this poem:-

Vermeer

As long as the woman from Rijksmuseum

in painted silence and concentration

day after day pours milk

from the jug to the bowl,

the World does not deserve

the end of the world.

Wislawa Szymborska

You can find a list of all the other A to Z Challengers

 

 

 

 

#AtoZChallenge Letter P

P  is for Pablo Picasso

No-one can deny the impact and influence of the art created by Pablo Picasso.  In the early 20th century, after three years of travels around Spain and France, Picasso entered his Blue period.

guitar

blue

After meeting Fernande Oliver, who became his mistress, his paintings were influenced by his happy relationship with her and she appears in several of them.  During this Rose period his subjects were harlequins and circus folk in shades of orange and pink.

circus

Pierrot_et_Arlequin

Picasso’s African period from 1907-1909 was a blend of stylised figures as in African sculpture with the painting style of post-impressionist Cezanne and Gauguin.  His masterpiece of this period was Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

demoiselles

In 1910 he turned to more abstract art.  Working with George Braque he created cubism.

girl

Girl with a Mandolin  1910

In 1935, Pablo stopped painting for a while and began to write poetry.  Some of his poems were clearly the work of a visual artist.

Dawn

The dawn that day rose

Just as the mist of the night

Subsided like a foam descending

To reveal clear water ahead

The Bees in the hive stirred about

To retrieve more honey

It was on that day that I stared into the

Mirror of luck.

Hours passed by just

As flies whizzed under a scorchy sun

The foam above the crystal water rose again

The mist of the dusk rose high above me

shattering the mirror to grits

I plunged down from a mountain

Into the depths of dreariness

It was then that I acknowledged

What I’ve been through

It was then that I screamed

‘HEY, day! It was now that I crystallized

your power in the mirror of my mind’

And thence I sat in the chair of dreariness

Waiting for the gleams of gold and silver

To shine on once more upon the mirror.

Pablo Picasso

But most dealt strongly with his feelings.

Oranges from the south of Spain

  Oranges from the south of Spain

stars hang out at night

linen left to dry

 

red geraniums along the balconies

nodding, nodding

willing to agree to anything

just to keep their colour

 

a gang of kids running through the streets

faceless pranksters

the moon a plate held before each face

who am I? saying who am I

running through the streets saying who am I?

 

the shadows of the buildings

becoming cats that move away

the trees immobilized

left to stand alone in the dark

rubbing their bark from regret

like cicadas

 

oranges have more delicacy

softly falling, falling

in the groves

on the hills

softly eaten, eaten

by the earth

swallowed whole

as if by a snake

not earth

as if by millions

slithering in the groves at night

millions

stalking the oranges that fall softly

softly to the earth

 

hunting there in the groves

that form a ring around each town

You can find a list of all the other A to Z Challengers here

#AtoZChallenge Letter L

The theme of my challenge is poetry and books inspired by art and/or art inspired by literature.

Lis for the Lady and the Unicorn

The_Lady_and_the_unicorn_Desire

There are 6 tapestries exhibited in Paris called La Dame à la licorne, all of which show a noble lady with a lion and a unicorn.  In some there is also a monkey.  Five of them represent the five senses and the sixth, A mon seul désir, shown above, which may represent love or understanding.  The tapestries were woven, from wool and silk, in Flanders, from drawings made in Paris circa 1500.  They bear the arms of Jean Le Viste, a powerful nobleman in the court of King Charles VII.  The background to each tapestry is the mille-fleurs design.

Unicorn

In her book published in 2003, Tracy Chevalier gives a possible account of how the tapestries might have been woven and who the model for the virginal lady could be. Weaving her story into the warp and weft of the masterpiece she has created a compelling story.  On her website you can read more interesting facts about The Lady and the Unicorn.

You can find a list of all the other A to Z Challengers here.

 

#AtoZChallenge Letter I

The theme of my challenge is poetry and books inspired by art and/or art inspired by literature.

I  is for Icarus

In Greek Mythology, Icarus and his father Daedalus were imprisoned in a tower on the island of Crete by King Minos.  Daedalus created wings out of feathers, held together by bees wax.  The two men were able to fly up into the sky but Icarus ignored his father’s warnings not to fly too close to the sun.  The beeswax melted and Icarus plummeted to his death in the Mediterranean.

XIR3675

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, c.1555 (oil on canvas) by Bruegel, Pieter the Elder (c.1525-69); 73.5×112 cm; Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium; (add.info.: Icarus seen with his legs thrashing in the sea;); Giraudon; Flemish, out of copyright

In the following poem by W H Auden, entitled Musée des Beaux Arts, he reflects on the way in which the master Painters depicted events such as the drowning of Icarus.

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Shortly afterwards, William Carlos Williams wrote a poem describing the story of the everyday events shown in the painting.

Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings’ wax

unsignificantly
off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

Please read the poem by Michael Hamburger in the comment below from MarinaSofia.

Which poem do you prefer?

Link to a list of other A to Z Challengers

 

 

 

 

#AtoZChallenge Letter A

The theme of my challenge is poetry and books inspired by art and/or art inspired by literature.

letter-a-13783472137gk

Asunder by Chloe Aridjis  Chloe

Marie’s job as a guard at the National Gallery in London offers her the life she always wanted, one of invisibility and quiet contemplation. But amid the hushed corridors of the Gallery surge currents of history and violence, paintings whose power belies their own fragility. There also lingers the legacy of her great-grandfather Ted, the museum guard who slipped and fell moments before reaching the suffragette Mary Richardson as she took a blade to one of the gallery’s masterpieces on the eve of the First World War. After nine years there, Marie begins to feel the tug of restlessness. A decisive change comes in the form of a winter trip to Paris, where, with the arrival of an uninvited guest and an unexpected encounter, her carefully contained world is torn open.

The_Rokeby_Venus

The Rokeby Venus by Velazquez damaged by Mary Richardson