#BookReview Vincent van Gogh: The Healing Power of Nature @septemberbooks

The Healing Power of NatureAbout the Book

‘One thing I tell you, that this countryside has the effect on me of bringing me peace, faith, courage . . .’

A captivating collection of lesser-known images, chosen largely from sketchbooks and letters, The Healing Power of Nature is testament to the immense influence the natural world had on Vincent van Gogh; from the restorative, calming effect of rural landscapes to the stimulation and joy he found in natural beauty.

Each image is accompanied by an insightful quote from his letters, showing how nature is a source of great healing and inspiration to us all, connecting us with the peace and beauty of our surroundings and with a sense of something even greater.

‘. . . I console myself by reconsidering the sunflowers.’

Format: Paperback (192 pages)    Publisher: September Publishing
Publication date: 28th April 2022 Genre: Nonfiction, Art, Wellbeing

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The Healing Power of Nature

My Review

When Rachel at Rachel Quin Marketing contacted me to let me know about this book it immediately evoked memories of my visit to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam many years ago.  When you think of Vincent van Gogh it’s probably as a rather tortured soul but it’s clear from the excerpts from his personal correspondence contained in this beautiful little book that he found great comfort – and inspiration – from the natural world.

The book is divided into eight sections with quotations and images selected to reflect each topic. Although it was difficult to narrow it down, I’ve chosen one from each section: quotations that either resonate with me or give an insight into van Gogh’s artistic inspiration.

The Healing Power of Nature 1Connection
‘Above those roofs, one single star, but a nice, big friendly one. And I thought of us all . . .’

‘I have a terrible clarity of mind at times, when nature is lovely these days, and then I’m no longer aware of myself and the painting comes to me as if in a dream.’

The Healing Power of Nature 2Colour and Form
‘The spring is tender green (young wheat) and pink (apple blossom). The autumn is the contrast of the yellow leaves against violet tones. The winter is the snow with the little black silhouettes. But if the summer is the opposition of blues against an element of orange in the golden bronze of the wheat, this way one could paint a painting in each of the contrasts of the complementary colours (red and green, blue and orange, yellow and violet, white and black) that really expressed the mood of the seasons.’

The Healing Power of Nature 3Simplicity
‘I always find it wonderfully cosy to sit by a fire in the dusk and to look through the window at a snow-covered landscape.’

‘You enquire after my health, but how’s yours? I believe that my remedy could also be yours. Being outdoors, painting.’

‘There’s nothing more beautiful than nature early in the morning.’

The Healing Power of Nature 4Peace
‘And then, when dusk fell – imagine the silence, the peace of that moment!’

‘. . . everything changes the moment the stars come out . . .’

Vincent van GoghThe Healing Power of Nature is a work of art in itself. It’s a beautifully produced book with wonderful reproductions of some of van Gogh’s paintings, sketches and letters. (My photographs don’t do them justice.) It’s a book sure to appeal to admirers of Vincent van Gogh’s work or art in general. It also taps into the current awareness of the beneficial impact on physical and mental health of exposure to the natural world. It would make a perfect gift, best enjoyed sitting in the sunshine listening to birds singing, bees buzzing and the wind rustling the leaves of the trees.

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The Healing Power of Nature

#BlogTour #BookReview The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam

The Murder Rule BT PosterWelcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to HarperCollins for my digital review copy. Do check out the post by my tour buddy for today, Elizabeth at libcreads.

The Murder RuleAbout the Book

No one is innocent in this story.

First Rule: Make them like you.
Second Rule: Make them need you.
Third Rule: Make them pay.

They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system. They think I’m working hard to impress them. They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row.

They’re wrong. I’m going to bury him.

Format: Hardback (304 pages)     Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: 12th May 2022 Genre: Crime, Thriller

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My Review

We know from quite early on in The Murder Rule that Hannah has a very personal reason for inveigling her way on to the Innocence Project team. Far from wanting to prove the innocence of one of the individuals the Innocence Project is representing, she’s convinced of the person’s guilt and is determined to ensure they remain in prison. As we discover, she’s willing to do anything to achieve her objective even if that means deceiving others or sabotaging the Project’s activities.  Her determination to achieve what she’s set out to do borders on obsession, even if seemingly born out of love.

Hannah’s not a particularly likeable character to begin with but I had to admire her tenacity, her ingenuity and her chutzpah.  She’s not going to let anyone stand in her way and if that means some shady tactics, that’s fine with her.  After all, the end justifies the means doesn’t it? The more we get to know her, though, the more we sense there’s someone quite vulnerable behind that tough outer shell. And what if everything you thought you knew, everything you had been told, was wrong and the truth was quite different?  Can a desire for revenge be transformed into a desire for justice, and just what will that entail? After all, if the truth has been buried for over a decade, there are sure to be those with an interest in ensuring it never sees the light of day.

At times you’ll probably find yourself cheering on Hannah and at other times find yourself thinking, I really wouldn’t do that if I was you, or, look out here comes trouble. If you like the idea of a courtroom scene that could have come straight out of a TV drama, and you’re willing to suspend disbelief just a little, then you will love the scenes towards the end of the book.

The Murder Rule is a twisty legal thriller with some moments of high drama that gathers momentum, reaching warp speed in the final chapters. Will justice prevail? You’ll have to read it to find out.

In three words: Taut, suspenseful, dramatic

Try something similar: An Engineered Injustice by William L. Myers, Jr.

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Dervla Author picAbout the Author

Internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed writer Dervla McTiernan burst onto the writing scene with The Ruin, her crime debut set in Ireland. The Ruin is the first in the detective Cormac Reilly series and has been published in the United States, the UK and Ireland and in New Zealand and Australia, where it was a top ten bestseller.

Dervla spent twelve years working as a lawyer. Following the global financial crisis, she moved to Australia and turned her hand to writing. An avid fan of crime and detective novels from childhood, Dervla wrote a short story, The Roommate, which was shortlisted for the Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto Competition. She went on to write The Ruin, and a string of other bestsellers. Dervla is a member of the Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers Association, and lives in Perth, Australia, with her husband and two children.

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Murder Rule Graphic 1