Sweet Therapy – The Joy of Baking by Una Leonard
Una Leonard’s Mullingar bakery, 2210 Patisserie, has become a staple in the celebrations of celebrities, high profile public figures and families across Ireland. With her eye-catching designs and mouth-watering recipes it would leave you in no doubt as to why she is in such demand. With her recent appearance on The Late Late Show, there was hardly a dry eye amongst viewers as she so bravely recounted her struggles and how they led to her forming her bakery business. Sweet Therapy: The Joy of Baking is full of delicious treats to make at home, a reminder of the good things in life, and a celebration of baking and how the mindful act of creating food for the people you love and for yourself can heal. With over 100 recipes for her now famous brownies, blondies, dotie bars, cookies and cake trays, along with gluten free treats and her mam’s family recipes, Una shares her story and the recipes that have turned her into the successful business woman that she is today.
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult.
Jodi Picoult has long been my favourite author and when you get to hold a new publication of hers, you know you truly have something special in your hands. With her depth of research into subject matter, attention to detail and the ability to turn everything you think you know up on its head, each page will leave you longing for more. The synopsis for ‘Mad Honey’ reads “Olivia fled her abusive marriage to return to her hometown and take over the family beekeeping business when her son Asher was six. Now, impossibly, her baby is six feet tall and in his last year of high school, a kind, good-looking, popular ice hockey star with a tiny sprite of a new girlfriend. Lily also knows what it feels like to start over – when she and her mother relocated to New Hampshire it was all about a fresh start. She and Asher couldn’t help falling for each other, and Lily feels happy for the first time. But can she trust him completely? Then Olivia gets a phone call – Lily is dead, and Asher is arrested on a charge of murder. As the case against him unfolds, she realises he has hidden more than he’s shared with her. And Olivia knows first-hand that the secrets we keep reflect the past we want to leave behind – and that we rarely know the people we love well as we think we do.”
Time and Tide by Charlie Bird
With the Christmas period comes the dawn of a New Year. A time for reflection and perhaps a healthy dose of perspective. I couldn’t recommend a more inspirational, more thought provoking biography than that of Charlie Bird. Once a daily feature of the RTÉ News cycle, Charlie has become a figure head of hope and determination, courageous enough to speak his truth and yet humble to a fault, seeking no accolades only awareness. To sit in front of the fire on a winters evening, Time and Tide will inspire you and touch the hearts of everyone with every word.
All The Broken Places by John Boyne
Is the long awaited, highly anticipated sequel to the international best-selling novel, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Since its original release, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas has been made into a box office hit movie and cemented itself firmly on the English curriculum for Junior Cert. With the synopsis reading “ Three years after a cataclysmic event which tore their lives apart, a mother and daughter flee Poland for Paris, shame, and fear at their heels, not knowing how hard it is to escape your past. Nearly eighty years later, Gretel Fernsby lives a life that is a far cry from her traumatic childhood. When a couple moves into the flat below her in her London mansion block, it should be nothing more than a momentary inconvenience. However, the appearance of their nine-year-old son Henry brings back memories she would rather forget. Faced with a choice between her own safety and his, Gretel is taken back to a similar crossroads she encountered long ago. Back then, her complicity dishonoured her life, but to interfere now could risk revealing the secrets she has spent a lifetime protecting”. Boyne explores how the depth of guilt can weigh upon ones soul, lending to a life of fear, torment and regret. All The Broken Pieces is that very piece of the puzzle that remained to be put in place after the heart-breaking story of Bruno and Shmuel.
Spark by Brid O Connor
Brid O Connor found herself in an unimaginable situation when 15 months after her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Brid also received a diagnosis. In addition to that, 2 of her siblings tested positive for the BRCA cancer gene making it just a heart-breaking time for any family. Through this dark time Brid sought comfort in the poem, Invictus which was also a draw of inspiration to Nelson Mandela. It inspired Brid to put together Spark, a book that would become a place of comfort, hope and solace to many facing tough journeys of their own. All proceeds from the book go directly to Comfort for Chemo who are currently fundraising to raise €5 million to build a centre of excellence for the people of Kerry and beyond.
Killarney, Behind the Mask by Marie Carroll-O’ Sullivan
When lifestyle photographer, Marie Carroll-O’ Sullivan found herself, like many of us, restricted within a lockdown her first thoughts became, what can I do to help others through this? So she did what she does best, bringing her camera within the limits to talk to people, document their lives in pictures and relaying these images to family further afield. Not content with this alone, Marie decided to put together a book, a piece of history to record this moment in our lives but to also raise funds for some very deserving charities along with front line staff. This book would be a perfect purchase for anyone interested in history, biographical stories .