Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Who Are You, Really? The Simple Theory That Claims to Sum You Up Perfectly – & Shook Up One Woman’s Life: October’s Book Club is An Eye-Opener!

In partnership with Villa Maria & Harper Collins

Welcome to Capsule’s book club! We’re SO excited to bring you a new book each month to devour and savour. Whether you indulge in a few hours of luxurious alone time each Sunday, or finish your day with a chapter or two, we invite you to relax and enjoy, and if you’re so inclined, connect with fellow Capsule readers and your own family and friends to have a yarn about the book you’ve just read. We’ll be mixing up the titles we feature every month, so you’re in for an eclectic monthly journey.

And, thanks to our partners Villa Maria, each book will be expertly wine matched with a great bottle of Villa’s finest – this month, we bring you their divine Reading this book, there was only one wine that will do as the perfect match – our Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc. 

We’ll also provide discussion points on our Instagram @capsule_nz throughout the month, and for more exclusive offers, event invitations and bonus content, please do sign up to our newsletter here. So, pour yourself of delicious Sauvignon Blanc and let’s get started!

Freckles, by Cecelia Ahern

Freckles, by Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins, RRP$32.99)

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

It’s an offhand comment that a character in Cecelia Ahern’s brilliant new book, Freckles, blurts out randomly during a heated exchange. While not a great deal of thought was put into saying the words, it leaves the star of the book, Allegra Bird, completely flummoxed.

She’s never heard the theory before and before long, it’s dominating her thoughts – “like an earworm,” she describes it, playing over and over in her thoughts.

Ultimately it has her staring down some big questions in her life, one’s that she’s been running from for some time: Who is she? Who are the people that made her who she is? Which five people are currently shaping who she is and determining her future??

They become big questions in Allegra’s life and ultimately Freckles becomes a book that is all about connection and the links that bond us together.

It’s beautifully written, with much of it set in Dublin, allowing for plenty of rather hilarious dialogue. For the first ten chapters or so I had absolutely no idea where the story was going, as Allegra went about her day, going about her business – leaving me wondering which of the exchanges she was having were going to be integral to the story, and which were just whimsical character building. But soon, the story really gets going – by which time you know Allegra intimately, and feel fully invested in her journey.

Allegra lives a highly ordered life, having rather abruptly left her previous life on the small island where her eccentric dad brought her up solo, for the big smoke of Dublin. There she rents a room in a home belonging to a young family and her days follow the same structure – passing the same runner on the street each morning, crossing paths with the person walking their dog, grabbing coffee and a waffle from the colourful café owner and spending her day following the same beat as a parking warden. Cecelia Ahern – the author behind bestseller PS I Love You – has a brilliant way of putting you right inside the minds of her characters and before long you’ll find yourself willing her to write a ticket for that arrogant owner of the yellow Ferrari and giving the guy double parked with his hazard lights on, a piece of her mind.

Cecilia Ahern

I won’t spoil what happens next for you, but Allegra soon finds her orderly life disrupted as she confronts her past – something that was perhaps quite overdue. She’s an extremely likeable character, despite being quite offbeat, which is exactly the kind of character Cecelia Ahern says she finds herself driven to writing. She describes Freckles as being “a portrait of an imperfect soul who’s searching for belonging”

“I have a fondness for writing about outsiders and whether it’s someone who has a unique ability, like in Lyrebird or someone who just has a unique state of being like Freckles,” she says. “I think no matter how ostracized or how lonely my characters are, there’s always a circle of love, a circle of healing, that’s waiting out there for them. They just need to find it.”

Freckles is an uplifting, thoughtful little book – so if you’re looking for something a bit lighter and upbeat while the news and social media isn’t so cheery, this could prove to be just the antidote!

VILLA MARIA WINE MATCH with Villa’s Wine Expert, Jessica Bell

Reading this book, there was only one wine that will do as the perfect match – our Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc. 

I know it’s October still, but the odd day of gorgeous sunshine we’re being treated to has me longing for beach trips and backyard BBQ’s (levels permitting, of course!) or even just a few hours alone on the deck in a comfy chair, book and wine in hand. 

As Alice says, Freckles is a light, upbeat novel – and I can totally relate to a lot of Allegra – and it really does demand a light, upbeat and fun glass of wine to enjoy it with, and look no further than a Marlborough Sav.

The Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc is one of NZ’s top picks for a reason – it’s delightfully punchy and with a whole lot of tropical and citrus flavours that will have you reaching for a second sip. It really embodies the flavours of Marlborough with a vibrant explosion of flavours,  

Grab some cheese and crackers, head outside and have a moment to yourself with this fresh, fun pairing. Cheers!

If you liked Freckles, you might also enjoy…

The Women of Pearl Island by Polly Crosby
Tartelin is tasked with hunting butterflies for Marianne’s research. But she quickly uncovers something far more intriguing than the curious creatures that inhabit the landscape. Because the island and Marianne share a remarkable history, and what happened all those years ago has left its scars, and some terrible secrets. As Tartelin pieces together Marianne’s connection to the island, she must confront her own reasons for being there. Can the two women finally face up to the painful memories that bind them so tightly to the past? Atmospheric and deeply emotional, The Women of Pearl Island is the captivating novel from the author of The Book of Hidden Wonders.

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride & Jo Piazza
Not every story is black and white. Riley and Jen have been best friends since they were children, and they thought their bond was unbreakable. It never mattered to them that Riley is black and Jen is white. And then Jen’s husband, a Philadelphia police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager and everything changes in an instant. This one act could destroy more than just Riley and Jen’s friendship. As their community takes sides, so must Jen and Riley, and for the first time in their lives the lifelong friends find themselves on opposing sides. But can anyone win a fight like this? We Are Not Like Them is about friendship and love. It’s about prejudice and betrayal. It’s about standing up for what you believe in, no matter the cost.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
From the author of Pulitzer Prize winning All the Light We Cannot See, comes Cloud Cuckoo. When everything is lost, it’s our stories that survive How do we weather the end of things? Cloud Cuckoo Land brings together an unforgettable cast of dreamers and outsiders from past, present and future to offer a vision of survival against all odds.

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