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Stirring things up on Martha’s Vineyard

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann Cousins, Nick and Helena Derringer, grew up spending their summers at Tiger House on the Vineyard. Now WWII has ended, they’re grown up and married, Nick to Hughes, freshly returned from the navy and working in Florida, and newly-wed Helena to Avery, a Hollywood producer. Florida doesn’t suit Read More

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A portrait of a family’s grief …

After Phoenix by Martine McDonagh I really enjoyed Martine McDonagh’s debut novel I Have Waited and You Have Come, which was a dystopian psychodrama, so I was very happy to read her second novel – but it couldn’t be more different to her first. It’s Christmas, December 1973, and we meet the Jacobs family: lefty Read More

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Hollywood Noir down Mexico Way

Bitter Drink by FG Haghenbeck, translated from the Spanish by Tanya Huntingdon. Whenever I read some noir, I know I should read lots more, for I love it, but I get distracted onto other things – I think it’s a dead cert that’ll happen this time too.  Meanwhile, although this slim novel is no masterpiece, Read More

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Reading Thomas Keneally for Australian Literature Month

April is Australian Literature Month at Reading Matters. Kim is also generously donating 50p for each linked review to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation which gives books to families in remote parts of Australia, which is a fab incentive to participate! A swift perusal of my shelves came up with several authors to consider, including Kate Read More

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What price progress for the peasant farmer?

Harvest by Jim Crace   Harvest should mark a time to celebrate a year’s bounty, but right from the start of Crace’s atmospheric new novel, there’s a hint of underlying darkness to come. When strangers come to the village, announcing their arrival by a smoking fire, normal life is upset. When the Master’s dovecote is Read More

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Stieg Larsson meets Forrest Gump but way better …

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, translated by Rod Bradbury You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to tell the others of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never been given to pondering things too long. So the idea Read More

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When mothers fail their daughters …

Magda by Meike Ziervogel The past couple of weeks have seen the publication of not one, but two novels featuring the ‘First Woman of the Third Reich’ Magda Goebbels. The first was Black Roses by Jane Thynne – A spy story set in 1933 Berlin. I loved it and you can read my review here. Read More

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Love in a toun of gangsters

Stonemouth by Iain Banks Clarity. That would have been good. Instead, a cold clinging mist. Not even mist; just a chill haze, drifting up the estuary. I’m standing fifty metres above the Firth of Stoun, in the middle of the road bridge, at the summit of the long, shallow trajectory it describes above the waters. Read More

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A novel in reverse…

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick This is a rather different kind of YA novel. The cover of the hardback (left), would have you believe it’s full of blood, and possibly vampires. Blood, yes – and there is a part with a vampire, but in reality the paperback’s cover with hares leaping around the red moon (below), Read More

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Rewarding YA reading for Grown-ups! Let me persuade you…

I’m in my early fifties prime (!) and I’m not afraid to say that I love reading modern YA books now and then … but only good ones, naturally.  By using the term ‘YA’ here, I’m distinguishing them from those books we usually call ‘children’s classics’ (which still appeal to readers young and old alike).  I’m Read More