donal-ryan

An assured third novel

All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan This is Irish author Donal Ryan’s third novel, and despite not having read his previous two, it’s clear that he’s an author really getting into his stride for All We Shall Know is both accomplished and a compulsive read. His first novel, The Spinning Heart won major prizes Read More

Last Pearl Fisher

Emotions run deep in these pearl rivers…

The Last Pearl Fisher in Scotland by Julia Stuart I have really fond memories of reading Julia Stuart’s earlier novel – Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo (reviewed here), which was gentle and touching with some delightful comedic interludes. Its portrayal of a couple being driven apart by grief over their dead son was Read More

how you see me

A novel of one-sided letters…

How You See Me by S.E. Craythorne This is the last of my reviews of books I finished reading in 2015; I thought I’d better get a few thoughts down before the memory of reading it fades too much. As Susan said in a recent post, ‘I have a weakness for debuts’ – you never know Read More

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"I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me"

Love & Fallout by Kathryn Simmonds Tessa is one of those middle-aged women that do causes. She co-runs a (failing) green charity running workshops for schools and colleges and she’s always got a local campaign on the go – this time saving the playing field from development. She doesn’t take much time for herself (or Read More

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Looking for 'Chap Last'

Thinkless by Sophie McCook It’s not often that I respond to a direct request from an author to review their book, but Sophie McCook wrote me a lovely note and she and her book sounded worth investigating. Thinkless comes from small publisher Limehouse Books in London, and Sophie who is based in Scotland has written for Read More

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784 pages – Was it worth taking the time to read…

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt It’s very likely that had our bookgroup not picked this novel, that The Goldfinch would have stayed on my shelves, unread, (beside Wolf Hall and The Luminaries), for much longer. I had to read it (well, I could have cribbed notes but didn’t), but I’m so glad I took the time Read More

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5 Characters in Search of a Theme Song

Love, Love Me Do by Mark Haysom Looking at the title and cover of this book, I was expecting something light-hearted, a little bit sixties rock’n’roll, a bit Nick Hornby-ish if you will – and involving a caravan. Well the last bit was right, less so the others. The title, that of the Beatles’ first Read More

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Mothers and Daughters again…

Clara’s Daughter by Meike Ziervogel The relationships between mothers and daughters, or daughters and their mothers – whichever way around you want to put it, is obviously something that fascinates Meike Ziervogel. Her first novella, published away from her own Peirene publishing house was also about a mother and daughter, and the daughter’s own daughter. Read More

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A woman scorned …

My First Wife by Jakob Wassermann, translated by Michael Hoffman They often say that truth is stranger than fiction. This novel is apparently no fiction – it’s one of those ‘all names have been changed’ type books!  My First Wife was published posthumously in 1934, and was a thinly veiled account of the author’s first Read More

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Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

I was so looking forward to reading this book. I was hoping it would dish some dirt on Star Wars, working with Belushi in The Blues Brothers, being married to Paul Simon, writing four fab novels and script-doctoring, what it’s really like to be bipolar …. What a life Carrie Fisher has had! Unfortunately we Read More

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The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor

This book is definitely one of those love it or loathe it novels. You’ll either love it – for the clever plotting and gradual reveal of what has happened to its family, or loathe it primarily because many chapters are written in eight year old Finn’s phonetic speaking voice, where things like changing an ‘a’ Read More

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The Man Without by Ray Robinson

Ray Robinson’s debut novel Electricity was one of the best things I read this year … until I read his second novel The Man Without. Electricity has a superb heroine in Lily – a severe epileptic who was abused and in care as a child. The novel follows her quest to find her lost brother Read More