immortalists hdbk

Can you cheat fate?

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin I’ve been itching to read this novel due to its clever premise since I first got my hands on a copy. I’ve finally made time for it. How long would you live your life if you knew the day you were going to die? This is the central question, emblazoned Read More

i-see-you

This one gave me the creeps…

I See You by Clare Mackintosh I see you. But you do’t see me. You’re engrossed in your book; a paperback cover with a girl in a red dress. I can’t see the title but it doesn’t matter; they’re all the same. If it isn’t boy meets girl, it’s boy stalks girl. Boy kills girl. Read More

moving

One house, one extended family, many stories

Moving by Jenny Eclair Moving is Jenny Eclair’s fourth novel and is her most accomplished yet, seeing her move from the bittersweet comedy of her brilliant debut, Camberwell Beauty (which I read pre-blog), to a touching drama. Ever the comedian, Moving is still full of wit, but it is definitely not a comedy. Moving is told in Read More

look at me

Three shorter reviews

Trading Futures by Jim Powell Matthew Oxenhay is having an existential crisis. He set his hippy ideals behind him long ago, swapping them for a career in the city, wife, kids, nice house in a nice London suburb. Then it was his 60th birthday, and shortly afterwards he lost his job, but his boss let Read More

Brontes Woolworths

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

Brontes Woolworths

We followed our men to Los Alamos …

The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit This is not a novel about the development of the atom bomb, but rather the development of the community surrounding the laboratory which produced the bomb. Most of the scientists who worked at Los Alamos were seconded to the military from all over the country in 1943 Read More

Brontes Woolworths

The Savages are back …

American Savage by Matt Whyman Last summer I had the pleasure of reading one of the funniest YA novels I’ve yet encountered in Matt Whyman’s The Savages – don’t you just love that cover?  Although it was written as a standalone novel, so many people wondered what happened to the family in it, that Matt Read More

Brontes Woolworths

Rule Britannia …

Expo 58 by Jonathan Coe I’ve long been a fan of Jonathan Coe, enjoying all of the books of his that I’ve read so far, from the broad comedy of What a carve up, to the heartbreak of The Rain Before it Falls, via the 1970s revisited in The Rotter’s Club. I was lucky enough Read More

Brontes Woolworths

A novel of love, war, betrayal and stiff upper lip

Some Day I’ll Find You by Richard Madeley Richard Madeley slightly surprised everyone in 2008 when he published his successful memoir Fathers and Sons which explored male familial relationships through the mirror of his own. Despite journalistic roots, it was somewhat unexpected that one of the most successful daytime TV hosts and champion of the Richard Read More

Brontes Woolworths

Come dine on – oops – with me…

The Savages by Matt Whyman Not since I read the wonderful book, The Radleys by Matt Haig, (reviewed here), have I found a YA novel such fun.  Just look at the cover – you know it’s going to be hilarious.  You can sense that the Savages are a close family – like The Munsters or The Read More

Brontes Woolworths

“This land is your land, this land is my land…”

Fallen Land by Patrick Flanery The above quote from Woody Guthie seemed to fit the overarching theme of this novel perfectly.  It’s all about the illusion of The American Dream, its transitory nature – it certainly doesn’t last for any of the characters in habiting the land in Patrick Flanery’s accomplished second novel. In a Read More

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‘I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood’…

The Almost Lizard by James Higgerson I’m twenty-one years old today, and once I’ve finished this little introduction I’m going to kill myself. … Not many can spend their final few weeks on this earth writing their autobiography, a to-the-minute summary of all that has occurred within their lifespan. But most of us leave this Read More

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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

Brontes Woolworths

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

Brontes Woolworths

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

Brontes Woolworths

An absolute pleasure to dip into …

The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield I’m so glad I finally decided to give this book a go, as it has been a real pleasure to dip into over the past couple of weeks.  As I already reported here, I was smitten by this book from its opening pages.  Having obtained an Read More

Brontes Woolworths

A little London loving – 1960s style…

Georgy Girlby Margaret Forster Margaret Forster is somehow one of those familiar authors, although I’ve read any of her books.  Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve seen several of her books in shops; The Memory Box is a title that stuck in my mind.  Although I’ve no idea how old she is, or Read More

Brontes Woolworths

The other half's story …

Mr Bridge (Penguin Modern Classics) by Evan S Connell Written ten years after  his 1959 novel Mrs Bridge, Connell’s companion piece Mr Bridge tells the story of the Bridge family through the same time period from the 1930s into WWII, but from the husband’s point of view. I read and adored Mrs Bridge a couple of weeks Read More

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A life unfulfilled, funny but full of melancholy…

Mrs Bridge by Evan S Connell Just before Christmas, I acquired a review copy of the imminent Penguin Modern Classics reissue of Mr Bridge by Evan S Connell. I knew nothing about the book at all, but the synopsis intrigued me. Finding that Connell had previously written Mrs Bridge, and that Mr Bridge was therefore Read More

Brontes Woolworths

Re-reading one of my favourite books…

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx I’ve now finished my re-read of Annie Proulx’s novel The Shipping News, that I told you about a few days ago here. When I finished the book the first time, so sure was I that I’d be re-reading, and hopefully re-loving, it that I bought myself a luxury numbered Read More

Brontes Woolworths

One for the new year …

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice Take one big happy family; add some horses, a big country manor in Cornwall, plus doses of first love which doesn’t go easily. Shake it up and relocate to London; mix with rock’n’roll and serve with love again. This is the essential recipe for Eva Rice’s new Read More

Brontes Woolworths

A “perfick” entertainment…

It’s not often that you can successfully combine a phrase and idea from a Shakespeare sonnet – number 18 as it happens. You know the one that begins: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease Read More

Brontes Woolworths

A family drama with a Hollywood backdrop

Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub A novel set during the golden age of Hollywood has an instant allure, promising old-fashioned glamour and a look behind the scenes of the movies, plus possibly a whiff of scandal. That’s not what this novel is really about though, despite its title and monochrome cover … Read More

Brontes Woolworths

The remote effects of war …

The Coveby Ron Rash. The fighting of WWI may be happening on the battlefields of Europe, but that doesn’t mean that remote communities in America don’t feel a ripple of its effects too… Young men who volunteered are returning home maimed – Hank Shelton lost a hand, and he’s doing his best to renovate the Read More

Brontes Woolworths

Q&A with Sophie McKenzie and a giveaway of her latest teen book…

This week the final part of author Sophie McKenzie’s hard hitting ‘Missing‘ trilogy for teens is published. Missing Me completes the story started in Girl, Missing, and continued in Sister, Missing. The books follow the story of Lauren, who is adopted and has always known that. In Girl, Missing, Lauren is fourteen. One day she Read More

August is a wicked month

“Summer fling, don’t mean a thing, But, oh, oh, the summer nights”

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. August is a Wicked Month by Edna O’Brien When I came across this short novel published in 1965, in a bag of books from my late Mum’s, I had to read it straight away for two reasons.  The obvious one is the Read More

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This tale’s pinned on a donkey …

Caroline: A Mystery by Cornelius Medvei This short novel is a weird and wonderful thing, slightly surreal in parts, but utterly captivating. It is the story of Mr Shaw, who takes his family on their annual vacation where he tries to unwind from his day job in insurance, but is fretting internally (as is his Read More

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You shall go to the ball …

Invitation To The Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann Florence at Miss Darcy’s Library is hosting a week of reading Rosamund Lehmann. She is another of those authors from the middle decades of the twentieth century that I’ve been meaning to read for ages – and luckily I had one of her books on my shelf. Invitation Read More