Book review: The Deceptions by Suzanne Leal

Friday, April 3, 2020 Permalink

I read Suzanne Leal’s The Teacher’s Secret when it was released in 2016. I enjoyed the novel and was particularly interested in the way Leal considered society (in general) via the microcosm of a small town.

Her latest release ponders similar societal issues, though subtly. It’s one that unfolds in two timeframes, during World War II (and immediate aftermath) and the present. Well, 2010 which apparently is a decade ago though doesn’t feel like it.

The thing I like most about Leal’s work and this book in particular, is that she also challenges readers, taking us to dark places and forcing us to consider complex issues. She doesn’t spoon-feed us life lessons or shove ethical and political / societal / cultural dilemmas of today down our throats, but they’re evident nonetheless and impossible not to ponder – perhaps long after we finish reading.

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four-stars

Book review: Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins

Friday, March 20, 2020 Permalink

I loved Lucy Atkins’ debut book The Missing One. It was in fact one of my favourite books of 2014. I’ve also read her two subsequent novels.

Magpie Lane is Atkins’ latest release and the thing that’s interested me most about her books is that, though are often centred around secrets and strained relationships, they all feel quite different.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Riptides by Kirsten Alexander

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 Permalink

I feel like I’m a latecomer to Riptides by Kirsten Alexander as it seems to have been out for a while, though really it’s only been a month or two. It’s been hugely popular however and (I understand) already reprinted twice.

Alexander offers readers a challenging narrative as we wonder what we’d do in a similar situation but I must admit what I loved most about this book was the trip down memory lane as it’s set in 1974-1975. I would have only been six years of age at the time but it brought back far more memories than I expected.

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four-stars

Book review: The River Home by Hannah Richell

Friday, February 28, 2020 Permalink

A local friend was raving about Hannah Richell’s writing (and books) and I had to admit I hadn’t read any.

Thankfully I’d requested her latest and I can see why my fellow-avid-reader loves her work. Her writing is stunning. I’m not a very visual person so some of her incredibly descriptive prose is probably wasted on me, but she strings words and phrasing together in an almost lyrical fashion. As if it comes easily.

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four-stars

Book review: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Saturday, January 11, 2020 Permalink

Diane Chamberlain is a hugely popular though I’ve only read one book by the American author, Pretending to Dance, published in 2015.

Her latest, Big Lies in a Small Town unfolds in two timeframes and is centred around two women whose livelihoods – and in some ways their futures – depend on an opportunity they’ve been presented in small-town Edenton, almost 80 years apart.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Dilemma by BA Paris

Saturday, January 4, 2020 Permalink

I read BA Paris’s Bring Me Back in 2018 and rated it highly. I follow Paris on Twitter so have been seeing news of her latest release The Dilemma quite a bit. I wasn’t exactly sure when it was out however, so delayed reading it until after 2020 ticked over.

Interestingly this is another book which reminded me I’m a presumptuous smart-arse. I kept considering exaggerated eye-rolls thinking how obvious the plot/s of this book was / were going to be (there are a couple of threads). I assumed I knew EXACTLY what the twists and secrets were. And… I was wrong. Yet again.

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four-stars

Book review: Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

Wednesday, January 1, 2020 Permalink

Astrid’s mother named her Hilary because (when she was born) she had such a sunny disposition. Hilary became Astrid as soon as she was able believing it to be the antithesis of her birth name and almost two decades later, it’s set the scene for the rebellious and unsettled life she’s led since.

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four-stars

Book review: The Girl Who Reads on the Metro by Christine Feret-Fleury

Monday, November 11, 2019 Permalink

This quaint-looking small hardcover book isn’t the sort of book that would normally appeal. But it came as a surprise. Quite a delightful one in fact.

I wasn’t sure what to expect – after all, it’s a translation…. and they don’t always go well. You’re so dependent on an intermediary to offer up quality prose – but this translator (Ros Schwartz) did a great job. I’m almost intrigued if it was as eloquent in its original language.

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three-half-stars

Book review: You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster

Monday, October 28, 2019 Permalink

When ticking the ‘genre’ of this book for this post I added romantic suspense because – though not generally a fan of ‘romance’ as such – I was completely taken with the burgeoning romance that underpinned much of this novel.

The book opens as our two leads, Alice and Noah meet, and I adored their relationship and the way it grew. It felt… well, um romantic. Of course it’s hampered by a backstory of long-kept secrets, guilt and death, so it’s not all rainbows and kittens.

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four-stars