I was initially reticent to start My Father the Whale by Gina Perry because I’d just read another book (Tell Me What I Am by Una Mannion) about a young girl being raised by her father amidst secrets about her mother’s fate and I was concerned the two books would become intertwined in my little head. As it happens however, they are (ultimately) quite different though similarly themed around family and relationships. Perry’s book is also set in two distinct timeframes: 1984 and then 2000.
In a Thousand Different Ways by Cecelia Ahern is only the second book I’ve read by the Irish author, best known for PS I Love You. I loved her 2021 novel Freckles, about a young woman trying to find her place in the world.
And in some ways Ahern’s theme here is similar. We spend quite a bit of time with a young then teenaged Alice before she moves into adulthood. Alice has synesthesia – something her older brother calls a gift but she sees (for much of her life) as a curse.
The Hike by Lucy Clarke opens with a stunning prologue. The first couple of paragraphs were amazing. So much so I took a photograph and posted them on Twitter. (So others could share my delight!)
There have been quite a few books about groups of friends or colleagues going camping or hiking and one doesn’t return. I thought this might be similar and focus on the aftermath or fallout of a missing hiker…. with the remaining group having to keep silent in a ‘what happens on hike stays on hike‘ kinda thing.
Terms of Inheritance by Michelle Upton is the kind of feel-good read that is perfect for this time of year. While it covers some deeper themes around familial relationships and the challenges that come with them, it offers engaging and mostly likeable characters and quixotic but (at the same time) relatable ‘scenarios’.
It features four sisters – all very different, but bound in the way siblings are… or at least can be. Apologies in advance to my brother, but this made me wish I had sisters. Other versions of ‘you’. The best friends you can’t rid yourself of, who drive you crazy, know your faults and idiosyncrasies but love you anyway and always, always have your back.
One of the Girls opens with a prologue and Lucy Clarke tells us then that someone dies on a hen’s* weekend before introducing us to the six – quite disparate – women who’ve journeyed to a remote luxurious villa on a Greek island.
We learn all of the women have secrets and some have hidden agendas… and though I expected this to be predictable in how it plays out, it’s actually far from that.
A publishing friend of mine (who knows of my penchant for crime fiction) suggested I’d like debut novel, White Noise by Mercedes Mercier. And they certainly weren’t wrong. I had the opportunity to read an early copy back in February, but decided to wait for the final before posting my review. Of course an unexpected trip away meant I wasn’t here when the final copy arrived, but now I’m back home I’ve been able to re-read Mercier’s debut novel and again very much enjoyed meeting prison psychologist Lauren.
I had a sleepless night after reading Love and Other Puzzles by Kimberley Allsopp. Not because of the book itself… I just had a heap of stuff on my mind; but it means it got the full post-reading Deborah over-thinking / over-analysis treatment because my mind wouldn’t shut down. (So I apologise for that in advance!)
I very much enjoyed this debut novel by Allsopp. It’s probably a little different than my usual reading fare, which is probably why I didn’t receive a print copy for review. And though Rory is a couple of decades (at least two, maybe three) younger than me, I could kinda relate to the messiness of her life and the denial in which she’s wrapped herself… assuming everything will work out and she’s on the right track.
The Beautiful Words is the third book I’ve read by Australian author Vanessa McCausland and probably my favourite to date.