Book Reviews

Book review: Old Baggage

The general feeling was that Old Baggage by Lisa Hall was disappointing –  it was an easy read which was certainly appreciated, but a bit light and fluffy and touching on a lot of potentially interesting topics without going below […]

Book review: Once upon a river

Once upon a river’ was a magical, fairy-tale read – Diane Setterfield’s storytelling is powerful and allows you to suspend disbelief.  Set in the nineteenth century on the upper Thames it starts at the winter solstice, and whilst the regulars at […]

Book review: Where the crawdads sing

‘Where the crawdads sing’ was an engaging read. Delia Owens has created a memorable character in Kya and the detail in her writing conjures the North Carolina marshes and their wildlife in exquisite detail. The story combines a murder investigation […]

Book review: The silver dark sea

‘The silver dark sea’ by Susan Fletcher is a tale set on the island of Parla, a remote community a two hour ferry trip from the mainland. Although it isn’t made explicit it has the feel of a Scottish island. […]

Book Review – The Stories

We hadn’t read any short stories previously so Jane Gardam’s collection ‘The Stories’ was a departure for us. Gardam’s writing is lovely – full of detail and gentle humour and great insight. The stories are very English although covering a […]

Book review – The Century Girls

The Century Girls by Tessa Dunlop was published to coincide with the anniversary of the first votes for women in this country. It interweaves the stories of six very different women mainly born during WW1 who have celebrated their 100th […]

Book review – The Baltimore Boys

We all enjoyed ‘The Baltimore Boys’ by Joel Dicker. It was originally written in French, but it still feels very rooted in its setting. It tells the tale of 3 boys – cousins Marcus and Hillel and Hillel’s adopted brother […]

Book Review: The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is a very readable tale – despite the length (it definitely qualifies as a door stopper). It has been described as Dickensian – there is an immense amount of beautifully written detail capturing atmosphere and […]

Book review – Rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier was a rare hit with everyone – classics aren’t classics for nothing! The unnamed narrator is the second wife of Maxim De Winter. Inexperienced and gauche, she is very much out of her depth and […]

Book Review – The noise of time

There were very mixed reactions to ‘The noise of time’ by Julian Barnes. The book is about Shostakovich but the structure isn’t a straightforward narrative. It takes 3 episodes in his life when brushes with ‘Power’ brought crisis and reflection […]

Book Review – Tangerine

Tangerine is the debut novel of Christine Mangan. The story unfolds from the viewpoints of Alice and Lucy both of whom prove to be unreliable narrators but for very different reasons. They had developed a deep friendship at university but […]

Book Review – Transcription

Very mixed views on ‘Transcription’ – some really enjoyed it, others found it slow and dull – ‘Le Carre Lite’ seemed to be the best description. Set largely between two time periods we are introduced to Juliet. In 1940 she […]

Book Review – Wise children

Wise children by Angela Carter is largely told as a long set reminiscences by Dora Chance – looking back over a career in music hall with her twin sister Nora (one of many sets of twins) and tempestuous family relationships. […]

Book Review – The Allegations

‘The Allegations’ engendered mixed feelings – it was funny, and the writing was good, and certainly for the first half it was a good read  but then it started to drag. It contrasts the fortunes of two men – friends […]

Book Review: – The Last of Us

I think all of us felt this was not a book we would have chosen to read (it was a little grim in places!), but we all ‘enjoyed’ it. ‘The Last of Us’ is set in the Western Isles in […]

Book Review: – Shadows in heaven

Apologies to fans of Nadine Dorries but we were united in feeling that ‘Shadows in heaven’ had not left us with an inclination to read more of her books. It was an easy read (although the huge cast of characters […]

Book Review: – The history of bees

The history of bees is an interesting and ambitious book that generated a lot of discussion ranging from family relationships and the expectations parents put on their children to the current decline of the bee population and the environmental challenge […]

Book Review: – The Dry

  Jane Harper’s debut novel was enjoyed by all – generally regarded as a real page turner – a quick read. Luke Hadler, his wife and child are found brutally murdered, and the assumption in the town is murder/suicide. Aaron […]

Book Review: – A gentleman in Moscow

Towling’s tale of an aristocrat, Count Alexander Rostov, sentenced to indefinite house arrest in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow after the Revolution was generally enjoyed. It is a beautifully written  charming , whimsical fairytale of a story but some of […]

Book review: This is going to hurt

Whilst some found Adam Kay’s brand of humour ‘laugh out loud’ it was not for all – one or two felt uncomfortable with some of the patient stories in ‘This is going to hurt’ – perhaps some shouldn’t have been […]

Book Review: – A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol produced a lively and surprising amount of discussion given how well known the story is. We have all been exposed to film adaptations and these had influenced our images of the tale but there were still some […]

Book review: – The Book Thief

The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger – a girl who is fostered by Hans and Rosa Hubermann in the fictional town of Molching on the outskirts of Munich during the war. The family are living in straitened […]

Book review: – Soul Music

Soul Music was definitely lighter than our recent reads, but turned out not to be everybody’s taste, common finding with humour. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series are well loved but as an introduction it was probably not the best choice. It […]

Book review: – The Invention of Wings

We all enjoyed ‘The Invention of Wings’ by Sue Monk Kidd. Set between Charleston, South Carolina and Philadelphia in the early 19th century it is a fictionalised account of the early life of Sarah Grimke, an abolitionist, writer, and member […]