Tag Archives | Fiction


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 The Swan are entertaining themselves by telling stories the door bursts open and in […]

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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. The islanders are struggling to come to terms with the drowning of Tom Bundy when […]

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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 range of genres (domestic, fantasy, end of Empire) and settings (Yorkshire, Wimbledon, Hong Kong, Malta) […]

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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 birthdays in the last few years and gives a fascinating insight into the impact of […]

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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 Woody – all told from the perspective of Marcus, now a writer. It as easy […]

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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 character. Tartt describes place in a deftly chosen collage of images time and again. The […]

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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 much of the book is taken up with her fantasies, many focused on Maxim’s first […]

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Noise of Time

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 for him. The story is told through his recollections and feelings and over the course […]

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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 an incident resulted in a separation. The story begins with Alice living in Tangiers with […]

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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 found herself working for the secret service transcribing recordings of meetings between a spy and […]

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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. They are the illegitimate daughters of Melchior Hazard, a leading Shakespearian actor who refuses to […]

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