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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Elizabeth Speller - The Return of Captain John Emmett

I have had this book for some time but decided to read it over the Easter weekend. I could not put it down, it is beautifilly written  and I think Laurence Bartram's blundering around as an amateur investigator is really rather true to life. We have all had that experience of mentally kicking ourselves and realising what we should have asked or said. He is a wonderful character.
The plot revolves around the request of Captain John Emmett's sister to Laurence who went to school with his brother as to why having survived WW1 he then comes home and commits suicide. It is an interesting study of the period and the conclusion we reach as a reader is that non of the returned soldiers are entirely unscathed be they sound of linb or not. Indeed even those left at home are now changed in some subtle or not so subtel way, it is wonderfully captured in this book.
It would make a fantastic Reading Group book as there is so much to discuss and of course it is very topical at the moment as we commemorate the beginning of WW1

Monday, 7 April 2014

Lucy Clarke - A Single Breath

A great second novel from local author Lucy Clarke, following on from the success of The Sea Sisters.  I could not put it down and read it over 48 hours. I think it will make an excellent reading groups read as there is much in here to get your teeth into and helpfully the paperback version contain reading group notes , an interview with the author and a photo montage of Tasmania!
 The plot is around  a normally sensible midwife called Eva, who has a whirlwind romance and wedding with a Tasmanian she meets on a long haul flight  into the UK.
Tragically he is swept into the sea whilst fishing off the Dorset coast and is presumed drowned, as no body is recovered.
Consumed by grief Eva decides to go to Tasmania to see the land that Jackson, her husband ,had talked so eloquently about.

When she arrives the reaction of his father and brother is not usual and this leads to her questioning everything she thought she knew about her husband. I cannot say much without massive spoilers. Suffice to say there are major twists and turns, more than enough to keep you reading. What I love about Lucy's writing is her sense of place and also her clearly deep connection with the sea which permeates throughout her books. We will be adding this book to our reading groups list in Bournemouth Libraries.