Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal - Sean Dixon

An extraordinary book. This is quirky Canadian writing at its best. If this is not nominated for an award, I will be very suprised.
Take a strange group of "women", join them up to the Lacuna Cabal Montreal Young Woman's Book Club, a book club that like to, really live, the books they read, throw in The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Bhagdad Blogger, death, sexuality and group politics and you get the idea.
Wonderful, challenging and engaging! I will be buying copies for our Book Groups!

Wuthering heights - Emily Bronte

This really is worth reading again. Nearly all our reading group had read it but at some time in the distant past. Many like myself had read it as a teenager, and to be honest I must have just read what I wanted, romance, Gothic and missed the rest!
If you have only seen one of the films, again read the book!
This book is incredibly fantastic literature, once I picked it up I could not put it down. All the characters were monsters and seriously flawed but her writing made you go on reading, analysing, open mouthed, jaw dropped.
I must have skimmed over the child and animal abuse on a previous reading, it is just dropped so inconsequentially into the plot, that now, as a mature person I say, hang on - what??!! This is a classic nature v nurture book, forget Kevin look at Heathcliff or Hareton!! And as for Cathy was she barking or what?
The real hero of this book is the setting, the Yorkshire Moors, I think it is very telling that nearly all our book club have been to Haworth, home of the Bronte's ...............

Friday, 18 July 2008

The Lady Elizabeth - Alison Weir

I really enjoyed Innocent Traitor, see below, but did wonder when I picked this up whether there really was room for another book on Queen Elizabeth. However, Alsison Weir is a distinguished historian so I gava it a go. I pleased I did, I really found myself totally emersed in the Tudor period due to the skill of the writing, the rich historical descriptions just take you there, it is a fabulous way to understand the live and times of that era. The characterisations rang true as well, I particularly like the time when Elizabeth was very young, and even though the story is well known it had enough suspense to keep me reading to find out what happened next. I would highly recommend this book, and await the next with enthusiasm.

I only have a small observation, Alison states at the back that is a work of fiction and she has taken liberties, I do wonder though whether this will be ignored and how soon Elizabeth 1st will cease to be the Virgin Queen! At least this was more realistic in that there were consequences and it did explain her aversion to marriage!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton

This is superb. Kate has really moved up a notch since The House at Riverton which won the Richard and Judy Summer Read last year.
Once again we have a time slip novel, 1900's, 1970's and 2005. The novel moves, on the whole, between Brisbane and Cornwall. The settings in 1900 -1913 are deliciously Gothic, well fleshed and convincing. The fact that we follow Nell through all time periods, makes an interesting link. Her writing has acquired a depth, as I really felt I came to know the major players in this novel and even the minor characters were drawn in such a way as to be very real. Also,the resolution of the mystery was not so far fetched as to be unconvincing.
The time changes and characters are all handled deftly, and the mystery keeps you reading to the last pages to find out what happened.
I read the first half of this book very quickly but then found myself slowing down, always a good sign, as I did not want to finish it . Yes, and at the end I cried!

This is quite a large book running to 645 pages, it would make a brilliant and engrossing read for a holiday. I also think that many of the themes running through it would make it an excellent reading group book and I will be buying extra copies here in Bournemouth for that purpose!

See also interview below with Kate Morton!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

No Time for Goodbye - Linwood Barclay

This makes a great holiday read. Suspend believe and just go with it. I guarantee that you will want to keep reading and find out what happened. A great fast paced thriller that requires no investment from you, easy to read and be entertained.

It really is very difficult to review this without spoilers. The only thing I would say is that with the propensity for all characters to wield a gun, I sincerely hope the UK does not go the same way as the US!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

East of the Sun _ Julia Gregson

Well Richard and Judy are running to form. This is the second book I have read from this summer's list and again it is great. This is an ideal escapist summer read. It does not have the depth of The Outcast ( see below) but it is a good romantic read. Set in India in the late 1920's it captures the fading of the Raj and the plight of the Indians, and their generosity,to those that ruled them at the time. We have three very different young women who travel to India, one to marry, one to find a husband and the third to explore the demons that have haunted her since childhood. Do stick with it as after halfway I found it very hard to put down. Having travelled in India myself she captures the atmosphere and the life changing ability of this amazing country brilliantly!