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Book Review: The Museum of You by Carys Bray

Clover Quinn was a surprise. She used to imagine she was the good kind, now she’s not sure. She’d like to ask Dad about it, but growing up in the saddest chapter of someone else’s story is difficult. She tries not to skate on the thin ice of his memories. 

Darren has done his best. He’s studied his daughter like a seismologist on the lookout for waves and surrounded her with everything she might want – everything he can think of, at least – to be happy.

What Clover wants is answers. This summer, she thinks she can find them in the second bedroom, which is full of her mother’s belongings. Volume isn’t important, what she is looking for is essence; the undiluted bits: a collection of things that will tell the full story of her mother, her father and who she is going to be.

But what you find depends on what you’re searching for.

Having enjoyed Carys Bray’s short stories and her first novel, A Song for Issy Bradley, I was excited to read this, her second novel. And she very quickly had me wrapped up in the lives of Clover and her dad, Darren. Both Clover and Darren miss Clover’s mother who died when Clover was still a baby. It’s such a painful memory for Darren that Clover doesn’t know how to ask her Dad about the one person she’d love to know more about in order to understand herself better. She can’t know herself when she only knows half of her story. Meanwhile, Darren is doing the best job he can bringing up Clover as a single parent and ensuring that she is growing up a happy child. As Darren won’t tell her anything, she decides to make it a project of her summer holiday to play detective and piece together for herself what her mother was like from the belongings Darren has kept in the second bedroom. Read more

Book Review: The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner

I initially wanted to read The House at the Edge of Night for the title alone but when I read the blurb, I definitely knew I had to read it. I’ve always had a weakness for island stories, perhaps because I come from an island nation, and this one had the added attraction of being set on an island off the coast of Italy with one of the main characters, Amedeo, starting off life in Florence.

On a tiny island off the coast of Italy, Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, thinks he has found a place where, finally, he can belong.

Intrigued by a building the locals believe to be cursed, Amedeo restores the crumbling walls, replaces sagging doors and sweeps floors before proudly opening the bar he names the ‘House at the Edge of Night’. Surrounded by the sound of the sea and the scent of bougainvillea, he and the beautiful, fiercely intelligent Pina begin their lives together.

Home to the spirited, chaotic Esposito family for generations, the island withstands a century of turmoil – transformed in ways both big and small by war, tourism and recession. It’s a place alive with stories, legends and, sometimes, miracles. And while regimes change, betrayals are discovered and unexpected friendships nurtured, the House at the Edge of Night remains: the backdrop for long-running feuds and the stage for great love affairs.

The House at the Edge of Night tells the story of the island of Castellamare, and in particular one island family through the generations, for just shy of a century. And in turn, as outside events and developments bring about change and impact upon island life, it tells the story of Italy throughout this period. Read more

Croeso i Nut Press! Welcome to Nut Press!

This is the online home of writer Kathryn Eastman.

It’s full of book reviews, chocolate tasting, adventures with squirrels, a lot of tea drinking, and a snoring pussy cat, among other things.

Oh, and very occasionally, some writing gets done.