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Book review: The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons

One of the best things about reading novels is how they can take you into new worlds. The world of any book is, of course, always its author’s creation, whether it be rooted in truth, or based on a skewed version of the world we know, or one entirely of the author’s own imagining but what I mean here is that some of the books I enjoy the most are the ones that introduce me to a world I either know nothing or very little about. And so it is with Natasha Solomons’ third novel, The Gallery of Vanished Husbands. 

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands is set in two very different and often conflicting worlds: the conservative Jewish community in which the main character, Juliet Montague, is brought up and the art world of 1960s London which she falls into but then manages to carve out a role for herself. Read more

Book review: Red Room: New Short Stories Inspired by the Brontës

Any poem by Simon Armitage gets my attention (note to publishers?) and one opens this new short story collection. And what a wonderful poem about Emily Brontë it is, right from its opening lines of

Too much rain
in the blood, Too much
cloud in the lungs

to how, after having read Wuthering Heights for the first time, I had always pictured her high up on the moor above Haworth parsonage

pegged to the skyline
green dress in a wild dance
hair flying east

It’s chilling, wild, full of vivid, if uncomfortable imagery, not unlike the Brontës’ work and is a perfect way to open this excellent new collection of writing inspired by the sisters and intended to help raise funds for The Brontë Birthplace Trust and their plans for Thornton, Bradford – the village where all three sisters were born. Read more

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