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Book Review: A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

Book reviews By March 25, 2020 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea is about people, exiled not once but twice, who are determined to survive and even thrive in their adopted countries, and what home signifies. Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War, a tragedy that leaves his life – and the fate of his…

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Book Review: The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare

Book reviews By October 1, 2019 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Horatio Clare writes with great candour and generosity in The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal, offering a fierce flicker of hope to others in this illuminating contemplation of his own depression. As November stubs out the glow of autumn and the days tighten into shorter hours, winter’s occupation begins. Preparing for winter has its own rhythms, as old…

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Book Review: The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland

Book reviews By July 11, 2019 Tags: , , , , No Comments

What starts as one young woman’s summons home in the aftermath of her mother’s death at a local beauty spot, steeped in legend, quickly becomes something altogether darker and more troubling. A single phone call from halfway across the world is all it takes to bring her home . . . ‘Ellie, something bad has happened.’ Desperate to escape her…

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Book Review: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden (Winternight Trilogy #3)

Book reviews By March 22, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

Brimful of the deep-winter magic and folkloric elements I loved in her first two Winternight books, Katherine Arden’s trilogy culminates in a truly spellbinding finale with The Winter of the Witch. Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those…

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Book Review: The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings

Book reviews By June 22, 2018 Tags: , , , , 4 Comments

Devastating and deliciously dark, The Cliff House is less wish-fulfilment and more of a clever and disturbing reminder that things are rarely (if ever) how they appear on the surface. Some friendships are made to be broken Cornwall, summer of 1986. The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea….

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Book Review: I Still Dream by James Smythe

Book reviews By March 26, 2018 Tags: , , , No Comments

James Smythe’s latest novel I Still Dream is the compelling story of a reclusive Internet coding prodigy, her missing father, corporate ambition, love, loss and creation which begins steeped in hormones and nostalgia but becomes scarily prescient. 1997. 17-year-old Laura Bow has invented a rudimentary artificial intelligence, and named it Organon. At first it’s intended to be a sounding-board for…

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Book Review & Giveaway: Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

Book reviews By January 11, 2018 Tags: , , , , 11 Comments

When a secret from the past resurfaces, Florence’s friends help her unlock the mystery in this gentle, moving novel about ageing, kindness, memory, identity… and the ripples our lives make. There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make…

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Book Review: Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner

Book reviews By June 29, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

A darker, more addictive read, Susie Steiner’s brilliantly written Manon Bradshaw series gets personal when a murder case threatens characters and relationships so well established in Missing, Presumed, which I reviewed here. As dusk falls a young man staggers through a park, far from home, bleeding heavily from a stab wound. He dies where he falls; cradled by a stranger,…

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