Category: Books


Review: The Bookshop

Posted 22 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Bookshop
By: Penelope Fitzgerald
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

From the Booker Prize-winning author of Offshore, The Blue Flower and Innocence comes this Booker Prize-shortlisted story of books and busybodies in East Anglia.

This, Penelope Fitzgerald’s second novel, was her first to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is set in a small East Anglian coastal town, where Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop. ‘She had a kind heart, but that is not much use when it comes to the matter of self-preservation.’

Hardborough becomes a battleground, as small towns so easily do. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. This is a story for anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.

Please bear with me in this review, I thought I had written notes down when I had finished reading it but I guess not. This book had been cropping up in my radar for some time and it sounded interesting so I decided to pick it up (also, in the event I ever get around to watching the movie).

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Review: The Raven Tower

Posted 20 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Raven Tower
By: V.E. Schwab
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Listen. A god is speaking.
My voice echoes through the stone of your master’s castle.
This castle where he finds his uncle on his father’s throne.
You want to help him. You cannot.
You are the only one who can hear me.
You will change the world.

A triumph of the imagination, The Raven Tower is the first fantasy novel by Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this breathtaking fantasy masterpiece.

Ann Leckie writing a fantasy novel? Yeah, count me in! And isn’t the cover gorgeous?

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Review: Warlight

Posted 18 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Warlight
By: Michael Ondaatje
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself, shadowed and luminous at once: we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel.

But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings’ mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing?

A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn’t know and understand in that time, and it is this journey–through facts, recollection, and imagination–that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.

I’ve been eyeing this book since it was first released and then longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018: aside from its rather mysterious book covers, the premise sounded interesting and promised to be unique. I finally picked it up a while ago for my Kobo and read it rather recently.

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Review: The Winter Soldier

Posted 15 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Winter Soldier
By: Daniel Mason
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives, at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single, mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains.

But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon’s scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal, makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient, and nurse forever.

From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and finally, of the mistakes we make, and the precious opportunities to atone.

The main character is a medical student, the story is set in Central Europe during World War One? Count me in! I actually brought this book with me when I travelled to Central Europe back in early January, to put me in the mood 🙂

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Review: The Good People

Posted 11 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Good People
By: Hannah Kent
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Hedged in by gossip and joined by their desperation, three women in nineteenth-century Ireland are drawn together in the hope of rescuing a child from a superstitious community, determined to rid itself of the strange and unknowable. Bereft after the loss of her husband, Nora finds herself alone and caring for her young grandson Micheal–a boy whom she recalls as having been a happy and healthy infant but now, in the wake of both his mother’s and grandfather’s deaths, can neither speak nor walk. Mary, a servant girl from more rural parts, comes to the valley to help Nora just as the rumors are spreading: the talk of unexplained misfortunes and illnesses, and the theory that deformed Micheal is a changeling, a fairy child to blame for the bad luck the valley has endured since his arrival.

Determined to banish the evil in Micheal, Nora and Mary enlist the help of the elderly Nance, a recluse and wanderer once revered by her neighbors for her healing powers, but now condemned as a fraud and a threat by the new priest in town.

As the trio’s situation grows more dire, their folkloric practices become increasingly daring–culminating, at last, in a stunning and irreversible act that will put all their lives in danger. Terrifying, thrilling, and wholly original, THE GOOD PEOPLE is a startling examination of absolute belief and superstition taken to their extremes, of the universal yearning to belong, and of love, both tender and harsh.

I think I bought this book the other year but I took a long time getting around to reading it. I loooooooooooooooooved Burial Rites (review) so I guess I was both apprehensive but also wanting to savour her next book. Anyway, finally got around to reading it last year so yay 🙂

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