Saturday, 20 August 2016
This year I don't seem to have been quite so bothered by this real first world problem and this is possibly due to the great books I have been sent by publishers in either physical form or via NetGalley.
Sing to Silent Stones: Violet's Story - David Snell. (book out now)
This book was sent to me in physical form after I responded to a tweet offering reading copies. It arrived just before we went on holiday and it was just that bit too big and heavy for my luggage. It was the first book I turned to on return but I wasn't gripped that night, a couple of week's later I picked it up again and promptly lost two days as I fell into the story straight away.
It is the first part of a sweeping family saga covering both World Wars and so was always likely to appeal to me, I loved the detail of the war scenes and the mixed view points. At times I felt like I was reading a biography not fiction but certain scenes do certainly ground the book in fiction, however inspired by family history.
My one criticism was that it seemed rushed through the 1930s but by the end I realised that this was necessary to get the book to a suitable end point ready for part two - which I can't wait to read when it is published.
Clover Moon - Jacqueline Wilson (to be published October 2016)
When I started out as a book seller Ms Wilson was the most popular author around, and while she has remained prolific and reasonably popular I started to find her formulaic and stopped following her publication schedule. I wonder if this response is not unique as a couple of weeks ago an advance copy of her next book, Clover Moon, dropped through the letterbox - I don't recall her being 'proofed' for well over a decade, and probably longer.
I was intrigued enough to read the book and I was pleasantly surprised by it. It is a historical book, and the content is pretty hard hitting - although not covering the same period in history (or themes) I found it to create images in my mind very similar to those shown in the recent film Suffragette.
I'm not sure that the overt links to another Wilson title, Hetty Feather, were needed and also the ending seemed so open that I wish it had been stated for certain that a sequel is in the works because it didn't word as a standalone for me as an adult reader.
French Rhapsody - Antoine Laurain (to be published October 2016)
I'm a huge fan of the translations of Laurain's work and I was so excited that Gallic Books made this new one available on NetGalley so early. It is the typical mix of profundity and whimsy this time with more than a dash of politics.
This one took me a little longer to get into than the previous two books but I did fall in love with the characters I was supposed to and had sympathy for the others - what I'd have liked is for the book to have been twice or three times as long so I could spend more time with them all!