Friday, 29 March 2019

Book Review: Island Song

Island Song - Madeleine Bunting.

I've written on here before about liking books set in the Channel Islands during World War Two and so it is unsurprising that when I saw this go by on Net Galley I requested a copy PDQ.

Like so many books this one starts with a mystery being revealed at the death of a parent and Ros finds her world turned upside down Everything she thought she knew about her life, and family events, are a lie.

The book isn't quite contemporary and that adds to this story as the layers are unpeeled slowly - literally at 'snail mail' pace. Our characters publish notices in papers, research in archives and travel to places to have conversations in person in order to find the truth. It helps the story unravel naturally rather than sensationally, and allows the flashbacks to slip in easily without upsetting the flow of either half of the tale.

The story is a new look at the occupation of the Channel Islands, and not one I had read before. I really didn't see the ending coming either, and it was far more satisfying than the one I'd imagined.

In the best tradition of books this left me wanting to know more about some characters and I'd love to read a companion work to this telling the other side of the story.

The hard copy of the book is published next week (April 4th) but the ebook is available now!

I received a copy of this book free of charge from Granta/Net Galley and I am under no obligation to review the book, nor did I receive any recompense for the review.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Busy life

I'm not sure why I open every post on my own blog with an apology for not writing more - after all it is my own blog and my progress isn't monitored by anyone!

I am still reading for various projects that I can't talk about and I am also reading a lot of books that aren't published until later in the year so hopefully I'll remember to come back and talk about them nearer to publication, although to be honest I really wouldn't hold you breath over that!

In addition to the reading projects I am also currently trying to tie up the loose ends of my current job *and* learn my new one.  This all feels overwhelming at times and means much of my reading has become turning to old favourites, and generally children's books at that as they are nice and familiar but in some cases I had forgotten how good they were - this week's rediscovery was The Secret Garden.

A book that did come along at just the right moment recently was Sarah Baxter's Literary Places.

I'd not heard of the book but the publisher contacted me through NetGalley to let me know it was available for review and I am so glad that the email didn't end up in my junk folder.

This book is a guide to the locations in many books and talks a little bit about the book/author and then the location.  It isn't particularly deep or even in depth but the chapters are wonderfully short and moreover beautifully illustrated and it felt a little like having a holiday just reading through it, which is funny as right now I can't leave the country as my passport is away being renewed.

To be honest I would have liked more written detail about each book/place as it just didn't go into enough depth for me to fall in love with books that were new to me, but I spent ages gazing at the pictures and it reminded me just how special an illustrated book could be however old you are!

It seems funny to be reviewing and praising a book that initially didn't seem like it was for me, but I have found myself returning to the proof just to look at the art work, and at a busy time in life it was great to find just the right book.

Many thanks to Quarto for alerting me to this book, and as ever I was under no obligation to read and review it.