It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at BookDate

I’m also linking to The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer

And the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

 

Life…

Been nowhere. Done nothing.

 

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What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

Red Dirt Country by Fiona McDonald

The Lost Jewels by Kirsty Manning

Return to Stringybark Creek by Karly Lane

Gulliver’s Wife by Lauren Chater

 

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New Posts…

Review: Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon

Review: Red Dirt Country by Fiona McDonald

Review: The Lost Jewels by Kirsty Manning

2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge: Monthly Spotlight #3

Six Degrees of Separation: Stasiland to A Beautiful Place To Die

 

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What I’m Reading This Week…

Please note: Goodreads is being problematic right now, so I wasn’t able to link the book covers as I usual do.

 

It all began when I met you, Lily.

Beautiful, dangerous, precious you.

At first Katherine dismisses her early-twenties intern as a millennial ‘snowflake’: entitled, moralistic, soft. Yet as Lily’s youth and beauty increasingly remind Katherine of everything she once had, she begins to develop a dark fascination with her new colleague.

But is Lily as perfect as she seems, or does she have a sinister hidden agenda? As Katherine is drawn into an obsessive power struggle with the intern, a disturbing picture emerges of two women hiding dark secrets – and who are desperate enough to do anything to come out on top…

With shocking twists at every turn, Precious You is a powerfully gripping story of obsession, revenge and deceit.

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You are her mother at this moment. The future is another time.’

In a remote corner of Tanzania, Essie Lawrence lives with her husband in an archaeologist’s camp. One morning a chance encounter with two strangers sees her making a rash promise. When she returns home to the research base, she has a baby in her arms. Essie is to care for the little girl until the coming of the rains. And then hand her back.

The organised world of Magadi Research Camp is turned upside down. As her heart opens up to new life, Essie is drawn into the ancient wisdom of the Hadza, the last hunter-gatherer tribe in East Africa. And she is led back to memories of her own mother and her first home on the island of Tasmania, at the far end of the world. But there is a price to pay. Essie’s marriage, her career – everything she’s worked for – is put at risk.

On the shores of the flamingo lake, personal stories are played out alongside the Lawrences’ quest to find the origins of the human species. Nightmares and dreams go hand in hand as past and present merge. What is real and what will turn to dust? And after a season of being a mother, will Essie be able to survive the hardest challenge of all? To love, and then let go …

An exquisite and heart-piercing story of one woman’s bond with a baby, The Beautiful Mother will resonate with every parent, crossing time, place and culture. It is an unforgettable exploration of what it really means to be a member of the human family, revealing the deep need we all have to find our own tribe

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Fried Green Tomatoes and “Steel Magnolias” meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

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Brimming with anticipation, humour, desire and strangeness these stories will quicken your senses and make your spine tingle.

In Thrill Me, thirty-one award-winning and emerging Australian storytellers write to thrill and move you. Look away if you want cheap thrills. Read on if you dare. These stories will leave an imprint on you. Some will be unshakeable.

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Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there.

Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims?

Evocative, eerie, and compelling, Please See Us is a fast-paced psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence

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Thanks for stopping by!

Six Degrees of Separation: Stasiland to A Beautiful Place To Die

 

Hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest, on the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form Six Degrees of Separation. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

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This month’s nominated starting point is Stasiland by Anna Funder. For some inexplicable reason Stasiland never made it on to my TBR list, I’ve corrected that now.

My first link is going to be Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon. It’s historical fiction based on the true exploits of an extraordinary woman, Nancy Wake, a New Zealand born, Australian raised, French expat who during World War II made a significant contribution to the Allied war effort as a smuggler, a spy and a Resistance leader, and had several run ins with the Stasi.

Another extraordinary woman is the subject of Cassandra Pybus’s biography, Truganini. Known (though erroneously) as the ‘Last Tasmanian Aborigine’, this harrowing biography reveals a spirited and courageous woman who suffered unimaginable losses – the annihilation of her country, her culture, her kin, and her identity.

Tasmania is the setting of Devil’s Lair by Sarah Barrie, a gothic-y tale about a young woman targeted by a psychopathic killer that hooked me with its chilling suspense and atmospheric setting.

 

 

I am really looking forward to carving out some time to read Sarah J Maas’s House of Earth and Blood. It’s the beginning of a new fantasy series, Crescent City, but at 803pp it’s not going to be easy to squeeze into my schedule.

Blood Witness is a legal thriller by South African born Australian lawyer, Alex Hammond. Set in Melbourne, Will Harris is a defence lawyer on a high profile murder case. I particularly liked the way in which the author balanced the professional with the personal aspects of his protagonist.

A Beautiful Place to Die is the first book in a series of four that features Detective Emmanuel Cooper by Malla Nunn. This crime fiction series is set in South Africa in the 1950’s, and has a gritty, dark realism that explores the political and social system of the period.

 

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The choice for next month (May 2, 2020) is The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge: Monthly Spotlight #3

I’m delighted with the response to the inaugural Nonfiction Reader Challenge so far, and since sign-ups are open until December 1st, a few more may decide to join us during the year.

If you hadn’t yet noticed, I’ve created a permanent page for the challenge, you can CLICK HERE, or select the menu link at top left.

The current Linky to add your review to can be found there, and will accept links until April 30th. I plan to make a new Linky available per quarter.

On the first Saturday of each month, I will be highlighting a handful of Linky submissions, but I encourage you to support all participants who have sharedwhat they have been reading for the challenge.

During March…

 


DeniseNewtonWrites was impressed with Songspirals by the Guy’wu Group of Women. This book was written to promote an understanding of the Aboriginal Yolŋ people of North Arnhem Land (Northern Territory, Australia) – their culture, beliefs and connection to the land, particularly from the perspective of the Yolŋ women. 
Denise’s introduction to her review reads, “My heart was full as I read this unusual and generous book. When I had finished, I felt two things: humility and gratitude.”

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Prisoner of Tehran is the memoir of Marina Nemat. When sixteen year old Marina questioned the changes to her school’s curriculum in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution, she was arrested and tortured, escaping a death sentence only by agreeing to marry one of her interrogators. Maphead says, “a sad book…[but a]…well-written account of a story that needs to be told.”

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Over at NovelMeals, Tina enjoyed reading her third book for the challenge, a memoir of John Glenn, best known as the first American astronaut to orbit the earth in 1962 on the Friendship 7. She summarises her review by writing, “I learned quite a bit about John Glenn, his war experiences, his love of flying, the space program and what a patriotic and ethical man he was”.

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Selected to satisfy the Medical Condition category by TheresaSmithWrites, I Choose Elena by Lucia Osborne-Crowley explores the relationship between trauma and it’s physical manifestation in the body. She writes, “most honest and heartbreaking books I have ever read.”

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Click here to see what else other participants have been reading!

Do any of these interest you? What will you be reading in April?

In case you missed it….

2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge: Monthly Spotlight #2

2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge: Monthly Spotlight #1

2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Recommendations Part 1 #Memoir #DisasterEvent #Social Science #Related to An Occupation

2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Recommendations Part 2 #History #Feminism #Psychology #Social Science

2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Recommendations Part 3 #Nature #True Crime #Science #Published in 2020

Review: The Lost Jewels by Kirsty Manning

Title: The Lost Jewels

Author: Kirsty Manning

Published : March 31st 2020, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read April 2020 courtesy Allen & Unwin

+++++++

My Thoughts:

In The Lost Jewels, author Kirsty Manning weaves a fictional narrative around the mystery of the ‘Cheapside Hoard’, a large cache of expensive jewellery unearthed during construction in a London street in 1912.

The ‘present day’ timeline introduces Kate Kirby, an American historian who specialises in investigating the provenance of jewellery. Offered a rare opportunity to view the jewels discovered in Cheapside, the story follows Kate from the United States to England, India, France and then back as she attempts to trace the origins of a handful of pieces of the collection, during which she discovers a link between one of the pieces and her own family history.

Entwined with Kate’s journey, are two historical timelines, one of which reveals the story of Kate’s great grandmother, Essie Murphy, and her connection to the found jewellery set during the early 1900’s, and another set at two different points in the 1600’s which reveals the origin of one particular piece of a jewellery, a diamond champlevé enamel ring.

I found I appreciated the story of The Lost Jewels more after I googled the ‘Cheapside Hoard’ and was better able to understand what a remarkable find the jewels were. Manning’s speculations about the origin of the Hoard through her fiction read as credible and interesting, though to this date the truth remains a mystery, and likely always will.

Essie’s story as a young woman struggling to survive and raise her siblings was of the most interesting to me. I thought the author’s portrayal of daily life in urban London for its poorest citizens was accurate, and I had empathy for the Murphy family, particularly Essie, and her sister Gertie, who experienced such hardship and tragedy so young.

I liked Kate well enough. I thought Manning communicated her passion for her work well, I don’t particularly care for jewellery but this novel did prompt me to think about the story’s custom pieces could reveal. There is a touch of romance that is developed between Kate and Australian photographer, Marcus, but it was kept fairly low key.

Well written and researched, I found the The Lost Jewels to be a pleasantly engaging read, of family, secrets, love, loss, and new beginnings.

++++++

Available from Allen & Unwin. RRP AUD $32.99

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound 

 

Review: Red Dirt Country by Fleur McDonald

 


Title: Red Dirt Country

Author: Fleur McDonald

Published: March 31st 2020, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read March 2020 courtesy Allen & Unwin

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My Thoughts:

 

Red Dirt Country is Fleur McDonald’s third book to feature Detective Dave Burrows, and the sixth in which he appears, but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

Several months after his undercover assignment chasing cattle thieves in North Queensland led to him being shot, Dave is relieved that he has finally been given the go ahead to return to work, gaining his dream job with the Perth Livestock Squad. His very pregnant wife, Mel, is not. Torn between his love for his family, and his passion for his job, Dave may be forced to make some difficult choices.

Dave’s first case in Western Australia partners him with his new chief, Bob Holden. Livestock is being stolen from an Aboriginal owned station, and the thefts are stirring up long held rivalries, spilling out across the community. While the identity of the culprits are easy to guess, I enjoyed the way in which the investigation unfolded. Bob and Dave work well as partners, with the senior proving to be a capable and canny, if not wholly traditional, mentor.

The case allows McDonald to explore the historical and current issues related to Aboriginal managed stations. I felt for Kevin, torn between his Elder’s warnings, and his own judgement. It’s disheartening that prejudice and resentment persist along racial lines, and the author captures that well.

McDonald also alludes to the continuing drought which places pressure on farmers, along with other common stressors like inheritance, and stock sale prices. Her knowledge and experience of farming ensures the authenticity of the setting, and her characters.

Ramping up the tension in the novel is Dave’s impending appearance at the trial of the crooked cop unmasked during the undercover North Queensland investigation. Bulldust, the mastermind behind the theft ring who has yet to be apprehended, is determined to avenge his destruction, and the threat he poses to Dave, and his family, is edging closer.

If you have read McDonald’s contemporary novels in which Dave has a role but does not feature, you will know how the relationship between Dave and Melinda pans out. In Red Dirt Country, Mel, heavily pregnant and suffering bouts of high blood pressure, is worried about Dave’s safety, and resentful of his return to work. Dave loves his wife, and children, but knows he wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. I felt that McDonald portrayed the feelings of both Dave and Mel sympathetically, there is no easy solution to the issue that divides them.

With its engaging mystery and authentic rural setting, I enjoyed Red Dirt Country, and the (sort of) cliff hanger has me anticipating the next instalment.

++++++

 

Available from Allen & Unwin *RRP AUD $29.99 Read the first chapter

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Also by Fiona MCDonald reviewed at Book’d Out

 

 

Review: Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon

Title: Code Name Hélène

Author: Ariel Lawhon

Published: March 31st 2020, Simon & Schuster Australia

Read: March 2020 courtesy Simon & Schuster Australia

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My Thoughts:

Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon is an exciting and absorbing novel of historical fiction based on the extraordinary wartime experiences of Nancy Wake.

The story unfolds from Nancy’s first person perspective over two timelines. The first, beginning in 1936, focuses on her life in Paris as a journalist, as a newlywed, and as a people and document smuggler known as Lucienne Carlier, which earns her the moniker of ‘The White Mouse’ with a bounty of five million francs in her head. The second timeline reveals her incredible role with the Maquis in southern France as a British Special Operations Executive where she is known as Madam André, code name Hélène, and leads a Resistance force of thousands during the last months of World War II.

Lawhon takes only minor liberties with the facts to tell Nancy’s amazing story whose courageous actions earned her a dozen wartime medals from four countries. Nancy, who died in 2011 aged 98, was an intelligent, attractive, and feisty woman who wore Victory Red lipstick as armour and a cyanide pill on her cuff. She could drink like a fish, and swear like a sailor, or sip cocktails and make polite conversation in a spine revealing cocktail dress. She was a friend, a smuggler, a wife, a spy, a fighter, a leader, she was, and remains, a hero.

All but one of the major characters in Code Name Hélène were real people, from Nancy’s contacts in the Resistance, to her beloved husband. She married wealthy industrialist Henri Fiocca just before Germany invaded France but they were soon separated when he was sent to the border to fight and again, when shortly after his return, Nancy’s actions attracted the attention of the Gestapo and she was forced to flee Paris. Their relationship is a significant and moving element of the novel.

I was completely caught up in Code Name Hélène from its first pages. I thought it very well paced as it moved between timelines, both of which built a sense of anticipatory tension, though there is more outright action during Nancy’s tenure with the Maquis.

Code Name Hélène is not just a story of adventure and romance, but also one of friendship, courage, tragedy, and hope. Until now I’ve known nothing of Nancy Wake, but I have every intention of tracking down a copy of her autobiography to learn more. Nancy Wake was an extraordinary woman, and Lawhon has written an extraordinary story which honours her.

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

 

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at BookDate

I’m also linking to The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer

And the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

Life…

I’m still in self isolation because I haven’t yet managed to entirely shake off this cold, and now my oldest daughter, and oldest son are also sick with it. I did venture out to the supermarket late Friday night right before closing but by desperately trying to smother a cough I pulled a muscle in my back, so I’m not doing that again any time soon. Honestly I had a bit of a freak out mid week because I am vulnerable health wise  if I get Covid-19, and the numbers are steadily climbing here, but I have it better than many so I’m choosing to suck it up.

Otherwise though we are all managing. Hubby still goes to work everyday. The kids’ school has formally begun online education, and they are working out their own ways of socialising, for example my eldest sons weekly Dungeon & Dragons games have moved online. One side of my family have started a regular zoom conference call every Sunday evening for about a dozen of us which is fun. I’m hoping I can get a regular routine happening this week because I am behind on my review commitments, which I really dislike.

I hope you and yours are safe and well.

It’s the last Monday of the month so time to check in with my challenge progress. I’m not where I should be … but hey… pandemic 🤷🏻‍♀️

Nonfiction Reader Challenge: 5/12

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 17/50

Aussie Author Challenge: 10/24

Nerd Reading Challenge: 16/52

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: 11/25

Social Justice Challenge: 1/5

SwordsnStars Challenge: 3/10

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What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

The Origin of Me by Bernard Gallate

Sheerwater by Leah Swann

The Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawson

 

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New Posts…

 

Review: Our House Is On Fire by Marlena Ernman, Svante Thunberg, Greta Thunberg and Beata Ernman

Review: The Origin of Me by Bernard Gallate

Review: Sheerwater by Leah Swann

Review: The Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske

 

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What I’m Reading Now…

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What I’m Reading This Week…

Why would someone bury a bucket of precious jewels and gemstones and never return?

Present Day. When respected American jewelry historian, Kate Kirby, receives a call about the Cheapside jewels, she knows she’s on the brink of the experience of a lifetime.

But the trip to London forces Kate to explore secrets that have long been buried by her own family. Back in Boston, Kate has uncovered a series of sketches in her great-grandmother’s papers linking her suffragette great-grandmother Essie to the Cheapside collection. Could these sketches hold the key to Essie’s secret life in Edwardian London?

In the summer of 1912, impoverished Irish immigrant Essie Murphy happens to be visiting her brother when a workman’s pickaxe strikes through the floor of an old tenement house in Cheapside, near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The workmen uncover a stash of treasure—from Ottoman pendants to Elizabethan and Jacobean gems—and then the finds disappear again! Could these jewels—one in particular—change the fortunes of Essie and her sisters?

Together with photographer Marcus Holt, Kate Kirby chases the history of the Cheapside gems and jewels, especially the story of a small diamond champlevé enamel ring. Soon, everything Kate believes about her family, gemology, and herself will be threatened.

Based on a fascinating true story, The Lost Jewels is a riveting historical fiction novel that will captivate readers from the beginning to the unforgettable, surprising end.

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When top-flight journalists Hadley Callahan and Mitch Samuals married two years ago, theirs had been declared the celebrity wedding of the year. But, now, Hadley unexpectedly returns to Stringybark Creek alone to tell her parents one major piece of news while determinedly hiding another even more explosive secret.

Hadley’s big society wedding had killed any hopes that Oliver Dawson, the Callahans’ neighbour and Griff Callahan’s best friend, had nurtured since his teenage years when Hadley was his best friend’s little sister and thus out-of-bounds.

While Hadley’s in town, the shocking suicide of one of their old school friends brings them together as they mourn their loss. Hadley and Ollie begin a campaign to raise awareness of rural mental health, both wanting to make a difference.

With Mitch putting pressure on Hadley to keep quiet, and the secret she’s keeping causing her great anguish, Hadley’s feelings for Ollie take her by surprise. But her life is so messed up at the moment – what future could they possibly have together?

Return to Stringybark Creek concludes the Callahan family trilogy with a delightfully irresistible story of loyalty, hope and the importance of staying true to yourself.

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Birth. Death. Wonder … One woman’s journey to the edge of love and loyalty from the bestselling author of The Lace Weaver

London, 1702. When her husband is lost at sea, Mary Burton Gulliver, midwife and herbalist, is forced to rebuild her life without him. But three years later when Lemuel Gulliver is brought home, fevered and communicating only in riddles, her ordered world is turned upside down.

In a climate of desperate poverty and violence, Mary is caught in a crossfire of suspicion and fear driven by her husband’s outlandish claims, and it is up to her to navigate a passage to safety for herself and her daughter, and the vulnerable women in her care.

When a fellow sailor, a dangerous man with nothing to lose, appears to hold sway over her husband, Mary’s world descends deeper into chaos, and she must set out on her own journey to discover the truth of Gulliver’s travels . . . and the landscape of her own heart.

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It all began when I met you, Lily.

Beautiful, dangerous, precious you.

At first Katherine dismisses her early-twenties intern as a millennial ‘snowflake’: entitled, moralistic, soft. Yet as Lily’s youth and beauty increasingly remind Katherine of everything she once had, she begins to develop a dark fascination with her new colleague.

But is Lily as perfect as she seems, or does she have a sinister hidden agenda? As Katherine is drawn into an obsessive power struggle with the intern, a disturbing picture emerges of two women hiding dark secrets – and who are desperate enough to do anything to come out on top…

With shocking twists at every turn, Precious You is a powerfully gripping story of obsession, revenge and deceit.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Review: The Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske

Title: The Salt Madonna

Author: Catherine Noske

Published: February 25th 2020, Picador Australia

Status: DNF March 2020

++++++

 

“This is the story of a crime.

This is the story of a miracle.

There are two stories here.

Hannah Mulvey left her island home as a teenager. But her stubborn, defiant mother is dying, and now Hannah has returned to Chesil, taking up a teaching post at the tiny schoolhouse, doing what she can in the long days of this final year.

But though Hannah cannot pinpoint exactly when it begins, something threatens her small community. A girl disappears entirely from class. Odd reports and rumours reach her through her young charges. People mutter on street corners, the church bell tolls through the night and the island’s women gather at strange hours…And then the miracles begin.

A page-turning, thought-provoking portrayal of a remote community caught up in a collective moment of madness, of good intentions turned terribly awry. A blistering examination of truth and power, and how we might tell one from the other.”

Read an Excerpt

 

++++++

My Thoughts:

Unfortunately I’ve read about a third of this but it’s not holding my interest. The pace is slow and I’m finding the writing overblown rather than evocative. With my ability to focus marred by current circumstances I’m choosing to put this aside for now.

I recommend you visit Theresa Smith Writes and Jess Just Reads for their considered reviews of the novel.

++++++

Available from PanMacmillan Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Review: Sheerwater by Leah Swann

 

Title: Sheerwater

Author: Leah Swann

Published: March 20th 2020, HarperCollins Australia

Status: Read March 2020 courtesy HarperCollins/Netgalley

++++++

My Thoughts:

When a light plane crashes by the side of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, Ava, a former emergency rescue worker, feels compelled to stop and render assistance. Leaving her two young sons, Max and Teddy, safely locked in the car with strict instructions to remain, she and and another passerby bravely pull the pilot and two frightened children from the wreckage moments before it explodes. When emergency services arrives Ava makes her way back to the car only to find it empty.

Alternating primarily between the perspectives of Ava, her estranged husband Laurence, and their oldest son, 9 year old Max, Sheerwater is a harrowing tale, skillfully executed by Leah Swann.

Ava’s fear for her missing sons is visceral, her confusion and anxiety building as the police question her every word. Laurence’s attempts to reframe the narrative are infuriating, and an all too familiar reflection of recent current events. Max’s courage is heartbreaking as he tries to care for and protect his four year old brother, Teddy.

The prose is lyrical and evocative, portraying nuanced character and emotion. Vivid imagery conjures a sense of place, no matter the setting.

Though there are a few elements I felt were perhaps out of place, they didn’t detract from my interest. Unfolding over a period of three days, the pace is intense, and the increasing tension utterly gripping. I was left shattered by the ending.

Both beautiful and brutal, Sheerwater is a compelling read.

++++++

Available from HarperCollins Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound

Review: The Origin of Me by Bernard Gallate

 

Title: The Origin of Me

Author: Bernard Gallate

Published: March 17th 2020, Vintage

Status: Read March 2020 courtesy PenguinRandomHouse Australia

++++++

My Thoughts:

The Origin of Me is a contemporary, quirky coming of age tale from debut Australian novelist Bernard Gallate.

Fifteen year old Lincoln Locke has a nub. It began as a tiny dark spot above the crease of his buttocks, but it seems to be growing as quickly as his list of problems. Looking for answers, Lincoln stumbles across a memoir by the one-time star of Melinkoff’s Astonishing Assembly of Freaks, Edward Stroud, and as Lincoln slowly reads ‘My One Redeeming Affliction’ he discovers solutions for questions he never even thought to ask, and a past he never knew.

With a large cast of characters, both eccentric and genuine, Gallate explores several themes, among them family, change, friendship, and self acceptance. Lincoln is struggling with a number of issues including the loss of his grandfather, his parents separation, a new school, and of course the growing nub.

Quite a chunkster at 400 pages, the novel is well paced but I think the length will deter a young/new adult audience from picking it up, which is a shame because though it’s ostensibly marketed at adults, I think young men in particular would find Lincoln relatable and enjoy his journey of self discovery.

Told with humour, heart and imagination The Origin of Me is an enjoyable read.

++++++

Available from PenguinRandomHouse Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

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