What a brilliant book, beautifully and sensitively written. Oddly I was about a third of the way in before I remembered that Eyam was a real village and the happenings, although fictionalised, were also true, which gave the story so much more depth. Although the book was set in the 17th century, the characters of the three women, Catherine, Elizabeth and Emmett, seem somehow quite modern. It could be that the plague and our current pandemic make the story line that much more poignant, but I think it is more that the writer is able to write about emotion, grief ... View Full Review
When Mark is 15 a freak accident changes his life forever. He was the golden boy. He was admired by all who knew him. The accident casts Mark adrift for a decade, until he meets Sadie, someone who could put his life back together again. But a chance meeting with someone from his past is set to unmoor Mark again, driven by his need to heal the wounds from his past once and for all.
I found the characterisation in this book to be very descriptive. I liked that ‘The Darlings’ showed how a traumatic incident during Mark’... View Full Review
‘Clean Sweep: A Novel’ by E. B. Lee is a modern fiction story focused on family and community set amongst the homeless in New York. The story develops gradually, we learn more about Carli Morris, her desire to give back now she's retired and her loss-filled past. The plotline develops gradually, as Carli’s time helping those on the streets leads to her own gut-wrenching revelations. As you read, you get to know and learn to love each of the characters in ‘Clean Sweep’. We’re walking side by side with Carli as she ... View Full Review
'Madrigal’ by Christophe Medler is a great book for history buffs and fans of historical fiction. Set in a period of civil unrest in England and against the backdrop of true events, the author takes us through the English Civil War on the quest to uncover details of a secret plot, code-named the Madrigal. The first thing that is apparent when reading this is how well-researched ‘Madrigal’ is. You have to have an in-depth knowledge of the period in order to make it your own with embellishments and not only has the author managed to create an ... View Full Review
The Extraordinary Happenings of Peter Oddfellow: The Old Umbrella by Mark Dorey is part of the wider Extraordinary Happening of Peter Oddfellow series. In this first book, ‘The Old Umbrella’ we are introduced to Peter Oddfellow and join him on his adventure into a strange new world with the help of a rather useless looking umbrella. This is a very imaginative fantasy novel that I think will be a great read for teens and adults alike. 14-year old Peter doesn’t feel like he fits in, and after waking up in hospital with two broken legs and ... View Full Review
I was really interested to read this book, as I enjoy running myself. However, the thought of even one marathon is alarming let alone 35 in 35 days! However, that is what Alan Corcoran did in the summer of 2012. Following his father’s sudden stroke, Alan decided he needed to do something to channel his energy and raise money for the charities that helped his father. He thought up this idea of running around Ireland, which broke down to a total of 35 marathons. This book details his journey from thinking up the challenge, to setting it in motion, to each marathon ... View Full Review
‘A Diary of England in the 1970s’ by Ian Palmer is a brilliant nostalgia piece filled with pop culture, news, sports and more, logged in chronological order guaranteed to spark memories for those who were 60s and 70s children. The book starts with ‘Once upon a time, a happy time, long before Covid-19’, firmly setting it’s stall out as a book to escape into, a book filled with opportunities to reminisce, or even an opportunity to learn about our more recent history. A running commentary taking us from 1970 to 1979, ‘A Diary of England ... View Full Review
'The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories' is a collection of 14 thoughtful and thought-provoking short stories by David Joseph. Previously published as a poet, the author's lyrical prose flows effortlessly throughout the book. Set in a series of Spanish and Portuguese cities, characters of differing ages, gender and origins reveal their joy, grief, regret or sadness through extraordinary events in their otherwise ordinary lives.
Many of these stories are outstanding but, for me, particularly so is 'The Cleanest Alimentación in Spain'. It tells of 18 year old Jorge, a second generation Chinese immigrant, who works in the ... View Full Review
When I first heard of ‘I Escape Through You’ by Mike Arnold it sounded like a story of the right person at the wrong time. However this book is more than that. Taking a more intimate look at mental health, and how people leap into relationships in order to try to fix themselves as opposed to working to fix themselves before entering a happy and healthy relationship. Told in just over 100 pages, the author manages to draw us into the intimate lives of Megan and Lucas in relatively few words. This a very well-written book, with an eloquent ... View Full Review
‘The Road To My Horizon’ by Timothy Parker is a detailed account of one man’s life. An autobiography initially created for his family and friends, anecdotal in nature as opposed to an in depth account of every stage in Tim’s life. The result is a vibrant story of a family and a man with a great deal of life experience and advice to offer based on those experiences. Dating from WWII to present day, this book is also a personal look through modern history and would be great for those with an interest in ... View Full Review
‘Toy Soldiers’ is a short collection of 28 poems by Amy Tollyfield. There’s a wide variety of themes focused on in this collection and any poetry fan is bound to find a new piece to suit their mood.
I enjoyed how each poem flowed, had its own pace but there is a notable lyricism in the author’s writing that I found stayed consistently throughout. Throughout the collection I found that Tollyfield was able to craft poems that were immediately immersive and evocative. Each one left me pausing for a moment, contemplating the scene that ... View Full Review
Part memoir, part dismantling of the perceived fixed ideas on identity and sexuality, ‘Bent’ is based on the author's own experiences of sexuality and manhood. I really enjoyed the author’s honest and witty writing style, and found it very easy to become immersed in tales.
Using lived experience to explore issues around labels and preconceptions. I think that this book brilliantly gets across the message that the connection to another person is the important part of any relationship. I also loved that he takes the opportunity to discuss consent and how to work through this ... View Full Review