Book Review: The First Woman, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

As Kirabo enters her teens, questions begin to gnaw at her – questions which the adults in her life will do anything to ignore. Where is the mother she has never known? And why would she choose to leave her daughter behind? Inquisitive, headstrong, and unwilling to take no for an answer, Kirabo sets out… Continue reading Book Review: The First Woman, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Book Review: The Twyford Code, Janice Hallett

Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children's book by disgraced author Edith Twyford, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. Wanting to know more, he took it to his English teacher Miss Iles, not realising the chain of events that he was setting in motion. Miss Iles became convinced… Continue reading Book Review: The Twyford Code, Janice Hallett

Book Review: The Kingdoms, Natasha Pulley

Come home, if you remember.The postcard has been held at the sorting office for ninety-one years, waiting to be delivered to Joe Tournier. On the front is a lighthouse - Eilean Mor, in the Outer Hebrides.Joe has never left England, never even left London. He is a British slave, one of thousands throughout the French… Continue reading Book Review: The Kingdoms, Natasha Pulley

Book Review: Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro

'The Sun always has ways to reach us.'From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges… Continue reading Book Review: Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro

Book Review: The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey

Near the island of Black Conch, a fisherman sings to himself while waiting for a catch. But David attracts a sea-dweller that he never expected - Aycayia, an innocent young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid.When American tourists capture Aycayia, David rescues her and vows to win her trust. Slowly, painfully,… Continue reading Book Review: The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey

Book Review: Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

The world is not run from where he thinks. Not from border fortresses, not even from Whitehall. The world is run from Antwerp, from Florence, from places he has never imagined; from Lisbon, from where the ships with sails of silk drift west and are burned up in the sun. Not from the castle walls,… Continue reading Book Review: Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

Book Review: Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart

“Rain was the natural state of Glasgow. It kept the grass green and the people pale and bronchial.” I have been delaying reviewing this book for a while, wanting to let it dwell in my mind for some time before putting my thoughts down... and then life got in the way - as did new… Continue reading Book Review: Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart

Book Review: Luster, Raven Leilani

“I’m an open book,” I say, thinking of all the men who have found it illegible.” Synopsis Edie is just trying to survive. She’s messing up in her dead-end admin job in her all-white office, is sleeping with all the wrong men, and has failed at the only thing that meant anything to her, painting.… Continue reading Book Review: Luster, Raven Leilani

Book Review: The Golden Rule, Amanda Craig

There are people who read out of necessity, and people who read out of love. Hannah was one of the latter, and when she found a book she liked she sank into it as if into another world. Voices, music, pneumatic drills all became inaudible; she was the kind of child who would go off… Continue reading Book Review: The Golden Rule, Amanda Craig

Book Review: The Dinner Guest, B. P. Walter

My husband Matthew died on an unseasonably chilly August day at dinner time. We had been together for just over ten years, married for five, and yes, we did love each other. But love changes over time, and in those final moments when I knew he was dying, well, I must confess that through the… Continue reading Book Review: The Dinner Guest, B. P. Walter

Book Review: Snow, John Banville

“How strange a thing it was to be here, animate and conscious, on this ball of mud and brine as it whirled through the illimitable depths of space.” John Banville has been writing crime novels under the pen name of Benjamin Black for some years - since Christine Falls in 2007 - and with Snow… Continue reading Book Review: Snow, John Banville

Book Review: Exciting Times, Naoise Dolan

“I thought that if i let anyone in, they’d find out what was broken about me. And then not only would they know, I’d know too.” Meet Ava. Ava is a twenty-two year-old ex pat from Dublin, living in Hong Kong in a grubby Airbnb and teaching English as a Foreign Language to eight year… Continue reading Book Review: Exciting Times, Naoise Dolan

Book Review: On Midnight Beach, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Seth Cullen killed a dog when he was eight...I kept clear of Dog Cullen. Till the summer we turned seventeen, the summer the dolphin came to Ross Bay. That summer I looked in Dog Cullen’s eyes – one green, one blue – and I forgot to walk away. Once upon a time, in the green… Continue reading Book Review: On Midnight Beach, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Book Review: Pine, Francine Toon

“'My mum.’ The images of death are involuntary and relentless: crushed snail shells, veins in meat, vampire teeth, soil filling a mouth.” The year's end is always a great time to read a chilling novel: I remember finishing 2018 with Melmoth by Sarah Perry; 2019 with Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley; and now 2020… Continue reading Book Review: Pine, Francine Toon

The Searcher, Tana French

“The morning has turned lavishly beautiful. The autumn sun gave the greens of the fields an impossible, mythic radiance and transformed the back roads into light-muddled paths where a goblin with a fiddle, or a pretty maiden with a basket, could be waiting around every game and-bramble bend. Cal is in no mood to appreciate… Continue reading The Searcher, Tana French

Book Review: Such A Fun Age, Kiley Reid

“I don't need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like... happens.” I have been holding fire on reviewing this book for a few weeks because it is a - a difficult, problematic novel in my view. A novel which is almost good, almost dealt with… Continue reading Book Review: Such A Fun Age, Kiley Reid

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Deepa Anappara

“Believe me,” the badshah says, “today or tomorrow, every one of us will lose someone close to us, someone we love. The lucky ones are those who can grow old pretending they have some control over their lives, but even they will realize at some point that everything is uncertain, bound to disappear forever. We… Continue reading Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Deepa Anappara