The Muse, Jessie Burton

I adored The Miniaturist! It was one of those books which had stayed with me: the cold of her repressed Amsterdam, the sweetness of marzipan, the claustrophobic house. The hint of the supernatural. The difficult, prickly bond between the women. So it was with pleasure and anticipation that I began The Muse and it took…

The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne

  Some books you can knock out a review in a moment or two after reading them. Others take time to digest and consider and reflect on. And this beautiful, heart-aching, visceral, funny, tragic novel is one of the latter. But as yesterday was the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia Intersexism and Transphobia  – should…

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar

I do love historical fiction and this is one of the best I’ve read for a while! Intricately plotted, rigourously researched and with vivid and well-drawn characters. And none of those elements displaced by any other. And with just a touch of magical realism thrown in. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of Hilary Mantel…

Reservoir 13, Jon McGregor

This is one of the most unusual and beautiful books I’ve read for a while. Hard to define. Difficult to keep track of people. But beautiful and lyrical. Radio 4 do a slot of “slow radio” sometimes and this book reminds me of that. And of my childhood. And of a familiarity with the country…

A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman

We all know that old bloke on the corner who glowers at us, the one with a face like a bulldog sucking lemons, the one who barks at us for dropping litter or parking in the wrong place. The one who we suspect goes around the house grumbling about the radiators being on. Hell, I fear…

Eleanor Oliphant Is Perfectly Fine, Gail Honeyman

Mental health is a difficult topic to write about. A dangerous topic. It would be very easy for it to trivialise – or even worse, to glamourise – mental illness or trauma.  And there were times here where is was a little concerned that the novel may be going down that route – the love…

The Vegetarian, Han Kang

This is a very difficult book to review, to consider, to – for wont of a better analogy – digest. It is also a book which I think will haunt and follow me. And, Heaven forfend, make me think. What an appalling concept! The plot, such as it is, is devastatingly simple: Kim Yeong-hye is…

Gift of Stones, Jim Crace

Hmm mmmmmm. Some books I’m glad I read before reading any reviews. What would I have learned? It’s set in the Stone Age. Instantly, I’d be put off. I’d be imagining Raquel Welsh in a fur bikini – not a bad thing in itself – and all the other nonsense from one Million Years BC…

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

This book – a Booker Prize shortlisted book from a Booker Prize winning novelist – has been sat on my book shelf since forever. I was convinced I’d read it. I am sure I’ve had lengthy and enthusiastic discussions about it. Heated debates. Yet, having downloaded it from Audible as a re-read, expecting something familiar…

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book

I’d not normally blog about picture books. I know there are some wonderful ones out there in the world and I love The Gruffalo as much as the next guy! Possibly more. Read it most days to my daughter. And Where The Wild Things Are. And We’re Going On A Bear Hunt – also by…