The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal was an emotional and beautifully written book. It tells the story of Mona, slipping backwards from the present day to the past. In the present day, Mona is about to celebrate her sixtieth birthday and this milestone has her thinking a lot about the past. She runs a business specialising in making dolls. She has friends and a good life, but there is sadness too from some tragedy in her past.
As a young girl, Mona grows up in Ireland, raised by her father after the untimely death of her mother. Like many young Irish people, she leaves Ireland for work, settling in Birmingham and meeting and falling in love with a young man named William. As the book goes back and forth between the past and present, you discover what happened between Mona and William and why Mona carries so much sadness around. Continue reading →
I read An American Marriage by Tayari Jones a few weeks before it won the Women’s Prize for Fiction – one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes. How’s that for perfect timing! I received this book via a book swap with a bookstagram friend. It’s also an Oprah Book Club pick. I was intrigued to read this book but still didn’t know much about it before reading it.
An American Marriage tells the story of two newlyweds: Celestial and Roy. Roy is a young business executive going places and Celestial is an artist on the brink of success. But as they get used to married life, something happens that changes the course of their marriage and lives forever. Continue reading →
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is a book I’ve been meaning to read since reading Little Fires Everywhere by the same author at the start of 2018. It took me almost a year to finally buy this book. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.
This book is about the Lees, a Chinese American family living in a small Ohio town in the 1970s. The dad, James, is a Chinese American college professor who marries Marilyn, a white girl with ambitions of becoming a doctor. Getting pregnant with their first child halts Marilyn’s ambitions. They go on to have three children: Nath, Lydia and Hannah.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is such an amazing novel with beautiful writing and powerful themes. It starts in 18th century Ghana and tells the stories of two sisters – Effia and Esi. Effia is married to a white British soldier who works in slavery at the Cape Coast Castle. Her sister Esi, who she never learns about and who grew up in another village, ends up being captured and sold into slavery and is taken by ship to America to work on a tobacco plantation. Continue reading →
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland is a gorgeous book inside and out. The cover is to die for and inside the book each chapter is named after a different wild flower and accompanied by a stunning illustration. Even if you never read this book, you’d want to own it based purely on its visual loveliness. So it’s good to know that it’s also a wonderful story.
This debut novel tells the story of Alice Hart, a young girl whose childhood is marred by a terrible tragedy that sees her mother, father and dog killed in a fire. Up until this point, Alice has grown up isolated on a property under the thumb of her abusive father. Alice is emotionally scarred by all that she has been through. Continue reading →
Circe by Madeline Miller was a book that I gobbled up in a few days. I tried to pace myself but I just couldn’t. The magnificent writing, the story, the characters and settings all just flowed so beautifully and made this such a pleasant reading experience.
Without giving too much away, Circe tells the story of the nymph Circe (fancy that), daughter to the sun god, Helios. She is one of his many children and is considered ugly and weak-voiced compared to all the other gods. She is laughed at and ignored by her family, until the day she discovers an ability to transform gods and people using herb lore and witchcraft. Continue reading →
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah was an amazing read. At first I had trouble getting into it (not the book’s fault), but then the story suddenly latched onto me and sent me on an entertaining and emotional ride. I am very rarely reduced to tears when I read, but this book had me wiping away tears on public transport and having to hide behind my sunglasses. Be careful reading parts of this book in public!
The story is told from the point-of-view of Lenora (Leni) Allbright, who we first meet at thirteen-years-old. She is the only child to a beautiful, fragile mother and a damaged father. Her dad was a POW during the Vietnam war and returned a changed man, prone to outbursts. But her parents love each other intensely. Continue reading →
Surrogate by Tracy Crisp is a powerful, beautifully written novel about two women from different generations and their experiences with family, personal relationships and motherhood. Set in Adelaide in the present and past, it follows the story of Rachael Carter, a young nurse who agrees to house-sit for a colleague, Dr Cate O’Reilly, and then becomes deeply involved in Cate’s quest to become a mother. It also tells the story of Mary Bowen, a young woman who finds herself pregnant after her boyfriend heads off to the Vietnam War and is forced to give her baby up for adoption.
Two stories, two women and two generations entwine in Surrogate and as the story develops Continue reading →