Saturday, 30 April 2016

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist is a wonderfully inventive and sensuous novel with fantastic characters - both human sized and miniature! - and a deeply engrossing plot. The sights and sounds and smells and claustrophobic politics of 17th century Amsterdam infuse this intelligent novel, and the plot has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing - even if you might have seen some of them coming!

The key to the sheer delight of this novel is the core thread of the relationship between the central character, Nella, and the mysterious miniaturist, which is nicely poised between the beneficent and the sinister and keeps you reading avidly to the end of this excellent book.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Gingerbread by Robert Dinsdale

This is another beautifully written book: Gingerbread by Robert Dinsdale, is a wonderfully eloquent and genuinely disturbing contemporary fairy tale which is also as old and as wide as the forest into which we venture, fearing the wolves in men's clothing; the wolves in all of us, even those we love and trust the most.

This is an often heart-rending story about trauma and love, about memory and forgetting, about the past and the present, about trying to keep impossible promises, and is above all a wonderfully-written, frequently nightmarish story, as well as a thoroughly gripping read.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

At Hawthorn Time by Melissa Harrison

This book caught my eye while I was browsing the library shelves because I'd previously read - and absolutely loved - Melissa Harrison's previous novel, Clay.

At Hawthorn Time did not disappoint: whilst, in some respects, Jack and Jamie reminded me of the central two characters in Clay, it was the style of her writing as much as the theme of the misunderstood which echoes through both novels here, and the intense and believable truth she evokes in her characters.
Harrison steeps her stories in nature in both novels, and it is in At Hawthorn Time that this is more explicit and intimately, outstandingly successful.  Another beautiful, beautiful novel, evocative, intense, and deeply moving.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Anything I try to write about this novel will fail to do it justice.

It's a story about a blind French girl, her father, her uncle and his housekeeper; it's also a story about a German boy, his sister, and his friend; it's about miniature hand-carved houses which hold secrets, it's about snails, and it's about a blue diamond with a swirl of fire at its heart.

All The Light We Cannot See is a novel about light, and radio waves, and trying to be true to yourself and others, and keeping promises. It's also one of the most beautiful and devastating books I have ever read. I have swept all other books off my shelves and replaced them with this one.