Sunday, 4 May 2014

The year in Books, April

Joining in with Laura at Circle of Pine Trees once again... such a great idea, so many recommendations, new authors to try. Anyway, this is my reading for April.

'Londoners' by Craig Taylor is a collection of interviews with Londoners, with people who love it, hate it, been there and done that and so on. One of those books with an interesting cover which I'd have probably bought to add to our collection of London-related books, had I seen it in a shop. As it is, I found it on one of the fellow-readers posts, and it didn't disappoint. A book you can dip in and out of as and when you feel like it, well worth buying.

'Five Days' by Douglas Kennedy who is one of my favourite authors. As the title suggests, the story is set over five days, and is about Laura, for twenty years a good wife and mother, who decides its time to do something  for her. So when a chance to go away for a weekend, to a conference related to her work as a radiologist, she takes it... and a chance meeting with a stranger is to change the course of the weekend, and give  her a taste of what life could be like.

'Lost in the Forest' by Sue Miller another favourite American author. This was first published here almost twenty years ago, but it doesn't feel dated in any way. John, the mainstay of his family, idolised by his wife and children, is killed in a car accident and the family, especially the children and especially the middle child Daisy, all struggle to come to terms with a life without him. Daisy is at that age when her sexuality is beginning to blossom, she is vulnerable, and into her life comes a man, a predator who will take advantage. This is a story of a family torn apart in many ways by tragedy, but then finding itself drawing close again.

'Choose Me' by Kay Langdale is the story of Billy, up for adoption, hoping to find his 'forever family'; a story of the ups and downs of fostering and adoption, of hopes and dreams by both the child and those who adopt. Beautifully written, one of those books that is a keeper for me, to re-read another time.

'How Many Camels Are There in Holland?' by Phyllida Law is her second book dealing with dementia. The first was all about her mother-in-law, this is about her own mother. At times sad, at times very funny so you can't help but laugh out loud, it gives an insight into what it's like living with this condition, but also gives you hope, in some way, that it's not all bad, that there are still times to laugh as well as cry.

'The Pure of Heart' by Susan Hill, another of her Simon Serrailler detective novels which I discovered a year ago and have now collected. Set in the usual cathedral town of Lafferton, a small boy is abducted whilst waiting to be picked up and taken to school. There are other threads in the story, Serraillers handicapped younger sister is hospitalised and close to death, more than once... a young ex-con wants to go straight, intends to but is too easily led astray... and there are the usual tales of his family life, his pregnant sister and her family, who represent a home from home for him when he needs respite from his job, the relationship between his parents. All add up to another great read.

'Bring Me Home' by Alan Titchmarsh and I have to admit this was not as good as his others, all of which I have. I read it, enjoyed it, but not as much as I would have hoped. To paraphrase the blurb,  Charlie Stuart stands at the door of his castle in Scotland, welcoming his guests to the annual summer drinks party. On the surface all is happy and relaxed, but he knows that it's all a front, that underneath things aren't that rosy, and he knows too that in a few hours this afternoon will end and the past with all its ghosts, will catch up with him. I found it dragged at times, and wanted the story to move on a bit quicker. But that's just my opinion of course. It was still worth the read.

So there you have it, hope you find something of interest and I shall look forward to reading all the other posts as they come up on Laura's blog.


  1. You have been busy Edwina. I am keen to read "Choose me" because we are adoptive parents of two boys who joined us just over two years ago. They were too young to have hopes and dreams for their forever family, or at least they were too young to articulate those dreams. I am also keen to read "How many camels are there in Holland". Dementia is one of my worries, both for my loved ones are myself and it will be good for me to read this book. I think. Thank you for sharing your monthly reads Edwina. I am not quite ready for my own post but hope to get around it soon. xx

  2. I like the sound of Five Days by Douglas Kennedy. I have added it to my list.

  3. Thanks for the book recommendations. I will add them to my list of one million and one tomes.

  4. Hi Edwina. Thanks for commenting on my post. I have tried twice to reply but there must be a blip on blogger because it won't go on. Just wanted to acknowledge it.

    Best wishes from Carol