Book Reviews

The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan

As the front cover of the book says: enter a world of secrets, mysteries and magic. We begin with a murder. Reve kills her husband, Jeremy: on stage, in front of an audience. But she doesn’t murder him. Reve and Jeremy are a magic act performing on the Vegas Strip and...

Notes to my Mother-in-law by Phyllida Law

This is one of those deceptive little books that looks like a quick ‘read it and forget it’, but is really much more. At little over a hundred pages, it is indeed a quick read – easily done in one sitting – but the pictures of family life it paints will, justifiably,...

The Island by Victoria Hislop

It is books like this that remind you, in small ways, how fortunate we are to live in the 21st century when illnesses and diseases that were once considered a death sentence are now curable. One such disease is leprosy which provides the background for this debut...

One Million Tiny Plays About Britain by Craig Taylor

How often do you hear someone complain that they never have time to read? Too often? Or are you guilty of this yourself? If so, Craig Taylor’s superb book is a godsend. The title is more or less an accurate description of the contents – although there are slightly...

When I Was Invincible by Dorothy Koomson

We have all felt invisible at times. Whether it is in the staff room at work where everyone else is chatting and you feel left out. Or waiting to be served somewhere and it seems as if everyone else is being served first. But what if the one person you feel you should...

Shtum by Jem Lester

“I love you, Jonah, but sometimes I wish you had never been born.” For most parents this would be an unthinkable phrase to utter. But Ben is desperate. He doesn’t mean it, of course, but the thought is there, uttered only when his 10 year old son is asleep. Even if...

Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells

One of the marks of a great book is that it can let you travel the world, and even through time, from the comfort of your own living room (or coffee shop – depending on where you are reading). This is exactly what Little Altars Everywhere does. From your familiar...

Blackeberry Wine by Joanne Harris

Now that the summer is upon us what better excuse do we need than to escape to the hot summers of the 1970s and a gentler pace of life in both Yorkshire and the South of France? Published just one year after her hit novel Chocolat this split-time novel will transport...

Noughts and Crosses by Marjorie Blackman

For today’s teenagers the mid-20th century really is history, and the attitudes of that time are alien to their lives. Young people today are exposed to such a range of cultures and people that segregation (South African apartheid or the Jewish ghettos) can seem...

The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne

It is true that the premise of this book may put some people off: eight-year-old Ben is found dead in a park and eleven-year-old Sebastian is arrested and charged with his murder. With echoes of other high profile cases it does ask us to question how our behaviour as...

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