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      We’ve said on several occasions how much we like a good historical novel, and ones paying a nod to the Gothic tradition are of particular interest: Rhiannon Ward (aka crime writer Sarah Ward) ticks both these boxes in the beautifully produced The Quickening. Set in 1925, in a post-World War I world, … Continue readings

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    Newfoundland is one of those places that captures the imagination – if, indeed, you are aware of it at all. We love books like Michael Crummey’s The Innocents, which evoke its haunting, savage, challenging, sometimes extremely strange landscape, which really is like nowhere else on earth. That alone would make us like this … Continue readings

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    Eva Mozes Kor’s The Twins of Auschwitz is an extraordinary piece of memoir. Aged ten, Romanian Jews Eva and her sister, Miriam, survived the gas chambers because of one small genetic factor: they were twins. Selected to be part of Dr Josef Mengele’s scientific experiments, Eva and Miriam were ripped from their mother’s … Continue readings

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    ‘In a world that is increasingly dark and aggressive, I think making beauty is an act of rebellion and that’s what I’m trying to do really,’ says author and illustrator Jackie Morris of The Unwindings. And she does it most successfully in this gorgeously produced book. A pillow book, compact enough to be … Continue readings

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  When I first heard the premise for Amanda Craig’s new novel, The Golden Rule, I was intrigued. Two women meet on a train, talk and agree to kill each other’s husbands. It’s Strangers on the Train revisited surely? As a huge Hitchcock and Highsmith fan that’s wonderful. It’s even more so to discover the … Continue readings

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  I was looking at the book jacket of Damian Barr’s You Will Be Safe Here a few days back, when I reread it, and was struck by how many adjectives have been applied to it by so many great writers, so you’ll forgive me if I repeat some of them in the course of … Continue readings

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  Every year I get myself a present from my late mama. Something that’s meaningful, occasionally life changing, like the flat I bought and moved into on my birthday four years ago. Mostly though it’s a set of charcoals or a plant. This year it’s Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the … Continue readings

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  I was looking at the book jacket of Damian Barr’s You Will Be Safe Here a few days back, when I reread it, and was struck by how many adjectives have been applied to it by so many great writers, so you’ll forgive me if I repeat some of them in the course of … Continue readings

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  She saw into cubicles, sounds of birth and tears and life. She saw shells of people, so empty she knew they would not recover. Cops led bad men with tattooed arms and bloodied faces. She smelled the drunks, the bleach, the vomit and shit.”   We love Chris Whitaker. We love his writing. So, … Continue readings

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    Lynda La Plante is one of those names that people know. A former actress turned-screenwriter and novelist, La Plante is behind some of the most successful TV series globally, including Widows and Prime Suspect, which made her name internationally. Buried, the author’s latest venture, published tomorrow in the UK, is a nod to … Continue readings

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    There’s a beauty to Christy Lefteri’s prose that binds us to The Beekeeper of Aleppo from the very first page. Beautifully rendered, it’s a tale of our time, the refugee’s story, of the struggle to triumph over the greatest of adversities, of the search for light in the darkest of places. Lefteri, herself … Continue readings

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    When you read a Jill Mansell novel you know you’re in a pair of safe hands. Overflowing with charming characters, interesting plot threads and great locations, with more than a sprinkle of romance, wit and comic relief, Mansell’s books are tightly written and wonderfully realised. Her latest work, It Started with a Secret, thankfully, … Continue readings

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    If much-loved literary characters were to come to life, that really would be a dream come true for most book lovers. Not so much so for Charley Sutherland, the protagonist of New Zealander HG Parry’s fictional debut, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep. Since childhood, Charley has had a special power, one that … Continue readings

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  We periodically wax lyrical about independent presses and their lists and Karen Sullivan’s Orenda Books has had several such shout outs. She’s a canny publisher with a great eye, and the range and quality of her authors support that. So, no surprise then that wonderful Doug Johnstone’s latest novel, A Dark Matter, is published … Continue readings

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  Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women is a beautifully produced book, showcasing Sharon Blackie’s rather terrific tales. Drawing on global female folklore and mythology – from the familiar Snow Queen, immortalised by Hans Christian Andersen, to Croatia’s ‘she wolf’, with its similarities to the Celtic selkies, Slavic Baba Yaga, the creator-goddess turned … Continue readings