reviews

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  When I was asked if I wanted to review The Archers: Ambridge at War, penned by novelist Catherine Miller, it was a no-brainer. Like so many, growing up, Sunday mornings were given over to listening to The Archers’ omnibus on Radio 4. As soon as the iconic music came on, everyone would fall silent: … Continue readings

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  If there’s a time to read chilling literature (or catch up with Hammer/giallo classics on Netflix), it’s now. October is the month when the unnatural are really out and about, jumping up and down and waving their hands at us, shouting, ‘We’re here!’. So, it’s with pleasure we delved into CJ Cooke’s The Nesting, … Continue readings

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  We know and very much admire Anita Nair’s literary fiction and yet, despite being huge crime-fiction lovers, we hadn’t read any of her writing in the genre. Until now. And it’s astounding. Beautifully realised, authentic, truly great crime. Just pleasing in every way. A Cut-Like Wound introduces fallen hero Borei Gowda, a police inspector … Continue readings

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  We have to admit one of the reasons we wanted to review Philip Bowne’s debut Cows Can’t Jump is the fact he’s a writer for the Wombles. Childhood nostalgia goes a long way. We’re delighted then that Bowne’s novel doesn’t disappoint. It’s sharply observed, well-paced, funny and yet has a poignancy that’s at times … Continue readings

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    It’s surprisingly hard to come up with a good book title, one that’s not only attention grabbing, but shouts, ‘Hey [waggly hands], this is what I am!’, and sometimes going old school is the key. The Creak on the Stairs does just that and it doesn’t disappoint. The nod-to- the-crime classics’ title is … Continue readings

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    It’s wonderful when writers, particularly women writers, get their moment in the sun again – and it’s especially so when the writer is someone as talented as Kamala Markandaya. In her day, she was a well-respected, best-selling author, her name known globally, and yet, despite this, for some twenty years, her novels were … Continue readings

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  Happy national poetry day 2020. How wonderful that we have a day to celebrate a medium that we all love in one shape or form. I know many of you reading this will have penned a poem at some time, or written a lyric. The former is certainly how I first started writing – … Continue readings

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    ‘I am a woman. I am mixed-race. I grew up in East London and Essex. I am not posh, but I am not going to let anyone tell me that the Bar is not for “people like me”. This is my story.”   Many people will have seen the recent media about the … Continue readings

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    It’s a year ago since we reviewed the first of the Imperial War Museum Wartime Classics, a series of previously out-of-print fiction by the valiant men and women who wrote so poignantly about the Second World War from first-hand experience. It’s with great pleasure that we’ve just finished the latest book, Barbara Whitton’s … Continue readings

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    It’s a funny old world we live in – as we’ve banged on about at various points – full of challenges, which have made us all question everything, pretty much, about ourselves and our planet. Coincidentally, or not, we seem to have been reading a lot of books that focus on journeys, spiritual … Continue readings

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    Most people will recognise Kate Humble from telly. She’s a well-known face; honest, appealing, the kind of person you’d like to sit down and have a cuppa with and chat, knowing you’ll come away enriched by the experience. It’s thus a joy that Humble’s new book, A Year of Living Simply, reflects her … Continue readings

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  If you like comedy, Andy Hamilton will be a familiar name and face. A regular panellist on game shows and an accomplished screenwriter, with such highly rated series as Outnumbered and Drop the Dead Donkey under his belt, Hamilton publishes his novel, Longhand, this month with Unbound. Both a love letter to the lost … Continue readings

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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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    Inspired by true events, Hazel Gaynor’s The Bird in the Bamboo Cage tells of a group of teachers and children interned by the Japanese during the Second World War. At the heart of the story are teacher Elspeth Kent and ten-year-old pupil Nancy, from whose dual perspectives we witness events. In 1941, the … 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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