Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

City of Friends

June 13, 2017

a bookIn this latest novel by Joanna Trollope, four female friends in London find that their lives intersect much more closely than just their mutual friendships. When Stacey loses her job by asking for more flexible hours, she doesn’t know that Melissa has recommended her husband Steve for a promotion at his company. Likewise, when Melissa recommends Stacey for a job with Gaby, neither of them are aware that the girlfriend of Beth, the fourth friend, works for Gaby and that there is no room on the team for Stacey. Sound confusing? Trollope weaves these threads effortlessly throughout the novel, and I found this to be quite an enjoyable read. Great for fans of fiction that enjoy reading about the lives of women and their relationships.

The Keeper of Lost Things

May 16, 2017

book.jpgA first novel by Ruth Hogan, the setting is an old Victorian mansion outside of London. When its owner, Anthony Peardew passes away, it is inherited by his personal assistant and housekeeper, Laura, with one condition. He asks that she try to return some of the lost items that he has collected over the years, so as to make just one person happy or mend just one broken heart by the item’s return. So she sets out to try; with the help of the gardener, Freddy, a new friend, Sunshine, and Laura’s previous flatmate, who give advice and help her set up a website where she can list the lost items. The novel jumps between present day, and 40 years in the past, with the story of the previous owner of the house. The main themes of love and loss keep the reader hooked, and I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, even though it was slow moving at first. A great read for English fiction fans.

A Word for Love

April 25, 2017

bookThis debut novel by Emily Robbins describes the story of love. Bea is an America student who has travelled to Syria to study the language and to read “the astonishing text”, an ancient manuscript that is said to cause tears in the eyes of its reader. However, a real-life love story takes place right before her eyes: Nisrine, the maid in the house where Bea is living, falls in love with the policeman guarding the building next door, the very same man that Bea has had her eye on. The novel has myriad themes besides love; it also contains issues such as oppression of women, war, revolution, but also kindness and the importance of family and culture. The lyrical prose is a pleasure to read, and it gives important insights into a different culture.

A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans

April 18, 2017

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This novel by W. Bruce Cameron is told from the dog’s perspective and is very entertaining. Usually cats are thought to have nine lives; here it is a puppy that experiences being born four different times. He tries to figure out his purpose in living four different lives, and as he comes full circle, becoming Bailey once again, he realizes his purpose at last. A great read, especially for dog lovers. The sequel to this title is A Dog’s Journey: Another Novel for Humans, for those who enjoyed Bailey’s adventures. Children will enjoy Bailey’s Story: a Dog’s Purpose Novel, and Ellie’s Story.

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Lincoln in the Bardo

April 11, 2017
61-1atkJmYL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_I really enjoyed this book, the first full-length novel by short story author George Saunders. The story, set in a graveyard, follows the events leading up to, at the time of, and after the death of Abraham Lincoln’s eleven-year-old son Willie. It blends real accounts from historical documents with invented ones, which together paint an engaging picture of the time period.
I decided to listen to the audiobook version upon hearing that it boasted an incredible 166 narrators, most of them playing ghosts in the graveyard where Willie resides. Keeping tabs on such a large cast was a bit of a head spin at first, and the fun of guessing which celebrity was voicing which character could be distracting at times. Once I settled into the story however, the audiobook offered a very entertaining, almost cinematic, experience. The author captured the seriousness, sadness, and pain of the story and characters, while at the same time offering up humor, insight, and laugh-out-loud material.
My only worry is that from this point on audiobooks with single narrators or small casts will seem dull by comparison. Still, if you’re thinking of giving this title a try, I would highly recommend checking out the audiobook edition (available on CD or Overdrive).

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