The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

A quick rundown… Tony receives some money and a diary from his first girlfriend's mother on her death. This prompts reminiscence through his youth and trying to understand his friend's death years ago. Strengths: Barnes is an excellent writer and the voice of Tony is particularly authentic. Weaknesses: Tony sometimes just 'doesn't get it', which... Continue Reading →

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

A quick rundown… Katey Kontent is trying to make her way slowly upward in 1938 New York. A chance meeting with Tinker Grey causes her star to rise as the year goes on – but how much of this is real? Strengths: Love the opening, the atmosphere created in the book is fantastic. Weaknesses: Occasionally... Continue Reading →

The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro

A quick rundown… Two stories running together: the story of Cate in the present, cataloguing the items of a deceased estate, and the Blythe sisters in the 1930s. Can Cate solve the mystery of the missing sister? Strengths: Interesting idea for a story, some interesting glimpses into fashion history. Weaknesses: Dreary, conjures up bleak images... Continue Reading →

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

A quick rundown… Yes, you can tell a story that uses SMS/texts as a major form of communication. Chick lit with a punch, Kinsella's really improving. Strengths: Ability to turn something odd (finding a mobile phone in the bin) into a major plot and make it unputdown-able. Weaknesses: It has the ending you expected. Why... Continue Reading →

Burqalicious by Becky Wicks

A quick rundown…The story of the expat lifestyle in Dubai if you're young and single – all the glitter and all the dust. Strengths: Lovely familiar writing style (just like one of your best mates is writing you an email) Weaknesses: More about the social life than any in-depth cultural analysis (but that's probably not... Continue Reading →

The Easter Parade by Richard Yates

A quick rundown… The story of two sisters over their lives, from childhood to the end. The different paths – with very divergent results – make for interesting reading. Strengths: Yates writes beautifully, communicating emotion in few words. Weaknesses: Not always happy, but true to life. Why I read it: I've really enjoyed his other... Continue Reading →

The Group by Mary McCarthy

A quick rundown… Billed as the forerunner to Sex and the City, this book follows a group of girls post-college in the 1930s and looks at the different lifestyle choices they make. Strengths: Very interesting seeing what each girl is doing with her life. Weaknesses: There are a lot of girls, and it's difficult at... Continue Reading →

Flawless by Tilly Bagshawe

A quick rundown… A fun chick-lit set in the diamond dealing business. Sex, romance, intrigue, goodies and baddies all in one. Strengths: Light and easy, a bit of conscience thrown in. Weaknesses: Some scenes are a little clichéd. Why I read it: I like chick lit by Ms Bagshawe. Pages: 400 Published: 2009 Publisher: Orion... Continue Reading →

Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

A quick rundown… The story of a woman, her two sons and the everlasting ties between them. Strengths: A different way of approaching a story with three sequential protagonists; Paul is an amiable character. Weaknesses: Dragged for me in places. Why I read it: Have never read D.H. Lawrence before. Pages: 544 Published: 1913 Publisher:... Continue Reading →

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