These Wonderful Rumours! by May Smith

In brief: The real diary of May Smith, school teacher, during World War II in Britain. The good: Loved the way May carried out despite continually interrupted sleep and how she juggled her admirers! The not-so-good: Sometimes you don't find out what happened to the other people – but this is May's diary after all!... Continue Reading →

The Beauty Chorus by Kate Lord Brown

A quick rundown… The story of three women who ferry aeroplanes around Britain in World War II. Strengths: I learned a lot about the role of women in the ATA, as well as getting a crackerjack story. Weaknesses: The focus changed a bit towards the end – is this Evie on an adventure, or the story... Continue Reading →

The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman

A quick rundown… A saga of several characters, seemingly unconnected, that transcends time and moves from WWII to the present day. Strengths: Excellent historical research, particularly in relation to Auschwitz. Weaknesses: The explanation at the end about what was true and what wasn't; threads of characters took a long tied to get tied up. Why... Continue Reading →

Atonement by Ian McEwan

A quick rundown… A young girl's statement changes things for the rest of her family forever. How can she atone for her sin? Strengths: The different types of writing in each part, the raw desolation of the war. Weaknesses: The ending makes you want to immediately flip back to the front and start again. Why... Continue Reading →

Next to Love by Ellen Feldman

A quick rundown… Three American women and what befalls them during WWII and after. Three different but plausible stories. Strengths: Easy to read, light and interesting. Weaknesses: A lot of pain and compromise. It's not always rosy. Why I read it: Reviewed for Net Galley. Pages: 320 Published: 2011 Publisher: Spiegel & Grau Setting: USA... Continue Reading →

Coventry by Helen Humphreys

In a nutshell… The story of two women the night Coventry was bombed during World War II. Strengths: Conveys emotion of that night well, excellent prose. Weaknesses: Too short! Why I read it: Sounded interesting Pages: 177 Published: 2009 Publisher: Harper Collins Canada Setting: Coventry, England Rating: 9 out of 10 If you liked this,... Continue Reading →

Small Island by Andrea Levy

Small Island was recently made into a television series. Like most book to TV/film adaptations, I haven't seen it. I tend to reach for the book first, then look into seeing the show. Small Island is also a book that's won a lot of prizes – the Orange Prize, the Whitbread Award and the Commonwealth... Continue Reading →

The Siege by Helen Dunmore

I came to read The Siege in rather a roundabout way. I bought the sequel, The Betrayal, at Singapore’s Changi airport with my last Singaporean dollars due to its interesting cover and its Stalinist Russia setting. Settling in to read this book at home the next day, my first thought was ‘Uh-oh! Sequel!’ Thanks to... Continue Reading →

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