This reading list contains yet another very random mix of novels. I was in the library and just picked up some books with interesting covers or titles, to be perfectly honest! Amongst this group were a few very pleasant surprises…
Jubilee, Shelley Harris
In 1977, a photograph is taken at a jubilee street party, with a young Asian boy at its centre. 30 years on, Satish is still living with the memories of that day, and a reunion photo is being arranged. The novel weaves together the events of that day in 1977 with Satish’s life now, as a grown man. The day itself is examined from so many different viewpoints, yet is never repetitive, and there are many complex emotions and themes tied to that day which still haunt his life.
I’ve got to say, I absolutely loved this book. It was beautifully written, and cleverly pieced together. Not much actually happens, yet Harris keeps you turning every page, and you are lost in Satish’s story. Satish is such a fully-formed character, and some of the descriptions and thoughtful moments are fantastic. Satish’s feelings of being an outsider are described so intricately, and I was blown away by Harris writing. This one is definitely worth a try.
The House of Velvet and Glass, Katherine Howe
This novel is set in Boston, in 1915. Sibyl lost her mother and sister in the sinking of the Titanic, and has been drawn into the world of psychics, spiritualism and opium dens. The story weaves in fraud and deceit, as Sibyl explores this world with psychology professor Benton Jones. There are also passages set on the Titanic, and chapters on the life of Sibyl’s father, Lannie, when he was a 17 year-old at sea.
This is another novel that is crafted beautifully, and the three time periods weave together well. It was also intriguing to read about a place I know little about, and a fascinating moment in time. There was beautiful imagery throughout, and I enjoyed the afterword, which provided historical context, I wasn’t a huge fan of the final parts of the story, but I’ll leave you to make your own minds up about that!
Burning Secrets, Clare Chambers
Daniel moves to the remote Isle of Wragge with his mother and sister, leaving undisclosed secrets behind him. Daniel’s secrets are gradually revealed during his time on the lazy, seemingly idyllic island. It quickly develops into a pacey mystery or detective-style tale.
This wasn’t the best mystery I’ve read, and I wouldn’t rave about it, but it was a page-turner and it was entertaining.
Just Like Proper Grown-Ups, Christina Hopkinson
This is about a group of women in their late thirties, all facing different challenges in their life. Tess’ pregnancy, by a sperm donor at the age of 39, makes the other women question where they are at in their lives. It’s certainly a good place to begin a ‘trashy’ novel, and it was a fairly easy read.
For me, there were a few too many peripheral characters in this book, and far too many huge dramas for just one group of friends. That’s always the way with books like this, but in this there were just too many messy overlaps and dramas. It also tied up at the end far too neatly for my liking, but if that’s what you’re looking for, go for it.
So there you go, a mixed bag! Coming up in the next reading list are another couple I’ve read already and loved, so that post won’t be too long away.
What have you been reading recently?