The Reading List #20

How miserable is this weather? I just can’t believe it’s still raining, and the wind is so strong. If you’re hiding inside this weekend, here’s my latest round-up of reading…

Tigers in Red Weather, Liza Klaussmann

Nick and her cousin Helena grew up together and spent their summers at Tiger House, a tradition that continues when they have their own families. One year, a tragedy happens that mean summers can never be the same.

This book was packed with very interesting family relationships, and contained some great observations and complex characters. It was a nice read, but I wasn’t wowed by the overall plot, and felt it could have been taken a bit further. An interesting read, maybe for on a holiday, but not the best thing I’ve read recently.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

Yet another classic that I have finally got round to reading. I had a friend at school who adored this book and I’m not sure I ever actually admitted I hadn’t read it! In a nutshell, Tess is seeking part off her ‘lost’ family fortune, and the new connections she makes become part of her downfall. Angel Clare is able to offer some hope for a future, but Tess must decide between remaining silent or confessing to her past.

I really enjoyed this. Parts of the novel were fairly slow, but overall it had a nice pace and I love the period and style. A part of me is glad I waited until now to read it, rather than coming across it at school or university. Now I’ve distanced myself more from the world of studying literature, it was nice to be able to read a novel like this and appreciate it for what it is, rather than ‘studying’ and dissecting it.

The Secret Scripture, Sebastian Barry

A mental hospital is due to shut down, and this novel focuses on a patient, Roseanne, and Dr Greene. Roseanne’s memoirs reflect back in her life - she is about to turn 100 – and include her childhood in 1930s Ireland, her marriage etc. Greene’s discoveries about her life are shocking, and his book also reveals details of his own life.

It’s really well written, and it kept me turning the pages. I liked the combination of the two voices, and it was fluid and easy to read. A thoughtful novel, it kept me thinking, and had a very interesting storyline. Worth a read.  

The Newlyweds, Nell Freudenberger

Amina and George meet online, and she moves from Bangladesh to the USA to marry him. They have both not been entirely honest about their pasts, so there is plenty to be revealed. In addition to this, Amina is struggling to find her place and settle in a new country.

I could not stop telling people about this book whilst I was reading it. The topics it covers are vast – marriage, arranged marriage, religion, tension, the USA, family – yet it hits each one on exactly the right note. I absolutely loved the style of this, and some of the issues it discussed. I’ve recommended this to a lot of people, and I now recommend it to you!

What have you been reading recently?

Sophie x


  1. I had to do my A-Level coursework on The Secret Scripture and compare it to The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell. I enjoyed both books, but preferred The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox by far, as it was easier to read. I'm currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and planning a review once I've finished :)

  2. When I worked in bookselling over Christmas, I kept seeing The Newlyweds and wanting to buy it but hadn't heard anything about it. Definitely going to look more into it now that I have confirmation that it's good :)

    Hannah's Haven


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