The Lake House, Kate Morton
This book falls into the style Morton does well; two stories unfold at once, one of a missing child in the 30s and the second set 70 years later. The stories clearly have some kind of connection, but that's revealed only very slowly. It's certainly gripping and interesting, and there are some lovely passages of description.
Whilst I enjoyed the read, as I have with Morton's previous novels, the style and formula are very distinctive and familiar, and it felt a little predictable towards the end. If you're looking for some escapism, though, a decent story and some good little twists, it's worth picking up.
Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig
This book is raved about by so many, and for very good reason. I'm not actually going to say too much as I think I want to re-read it for a second time and then dedicate a post all of its own to one of the best books I've read in a very long time.
Using his own experiences, Haig weaves a beautiful, difficult and insightful look at depression, suicidal thoughts and other facets of mental health and metal illness. He tells his story, tells of parts of his recovery and shares key tips or lessons he has learned. It's one of the first things I've read that really captured the way I feel when my depression is most heightened, or described those feelings I recognise as surrounding my own panic attacks.
Truly outstanding, and should be essential reading.
My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You, Louisa Young
This story follows young Riley Purefoy, serving at war in 1917 and his childhood sweetheart, Nadine, whom he leaves behind. He never thought he had a chance with her, as she was from a more privileged background, so believed by going away he could move on with his life.
It's a beautifully written story of the war, from both the front line and the home front, focusing in particular on hospitals for wounded soldiers. It was easy to get invested in the characters, and I particularly loved Riley's journey through pride, injury, blame and embarrassment. He was believable, but your heart broke for him.
However, the novel never quite goes as far I wanted it to, when I wanted it to, but maybe that's part of why it was a page-turner. It was a quick-ish read, but full of emotion.
One Foot Wrong, Sofie Laguna
Hester, who seems around primary-school age, lives at home with 'Sack' and 'Boots'. The story is narrated mainly inside her head, a young girl who doesn't attend school and has been brought up in an incredibly strict household, with bible stories her only tool with which to connect to and understand the outside world.
This was a really unusual read, with a truly shocking ending. It's intriguing and clever, but there were moments where I felt the voice was lost, or the narrator used a metaphor she would have had no way of comprehending. However, I would say the voice was far more consistent than some other novels which try to adopt this childlike voice. Well worth a read.
A mixed bag, as ever, but that's the way I like to read! I've already read plenty more since these few, so expect more reading lists on the way soon...