Waves

Title: Waves (original title: Écumes) Writer: Ingrid Chabbert, illustrated by Carole Maurel, translated by Edward Gauvin. Publishing House: Archaia Publication Date: May 1st 2019 (first published February 15th 2017) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Sometimes we drown drinking in the sea. A sea as red as a heart that’s stopped beating. We look up from an underwater crossroads – return to the…

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns Writer: Khaled Hosseini Publishing House: Bloomsbury Date of Publication: September 1st 2007 (first published May 22nd 2007) Rating: 5 stars *If you attempt any political or religious comment, you’re in trouble. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with one of my rants…’’ ‘’Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter. Like a compass…

The Haunted Dolls’ House

Title: The Haunted Dolls’ House Writer: M.R.James Publishing House: Penguin Classics Date of Publication: 2008 (first published March 1923) Rating: 5 stars My first ‘’meeting’’ with M.R.James was through the marvelous Classic Ghost Stories series narrated by the living legend that answers to the name Robert Powell. The strange thing is that for some unknown reason I hadn’t actually read…

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World

Title: Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World Writer: Pénélope Bagieu Publishing House: First Second Date of Publication: March 6th 2018 Rating: 5 stars There are dozens of books dedicated to women (well-known and less so) who defined their field and couldn’t care less about what society and established norms had dictated for them. Many of these books are successful,…

Death of a River Guide

Title: Death of a River Guide Writer: Richard Flanagan Publishing House: Vintage Date of Publication: May 26th 2016 (first published 1994) Rating: 5 stars ‘’One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh. But what connects the two? What remains? What abideth in the earth forever?’’ My introduction to Richard Flanagan’s work was the award-winning The Narrow Road to the Deep…

I Am Heathcliff

Title: I Am Heathcliff: Stories Inspired by Wuthering Heights Writer: Various curated by Kate Mosse Publishing House: The Borough Press Date of Publication: July 26th 2018 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Archetypes. Stories that seem bigger than the books that contain them. Wuthering Heights is such a book. Cathy and Heathcliff are such characters.’’ I have longed and dreaded to read this…

Dracul

Title: Dracul Writer: Dacre Stoker, J.D. Barker Publishing House: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Date of Publication: October 2nd 2018 Rating: 2 stars ‘’A crescent moon dangling in the sky offered the thinnest of illuminations, bathing the world in nothing but faint outlines, silhouettes, and shadows. The tower of Artane Castle was barely visible in the distance, lost behind rolling hills and…

Through the Water Curtain

Title: Through the Water Curtain Writer: Cornelia Funke Publishing House: Pushkin Press Date of Publication: November 1st 2018 Rating: 4 stars ‘’Fairy tales break all the rules of a good story and yet they find such powerful images for the deepest human emotions and fears that we sense deep layers of meaning in a poisonous apple or the grueling setting…

I Who Have Never Known Men

Title: I Who Have Never Known Men (original title:Moi qui n’ai pas connu les hommes) Writer: Jacqueline Harpman Publishing House: Penguin Random House UK Date of Publication: May 2nd 2019 (first published 1995) Rating: 5 stars ‘’My memory begins with anger.’’ Yes, I found a Dystopian novel I love more than 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale. Forty women live…

Walking the Himalayas

Title: Walking the Himalayas Writer: Levison Wood Publishing House:  Little, Brown and Company Date of Publication: May 24th 2016 (first published March 1st 2016) Rating: 5 stars Sometimes, it is better to let the extracts do the talking… ‘’If you keep walking on the north bank of the Thames, past the Putney Bridge Premier Inn there’s a medieval church with…

The Doll’s Alphabet

Τitle: The Doll’s Alphabet Writer: Camilla Grudova Publishing House: Coffee House Press Date of Publication: October 17th 2017 (first published February 14th 2017) Rating: 5 stars ‘’A woman discovered that a bunch of her jewels had faces carved into them, someone else a gargoyle tattoo on their back, and a car was found with three stone kings sitting inside.’’ I…

The Hotel Tito

Title: The Hotel Tito (original title Hotel Zagorje) Writer: Ivana Simić Bodrožić Publishing House: Seven Stories Press UK Date of Publication: September 21st 2017  (first published 2010) Rating: 1 star Some of my favourite writers are Croatian. Talented, intelligent people whose objective view on such a delicate matter as the 1990s conflicts delivers stories that are heartfelt, evocative and…

The Poison Bed

Title: The Poison Bed Writer: Elizabeth Fremantle Publishing House: Penguin UK Date of Publication: June 14th 2018 Rating: 4 stars ‘’Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or lust Like diamonds, we are cut with our own dust.’’             The Duchess of Malfi, John Webster May I just say that this is one of the most intriguing front covers I’ve ever seen?…

Cosy: The British Art of Comfort

Title: Cosy: The British Art of Comfort Writer: Laura Weir Publishing House: HarperOne Date of Publication: November 5th 2019 Rating: 1 star How does each one of us define coziness? For me, it’s comfort and warmth regardless of the season. A mug of chocolate, a book and the caramel glow of a dimly lit room reflecting on the window. Others…

Brute

Title: Brute: Poems Writer: Emily Skaja Publishing House: Graywolf Press Date of Publication: April 2nd 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’I am sewn into a dress. On Broad Street, ravens Lurk on the Divine Lorraine Hotel.’’ A striking front cover depiction Gleipnir and Fenrir by Walton Ford is a telling dark introduction to this poetry collection by Emily Skaja, the winner…

Wakenhyrst

Title: Wakenhyrst Writer: Michelle Paver Publishing House: Head of Zeus Date of Publication: April 11th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’The reeds stood tall and dead: I had the oddest feeling they wanted me gone. The light was failing. I caught a swampy smell of decay. Behind me something rustles and I saw the reeds part for some unseen creature. I…

Under the Rock: Stories Carved from the Land

Title: Under the Rock: Stories Carved from the Land Writer: Benjamin Myers Publishing House:  Elliott & Thompson Date of Publication: April 25th 2019 (first published May 17th 2018) ‘’Let things settle. Let tress reach downwards, their curling roots grasping deep into the underworld. Let weeds wander, and life crawl and colonise and entangle.  Let the seasons set the pace….

The Disappeared

Title: The Disappeared Writer: Amy Lord Publishing House: Unbound Digital Date of Publication: May 2nd 2019 Rating: 2 stars ‘’They didn’t want us to remember, to get ideas outside of their control.’’ Books are a threat. Books have always been a threat in totalitarian states. The Nazis and the Communists loathe the very existence of book because they signify knowledge…

A Column of Fire

Title: A Column of Fire Writer: Ken Follett Publishing House: Viking Date of Publication: September 12th 2017 Rating: 4 stars ‘’People should hear Bible stories from their parish priest. If they start reading for themselves, they’re sure to get the wrong idea.’’ Some things never change… 1558, Kingsbridge. Europe is once again in disarray, torn by trivial religious differences. The…

Captain Rosalie

Title: Captain Rosalie Writer:  Timothée de Fombelle, illustration by Isabelle Arsenault (tr. by Sam Gordon) Publishing House: Candlewick Press Date of Publication: June 11th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Dogs bark in the distance, out there by the farms. The dead leaves whistle their way across the school yard.’’ 1917, a cold autumn day in France. WWI has darkened Europe….