Monthly Archives December 2022

#BookReview ‘The Birdcage’ by Eve Chase #mystery

Three half-sisters, an artist father, a crumbling house on a cliff in Cornwall and a mystery event in their past which no-one discusses. The Birdcage by Eve Chase is about fractured families, the unity and division of a shared secret and the need to acknowledge the past in order to face the future. Told in two timelines – 2019 and 1999 – the story unfolds slowly and takes a while to settle down. The story of the mystery is a long time coming. Three half-sisters – Lauren, Flora, Kat – are summoned to their father’s summer home in Cornwall. Artist Charlie Finch has a chequered history with women, demonstrated by assorted female nude sketches his daughters find in his studio. Charlie is cagey about the reason for summoning them to Rock Point; is he ill, dying, retiring, moving house? As well as trying to work out what’s going on with their father, the three sisters must also unravel their own demons. Lauren is mourning the death of her mother Dixie. Flora, accompanied by two-year old son Raff, struggles beneath the suffocating control of her husband. Kat’s relationship has broken up and her business is in trouble. Add in Charlie’s art
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘Never’ by @KMFollett #thriller

I’ve read and enjoyed the excellent historical Kingsbridge series by Ken Follett but have never read one of his contemporary thrillers. Never, his latest, is a fast-moving story that, despite being a hefty 832 pages, I read hungrily. International politics, terrorism, drug smuggling form an unstoppable chain of events that move the world, inch by inch, to the edge of horrifying conflict. This is the content of so many dramatic films and books and is the basis for Follett’s story. He makes it powerful by letting the events unfold through the eyes of five people in different countries, each involved in local matters with far-reaching implications. As events spiral, I didn’t want to put the book down. It’s an uncomfortable read, the sensible cautious voices are at times shouted down by the brashest, loudest hard-liners and, like all the best thrillers, it makes you think ‘could this happen’ and ‘what would I do.’ Follett’s narrative is premised on how events unfolded prior to the First World War when a chain of seemingly small things culminated in a global conflict. Never starts in Northern Africa. Abdul works undercover, tracking cocaine shipments used to fund IS’s operations in the region. Tamara Levit works
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘The Diamond Eye’ by @KateQuinnAuthor #WW2

What a wonderful book is The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn. The fictionalised story of a real Soviet female sniper fighting in what is now Ukraine in the early years of the Second World War, this is a novel I didn’t want to put down. The life of Kiev resident Mila Pavlichenko, young mother and history student, changes when the Nazis invade. Already an accomplished shot with a rifle, she leaves her young son Slavka with her mother and goes off to war. In the 18 months of her time on the frontline as a sniper, the real Mila scored 309 official ‘kills’. She is injured fighting in Sevastapol and, once recovered, is ordered to join a diplomatic mission to the USA to persuade the Americans to join the European war. The action in America is probably the most fictionalised part of The Diamond Eye which is based in part on Mila’s memoir. Quinn states in her Author’s Note that parts of the memoir are clearly Mila’s own voice, other entries seem like Soviet propaganda. This is not just a war story with guns and death and trenches. Quinn tells the story of a young woman, torn from all that
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘The Drowned City’ by KJ Maitland #historical #crime

The Drowned City by KJ Maitland is first in the Daniel Pursglove historical crime series. Maitland is a new author for me and the premise is fascinating. After the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, King James I is nervous of Catholic rebellion. Pursglove is plucked from prison and offered amnesty if he tracks down an elusive Catholic conspirator, Spero Pottingar, believed to be in Bristol. While there, Daniel must also prove if the recent deadly Bristol flood was a natural disaster or witchcraft. I enjoyed the Jacobean setting, unusual in historical crime novels, but found it slow to get going. Daniel’s introduction – we first meet him imprisoned in Newgate – is negative. Why he’s imprisoned isn’t explained, nor do we learn about his life prior to being locked up. But we do know he’s a magician and this sleight of hand proves useful as the story unfolds. I finished the book with no clear idea who Daniel Pursglove is. The description of the Bristol flooding – a true event – is well done, visceral and moving. Death, destruction, disease, loss of livelihood. Maitland doesn’t spare the reader in her descriptions of violence and rotting corpses. People simply disappeared – drowned,
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Categories: Book Love.