But really, underneath, I wasn’t so keen, and I’ve worked out why:
Oliver and Kate met officially one afternoon in Oxford when they were young, she fell off her bike and they snuck a look at Kate’s creepy aunt’s house. Oliver’s family moved to Milton Keynes before they get to say goodbye, but they meet and get together years later at a party when Kate has just inherited the house amidst some controversy. After quitting his city job that he hates Oliver goes to Oxford to do up the house and finds himself enchanted by it and the diaries he finds in the books there. These engrossing letters tell of a woman in an unhappy marriage seeking comfort at the Bodlein, and an unlikely guide. The story Oliver chases has direct impact on the present for both his life plans and the ownership of the house.
I don’t know why but I kind of put off reading this book. I can’t believe it – it’s definitely in the top books I’ve read this year! So much so that I’m skipping all the other reviews I need to write to give it a shoutout. A beautiful sense of place, compelling dual timelines, lovely sympathetic characters, opposition of old and new and overall a sense of trust. I knew very quickly that this narrator was not going to mess me around. I wasn’t going to be disappointed. I enjoyed this thoroughly!
On a council estate in London Bertie’s mother dies; and in a desperate attempt to reclaim the flat he believes to be his he adopts an old Ukranian woman from a hospital to pretend to be his mother. Meanwhile beautiful and idealistic Violet moves in next door while to work at a International Wealth Preservation company, and there’s a plan to take down the estate cherry trees.
This is my first experience of Marina Lewycka, but from my assumptions of her writing it rings true. Realism that highlights, gently mocks and celebrates the bizarre and ridiculous but nevertheless true idiosyncrasies of human life. She manages to tell what are some terribly sad stories, and usually pitiable people, with warmth and kindness that emphasises humanity above all else. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
1837. Sarah Gale is sentenced to hang for the death of her ex-partner’s new wife, but not everyone is convinced that she is guilty. Lawyer Edmund Fleetwood is set the challenge of revisiting the evidence and making an appeal. But an untrusting Sarah isn’t cooperative, and very few people are – and even the stories Fleetwood hears are twisted and confusing, and no one seems to be telling the truth, even within his own family…
Oh. My. Goodness. This was amazing! For some reason I wasn’t expecting much when I picked this up, but I enjoyed it immensely. And also got so scared that I asked my husband to come downstairs with me when I had been reading in the middle of the night. We were in desolate, pitch black Scotland, in a pitch black and creaky house. He said no. I just about coped. But the twisting and turning and tales told and lies and mysteries here were just fantastic!
Mr Pickett, a rather girly young man with a penchant for flowers, has fallen desperately in love with new arrival to Bath Clarissa Fences. She is desperately allergic to flowers, but nevertheless after a disastrous first meeting they reconvene at a bridge of flowers, only for her to be kidnapped by the notorious White brothers, one of whom she recently and scandalously married at a ceremony of dubious validity. Her Welsh, arsonist’s widow aunt Carmine, Mr Pickett and his sister Caroline all team together to find her, happily unharmed, but the White brothers who own all the newspapers have him thrown into jail. Happily our strange trio band together again, bust him out and then Mr Pickett and Mr White have a noble thumb war to the death, and the lovebirds are finally united.
I went out without my baby. I went to the THEATRE without my baby. Before the incredible theatre experience that was HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD which I’ll post about soon, I went out with my university friends to see an improvised Jane Austen play. And I’ll be honest, I had doubts. I’ve seen comedy adaptations of classical works before that have left me frustrated and disapproving. And really any adaptations are a risky game in my book. But Austentatious (company and show name) were just FANTASTIC!!
Thaniel Steepleton finds a mysterious watch in his lodgings. He keeps it, wondering at it’s provenance, until it rescues him from an explosion. He tracks down the owner, the intriguing Keita Mori, and the police ask him to keep an eye on him. Taking a room at the strange watchmaker’s house he finds secrets that bewilder him. Meanwhile, Grace Carrow, a brilliant young woman, disguises herself as a man to be able to study, and fights against the future that her family and society proscribe for her…
I saw this book advertised for absolutely ages before I got it. And I really wanted to read it but was worried that I would be disappointed, like with The Miniaturist. But I really wasn’t! It was a terrific tale full of intrigue, adventure, mystery and clockwork and I loved it. I so enjoyed the strange characters that we met, the way the story unfolded and diving into a world so like ours but with small additions.
We booked it forever ago, but it is finally the day! My secondary school friends and I are all once again meeting up to do something Harry Potter. These are the people I queued at midnight with, took flying pictures with and more.
I’m beyond excited. I suppose this sort of thing is mixing our generation’s obsession with experience with our obsession with Harry Potter. Here is the chance to have a literally one of a kind experience.
I desperately hope it’s good. I hope it’s not too much about Harry and more about his kids. I hope I can follow what is going on. I hope I’ve not forgotten all about Harry Potter (kidding. no way). I hope I don’t miss my baby too much to enjoy it.
I hope I can find some interesting things to say afterwards without any spoilers.
I had a baby! Almost eight months ago now. I’m still pretty proud of myself. And totally overcome still by how wonderful Kezia is. But when I come to connect my new parental status with my life in literature I am suddenly hit with a problem. It seems that mothers are hugely absent from books – in almost all stories they are either dead or completely useless.
The battle for libraries is on! Obviously, I think they’re magical, excellent, exciting and necessary places (see my joy when I registered to my local library) and I really hope that they don’t disappear.
Two of my very favourite authors (unsurprisingly) agree, and have written wonderful pieces in their defence in The Guardian. They’re really interesting referring to reading in general, the imagination and the writing process as well. Read them below: