As usual I’ve read a lot of books this year, but there are three that clearly stand out from the crowd. These are the ones to buy your friends for Christmas, that are worth getting in physical form and that I would love to talk about with you. If you’re looking for a book to buy, look no further!
Charlotte and Henry married, and had a child, then another. Charlotte is run down by the monotony of motherhood and Henry by the English weather as opposed to childhood memories of India. Henry decides to move them to Australia, where Charlotte continues to struggle, and their marriage becomes less and less close as they refuse to recognise what each other needs.
After my recent revelations of the lack of realistic mothers in fiction, this book was refreshing. Here was a young mother facing what I do every day; the relentless needs of (admirably adorable) children, the sacrifice of self that you aren’t quite sure you signed up for, the challenges of being at home on your own. Though for me this was the most compelling as it is the closest to my current experience, the rest of the book was excellent too, with the themes coming through the sparse prose almost between the words rather than through them.
And it’s rather lucky that I enjoyed it, as I’m going to an event with author Stephanie Bishop tomorrow, as well as Eowyn Ivey, author of one of my all time favourite books The Snow Child and new release To the Bright Edge of the World. Exciting!
Back to the book.
Young, quiet and curious Sophie has just married the older, serious and thoughtful Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester who is charged with exploring the wild, dangerous and uncharted Wolverine River in Alaska. He starts a journey through wild landscapes and peoples that blurs his perception of what is possible and what is real, leaving a pregnant Sophie alone at the military barracks, for an unexpected
This book was fantastic. I’m not sure what could have been a more appealing idea for me: Alaska, magic, adventure, letters, a great heroine and all by the author of one of my very favourites, The Snow Child. And it was wonderful. Ivey explores a new type of storytelling to great effect, and proves her mastery of magic realism again.
Happy New Year! Hope you had a great Christmas and festive season. I spent at least a part of mine ruminating on which books should be included on this list. And I’ve finally come up with the goods.
I enjoyed a LOT of books last year, but these are the ones that were the most memorable and enjoyable, and the ones I’d pick for someone to read. You know, if the someone was like me. These are in no particular order:
Mabel and Jack move to the middle of the wilderness for a new start, trying to get past the grief at their childlessness. Their struggle against the elements and to overcome the distance that has grown between them fades briefly for a night where they madly make a child out of snow. And soon Faina appears, a child seemingly at home in the winter. She becomes a beloved part of their family, but her mystery, origin and future cause tension for their family and for Garrett, the son of their only friends, who falls in love with her.
This is one of my favourite books I have read in the last couple of years! I love the mixture of myth and reality, the immersion into and interest of living in the harsh climate, the beautifully painted characters and the thread of mystery that runs through the book.