The Town Major of Miraucourt by J.B. Priestley

Reviewed by Julie Barham This is a small book, covering the only writing published by the well – known author and broadcaster J.B. Priestley concerning his service as a soldier in the First World War. He volunteered as soon as possible, suffered many life threatening situations, and was finally injured by gas in the summer…

Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan

Reviewed by Liz Dexter This is a truly delightful book which is a MUST if you’re a 35-55 year old British person and a great read for everyone else, too. Enjoy a lovely journey through children’s books as Mangan takes you through her reading childhood from The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Judy Blume, with stops…

The Good Mothers by Alex Perry

Reviewed by Max Dunbar Operation Shame Nowadays, when we think of the mafia, it’s with a sense of nostalgia. David Chase captured the feel in classic mob drama The Sopranos. New Jersey don Tony Soprano is very much the modern crime boss. He’s real and frightening, the threat he poses is palpable, but his finances…

The Extremist by Nadia Dalbuono

Reviewed by Marina Sofia You might be forgiven for expecting this book set in Italy to be translated from Italian, given the Italian sounding name of the author. In fact, Nadia Dalbuono has studied in the UK, worked for many years as a TV consultant and documentary maker for Channel 4 and ITV, and writes…

Home by Amanda Berriman

Reviewed by Lucy Unwin This is a heartbreaking ache of a book: it explores some harrowing themes, opens doors to experiences we should all be aware of, and is gripping and terrifyingly tense. But there’s a joy glowing at the heart of Home that elevates it above your average tear-jerker or page-turner. A joy that…

Desire by Una Silberrad

Reviewed by Julie Barham This book by the seemingly prolific writer, Silberrad, is an excellent read not only for its time, 1908, but a relevant read for today. Seen as a ‘New Woman’ novel for its depiction of Desire, the female protagonist, as a strong, independently minded woman who rises above her varying situations, it is…

Elisabeth’s Lists: A Family Story by Lulah Ellender

Reviewed by Gill Davies Lulah Ellender’s book – subtitled “A Family Story” – is part biography, part family history, and it includes reflections on her own family which gradually emerge from the broader narrative. At its centre is the life and early death of her grandmother, Elisabeth Knatchbull-Hugessen, who was born in 1915 into an upper-middle-class English…

Solo: The Joy of Cooking for One by Signe Johansen

Reviewed by Hayley Anderton When I look at my collection of cookbooks it’s clear that there’s one truth that isn’t being universally acknowledged; they’re all geared towards cooking for family and friends despite the growing number of people who live alone. Despite spending most of my time cooking only for myself, I hadn’t given it…

Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington

Review by Peter Reason Miriam Darlington’s first book, Otter Country, recounted her search and study of otters in Britain. I reviewed this book with enthusiasm in Resurgence & Ecologist, noting in particular how she described startlingly close encounters with otters with a vividness that took me deeply into the experience. So I opened her second…

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

Reviewed by Max Dunbar Command the Mermaid Speak Last year a monster emerged from London’s sewers. The ‘fatberg’ – as the city’s waste disposal experts called it – was a giant composite of body waste, disposable nappies, antiseptic wipes, pet gravel, shopping trolleys and God knows what else that ends up in the tunnels underneath the…

Felix Culpa by Jeremy Gavron

Reviewed by Rob Spence The German artist Kurt Schwitters developed a method, which he called “Merz”, by which his canvases would be constructed using hundreds of fragments of material – bits of newspaper, bus tickets, images cut from magazines – to make collages which were often startling in the juxtapositions they presented. In this very unusual…

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (pbk)

Reviewed by Susan Osborne Emily Ruskovich’s Idaho is an impressive debut, both in its writing and its treatment of a difficult subject: the murder of a young child in the most shocking of circumstances. It comes garlanded with praise from the likes of Andrea Barrett, Chinelo Okparanta and Claire Fuller, all thoroughly deserved. One hot…