FICTION

We think a good book read at the right time is the perfect read, whatever the season!  Our summer fiction list therefore features our usual blend of all kinds of novel, including plenty in translation. Contemporary and 20th C life: The suspenseful Before the Fall by Noah Hawley is set …

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Reviewed by Helen Parry It’s seldom that I buy new books, being a skinflint with a very large existent TBR, and even rarer for me to fork out for a hardback, but after reading about Sarah Perry’s second novel my miserly old fingers tapped out an online order in two …

Slade House by David Mitchell (pbk)

Reviewed by Anna Hollingsworth The door pulls my palm up against it. It’s warm… And as it swings inwards, the hinges shriek like brakes… … and we’re looking into a garden: a buzzing, still summery garden. The focal point of David Mitchell’s Slade House is nothing more, nothing less, than …

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

Reviewed by Harriet World is crazier and more of it than we think / Incorrigibly plural. The epigraph to this novel is by Louis MacNeice, from his poem Snow, and beautifully encapsulates the underlying themes of this stunning novel, which gave me hours and hours of huge pleasure. It’s O’Farrell’s seventh …

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Reviewed by Annabel Eowyn Ivey’s debut novel, The Snow Child, was my favourite book of 2012; so, I awaited her second with great anticipation. To the Bright Edge of the World is another tale of the Alaskan frontier, which is where Ivey is from and still lives. However, despite the shared …

The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz

Translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite Basma Abdel Aziz is a writer, artist and psychiatrist from Egypt, noted as a critic of government oppression. The Queue is her first book to appear in English, a novel about authoritarianism which begins at one remove from reality, but …

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Reviewed by Gill Davies This is a gripping read – one of those suspense novels that you don’t want to put aside to do other things. And it’s gripping not just because there’s a mystery to be uncovered but also because the characters are strongly drawn and the reader is …

Fell by Jenn Ashworth

Reviewed by Simon The title of Jenn Ashworth’s fourth novel could mean any number of things – or, indeed, all of them. The first two that come to mind, as you start reading the novel, are the felling of a tree (the fate of two sycamores is in discussion) and …

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

Reviewed by Harriet ‘You have to be like Switzerland,’ Gustav’s mother tells him. ‘You have to hold yourself together and be courageous, stay separate and strong.’ The Gustav Sonata  is Rose Tremain’s fifteenth novel, her first having been published in 1976, forty years ago. So, not an incredibly prolific output, …

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

Reviewed by Alice Farrant A relationship with death, or the prospect of it, is like being a member of a horrible club because to know death is to know something that only people like you understand. If a relative has died, you are dying, someone you love has a near …

The Revelations of Carey Ravine by Debra Daley

Reviewed by Helen Skinner There was always a good chance that I was going to love The Revelations of Carey Ravine. A book which has been compared with Sarah Waters, Amitav Ghosh’s The Sea of Poppies, and Jamaica Inn  sounded perfect for me…and it was. Set in 1770s London, this is …

Black Water by Louise Doughty

Reviewed by Victoria Louise Doughty is probably best known for her novel, Apple Tree Yard, which was a huge hit back in 2013. It told the story of a scientist brought low by sexual indiscretion and had elements of the thriller as well as the morality tale. Now she has …

For All the Gold in the World by Massimo Carlotto

Translated by Antony Shugaar Reviewed by Terence Jagger This is ‘an Alligator mystery’, latest in a series featuring an independent and unlicensed private investigator, Marco Buratti, tough but not personally violent, and with his own dedication to finding the truth in spite of corrupt police, local politicians, businessmen and so on …

The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders

Reviewed by Victoria I do love a good cozy crime mystery and so I had high hopes for the new series by Kate Saunders, concerning her Victorian lady detective, Laetitia Rodd. Kate Saunders is an excellent writer, if you haven’t come across her before, and this first outing in crime …

Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre

Translated by Frank Wynne Reviewed by Annabel In the UK, Lemaitre has been best-known for his ‘Brigade Criminelle’ trilogy of novels featuring the detective Camille Verhoeven. Irène, Alex and Camille should be read in that order, despite Alex being published first in the UK (and winning the CWA International Crime …