Reunion by Fred Uhlman

Review by Anna Barber As Rachel Seiffert says in the afterword to this extraordinary novel, it is rare to use the word perfect to describe a book. I don’t hesitate here. In this taut seventy page story the narrator reflects upon the twin forces which changed his life immeasurably when …

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

Reviewed by Victoria Everyone must have a perfect book, and The Enchanted April is mine. Although it was first published way back in 1922, it remains as charming and funny and altogether life-enhancing as ever, and still speaks to the eternal human dilemmas of love, freedom and belonging. It’s also …

Riders by Jilly Cooper

Reviewed by Annabel Can you believe that it is thirty years since Jilly Cooper introduced us to Rutshire and her best-selling doorstop of sex and showjumping? Her publishers, Corgi, have celebrated by bringing out a new edition, and they’ve photoshopped the cover for today’s market. The hand has moved up …

Death of Anton by Alan Melville

Having really loved Alan Melville’s Quick Curtain, it didn’t take much to convince me that I wanted to try another of his detective novels, also published in the British Library Crime Classics series with a very splendid cover. The cover is a clue to the setting of the novel: it takes …

Quick Curtain by Alan Melville

Reviewed by Simon Shiny New Books has been a consistent and delighted fan of the British Library Crime Classics series, which has been rather a phenomenon in the publishing industry recently, and rightly so. The biased part of me argues that this is simply recognition that the 1920s and 1930s …

Waverley by Walter Scott

Reviewed by Hayley Anderton Waverley has been on my ‘ought to read’ list for longer than I care to remember, so when Shiny New Books asked me to read a new edition from Oxford Worlds Classics I was happy to accept the offer and finally make the effort. Scott seems …

Peking Picnic by Ann Bridge

Reviewed by Claire Hayes From its opening sentence, Peking Picnic evokes an exquisite sense of time and place – or rather of two places. For Laura Leroy, wife of a British attaché stationed in the striking surroundings of 1930s Peking, also yearns for the grey dripping clouds of her Oxfordshire …

Reader For Hire by Raymond Jean

Reviewed by Simon Peirene are well-known across the blogsphere for their programme of publishing translated novellas (this one is translated from the French for the first time by Adriana Hunter) , and grouping them into trios under different series titles. Reader For Hire (1986) is part of the ‘Chance Encounter’ …

Vain Shadow by Jane Hervey

Reviewed by Anna Barber Now they would be able to afford a big house, a swimming pool, maids, a car….“I hope he didn’t have any pain,” she said. In Vain Shadow, Jane Hervey’s only published novel, she tells the story of the Winthorpe family trying to cope in the four …

The Studio Crime by Ianthe Jerrold

Reviewed by Harriet Published in 1929, this is the first of only two crime novels written by Ianthe Jerrold.  The descendent of a celebrated literary family, she became a member of the newly formed Detection Club but abandoned conventional crime writing for romantic fiction and psychological thrillers. This seems a …

Sylvia by Leonard Michaels

Reviewed by Karen Langley The blurring of the lines between fiction and fact is an artistic trope which is very much in vogue in current writing. Novels abound featuring real people, from Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson in fictionalised retellings of their lives, through to Oscar Wilde and Josephine Tey …