by Florrie Cooper (Midwest USA): The lives of three generations of Miltons spanning most of the 20th century on the Eastern Seaboard sometimes appalls, always intrigues, and never bores. Grappling with personal tragedies and triumphs set within the context of a cosmic shift in American societal attitudes, some of the Miltons do their best to embrace change, while others cling to a way of life embodied by their family island retreat that remains a constant though the decades.
The author, Sarah Blake, is a stunning writer and an extraordinary storyteller. Highly recommended for individual fans of family sagas and book clubs.
by Dhruv Kandhari (India): The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz is a novel published in the year 2007 to unprecedented acclaim, and the novel turned to be a huge critical and popular success winning The National Book Critics Award and The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Junot Diaz published his debut, which was called Drown, a collection of short stories that also received high acclaim from multiple critics including Hermoine Lee, the great literary biographer of Penelope Fitzgerald; yet it was not until this first novel, this masterpiece of diasporic fiction that he shot his way up to the stars.
by anne: This is not my usual choice, I happened across it at a duty free shop at an airport many years ago. I opened it and read the prologue and bawled my eyes out. I felt that I had found someone that been lost and without a voice for many, many lifetimes. It still moves me deeply, not being a religious person I do not know the Bible well and this for me was not about religion but a story of a woman lost to history with a story of her own to tell. Maybe it resonates how I have felt at times but more likely it reflects the experience of many women - lost to the bigger voices of men. I have not seen the film so don't know how it differs, my copy came into my hands a long time before that.
by Sandi W. (Illinis): There are not many books that get a 5 star rating from me. However this book rose right to the top. I had to often remind myself that this book is fiction. In story and character it ranked right up there with the true crime books that I often read.
Lee Isaacs is a defense attorney. She takes on the case of one young man who is accused of helping skinheads kill a gay man. Her client, Jeremy refuses to talk to her, but he has confessed to the crime. Lee must use all her experience and vices to fester out what really happened, who is really to blame, and why her client refuses to help defend himself.
This is my first read by Winer, who is a retired criminal attorney herself. Writing to her own experience is indeed much to the readers delight. This novel was tight, succinct, and a definite page turner. There was belief in the characters, a couple of laugh out loud moments, and building suspense as the book developed. It is well worth the time to read.
by Salama: One of the best books I've read in a while. The song of Achilles pulls you in and you kinda just keep flipping the pages, that before you know it, you're at the end and feeling so sad because you wanted it to go on forever. Madeline miller is truly an amazing author
by Cathy: The book thief is a poignant and powerful tale a young girl named Liesel growing up in Nazi Germany. This is the kind of book which demands quite a few re-readings and I have discovered a number of microscopic details after each read. Highly recommendable for literature and history buffs alike, this is a timeless tale which is masterfully told. This masterfully crafted novel is sure to make the readers come back for more.
by Jennifer Shaw (Irving, TX): Gorgeous, descriptive writing. The characters are multi dimensional. I loved how the author mixed characters that were dealing with modern day problems while dealing with old superstitions and folklore, characters from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and the restrictions of the time from different gender perspectives. There are book to read for pleasure and books to read for discussion. This is one of those rare books that works for both.
by Jacob Allen (Australia): Molly Booth has written an excellent debut novel. Saving Hamlet is a timeless classic that alternates between themes of romance, theatre and time travel effortlessly. After reading the first page I immediately thought 'This is a GOOD book' something I don't usually think, particularly about books by little known authors. Saving Hamlet however, is clearly an exception. I would highly recommend you read this, and that you read it now.
by Niamh (South West of England): This book was given to me as a gift at a time in my life in which I despised reading...And it was so good that here I am writing a review just to encourage others to pick it up! I have convinced so many of my friends, colleagues and family to read this novel; it provided guidance for me at a very difficult time and has transformed the way I look at the world. A beautiful story..worth reading all the way until the end and my goodness if you haven't already, pick up "The Next Person You Meet in Heaven" (the new sequel...It will blow your mind!) As well. Meeting Mitch Albom is now number one on my bucket list. This book is a blessing.
by Cloggie Downunder (Thirroul): The Crossing Places is the first book in the Ruth Galloway series by award-winning British author, Elly Griffiths. Norfolk DCI Harry Nelson has been haunted by the unsolved case of little Lucy Downey's disappearance for ten years. When some human bones are discovered at the salt marshes near Kings Lynn, Harry calls on archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway to give an opinion on the bones. Ruth's cottage is quite close, and she is interested in anything to do with the marshes. The bones, and the accompanying Iron Age artefacts, turn out to be a noteworthy find for archaeology, but no resolution for the Downey family.
Nelson is impressed by Ruth's professionalism, and he makes an impression on her too: "He was an odd man, she thought, brusque and unfriendly, but it seemed as if he had really cared about that little girl." It's this caring, perhaps, that sees her ready to help.
Then another little girl goes missing, and Nelson asks for Ruth's input on the letters he has been regularly receiving, letters telling him in the vaguest terms where Lucy, and now young Scarlet, are. The letters are filled with a mixture of strange references: biblical, Norse legend, literary, Greek legend, pagan and archaeological, and successively take an increasingly exasperated, at times almost taunting, tone at Nelson's failure to find the missing girls.
This specialised knowledge means that, if the letters are actually from the killer, suspicion falls on certain people who were in the area ten years earlier: Ruth was on a dig with colleagues and volunteers, excavating a beach henge; a group of Druids were part of a protest against it. Could one of these seemingly gentle, nature-loving souls be a murderer? A grisly find on her doorstep then has Ruth wondering if she's being warned off.
Griffiths tells the story using Ruth and Harry as her main narrators, with occasional passages from the perspective of a captive girl. The plot is believable, the archaeology interesting and the characters are quite convincing for all their flaws and quirks. It is certainly refreshing to read a female protagonist who is not slim and gorgeous. There are twists and red herrings to keep the reader guessing right up to the final chapters, and little surprise that will ensure readers are eager for the second instalment, The Janus Stone. An outstanding debut novel.