The year of the flood by Margaret Atwood

Amy Year of the FloodSecond in a trilogy, The Year of the Flood is set at the same time as Oryx and Crake, but tells the story of the unnatural disaster from different points of view. It’s dark, violent, disturbingly possible, but also gentle, tender and hopeful. I am looking forward to the conclusion.

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Mr Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker

Amy Mr RochesterThis could have been so bad. Loving Jane Eyre as much as I do, means that I am very sensitive to the story being messed with, so I was surprised to find myself enjoying it so much. Mr Rochester takes Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, and endeavours to tell the story of Edward Fairfax Rochester from his childhood. There were a couple of Americanisms, but on the whole the voice was convincing, and the story fit. There were some surprising revelations, even after Jane enters the story, and I wonder whether their love story would be convincing to someone who hasn’t read Jane Eyre, as it was so condensed, but on the whole, it was a good read.

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Three men in a boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Amy Three men in a boatThree Men in a Boat is a classic I am only just getting to now. It’s that particular sort of British humour -bumbling, self-deprecating and obvious, mixed with a travelogue, nostalgic for the history of the countryside along the Thames. Quaintly amusing, historically interesting (given that it was written in the 1880s and was looking back) and with a marvellous dog called Montmorency, this is a quick, fun read.

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Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Kate Wildflower“Wildflower” by Drew Barrymore is not, she insists, a memoir, as that seemed too heavy for her. She wanted something light, so this book is a collection of short stories about her adventures, challenges and incredible experiences of her earlier years. Being aware of her life as a troubled Hollywood child star, this collection is very light-hearted, and not being in chronological order, it can be a little confusing to determine when each story takes place compared to the last. But if you are fond of Drew, it is an entertaining, funny and insightful glimpse into how she evolved into the happy mother, actress, author, director, model and producer she is today.

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Summer crossing by Truman Capote

Amy summer crossingAs with Go Set a Watchman, I had qualms about reading this, as Truman had abandoned it, and didn’t want it published. Funny, given the connection between Truman and Harper Lee. Still, I read it, and while it really can’t compare with his later work, I did still enjoy it. It’s a New York story, of youth, wealth and intoxicating love; slim, in more ways than one, but I’m glad I read it.

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Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Amy CommonwealthCommonwealth is the story of a complicated family. A man and a woman meet at a party, leave their spouses and marry each other. They each bring children to this new marriage; children now with two families, divided loyalties. When one of the children grows up, she meets a famous author and shares the story of their childhood. It’s a thoughtful, insightful book about the long lasting consequences of our actions, family ties and the ownership of our stories.

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Big little lies by Liane Moriarty

Amy Big Little LiesA suburban primary school’s trivia night degenerates so badly that someone ends up dead; if only all school events were so exciting! This is a murder mystery with characters and a setting so familiar, suspense, humour, twists and turns. It deals with the complex issues around domestic violence and also about school politics, parenthood, marriage and friendship. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, definitely not just for women!

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The turning tide by C.M. Lance

Cynthia The Turning TideI enjoyed this story and characters mainly based around the WWII campaign in Timor. I love it when a story makes me experience a range of emotions throughout the story. It is a story on the horror of war and its aftermath, mateship, complicated families, love and ultimately hope. The story jumps time periods several times per chapter, sometimes throwing me off the flow of the story, but this is only a minor complaint.

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