The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes

cynthia-peacock-emporium.jpgIt took a while for me to enjoy the story, but eventually I had to keep reading to find out how everything turns out. The characters are not all likeable, but all need the courage to take steps in their lives to be happier. Not a fantastic read but overall I enjoyed it.

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Home fires by Fiona Lowe

cynthia-home-fires.jpgFrom the beginning of the story I was involved in the story, the characters were relatable and likeable.
It is the story of a group of women living in a small rural town that has been affected by a bushfire. We delve into their lives, both before fire and after fire. The topics covered are many, including depression and domestic violence, and the story could of been completely maudlum, but in the hands of the author we are given hints of hope and love. A very engaging Australian story.

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Star-crossed by Minnie Drake

cynthia-star-crossed.jpgThis was such a fun read. Justine works for the local paper and meets up with Nick, an old friend. When she discovers that he lives his life by the stars, Justine decides to alter the astrology column to help nudge him in her direction. Of course things do not go to plan and altering the stars affect other people as well. I loved how these characters were woven into Justine and Nick’s story. I was chuckling throughout the story – it was just what I needed.

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An American marriage by Tayari Jones

amy-an-american-marriage.jpgRoy and Celestial were married for a little over a year when Roy was falsely accused of rape, and sent to prison for twelve years. We follow the story alternating between narrators, and through the letters written while Roy is in prison. When he is let out early, they need to work out what their life can be. It’s about marriage in modern times, class, racism, love, independence, and strength. It’s a difficult story, but the ending is gently hopeful, and I found it captivating.

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Normal people by Sally Rooney

amy-normal-people.jpgSet between 2011 and 2015, this is the story of Marianne and Connell whose relationship begins in secret while they are at school, and how it and they change as they leave their small town and go to Dublin for university. It’s about class, communication, love, abuse, mental illness, friendship and the struggle to find one’s place in the world as an adult. It’s very modern, and made me feel old, but it was very compelling.

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Scrublands by Chris Hammer

amy-scrublands.jpgScrublands is Australian rural noir, set in a fictional town in the Riverina. A year ago, a priest shot a number of men dead, and was then shot himself by the local policeman. A journalist, with his own demons, arrives to write a piece about how the town is coping, only to uncover, and become entangled, in layers of secrets. There is a great sense of place; the oppressive heat and bleak landscape mirroring the tension between the townspeople, the police and the news people. The mystery is deep and complex, the characters compelling, and the plight of the small country town in drought, utterly believable.

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Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Cindy Nutshell

Whoa! This book was different. Written from the perspective of a baby still in the womb it tells the tale of a likely doomed trio that includes his mother, her lover and his father. The embryo infant contemplates the fates of his tragically flawed family and what influence he can possibly have in the grand scheme of things.

I really enjoyed listening to this on borrow box and it is also available in many of our libraries in traditional book format.

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Patrick Melrose volume 2 by Edward St Aubyn

Amy Patrick melrose Volume 2This contains the final two books in the Patrick Melrose series – Mother’s Milk and At Last.

Mother’s Milk: After his breakthrough at the end of Never Mind, Patrick, now married with two sons, is struggling again; with inheritance, his marriage, his mother and parenthood. So sharp, delicious, painful, real, and delightful.

At Last: The final Patrick Melrose novel, and how I will miss him. Patrick is as bitingly clever as ever, and still working on gaining some equilibrium. The gathering at his mother’s funeral highlights the foibles of the upper class, the passions and fixations that hold people back, the complexities of living with past trauma, and the sparks of hope that keep us going.

This entire series is deeply insightful, witty, horrific, and brilliant.

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Some hope by Edward St Aubyn

Amy Some HopeSome years after his father’s death, Patrick is clear of his all consuming drug habit, but is yet to replace it. On the cusp of something unknown, Patrick attends a party at a country house. As funny and clever as the first two books, Some Hope isn’t as dark, and it had a Dickens reference that made me clap. A deeply insightful, and even tender, look at class, purpose, the compelling absurdity of the rich, and the nature of forgiveness.

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