Half Moon Lake by Kirsten Alexander

Cynthia Half Moon LakeThe reader knows the truth of the story, but it is how each of the characters deal with and treat this truth, that makes the story interesting. I had to keep reminding myself that the story is set in the 1910s and crime investigation worked so differently then. Kristen adds layers to the story, dealing with race and wealth, and how each is regarded and treated. The story is based on a real case and I was glad I read about it after reading Half Moon Lake – it would of ruined the building tension throughout the story – everything had to turn out right, didn’t it?

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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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Educated by Tara Westover

Amy EducatedEducated is the memoir of a woman brought up in a family that was isolated by their strong religious beliefs, and fear of intervention, which led to them avoiding doctors and school. Living in rural Idaho, there was so much dirt, danger, and ignorance, as well as emotional and physical abuse, as to make this a most uncomfortable read. Eventually, thanks to a thirst for knowledge and understanding, Tara is able to leave, be educated (all the way to Cambridge, Harvard and a PhD) and be freed from abuse. Though not always a pleasant read, it is a moving account of the hardships of ignorance and poverty, and the power of education.

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Bluebottle by Belinda Castles

Amy BluebottleBluebottle is a quiet, leisurely paced book about the lasting power of family ties and secrets. Charlie is a difficult man to live with; his wife and children must tiptoe around his swinging moods. Something happens one Christmas that is still affecting them twenty years later. Set on Sydney’s northern beaches, the heat, ocean and rain are palpable, as is the tension in the siblings.

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Dead secret by Catherine Deveney

cynthia-dead-secret.jpgThe story is told through Rebecca during the week after her Da’s death. We find out that the family had lots of secrets, one of them about the death of her mother years earlier. I loved the way the story is told through Rebecca’s diary like telling, it’s more than a simple mystery to be solved. I was involved with the story from the beginning and had to keep reading to find out the ending, and though it was not the ending I expected with everything neatly tied up, I enjoyed the story very much.

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Calling Major Tom by David Barnett

amy calling major tomThomas Major is a grumpy, forty something year old man who volunteers for a one way trip to Mars. His life has been unhappy and confusing, and he is keen to turn his back on earth and its people. By strange co-incidence, he is in contact with a family who will challenge his views of the world, and himself. Full of quirky characters, crazy antics, high drama, and heart-warming triumphs, this is a fun and uplifting read. For fans of A Man Called Ove.

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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