The strangers we know by Pip Drysdale

Cynthia The Strangers we knowThis was an entertaining thriller that kept the momentum going throughout the story. Told in a conversational tone by the main character Charlie (which included great asides) it grabbed me from the start and drew me into the story. It also made the story personable – leaving me wondering all the time if I could except Charlie’s version of what happens as the truth?

Find in Library

Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

Amy Therese RacquinA deliciously gothic tale of adultery and murder in a dingy part of Paris, published in 1867. Thérèse Racquin married her sickly cousin but began a passionate affair with Laurent. The pair plotted to murder Thérèse’s husband in order to give full rein to their lust, but the act haunted them in increasingly horrific ways. If you read Nancy Mitford you might think that adultery is an accepted part of French life, but reading Madame Bovary, and especially Thérèse Racquin, will put you off adultery for life!

Find in Library

The vegetarian by Han Kang

amy-the-vegetarian.jpgYeong-hye has a horrible dream, after which she decides to give up meat. This decision is so shocking to her husband, family, and society, that it has serious consequences. The story is told in three separate sections, from the perspective of Yeong-hye’s husband, brother-in-law, and sister, not Yeong-hye herself. It is strange, haunting, disturbing tale of abuse, family bonds, societal expectations, and mental illness. The narration is very well done, by Korean-Americans.

Find in Library

The wife’s tale by Christine Wells

cynthia-the-wifes-tale.jpgThis was a great read. I loved how the author distinguished the two time periods, each had their own feel and voice. Delany was a great character – a strong woman – balancing society’s expectations with her own and enduring a lot of sadness. I love learning new things and I have now added criminal conversation to the list. The modern storyline was not as strong as most of my emotions were evoked in the historical story – but they worked well together nevertheless.

Find in Library

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.

Find in library

The bookshop of the broken hearted by Robert Hillman

Amy bookshop of the broken heartedIn 1960s rural Australia, kind and gentle farmer, Tom, wife has left him again, this time taking the young boy Tom raised, though the child wasn’t his. A glamorous older woman moves into town, a survivor of Auschwitz, determined to open a bookshop. Tom and Hannah find love, but making a new life is complicated. There is sweetness and humour here, and a lovely setting; I think it would make a popular movie. For me, there wasn’t enough character development, the villains were unconvincing (not the Nazis!) and I just wasn’t captured by this story.

Find in library