This is Happiness begins with the sky clearing and the rain stopping just after 3 o’clock on the Wednesday afternoon of Holy Week in 1958 while the people of Faha in county Clare are at Church. This is a rare occurrence in Faha as rain 'was a condition of living'. Seventeen-year-old Noel Crowe, known as … Continue reading Book Review – This is Happiness by Niall Williams
A little while ago I saw a quote from the American novelist Gloria Naylor - 'One should be able to return to the first sentence of a novel and find the resonances of the entire work.' Other than in consciously literary works, I wondered how often this happened so I took a few favourite books … Continue reading In my beginning is my end? – Opening and closing lines
The Mirror and the Light by Hilary MantelOnce the queen's head is severed, he walks away. Fair Play by Tove JanssonJonna had a happy habit of waking each morning as if to a new life.
There was Still Love by Favel ParrettThere are suitcases everywhere. A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo IshiguroNiki, the name we finally gave my younger daughter, is not an abbreviation; it was a compromise I reached with her father. Springtime : A Ghost Story by Michelle de KretserThat spring, Frances walked along the river every … Continue reading My Reading – January 2020
With each successive year I seem to be slipping further and further from my goal of reading a book a week. That goal was almost in sight when I read fifty books in 2017 but the following year I dropped back to forty books and this year is even worse with only thirty-seven books read. … Continue reading A Year of Reading – 2019
The Confession by Jessie BurtonThat Saturday - an early winter's afternoon on Hampstead Heath - Elise had actually been waiting for someone else. The Rúin by Dervla McTiernan Cormac leaned forward to peer through the windscreen, then nearly cracked his head on the steering wheel as the car bounced through another pothole. Shite. Lanny by … Continue reading My Reading – November 2019
Londoners are crowding into the streets, celebrating, watching the river procession as Elizabeth Tudor makes her way by barge to the Tower of London in preparation for her coronation. Meanwhile, in the backstreets of Southwark, a kindhearted prostitute with pale skin and red hair is brutally murdered. Nineteen-year-old Kate Haywood is the daughter of a … Continue reading Book Review – Murder at Westminster Abbey by Amanda Carmack
Set in the fictional village of Oakham, Somerset, The Western Wind starts on Shrove Tuesday 1491. This is Day 4 of the story as this novel is told backwards over four days from Shrove Tuesday to the previous Saturday. It is the first person narrative of the parish priest, John Reve, a gentle and compassionate man … Continue reading Book Review – The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey
Tombland by C J Sansom I had been in my chambers at Lincoln's Inn when the messenger came from Master Parry, asking me to attend him urgently. A Pure Clear Light by Madeleine St John 'Simon, there's a woman over there who keeps looking at us.'
The Innocents is set in the American West in 1868. 'The Innocents' are Nat Quinn and Jake Conroy, a nephew and uncle team, who rob only banks and railways and are courteous to the ordinary people they may discommode during the course of a robbery. Abigail McKay, a Scottish woman, has spent weeks travelling by … Continue reading Book Review – The Innocents by C A Asbrey