Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne

About the book

London. On a bright July morning a series of bombs brings the capital to a halt. Simon Swann, a medic from one of the large teaching hospitals, is searching frantically amongst the chaos and the rubble. All around police sirens and ambulances are screaming but Simon does not hear. He is out of breath because he has been running, and he is distraught. But who is he looking for?

To find out we have first to go back thirty years to a small island in the Indian Ocean where a little girl named Alice Fonseka is learning to ride a bicycle on the beach. The island is Sri Lanka, and its community is on the brink of civil war. Alice’s life is about to change forever. Soon she will have to leave for England, abandoning her beloved grandfather, and accompanied by her mother Sita, a woman broken by a series of terrible events.

In London, Alice grows into womanhood. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she has a son. Slowly she fulfils her grandfather’s prophecy and becomes an artist. Eventually she finds true love. But London in the twenty-first century is a mass of migration and suspicion. The war on terror has begun and everyone, even Simon Swann, middle class, rational, medic that he is, will be caught up in this war in the most unexpected and terrible way.

 

Reviewed by Barnfield Book Club

Lyrically written through the eyes of an artist. Chastening. Makes you appreciate living in a so called ‘free’ country

star rating *** 

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Beloved by Toni Morrison

About the book

Terrible, unspeakable things happened to Sethe at Sweet Home, the farm where she lived as a slave for so many years until she escaped to Ohio. Her new life is full of hope but eighteen years later she is still not free. Sethe’s new home is not only haunted by the memories of her past but also by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Reviewed by Ace of spades Reading group:

Remarkably well written. Thought provoking and challenging read. Could be used as a study book as different views can be discussed.

Star rating: ***

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The People's Act of Love by James Meek

About the book

1919, Siberia . . .
Deep in the unforgiving landscape a town lies under military rule, awaiting the remorseless assault of Bolsheviks along the Trans-Siberian railway. One night a stranger, Samarin, appears from the woods with a tale of escape from an Arctic prison, insisting a cannibal is on his trail. Only Anna, a beautiful young widow, trusts his story. When a local shaman is found dead suspicion and terror engulf the isolated community, which harbours a secret of its own . . .

Reviewed by  CC Readers Reading Group:

Good writing and descriptions. Some scenes and dialogue contrived. Opened up a little-known historical period. Vivid evocation of Siberia, the deep cold, fear, turmoil, the fragility of life. Not an easy read and some found it depressing. Perplexing. A re-read would be illuminating.

Star rating: ***

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Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

About the book

Turning his back on the carnage of the Civil War, Inman begins the treacherous journey home to Cold Mountain, and to Ada, the woman he loved before the war. As he crosses the devastated landscape of the South, Ada struggles to make a living from the land. Neither knows if the other is still alive.

Reviewed by Biscuits, Books and Banter Reading Group:

90% of group loved this book. The detailed descriptions and the authors prose delighted us. Each scene was described as a picture of words and even the more unpleasant scenes were handled well. A good read which made us think.

Star rating: ***

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