The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

About the book

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives – so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before . . .

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant Robin Ellacott.

Reviewed by Maisemore Book Club

Only three of us managed to finish this book, but it wasn’t much fun! a couple of members stopped reading due to the language which they felt was unnecessary. Other comments: The characters were not interesting, one didn’t have sympathy fort them, apart from Robin. Some thought she and her situation with Strike and Matthew could have been developed more. The story was gruesome, too long and overwritten. J K Rowling needs to do more editing or get a good editor to cut down the verbiage

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The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

About the book

When she’s not digging up bones or other ancient objects, quirky, tart-tongued archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives happily alone in a remote area called Saltmarsh near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants – not quite earth, not quite sea.  When a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach nearby, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson calls Galloway for help. Nelson thinks he has found the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing ten years ago. Since her disappearance he has been receiving bizarre letters about her, letters with references to ritual and sacrifice. The bones actually turn out to be two thousand years old, but Ruth is soon drawn into the Lucy Downey case and into the mind of the letter writer, who seems to have both archaeological knowledge and eerie psychic powers. Then another child goes missing and the hunt is on to find her. As the letter writer moves closer and the windswept Norfolk landscape exerts its power, Ruth finds herself in completely new territory – and in serious danger. THE CROSSING PLACES marks the beginning of a captivating crime series featuring an irresistible heroine.

Reviewed by U3A Group 2

“Good characterisations. Informative on archaeological subjects. Very readable and enjoyed by all”

star rating ****

 

Diary of a Nobody by George & Weedon Grossmith

About the book

The Diary of a Nobody is so unassuming a work that even its author, George Grossmith, seemed unaware that he had produced a masterpiece. For more than a century this wonderfully comic portrayal of suburban life and values has remained in print, a source of delight to generations of readers, and a major literary influence, much imitated but never equalled.

If you don’t recognise yourself at some point in The Diary you are probably less than human. If you can read it without laughing aloud you have no sense of humour.

 

Reviewed by Olivers Battery WI

“A Quick and easy read but very much ‘of it’s time’ Some themes relevant – children coming home, etc and making choices that parents generally baulk at. Names used were ‘interesting’

star rating: None provided

 

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The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory

About the book

 The fourth in the ‘Cousins’ War’ series

Anne Neville and her sister Isabel are daughters of the most powerful magnate in 15th century England. Ever ruthless, always plotting, in the absence of a son and heir, Warwick sets about using his daughters as pawns in his political games. Anne grows from a delightful child brought up at the court of Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville, intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Her life is overturned when her father turns on his former allies, escapes England and invades with an enemy army. Widowed at 14, fatherless, with her mother locked in sanctuary, and her sister a vengeful enemy, Anne faces the world alone. But fortune’s wheel turns once again. Anne plots her escape from her sister’s house, finds herself a husband in the handsome young Duke of Gloucester, and marries without permission, in secret. But danger still follows her. She finds that she has a mortal enemy in the most beautiful queen in England. Anne has to protect herself and her precious only son from the treacherous royal court, the deadly royal rival, and even from the driving ambition of her husband – Richard III.

Reviewed by CC Readers

“An absorbing book – well written, good characterisation, a little long and a more complex family tree would have been helpful. It stimulated our interest in the period. Overall – good”

star rating ***

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The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

About the book

The second book in the’ Cousins’ War’ series, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series – The White Queen – but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Reviewed by Blank Books

“There was a difference of opinion about the Red Queen. Some disliked her, others found her interesting and her qualities of drive and strength were unwavering. This book provokes much discussion”

star rating ** ½

 

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Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

About the book

A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene’s gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the ‘dangerous edge of things’.

Reviewed by Novel Ideas

“Well written with an excellent atmosphere. It certainly got people talking about the past. Enjoyable.

star rating ***

 

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The Accidental Husband by Jane Green

About the book

Jane Green’s The Accidental Husband is a powerful story about two women connected by an earth-shattering secret.

Maggie and Sylvie are perfect strangers: two very different women, living very different lives on opposite coasts. But they share more in common than they could ever imagine.

Both women have beautiful children on the verge of flying the nest, the home they worked hard to build and always longed for, and a handsome and devoted husband they can’t believe belongs to them. Both women think their lives are seamlessly secure, but they couldn’t be more wrong . . .

For each is about to discover a secret that will shake their world to the very core, throwing into doubt everything they ever thought they knew, and bringing Maggie and Sylvie together in the most unexpected way.

 

Reviewed by New Milton Sands WI 3

“The majority of the group enjoyed the book – described it as ‘un-put-down-able’ Some thought it was predictable. Mainly a very good and easy read”

star rating ****

 

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Past Caring by Robert Goddard

About the book

1910: Distinguished MP Edwin Strafford resigns at the pinnacle of his career, removing himself from the public eye. The woman he loves, and for whom he was willing to sacrifice everything, suddenly and coldly rejects him. All the reasons for his fall from grace are shrouded in darkness. Seventy years later, historian Martin Radford is down on his luck when a mysterious benefactor offers him the opportunity of a lifetime: to uncover what exactly happened to Edwin Strafford. But this apparent good fortune swiftly turns into a nightmare. Radford’s investigations trigger a violent series of events, which throw him straight into the path of those who believed they had escaped punishment for crimes long past but never paid for…

Reviewed by 2nd Fordingbridge U3A

“The group was totally divided by this book. Some loved it, some loathed it”

star rating ***

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Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search For Everything by Elizabeth Gilbert

About the book

It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.

Reviewed by In Sync

“Not all of us finished this book – as they found it boring, especially the middle bit on India, all to do with meditation. Italy and Bali were more interesting. It needs editing – there are a lot of repetitions

star rating *

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A Scot’s Quair (Sunset Song) by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

About the book

Chris Guthrie, torn between her love of the land and her desire to escape the narrow horizons of a peasant culture, is the thread that links these three works. In them, Gibbon interweaves the personal joys and sorrows of Chris’ life with the greater historical and political events of the time.

Sunset Song, the first and most celebrated book of the trilogy, covers the early years of the twentieth century, including the First World War. Chris survives, with her son Ewan, but the tragedy has struck and her wild spirit subdued.

 

Reviewed by Ten For Books

“Most of us really struggled with the ‘language’ of Sunset Song but those who persevered really loved it! We thoroughly recommend it to other groups”

star rating ****

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