The Magnetic North by Sara Wheeler

About the book

Smashing through the Arctic Ocean with the crew of a Russian icebreaker, herding reindeer across the tundra with Lapps and shadowing the Trans-Alaskan pipeline with truckers, Sara Wheeler discovers a complex and ambiguous land belonging both to ancient myth and modern controversy.  The Magnetic North is a spicy confection of history, science and reflection in which Wheeler meditates on the role of the Arctic: fragmented lands which fed imaginations long before the scientists and oilmen showed up (not to mention desperado explorers who ate their own shoes). The Magnetic North tells of all this, plus gulag ghosts, old and new Russia, colliding cultures and bioaccumulated toxins in polar bears.


Reviewed by Bridewell Beauties

Reads like a series of essays. Very comprehensive and academic. Strongly divided opinions. Could be read on several levels

star rating ** ½


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A Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

About the book

From the moment Ross’s fiancée Aimee was killed in a car accident, he’s been trying to die too. But life won’t let him go. His only hope now is that Aimee will come to him.

So when he hears of strange happenings at an ancient Indian burial ground near his sister’s home, he heads to Comtosook – desperate for rumours of a haunting to be true.

What he finds there is not Aimee’s ghost, but Lia, a very real woman whose life is filled with as many troubled secrets as his own . . .


Reviewed by New Milton WI Group 3

An interesting book – some loved it – some couldn’t get into it. Well woven characters”

star rating ***


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Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

About the book

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers–with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.
The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building’s other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin’s devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt’s neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including–perhaps–their aunt, who can’t seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.
Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in Her Fearful Symmetry about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life–even after death.

Review by North Baddesley WI 2 Reading Group:

All members finished the book, one found it depressing. We thought it well written and interesting to observe life from a ghosts point of view. Thee was a great deal of insight into how one of the characters worked through his bereavement. It gave the group plenty to talk about.

Star rating: ***

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