The Snow Child by Eoywn Ivey

About the book

Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?

Written with the clarity and vividness of the Russian fairy tale from which it takes its inspiration, The Snow Child is an instant classic.

Reviewed by The Blank Books

“Well written and easy to read. A fairy tale for grown-ups which did not appeal to everyone but was generally enjoyed”

star rating ***

 

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The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

About the book

‘After all what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?’

In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the English countryside and into his past…

A contemporary classic, The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro’s beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House, of lost causes and lost love.

Reviewed by Bridewell Beauties

An extraordinary book written in impeccable ‘butler’s speak’ which was a little lengthy and tedious but the stories of personal encounters and pre-war politics are skilfully written into the retrospective narrative. Is there a glimmer of hope at the end?

star rating ****** ½

 

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The Snow child by Eowyn Ivey

About the book

Jack and Mabel have staked everything on making a fresh start in the raw Alaskan wilderness. In a moment of tenderness, the pair build a snowman – or rather a snow girl – together. The next morning, all trace of her has disappeared. But Jack can’t shake the notion that he glimpsed a small figure running in the trees in the dawn light.

Reviewed by Lymington VIP Group

The snow child was enjoyed by all 8 members of the group. Very descriptive, well drawn characters. Had a mystical feel but possibly over long.

**** 4 stars

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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

About the book

Narrated by Kathy, now 31, Never Let Me Go hauntingly dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School, and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.

Reviewed by Wallington Village Reading Group

Slow start didn’t grab you. More interesting towards the end. Very sad. Interesting subject kept you thinking. Written well from a young person’s point of view. Expected some characters to question things – would have made for a better story? Superb, profound, frightening.
Star rating ****

Reviewed by Ems Valley U3A Reading Group

This book provoked a great deal of discussion. Works like ‘horrifying’, ‘frightening’ and ‘dark’ were spoken. All the women said they found it interesting but the men did not like it at all. Someone said they thought it was an awful warning of things that might happen!
Star rating ***

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When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

About the book

1930s, England. Christopher Banks has become the country’s most celebrated detective, his cases the talk of London society. Yet one unsolved crime has always haunted him: the mysterious disappearance of his parents, in old Shanghai, when he was a small boy. Moving between London and Shanghai of the inter-war years, When We Were Orphans is a remarkable story of memory, intrigue and the need to return.

Reviewed by Shipton Bellinger W I Reading Group

This book was enjoyed by the majority of the group. It was well written and very atmospheric . . . The part of the book dealing with pre-war Shanghai was enjoyed by all. As in ‘Remains of the Day’ the main character was a flawed personality, the outsider, but then as someone pointed out ‘aren’t we all’. Well worth reading.
Star rating ***

Reviewed by U3A Book Group 4

Most of the group liked it enough to finish it but found it slow and somewhat confusing.
Star rating **

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Cinnamon City by Miranda Innes

About the book

Step into the dreamlike city of Marrakech.
Where passionate music, magic potions and the drama of Africa are cooled by the intuitive genius of Arabic culture.
Miranda Innes and her partner were lured into buying a beautiful long-neglected riad in the heart of this pink-walled city. Only after they’d begun their restoration work did they find that nothing in this place of smoke and mirrors was quite what it seemed.
In Cinnamon City Miranda Innes takes you beyond the tourist track, behind the bolted doors and deep inside the romance that is Marrakech. With lyrical and evocative descriptions of the swirling colours, flavours and aromas, this glorious book will open your eyes to this most exotic of North African cities.

Reviewed by Everton Reading Group

Enjoyable read. Page turner – good information of the culture. Journalistic style. good picture of the trials and tribulations of buying and renovating in Marrakech.
Star Rating ***

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Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indridason

book cover

About the book

One cold autumn night, a woman is found hanging from a beam at her holiday cottage. At first sight, it appears like a straightforward case of suicide; María had never recovered from the death of her mother two years previously and she had a history of depression. But then the friend who found her body approaches Detective Erlendur with a tape of a séance that María attended before her death and his curiosity is aroused.
Driven by a need to find answers, Erlendur begins an unofficial investigation into María’s death. But he is also haunted by another unsolved mystery – the disappearance of two young people thirty years ago – and by his own quest to find the body of his brother, who died in a blizzard when he was a boy. Hypothermia is Indridason’s most compelling novel yet.

Reviewed by C C Readers

“Divided opinion – some found it dull, humourless and boring but others were impressed by the character studies and the bleak atmosphere. It was regarded as an “easy” read but might merit another read to appreciate its subtleties.”
Star Rating ***

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