The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas

About the book

Within one exotic land lie the secrets of a lifetime…
Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Deep in the exquisite heart of Kashmir lies the lakeside city of Srinagar, where the British live on carved wooden houseboats and dance, flirt and gossip as if there is no war.

But the battles draw closer, and life in Srinagar becomes less frivolous when the men are sent away to fight. Nerys is caught up in a dangerous friendship, and by the time she is reunited with her husband, the innocent Welsh bride has become a different woman.

Years later, when Mair Ellis clears out her father’s house, she finds an exquisite antique shawl, a lock of child’s hair wrapped within its folds. Tracing her grandparents’ roots back to Kashmir, Mair embarks on a quest that will change her life forever.

Reviewed by CC Reader

a vivid and authentic book reflecting the author’s knowledge and experience. Good characters and plot  – a little wearisome for others

star rating ***

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Leaving the World by Douglas Kennedy

 

About the Book

On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents – she would never get married and she would never have children.

But life, as Jane discovers, is a profoundly random business. Many years and many lives later, she is a professor in Boston, in love with a brilliant, erratic man named Theo. And then she falls pregnant. Motherhood turns out to be a great welcome surprise – but when a devastating turn of events tears her existence apart she has no choice but to flee all she knows and leave the world.

Just when Jane has renounced life itself, the disappearance of a young girl pulls her back from the edge and into an obsessive search for personal redemption. Convinced that she knows more about the case than the police do, she is forced to make a decision – stay hidden or bring to light a shattering truth.

Like Kennedy’s previous highly acclaimed novels, Leaving the World, speaks volumes about the dilemmas we face in trying to navigate our way through all that fate throws in our path.

 

Reviewed by Chorus

A novel ripe for discussion: an entertaining but floored plot. Gave us a very good lively discussion comprising very different opinions

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Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carré

About the book

An English couple, Perry and Gail, are taking an off-peak holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian millionaire called Dima who owns a peninsula and a diamond-encrusted gold watch. He also has a tattoo on his right thumb, and wants a game of tennis.

What else he wants propels the young lovers on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps, to the murkiest cloisters of the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain’s Intelligence Establishment.

 

Reviewed by CC Readers

“Not Le Carré’s best. An over-elaborate lead up to a not very exciting climax. Tiresome characters and tedious dialogue”

star rating **

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