A Night to Remember by Walter Lord

About the book

On April 15th, 1912, Titanic, the world’s largest passenger ship, sank after colliding with an iceberg, claiming more than 1,500 lives. Walter Lord’s classic bestselling history of the voyage, the wreck and the aftermath is a tour de force of detailed investigation and the upstairs/downstairs divide. A Night to Remember provides a vivid, gripping and deeply personal account of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic’s descent.

Reviewed by Entre Nous

“Our whole group enjoyed this book. We thought it well written – gripping and vivid, with plenty of ‘food for thought’ and much to discuss”

star rating ****

 

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Nice Work by David Lodge

About the book

When Vic Wilcox (MD of Pringle’s engineering works) meets English lecturer Dr Robyn Penrose, sparks fly as their lifestyles and ideologies collide head on. What, after all, are they supposed to learn from each other? But in time both parties make some surprising discoveries about each other’s worlds – and about themselves.

 

Reviewed by Bridgemary Bookworms

“Overall thoughts on the book were that is like the Parson’s Egg, ‘good in parts’ A lot of characters to describe and take into account. It was generally liked but didn’t flow well to start with. It brought out the difference between working practice and academic life”

“Oh what a truly boring book this is. I was waiting for it to get funny, and it didn’t. The continuous ‘highbrow’ ramblings by Robyn were tedious. The smutty bits were probably thrown in to keep the reader’s interest, but I found them to be unnecessary and a turn-off”

star rating **

 

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Family Album by Penelope Lively

About the book

Allersmead is a big shabby Victorian suburban house. The perfect place to grow up for elegant Sandra, difficult Gina, destructive Paul, considerate Katie, clever Roger and flighty Clare.

But was it?

As adults, the children return to Allersmead one by one. To their home-making mother and aloof writer father, and a house that for years has played silent witness to a family’s secrets. And one devastating secret of which no one speaks . . .

 

Reviewed by Sandy’s Reading Group

“Inoffensive but anti-climatic. Characters so lightly drawn that they didn’t engage us. The ‘devastating secret’ was fairly obvious from early on and the infamous cellar game lacked jeopardy. The descriptions of the house itself and the kitchen / cooking were quite evocative and it was easy to imagine the rambling family home. Generally rather bitty / disjointed, lacking a strong narrative drive. Unmemorable!”

star rating **

 

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A Tramp in Africa by David Lessels

About the book

Follow the trails of the Scottish explorer, David Lessels, fulfilling a dream to travel the length of Africa, confronting serious challenges to his freedom as he walked and hitch-hiked through history, in the early 1950s. Recalled with vivid clarity, this inspirational traveller’s tale is studded with gems and facts – some of which may be the only written accounts of the early development of unique African cultures. This is a colorful and rich taste of Africa in the raw – share the author’s thrilling experiences of an extraordinary adventure.

 

Reviewed by Hill Head Readers

“A travelogue which was far too long. It was quite well written but our group were defeated!”

star rating * ½

 

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The Drowning Girl by Margaret Leroy

About the book

Young single mum Grace is drowning.

Her little girl Sylvie is distant, troubled and prone to violent tantrums which the child psychiatrists blame on Grace. But Grace knows there’s something more to what’s happening to Sylvie. There has to be.

Travelling from the London suburbs to the west coast of Ireland, Grace and Sylvie embark on a journey of shocking discovery, forcing Grace to question everything she believes in and changing both their lives forever.

Reviewed by Denmead Book Club

“Fascinating book / really enjoyed the read / strange ending”

star rating ***

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Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon

About the book

Early one morning Guido Brunetti, Commissario of the Venice Police, confronts a grisly sight when the body of a young man is fished out of a fetid Venetian canal. All the clues point to a violent mugging, but for Brunetti, robbery seems altogether too convenient a motive. Then something very incriminating is discovered in the dead man’s flat – something which points to the existence of a high-level cabal – and Brunetti becomes convinced that somebody, somewhere, is taking great pains to provide a ready-made solution to the crime …

Reviewed by Bookends

“An easy read; varied opinions within the group as to the predictability of the plot; depth of characters. Informative in American / Italian relationships and disposal of toxic waste”

star rating **

 

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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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Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

About the book

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the novel with which D.H. Lawrence is most often associated. The story of how the wife of Sir Clifford Chatterley responds when her husband returns from the war paralysed from the waist down, and of the tender love which then develops between her and her husband’s gamekeeper, is a complex one open to a variety of conflicting interpretations.

This edition of the novel offers an occasion for a new generation of readers to discover what all the fuss was about; to appraise Lawrence’s bitter indictment of modern industrial society, and to ask themselves what lessons there might be for the 21st century in his intense exploration of the complicated relations between love and sex.

 

Reviewed by Book Tower

“Lawrence’s writing style and descriptions were appreciated if a little longwinded at times. He showed an understanding of women, not just in the physical sense but emotionally too. He also pictured the life of the miners in a sympathetic way; describing the drudgery they endured. Some members found it difficult to empathise with Sir Clifford, and thought that his relationship with Mrs Bolton enabled her to gain an upper class life style and power over him”

star rating ****

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Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

About the book

Beginning in America, and spilling back over memories and generations to India, Unaccustomed Earth explores the heart of family life and the immigrant experience. Eight luminous stories – longer and richer than any Jhumpa Lahiri has yet written – take us from America to Europe, India and Thailand as they follow new lives forged in the wake of loss.

Reviewed by Basingstoke Tuesday Afternoon

“An excellent book, beautifully written. A lot of deep themes but handled with lightness and subtlety. We all enjoyed it very much and had thought provoking discussions”

star rating ****

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Sister by Rosamund Lupton

About the book

Nothing can break the bond between sisters …When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister, Tess, is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding her sister’s disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister’s life – and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face. The police, Beatrice’s fiance and even their mother accept they have lost Tess but Beatrice refuses to give up on her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost.

Reviewed by Everton Reading Group:

An irresistible read with an engaging story – believable and gripping. Top marks given by all. So pleased that we came across this inadvertently due to not receiving the requested title!

Star rating: ****

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