The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

About the book

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Reviewed by Enthusiastic Reading Group

A beautifully written love story. Provoked lots of discussion including Achilles’ “heel”! The author handled the issue of same sex relationship with taste and compassion. A very readable book covering history, relationships and conflict well.

Star rating: ***

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Home by Marilynne Robinson

About the book

Home‘ takes up the story of the wayward son Jack who, after decades away, edgily and uneasily, but finally, returns home. He is the prodigal son and his family believe against all evidence, that if they love him enough, if they welcome him back, he will change and he will stay.

Reviewed by Batnfield Book Club

Thought provoking, very atmospheric, well written, good evocation of life in a 1950s home. Sad.

*** 3 stars

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The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

About the book

The Lacuna is the heartbreaking story of a man torn between the warm heart of Mexico and the cold embrace of 1950s America in the shadow of Senator McCarthy. Born in America and raised in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd is a liability to his social-climbing flapper mother, Salome. When he starts work in the household of Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo – where the Bolshevik leader, Lev Trotsky, is also being harboured as a political exile – he inadvertently casts his lot with art, communism and revolution. A compulsive diarist, he records and relates his colourful experiences of life with Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Trotsky in the midst of the Mexican revolution. A violent upheaval sends him back to America; but political winds continue to throw him between north and south, in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach – the lacuna – between truth and public presumption.

Reviewed by Wednesday Crew

Lovely writing style. May seem hard to get into but certainly worth the effort. Historically accurate and informative but not ‘heavy’. Great characters – memorable expressions.
Star rating ****

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