The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

About the book

It begins just before Christmas in Barcelona in 1957, one year after Daniel and Bea from THE SHADOW OF THE WIND have married. They now have a son, Julian, and are living with Daniel’s father at Sempere & Sons. Fermin still works with them and is busy preparing for his wedding to Bernarda in the New Year. However something appears to be bothering him.

Daniel is alone in the shop one morning when a mysterious figure with a pronounced limp enters. He spots one of their most precious volumes that is kept locked in a glass cabinet, a beautiful and unique illustrated edition of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. Despite the fact that the stranger seems to care little for books, he wants to buy this expensive edition. Then, to Daniel’s surprise, the man inscribes the book with the words ‘To Fermin Romero de Torres, who came back from the dead and who holds the key to the future’. This visit leads back to a story of imprisonment, betrayal and the return of a deadly rival …

 

Reviewed by Wallington Village

Well drawn characters. Good use of language. The dialogue was clear with the characters telling the story which galloped

star rating – none provided

 

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The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd

About the book

Few places in England are more mysterious yet more friendly than the huge forest that lies by England’s southern coast. It provides hunting for England’s Saxon and Norman kings, and its ancient oaks are used to build Nelson’s navy

Reviewed by Sway Literary Society

We really enjoyed this book. Being set in our local area made it even more interesting. The stories linked together well against an accurate historical background.

Star rating: **

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A Casual vacancy by J K Rowling

About the book

When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. The empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has ever seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Reviewed by Paperback Readers

We enjoyed the book. It was a challenging read because of the characters and the subjects covered. Graphic descriptions were hard hitting although realistic.

Star rating: ****

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Everyman by Philip Roth

About the book

From the author of ‘The Plot Against America’, ‘Everyman‘ is a painful human story of the regret and stoicism of a man who becomes what he does not want to be. The terrain of this savagely sad novel is the human body, and its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all – death.

Reviewed by Ace of Shapes

Enjoyable and well written. Thought it could be a bit depressing for people of a certain age as it is about ageing and death!

Star rating: ***

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The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

 About the book

I was to stand trial for my life. I was twenty-two years old. I had been married for ten weeks and a widow for six. In the summer of 1914, the Empress Alexandra, a magnificent ocean liner, suffers a mysterious explosion on its voyage from London to New York City. On board are Henry Winter, a rich banker, and his young new wife, Grace. Somehow, Henry manages to secure a place in a lifeboat for Grace.  As the castaways battle the elements, and each other. Over the course of three perilous weeks, the passengers on the lifeboat plot, scheme, gossip and console one another while sitting inches apart. Their deepest beliefs about goodness, humanity and God are tested to the limit as they begin to discover what they will do in order to survive.

Reviewed by Museum Group

We were all glad we read the book although one member did find herself “waiting for something pleasant to happen”. Overall a fascinating study of human survival with some extremely complex psychological character studies, particularly in the depiction of the central character.

Star rating: ***

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The White woman on the green bicycle by Monique Roffey

About the book

This novel tells how when George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England George instantly takes to their new life but Sabine feels isolated, heat-fatigued, and ill at ease with the racial segregation and the imminent dawning of a new era. George eventually finds out that Sabine has been keeping secrets from him.

Reviewed by CC Readers Group

Most people greatly enjoyed this once they had “got into it”. The characters, landscape abd political and racial setting were described vividly. It was not an “entertaining” book but on many levels fascinating and illuminating.

Star rating: ***

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The lost art of keeping secrets by Eva Rice

About the book

Set in the early 1950s, in the aftermath of the Second World War and before the emergence of rock ‘n’ roll, ‘The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets’ is the engrossing story of Penelope and her eccentric family.

Reviewed by Havers Reading Group

Well received, interesting characters, some surprises so no boredom. The era brought back memories. A good discussion followed about large houses, death duties, elderly maids etc.

Star rating: ****

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The Charioteer by Mary Renault

About the book

After enduring an injury at Dunkirk during World War II, Laurie Odell is sent to a rural veterans’ hospital in England to convalesce. There he befriends the young, bright Andrew, a conscientious objector serving as an orderly. Soon their friendship blooms into a discreet, chaste romance.

Reviewed by Sheet WI

Mixed reception. Some thought it rather slow and tedious yet others enjoyed the sensitivity of the writing. Very much a book of its time.

Star rating: none given

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The Interpretation of murder by Jed Rubenfeld

About the book

The Interpretation of Murder’ is an inventive tour de force inspired by Sigmund Freud’s 1909 visit to America, accompanied by protege and rival, Carl Jung.

Reviewed by Forest Arts

The group enjoyed the descriptive passages concerning the building of New York. Not many sympathetic characters – plenty of corruption, even the coroner turned out to be crooked!. Some found it overlong – a possibility of a great adaptation for a film!

** 2 stars

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In a dry season by Peter Robinson

About the book

During a hot summer, drought has depleted Thornfield Reservoir, uncovering the remains of a small village called Hobb’s End, hidden from view for over 40 years. A boy finds a human skeleton, and DCI Alan Banks sets out to uncover the murky past.

Reviewed by Shipton Bellinger WI

A detective story with many sub-plots. The descriptions of life in a very rural village during the WW2 are very good but the other sub-plots seem to muddy the waters a bit. Generally enjoyed.

** 2 stars

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