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Recent Reads

Cate Olson, Nash Robbins, Zahara Miller and Kay Hussey offer thoughts on recent reading . . .

Pure Juliet by Stella Gibbons.

One of those just "discovered" manuscripts - this one by the author of the much loved Cold Comfort Farm. Not as wonderful as Westwood (my favourite of her novels) but well written and quite ahead of its time with the very Asperguish heroine. The theme of expediency is rarely explored or even acknowledged.

Fascinating (even if I'm still not sure about the ending!). – CO

The Soulmate by Debby Holt.

It was a dark and stormy night (like so many in January) and I took the top book off my always towering pile. A lucky move - before the evening was over, I was ignoring the lashing rain and laughing out loud at the antics of Maddie and Henry. I especially relished the book club scenes.

What a treat - can't wait to see what the author writes next. - CO

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

As someone who is always in search of a great Gothic novel, The Loney was an absolute gem to find.

Hurley creates a palpable sense of unease, perfectly capturing a claustrophobic atmosphere fuelled by superstition and religious fervour.

Great read for a wet and windy evening! - ZM

The Portable Veblen - Elizabeth McKenzie

I was reluctant at first to start this. The heroine's affinity with a squirrel seemed somewhat questionable but after just twenty pages or so I was hooked.

A woman with a problem upbringing meets a man whose past is just as non-perfect as hers. How it all works out is done with a tender story telling that does sometimes veer into a modern screwball comedy.

And you learn a lot about a dead interesting philosopher. - CO

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon.

A terrific debut! Precocious ten year old Grace and her delicate pal Tilly try to solve a neighbourhood mystery.

The hot, hot summer of 1976 is almost a character - not that this book needs anymore, I kept thinking which I would like to have their "own" novel but then decided what I really wanted was to know Grace ten years on.

It is a great book to share! - CO

Murder of Magpies & A Bed of Scorpians by Judith Flanders.

Some years ago I read a brilliant group biography "A Circle of Sisters". And then we always stocked her other fascinating social histories.

Last year, I happened upon a crime novel set in the world of publishing. It was smart and sassy and rang true about the shenanigans that we hear about from chums. Not sure about the police stuff but read and then re-read it with glee.

Delighted to report the new second one is even better.

And Judith Flanders - social historian and crime author - gets my vote for this century's own Dorothy L. Sayers. - CO