Thursday, 1 November 2012

Autumn reads around the world

Quick book list

The Light Between the Oceans, by ML Stedman
Gripping, unusual, set mostly on a lighthouse off Western Australia, a bestselling first novel by an Australian lawyer now living in London. Tom, traumatised after WW1, takes a job as lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, 100 miles off the coast where he hopes that the emptiness will bring him peace. After many miscarriages his wife hears a baby's cry and discovers a dead man and a baby in a washed up dinghy by the lighthouse. She feels her prayers have been answered. Her husband is not so sure.  The ensuing tragedy is inevitable. Well written, haunting.

Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville
Another Australian historical novel, this time set in New South Wales.  I discovered this was the third book in a series about early settlers in Australia. Fascinating stuff.  An illiterate but intelligent rich girl Sarah is born in 1816, her father an ex-convict who’s made good in the new colony of Australia. Three hundred acres, a fine stone house, William Thornhill is a man who’s re-invented himself. He never looks back, and Sarah grows up learning not to ask about the past.
 Her stepmother calls her wilful, but handsome Jack Langland loves Sarah and she loves him. What could go wrong? But there’s a secret in the Thornhill family. It comes out, as secrets will, and casts a long chill shadow over life in the Hawkesbury valley.
Click on Kate Grenville’s website for more details. She’s won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and has been shortlisted for the Booker.

Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd
Nice to read a book with a goodlooking grandmother as heroine. Most of the North London protagonists seemed to have had Issues with a capital I and, again, dark secrets. The writer has been a marriage guidance counsellor and has written several non-fiction books on health related subjects, parenting etc, so knows about these things. (Bargain on the Kindle.)

The Forgotten Waltz by Ann Enright. 
Well written but, trouble is, the heroine, embroiled in an illicit affair, is not an appealing character, nor is her lover, so I lost patience with them all. The Irish setting is interesting though. Here’s a Guardian review.

The Road Back by Liz Harris.  Published by the small indie women's fiction publisher, ChocLit. ( Good price on the Kindle). The unusual setting draws one into the romance. When Patricia accompanies her father on a trip to Ladakh, north of the Himalayas, in the early 1960s, she sees it as a chance to finally win his love. What she could never have foreseen is meeting Kalden – a local man destined by circumstances beyond his control to be a monk, but fated to be the love of her life. Despite her father’s fury, the lovers are determined to be together, but can their forbidden love survive?


callmemadam said...

Thanks for the hint about Thursdays in the Park. I've downloaded it and look forward to reading it.

Cara Cooper said...

An interesting list Susie. I have Liz Harris's book and am really enjoying it.

Debbie White said...

More to add to my 'to read' pile, Susie! Thanks for that.
I have Liz's book too.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Lovely autumnal photos and more great sounding books. I am pleased to report that two (Boyd and Harris) out of the five are already on my Kindle and The Light Between the Oceans is going on my wishlist. Thanks for your recommendations.