I hope everyone is well and keeping safe. During Lockdown, my concentration has taken a dive and rather than open new books I’ve been re-reading many of my favourite novels. However, as we all adjust to the new normal, I’ve finally started on my reading pile – some newly published, others books which I’ve always meant to read.
Lots of parallels have been made between our current crisis and the trials of life in Britain during the Second World War. The Walls We Build by Jules Hayes was a timely read as it has the character of Winston Churchill playing an important role in the story which unfolds. The friendship of Frank, Florence and Hilda is strained by a marriage of convenience in the 1930s the ramifications of which continue through to the turn of the century. Beautifully written, I loved the complex relationships and mystery at the heart of the novel.
Our Fathers by Rebecca Wait is a story of a family obliterated by a sudden act of violence and the impact it has on a remote island community. Tom, eight years old when his father shot his mother and siblings, returns to Litta to find answers to their deaths. Lyrical and reflective, the surprises in this book are as much to do with the web of relationships as to the reveal of the motivation behind the killings.
I enjoyed Lucy Atkins’ debut novel, The Night Visitor, and was looking forward to her follow up which was published recently. Magpie Lane is set in Oxford where protagonist Dee is a nanny to the daughter of a Oxford College Master. We discover, as the book opens, that Felicity is missing and police are struggling to identify any suspects. Dee narrates how she got the job and the odd dynamic of the family, taking the reader on an interesting and twisty journey. I love an intelligent thriller and this is one!
While re-reading Jamaica Inn last week, I realised I had a Daphne Du Maurier on my shelf I hadn’t yet read. The Flight of the Falcon is set in the Italian town of Ruffano which tour guide Armino Fabbio returns to after he’s unwittingly implicated in the murder of his childhood family servant. There, he discovers that a brother he thought was dead is instrumental in reviving the cult of the sinister Duke Claudio who reigned with terror five hundred years earlier. An atmospheric, absorbing read, it has Du Maurier’s trademark eye for the unusual and sinister.
Finally, I was sent this book detailing walks around London with a bloody/murderous theme written by David Fathers. The walks in Bloody London span two thousand years of history and there was plenty I wasn’t aware of, even though I lived in the capital for ten years. With a forward by David Aaronovitch, I particularly enjoyed reading about the goings on in peripheral areas around the city. At the moment, the book is for armchair browsing only but fingers crossed that changes soon as there are plenty of great places to discover thanks to this book.