Fabulous February, although the shortest calendar month is neither here nor there. The daffodils are coming up but it’s still cold enough to light the fire. Days are getting longer and there’s an inclination to head outdoors but really what’s the hurry… Take your time, linger in hibernation mode and indulge the opportunity to read some of these fantastic (early) Spring reads. Perfect if you’re avoiding any Valentine’s shenanigans, promises to exercise and those mislaid New Year’s Resolutions!
The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal
This is Kit de Waal’s eagerly awaited second novel after June 2016’s international bestseller My Name is Leon.
At 262 pages it’s a refreshing, enjoyable and compulsive read. Switching back and forth in time it spans the gentle Mona’s childhood in Waterford, Birmingham in the 70’s and her late middle age in a welcoming seaside town. A tale of young love found, then tragically lost, the ensuing layers of grief and the value of friendship. De Waal handles sensitive issues around motherhood with a really compassionate and authentic voice; her characters are fleshed out and endearing. A highly original page-turner with a well crafted story line and unpredictable ending, it had me enthralled.
Skin Deep by Liz Nugent
After the highly successful Unravelling Oliver and Lying in Wait, Liz Nugent has a ready audience and they won’t be disappointed by this pacy new thriller. When the instantly dislikeable and narcissistic Cordelia Russell’s family all die in a suspicious house fire, it sets her young life on a disastrous course. But the sneaky and heartless Cordelia is like a cat with nine lives, constantly devising ways to survive. Leaving the remote island of Inishcrann, she soon becomes scandalously pregnant by the wrong brother. Her drastically changing circumstances quickly see her enjoying London high society, only to fall into a precarious existence as a gangster’s moll in the South of France. Sometimes farfetched, but always stimulating, Nugent knows how to write a ripping yarn, this tense thriller twists and turns in 372 suspense filled pages.
Silence Under a Stone by Norma MacMaster
This is a stunning debut novel from Norma MacMaster at the impressive age of 81. Harriet is 82 and languishing in a nursing home, her waning days spent looking back over a troubled life. Married at 16 to a pious man, she gives birth to a much loved son. Their relationship is however severely tested when as a youth his life choices challenge her staunch religious beliefs. Spanning the guts of a century this is a deeply insightful and arresting read. Set against the backdrop of a century it bears witness to two World Wars, rural electrification, and the Ira hunger strikes. Even at a moderate 285 pages, it’s an epic story, imbued with a great sense of history, of time and place. A haunting novel about tolerance and redemption, how lives can be destroyed by bigotry and tradition.
Photo credit Alice Hampson, Unsplash