Reviews

Memoir/Biography

Max by Alex Miller

Reviewed by Rod McLary In his previous book The Passage of Love, Alex Miller wrote a fictionalised memoir.  In that book, he speaks of Martin Bloch – a close friend who encouraged him in his writing.  The Passage of Love was reviewed in these pages in April 2018. The fictionalised Martin Bloch in the previous

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Memoir/Biography

Out of Copley Street by Geoff Goodfellow

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Out of Copley Street is a collection of short stories featuring the working-class boyhood of Geoff Goodfellow. He is better known for his poetry giving voice to the anger of the disenfranchised. He usually presented his poetry on building sites, in factories and in prisons. The book is dedicated to one

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History

France before 1789: The Unraveling of an Absolutist Regime by Jon Elster

Reviewed by Ian Lipke In his book, L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution (1856) Alexis de Tocqueville  claimed that the French Revolution (1789–1799) was never intended to change the whole nature of traditional society. It was not interested in tearing down all forms of the ancien régime or in creating a state of permanent disorder. He argued a theory

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Children

The 130-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve In the days before Covid 19, and if you were lucky enough to participate in a Writers’ Festival, as I was, you will be struck by the crowds of devoted children, accompanied by equally enthusiastic parents hanging on every word spoken by Andy Griffiths.  Sessions involving him and Terry Dent unfailingly

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Memoir/Biography

Agent Sonya by Ben Macintyre

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It doesn’t happen often, but just occasionally, with no warning whatsoever, along comes a book in an unprepossessing cover, that just glows with quality. It does not dazzle; it begins in a very ordinary way but, within a few pages, you know you will not put it down until the very

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Health/Wellbeing

My Year of Living Mindfully by Shannon Harvey

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders Anyone who spends a year doing something then writes a book about it, risks being placed in the same genre as British expats who move to Provence or Tuscany and regale us with tales of French plumbers and Italian cooking classes. Despite some initial trepidation about My Year of Living Mindfully,

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Children

Rudie Nudie Christmas by Emma Quay

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve What a pleasure to review Rudie Nudie Christmas, a charming book for toddlers which captures the excitement of the night before December the 25th.  It beautifully depicts how the preparations for the visit by Santa can make a routine like bath time a long drawn out activity. Links are made to

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Memoir/Biography

On Seamus Heaney by R. F. Foster

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Writing with the restraint of the professional academic but with all the vim of a youthful enthusiast, R. F. Foster has published On Seamus Heaney, his take on the life and writings of one of Ireland’s famous poets. A deep knowledge of Irish literature and the Irish people and their history

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Children

Skydragon by Anh Do

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The multi-talented Anh Do has introduced a new series of books with the alluring title Sky Dragon. It follows the success of his Wolf Girl and Mythix. Sky Dragon tells of an eight-year-old girl, Amber Autumn, who suffers the loss of her family, her home destroyed and being scarred by the

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Children

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

  Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Hollowpox is the third in the six to nine books planned around the adventures of Morrigan Crow, written by Jessica Townsend.  Each book addresses new adventures for Morrigan as she is accepted into the Wundrous Society, in Nevermoor.  Only those with a special skill are taken. The first book, Nevermoor:

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General Fiction

Six Tudor Queens: Katheryn Howard by Alison Weir

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The story of Katheryn Howard is the fifth in the Six Tudor Queens series that Alison Weir seems to turn out so effortlessly. While the contents of the books are fiction, they are so carefully researched as to persuade the reader that the events are factual and the characters true revelations

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Crime/Mystery

The Two Lost Mountains by Matthew Reilly

Reviewed by Ian Lipke This is Matthew Reilly’s sixteenth book and the sixth in the Jack West Jr series. Fans of the author will not be disappointed with Reilly’s latest volume. It is an unashamed action thriller, designed to stir the blood of the most anaemic of readers while supplying the most hot-blooded of action

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Crime/Mystery

Trust by Chris Hammer

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Like a fine wine, Chris Hammer’s writing of thrillers seems to improve with age.  His first two novels, ‘Scrublands’ and ‘Silver’ were very good and he was welcomed as a talented and significant crime writer. ‘Trust’, his most recent novel, is an excellent addition to his work. Once more, Martin Scarsden,

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General Fiction

Jack by Marilynne Robinson

Reviewed by Rod McLary Marilynne Robinson is reputed to be one of America’s finest contemporary writers – a reputation with which I would wholeheartedly agree. Jack – her most recent novel – is a prequel of sorts to her series of novels comprising Gilead, Home and Lila.  The story is set just after World War

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Non-Fiction

Mantel Pieces by Hilary Mantel

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Mantel Pieces is a selection of twenty essays and reviews which Hilary Mantel has written since her earliest experience with the London Review of Books late last century. The first review focuses on Shere Hite’s “American Marriage”.  The value of Hite’s research into her subject is clouded by the widely held

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