Reviews

Crime/Mystery

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve In this absorbing novel, Emma Stonex has created a suspenseful tale where several characters are overshadowed by The Maiden, a tower style lighthouse built perilously on rocks, miles from Lands End, Cornwall.  Their story is based on the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers, from a light, miles off the wild

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History

Moscow Monumental by Katherine Zubovich

Reviewed by Ian Lipke To think I would be up at 4.30 am, reading a book about tall buildings in Moscow, is ludicrous. Yet there I was, sleep-deprived, absorbed in Katherine Zubovich’s Moscow Monumental, a grey, dull-covered book (totally representative of Stalinist times), not something that normally attracts my attention. The source of my interest

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General Fiction

The Breaking by Irma Gold

Reviewed by Rod McLary The Breaking is the debut adult novel by Irma Gold who has previously written a number of short stories and three children’s books.  For her first foray into adult fiction, she has crafted an intriguing and moving story which focusses on two young Australian women – Hannah and Deven.  They meet

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General Fiction

The Family Doctor by Debra Oswald

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Few can be unaware of the debates and proposals raging currently concerning the scourge of domestic violence that ravages our society. It is widespread and occurs in all strata of the community. Toxic masculinity is, sadly, a commonly used phrase and is a serious factor involved in the attacks on women.

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General Fiction

Hold Your Fire by Chloe Wilson

Reviewed by Rod McLary Hold Your Fire is a collection of short stories – each offering an insight into our inner desires and fears.  In this excellent collection of contemporary short stories, the author challenges our perceptions and certainties. As well as the more conventional style of short story, the collection also contains examples of

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Crime/Mystery

Other People’s Houses by Kelli Hawkins

Reviewed by Rod McLary The image used for the cover of this first novel by Kelli Hawkins depicts what at first glance seems like the garden of a luxurious home – second and third glances reveal bare feet in the swimming pool which may or may not belong to a body, and the not quite

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Children

The Quicksand Pony by Alison Lester

Reviewed by Gerard Healy An engaging tale by Alison Lester of two children: a girl and her horse and a boy and his unusual mum. The girl is ten-year-old Biddy who lives on a cattle property close to the ocean in the rugged Gippsland district of Victoria. The other main character, nine-year-old Joe, has had

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General Fiction

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Reviewed by Rod McLary American Dirt, when first published in the United States, attracted some controversy because of its subject matter and because it was written by an author who has identified as white.  The controversy centred on the fact that the book chronicles the escape of a mother and her eight-year-old son from Mexico

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General Fiction

A Week to Remember by Esther Campion

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The title of Esther Campion’s latest offering, A Week to Remember, is most appropriate to the story within the covers of this book. The setting is a renovated holiday destination in West Cork, Ireland. To this place come several parties each with their own stories. Mick’s mother, Lilian Fitzgerald, has gifted

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Politics

On Charlatans by Chris Bowen

Reviewed by Gerard Healy Chris Bowen, the senior ALP politician, has penned an interesting little book on the rise of the political charlatan in the recent past. Bowen attempts two things in this book. Firstly, to seek to understand how these charlatans work and secondly, to sketch a roadmap back to victory for Labor at

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Children

The Last Bear by Hannah Gold

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve This book, with its eleven-year-old heroine and her father, is a first novel.  It is beautifully written with a strong environmental message. April Wood lives with her father, a scientist and widower, and loves to spend time in her garden, observing nature and befriending a wild fox she calls Braveheart.  Her

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Memoir/Biography

Breathtaking by Rachel Clarke

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Challenging, difficult and sometimes overwhelming in its content, this book was written by an NHS doctor working in the year of the pandemic. Rachel Clarke is a young doctor whose role, prior to Covid 19, was to tend patients facing their battle with terminal illness in a hospice in Oxfordshire. There

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General Fiction

Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Amy, the leading character in this book, is a compulsive hoarder.  When a shocking episode shatters her life shared by a boyfriend she loved and a girlfriend she was deeply attached to, she begins to collect objects that reminded her of happier times.  They offered a constancy that her friend and

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Historical Fiction

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Florence, who is passionate about her swimming, plans to be one of the first women to swim the English Channel. She lives and trains in the ocean off Atlantic City and its famous Boardwalk.  She is vivacious and strong, loved by all who know her. Very early in the book, she

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Historical Fiction

Those Who Are Saved by Alexis Landau

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Alexis Landau presents her story through the lives of three key characters between August 1940 and August 1945. They were all Jewish and each of them had different experiences during the time of the Nazi occupation in Europe. Chapter 1 is set in February 1945, then the story reverts to the

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