A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson

A God In Ruins by Kate AtkinsonThis story is told in tantalizing pieces/sequences, alternating between 1925 to 2012. The slow reveal of details is exquisite. The central character, Teddy, is complex, both a WWII hero and yet somewhat cowardly in other aspects of his life. His relationship with his daughter Viola is particularly fascinating; she resents his reasonableness. And there is a big surprise at the end but in retrospect, this should have not been surprising because this novel is a companion to Atkinson’s superb last book, Life After Life.

The Children’s Act by Ian McEwan

The Children's Act by Ian McEwanMcEwan writes wonderfully; even sentences with multiple phrases separated by commas read smoothly. In this novel about a 59 year-old Family Court Judge, McEwan revisits a theme in Atonement, namely that actions have consequences. In this book, however, the main character is not very likeable, mainly because she is selfish, therefore it seems very unlikely that there can be any “atonement” so the ending becomes somewhat unsatisfactory. Not one of McEwan’s bestbooks but still worth a read.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

This is a cracking good mystery, with misinterpreted observations, deceit and lies (intentional and unintentional). The writing is reminiscent of Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, et al) with two time lines that precede and follow an apparent crime. The main character in this novel is delightfully flawed, a real train wreck.

Remarkable Creatures – Tracy Chevalier

Remarkable Creatures - Tracy Chevalier.jpegThis is the story of two women in the early 1800s in Lyme Regis England. They are both fossil hunters and remarkable finders, but this is in the era before extinction is proposed, and the issues of taking women seriously is paramount.  A very good read.  (thanks Thea).

The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)

he Silkworm - Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)This is the second book about Cormoran Strike, a hard-boiled private investigator in the Mickey Spillane mode. This book is set in the vicious world of publishing. Excellent plot with ongoing development of the relationship between Cormoran and his trusty secretary, Robin. The story takes place in London, and you can feel the cold of an English winter.

Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

wide sargasso seaThis is the back-story to Rochester’s mad wife in Jane Eyre, a woman trapped in England after a life in the Caribbean. Rochester is revealed as first immature, then manipulative, greedy and deceitful so that his wife Antoinette is driven into madness. The author Rhys’ story is also fascinating.