Akin – Emma Donoghue

An odd couple makes a trip to Nice France. Noah is a 79-year-old recently-widowed childless retired University professor; Michael is his 11-year-old great-nephew who Noah has never met. Their wildly disparate backgrounds create both considerable conflict and humour as they investigate a series of World War II photographs from Noah’s mother. This is a wondrously written story of love, loss and family.

Paris Echo – Sebastian Faulks

Faulks is a superb writer (A Week in December) and this latest novel continues his tradition of literary excellence. Above all, the story is a love letter to Paris, with two interesting and vastly dissimilar characters. Hannah is a 31-year-old American historian researching the experiences of Parisienne women during World War II. Tariq is a 19-year-old from Morocco looking for … something. There are echoes of the past in the present that are fascinating. This is a thought-provoking story with two memorable characters: highly recommended.

Two Steps Forward – Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

Two Steps Forward - Graeme Simsion and Anne BuistAn engrossing story of two people’s 2000-km 90-day journey from Cluny, France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the Chemin St. Jacques aka Camino de Santiago. Zoe is a 45 year old Californian whose partner has died recently. Martin is a 52 year old recently-divorced engineer from Yorkshire, England. Their separate but interlinked journeys offer introspective musings on human truths: that life is complicated and that relationships can be difficult. Nothing earth shattering in the content but presented in a very pleasing and satisfactory manner, and the context of the journey is superb.

(Graeme Simsion wrote the The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect)