Woman Sitting on Chair Using Black Ipad

It was another gathering of happy readers at this month’s YCAA Book Club – and what an interesting selection of books we discussed this time!

Book One: ‘Horse’ by Geraldine Brooke

This was recommended by Liz as she’s enjoyed two of Geraldine’s previous books, ‘The People of The Book’ and ‘March’ (The father of ‘Little Women’). ‘Horse‘ did not disappoint. In fact, it was a learning experience through history. The theme was a painting of a famous winning bloodline horse brought right up to date in a very readable way. Geraldine’s writing is loved by Liz and she would recommend this novel.

Faye thought it was excellent and enjoyed getting involved with a good read.

Carol pointed out that it was how it made her ‘feel’. A powerful book with parts that were shocking, but a compelling read.

Mark referred to it as ‘faction’ which we concurred. These were real characters, except for Jarret, and the question remained as to which painting it turned out to be. The modern touch was that it started with a bike and a dilemma, but the whole book was brilliant.

Sandra thought it could have been two books. Discussion on how we read books with dual points of view, and about how it might feel being a black person then and in the present day. We loved this book, but some editing would have helped a couple of readers.

Chip reads on an e-reader and is only 10% into ‘Horse’ but having heard the discussion he will definitely continue.

Book 2: ‘Carriage 451’ by Barry Joyce

This was Chip’s choice and he recommended that we use Wikipedia to look up lead character Joe Boyle, who was a real person. He was a successful, wealthy Canadian and in WWII he wanted to pay for a troop but ended up being offered a contract to sort out the Russian railways. He was offered the Tsarina’s former-carriage – known as 451 – hence the story followed.

Carol and Sandra would love this novel to be made into a film or a documentary.

Chip is also a member of another book group in Brompton Regis.  One of the members of that group is related to the author. There was discussion about Bulgarian crown jewels in Kremlin and the adventure of returning them. There was turmoil in Russia at the time, but the jewels were returned.

Faye thought Joe was such a charismatic character. Apparently, he is buried in Surrey.

Sandra loved it and couldn’t put it down. He industrialised gold mining in Canada, had tremendous charm and connections. We all wondered if he had been an out of control spy!

Recommended we read more on Wikipedia.

What Else Have We Been Reading?

Then we shared all the other books we had read during the past month.

Jane has read some interesting ones. The first being ‘Harvest‘ by Georgina Harding.

Also, ‘The Red Bird Sings‘ by Aoife Fitzpatrick, followed by ‘Babylon Berlin‘ by Volker Kutscher. This is on Netflix but only a short series.

Sandra has been reading ‘Found in a Bookshop‘ by Stephanie Butland. This is about how a bookshop suited the needs of readers during the pandemic. She has enjoyed this one.

Mark has read ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine‘ by Gail Honeyman, but by the end had decided this was not his type of book. This one always generates opinion!

Chip has read Michael Palin’s ‘Great-Uncle Harry‘, who, in WWI, a New Zealander, joined up but did not survive. He was fighting in the Dardanelles and Gallipoli. Many lost their lives there. Chip said for this book the research was incredible, gained from letters. So many socks were sent from New Zealand and England!

Carol has been enjoying quite a few books, including two of Posy Lovell’s, ‘Kew Gardens Girls‘ and ‘The Sewing Factory Girls‘. She also read ‘Carriage 451’, ‘Horse’ and ‘The Bookbinder of Jericho‘ by Pip Williams.

Sandra read Harlan Coben’s ‘I Will Find You‘. She found this a very good read and mentioned it is on Netflix.

Theresa was unable to attend but sent a message to say she didn’t enjoy ‘The Little Old Lady Who Broke all the Rules’ from last month.

Faye read on Kindle ‘I Captured the Castle‘ by Dodi Smith and thought it very good. Set in a decrepit castle in the mid-1930s with an interesting family. Carol and Jane also liked this one.

Chip mentioned that the Book at Bedtime is ‘Frenchmen’s Creek‘ by Daphne de Maurier. Lots of chat about this but the consensus was that we all loved it when read at various times.

Eddie is reading an interesting book by Matt Chorley entitled ‘Planes, Trains and Toilet Doors‘. The author lives locally. We might return to this one when its out in paperback later this year.

Liz read two really interesting but different books. A recommendation from the East Chinnock Book Group was ‘The Language of Food‘ by Annabel Abbs. Liz loves cookery and poetry so was pleased to read this. Another ‘faction’ spun into a very believable story. Eliza Acton is the goddess of English cookery, admired by culinary stars including Elizabeth David and Delia Smith. This was also historical, with the setting and dilemmas facing the poor and the unmarried women of the time. Excellent library book.

Her next book was ‘The List of Suspicious Things‘ by Jennie Godfrey, a local author and bookseller from Taunton Waterstones. It is the voice of a 12 -year-old girl living under the shadow of the Yorkshire Ripper. Excellent book, with strong voice, characters, time and setting. Highly recommended.

Mark also read a biography of an aircraft spotter. Mark Blackburn’s ‘Final Approach – My Father and other Turbulence‘. This writer is based in Somerset.

The good news is that Chip is about to have his third novel published as next month is scheduled to be publication date. It’s ‘Puffball Paradox‘. We can’t wait to read it, Chip!

Next Month

Next Month we meet on 9th April and our chosen books are:

We meet at 12 noon on Tuesday 9th April in the Westlands Entertainment Venue and look forward to seeing you there.  Until then, happy reading!