It was a lively and interesting meeting this month, says Book Club Co-Ordinator Elaine.

Book One: ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ by Christy Lefteri

The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ has the most beautiful cover of any that I have ever seen.  It reflects the life lived in Aleppo before the war, a theme that runs through this amazing novel.  However the horror of a life lived as a refugee travelling across Europe to safety is the anthesis of this.  Lives are torn apart and family murdered left our readers in tears.

“One of the best books I’ve ever read.” enthused Eddie “It brought tears to the eyes, especially in comparing the instability of the refugees and the constancy of the bees.”

Although a work of fiction, Christy Lefteri took her inspiration from real events that she’d witnessed whilst working in a camp in Greece, which explains the feeling of this being so near the truth of the situation.

“Very well and convincingly written.” commented Chip “Had to keep reminding myself that this was a work of fiction, so convincing were the portrayals of the characters and their plights.  A book which everyone needs to read.”

The whole group felt that we don’t appreciate how lucky we are and what it truly means to be without home, hearth and ones own culture.

Mark R summed up the group’s feelings; “A fascinating book.  I now have a lot more sympathy for those seeking political asylum…it did make me think.”

Book Two: ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens

The second book this month polarised the group.  ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ was the biggest selling novel of 2019 in America, but reviewers worldwide either loved it or hated it.

There is no doubt that the descriptions of place are superb and the empathy with nature amazing, but the characterisation was stereotypical and weak.  The author truly connects with the natural world but less well with people it appears.

“Such an aggravating book.” said a frustrated Mark F.  “While I’m happy to suspend disbelief, the author fails to convince that the set-up is remotely possible – and don’t get me started on the saintly black characters and the dreadful denouement…”

Joan said “A real Marmite book. I hated it.”

Many of us, however, loved it:

“One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in years. The author is so good on loneliness and desertion.” said James.

“The tenderness of the writing made me feel very protective towards the protagonist.” commented Carol.

Faye enjoyed it enough to read it more than once.  “Read it twice and loved it both times.  I fell into Kya’s life and became absorbed into what surrounded it.”

Tracey connected to the characters.  “I’ve never cared so much about a character so early in a book.”

“There’s a beautiful underlying relationship with nature at the heart of this book.” said Elaine B.

So ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ and ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ were two books that provided us with much to discuss and plenty of enjoyable hours to read.

Coming Next

Next month (13th April 2021 at 12 noon), we’re delighted that author Tracey Gemmell will be joining us to discuss her novel ‘Dunster’s Calling’.  The book deals with the draw of home and the need to return.  It should speak to all of us who love the West Country and Somerset in particular, so we can’t wait.