Liz updates us on a month of voracious reading by our friendly book group.

We gave ourselves an extra week to read this month as it is always a busy time of year. That was appreciated as ‘The Whalebone Theatre’ by Joanna Quinn was a ‘big’ read. We all loved it and some of us had time left to read our other choice.

‘The Whalebone Theatre’ by Joanna Quinn

After a slow start, Liz and Jane thought it worth enjoying those early chapters as it felt, later on, that the author had placed all her characters in a time and setting which was important as the novel unfolded. It was well-worth persevering. Some people reading on Kindle were still enjoying it so when we discussed it there was a certain amount of ‘holding back’ so as not to spoil the read for the others.

Our favourite character, by far, was Christabel. What an unusual girl who turned into an outstanding woman. It was a shame some of the early characters melted away later on, but we did wonder if our author was saving them for future books. We do hope so!

‘The Murder Game’ by Tom Hindle

This sounded so good from the reviews of those who had read it. (Liz will by buying it when Tom visits the Yeovil Literary Festival and will squirrel it away for a winter read).

Siobhan loved this book. Carol and Mark both said they referred back to the list of characters as the novel unfolded. It’s New Year’s Eve in a hamlet with no wi-fi. Neighbours and residents are exposed to unresolved secrets and grudges. After page 50 revelations, characters leave the hamlet. That sounds a brilliant read and it comes highly recommended by those who had a chance to read it this month. It was highlighted that Tom Hindle has a raft of other books that all look interesting.

More Book Chat

We also discussed other books we’d read recently.

‘The Dressmaker’ by Rosalie Ham has been mentioned before. Set in Australia’s outback, vengeance stalks throughout after a dressmaker returns to the town. It was mentioned that Kate Winslet starred in the film, but it was felt it was better to read the book first to gain the best feeling.

Carol read ‘The Sister’s Brother’ by Patrick de Witt. She thought the characters horrid and there was no redemption.

She also read ‘The Forgotten Garden’ by Rosanna Ley. She loved it as she had holidayed in Puglia and also knew the Dorset setting well. A really good relaxing read.

Mark read Sheila Hancock’s diaries in ‘Old Rage’. He thought her an excellent speaker and he thought her life was really interesting. A formidable lady who always performs her best.

Siobhan also read ‘Killing Moon’ by Jo Nesbo. She described it as a grizzly read involving parasites. She Googled ‘parasites’ as it was so real. A very Nordic read with a brilliant translation. Thoroughly enjoyed and recommended.

Eddie recalled an article in the New Scientist on biomes within the body. Eddie has been an avid read of this fascinating magazine for many years.

Liz has read Hazel Prior’s latest novel ‘Life and Otter Matters’ prior to Hazel visiting our Yeovil Literary Festival. Highly recommended, and pre-loved characters appear again alongside the adorable otters. Excellent read.

Jane read ‘Queen of the Desert’ by Georgina Howell about the life of Gertrude Bell, who became an expert in mapping the Saudi Arabian desert. There is also a play on iPlayer that she recommends.

Siobhan is enjoying the David Mitchel book ‘Unruly – A history of England’s Kings and Queens’. Another good read for history lovers.

Future Events

The Yeovil Literary Prize Past Winners’ event is being held on Friday 27th October where extracts of winning novels, plus a short story and poems will be read. A Past Winner, Katherine Black, will be bringing her published novel, so this is well worth attending.

Next Month’s Reads

  • ‘The Romantic’ by William Boyd is in paperback and looks really interesting.
  • ‘The Last Night in Paris’ by Ruth Druart.

We have our eyes on the latest Robert Galbraith novel but it’s still in hardback so that is a future read.

Enjoy whatever you are reading and

Keep smiling!