Friday, 3 June 2016

WHAT I READ | May

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. 'Jess and Jason', she calls them. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar. Now they'll see; she's much more than just the girl on the train...
MY THOUGHTS
I have written a full review of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, you can find that here.
THE UNSEEN BY KATHERINE WEBB
England, 1911.

When a free-spirited young woman arrives in a sleepy Berkshire village to work as a maid in the household of the Reverend and Mrs Canning, she sets in motion a chain of events which changes all their lives. For Cat has a past - a past her new mistress is willing to overlook but will never understand...

This is not all Hester Canning has to cope with. When her husband invites a young man into their home, he brings within him a dangerous obsession... During the long, oppressive summer, the rectory becomes charged with ambition, love and jealousy - with the most devastating consequences.
MY THOUGHTS
The Unseen is the kind of book that envelopes you in its tale whilst reading, but when you come away from the book you realise many things you perhaps didn't whilst reading... One of those being how slow the story was. Once all is said and done, the book could have been compacted in to something smaller than it is. I'm not the biggest fan of books longer than 350 pages, and that's probably why this is the aspect of the book that stands out to me the most.
US BY DAVID NICHOLLS
Douglas and Connie: scientist and artist, and for more than twenty years husband and wife until suddenly, their marriage seems over.
But Douglas is going to win back the love of his wife and the respect of Albie, their teenage son, by organising the holiday of a lifetime.
He has booked the hotels, bought the train tickets, planned and printed the itinerary for a 'grand tour' of the great art galleries of Europe.
What could possibly go wrong?
MY THOUGHTS
I have written a full review of Us by David Nicholls, you can find that here.
One morning a librarian finds a reader who has been locked in overnight. She begins to talk to him, a one-way conversation full of sharp insight and quiet outrage.
As she rails against snobbish senior colleagues, an ungrateful and ignorant public, the strictures of the Dewey Decimal System and the sinister expansionist conspiracies of the books themselves, two things shine through: her unrequited passion for a researcher names Martin, and an ardent and absolute love for the arts.
A delightful divertissement for the discerning bookworm...
MY THOUGHTS
At just under 100 pages, The Library of Unrequited Love makes for a speedy read, however I didn't find the book to be of the page turning variety as I wasn't entirely invested in the main character. When the book is basically a monologue from the one character, librarian in this instance, I find you'll need to like her in some sense or other. It isn't that I disliked her... I kind of just felt nothing for her.
I thought it would be great having an insight in to life as a librarian, but I think the role portrayed here is a little outdated or cliché even. Any librarians who have read this, could you fill me in on that please?
I found the book amused me some what, despite my thoughts above, and I did rate his one at three stars on Goodreads.
Judith has been visiting her mother, Stephanie, in prison once a month for the last eight years. Even now, they find it impossible to talk about what brought them here - Stephanie's transformation under the influence of a charismatic yet manipulative man, and the horrifying act of violence that changed everything. Some say that Stephanie was a victim too, that she wasn't responsible for her actions. But Judith's own life is in pieces and she's not so easily convinced.
Do you have to love a parent unconditionally? And can you forgive the things you will never forget...?
MY THOUGHTS
I was really quite intrigued by the premise of The Followers when picking it up on a whim in the bookshop, but unfortunately it didn't deliver like I had hoped. The plot itself is good and keeps you page turning but it's the kind of book you read once and then disappears from memory. I found the book to be slow starting initially, with depth starting to form after the 50 page mark, but I feel like so much more could have been explored. I didn't feel a connection with the characters, I thought Stephanie was taken in by the religious cult way too soon, and the writing was a little bit simple. I found it hard rating The Followers as there were some good elements, and some not so good, but I also saw where the author was trying to go with it all - ultimately I gave The Followers the middle ground of a three star rating.

THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON BY KATE MORTON
The House at Riverton is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars. Perfect for fans of "Downton Abbey," it's the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death, and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all.

The novel is full of secrets -- some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It's also a meditation on memory and the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.

MY THOUGHTS
Over the years I've heard many great things surrounding Kate Morton's books, and having now had my first experience reading her work I can definitely see why. You'll be sure to see more Kate Morton books coming up on my blog in the future, that's for sure!

The House at Riverton is a really well paced novel, with depth and detail that keeps you guessing right up until the very end, but rest assured, everything is tied into a neat little bow at the end. I absolutely loved this book... So much so that I read it in Kindle format but will be purchasing in paperback, plus all her other books over a period of time!!
What did you read in May?
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11 comments

  1. I've always been curious about The House at Riverton. It sounds really good. Glad you enjoyed it. Lots a good ones in May!!

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    1. Oh, I definitely recommend picking up The House at Riverton, Brandie. Such a good read!

      May was a good reading month, thank you :-)

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  2. I have wanted to read Kate Morton for awhile also, glad you enjoyed your 1st read. I'm going to check out your reviews. Enjoy the weekend Jade.

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    1. I'd recommend Kate Morton's books, although having only read the first! Her stories are the kind you find yourself easily wrapped up, at least that's what I found to be the case with The House at Riverton.

      Thank you - I hope you've had a wonderful weekend!

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  3. Glad you enjoyed Girl on the Train, I liked it too although I did struggle a bit in the middle. I did feel bad for Rachel though and was really curious how it would end.

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    1. I definitely got that feeling... Ultimately I just wanted to know how all of it would end.

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  4. Kate Morton is wonderful!! I loved The House at Riverton. :)

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    1. The House at Riverton was a really wonderful read :-)

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  5. Oh, I am so glad to hear you did enjoy your first Kate Morton novel! I am always a bit nervous recommending my favorite authors -- more so than individual books I've liked, but I just can't help myself with Morton. They won't be for everyone, but I'm glad to find a fellow fan :)

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    1. I actually think the reason I first decided to check out Kate Morton's work was through mentions on your blog - I'd been aware of her work prior, but given that we tend to like similar books and you had spoke so highly of her work I knew I had to explore for myself.

      I'll be picking up more of her work, that's for sure!

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    2. I am so glad to hear it :) I am still holding off on reading her latest, The Lake House, because that's the last one I have left until she writes again (hopefully soon!) -- and it's not like I don't have plenty of other books to choose from -- haha!

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