As with the first instalment of this little series, each of the books I write about will, of course, have a corresponding star rating, and will be reviewed in the order in which I read them.
21. A Woman’s Place by Ruth Adam ***
Plot: The social history of women between 1910 and 1975 is presented here, through such lenses as education and sex.
Thoughts: I would have found this far more compelling if I had little knowledge of the topic; consequently, I do not feel as though I learnt much at all.
22. Hitler’s Savage Canary by David Lampe ****
Plot: Charts the Danish Resistance Movement during the Second World War through a series of true stories.
Thoughts: A compelling read, filled with a wealth of fascinating formation in a strong narrative voice.
23. Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson *****
Plot: A young orphaned girl is taken to live in a lighthouse with rather a mysterious man, whom she grows to love.
Thoughts: Beautiful, striking and stunning, I knew that I would love this almost from the first page.
24. The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden ***
Plot: A Scottish doctor practicing in Uganda is made the personal physician of tyrant Idi Amin.
Thoughts: I don’t usually say this, but the film is better…
25. Murder Underground by Mavis Doriel Hay ****
Plot: A woman is found, strangled with a dog lead, on the steps of Belsize Park Station in London, and it is largely up to those in the boarding house in which she lives to find out what happened.
Thoughts: Whilst this novel is well paced and written, it does not quite stand up to Hay’s wonderful Death on the Cherwell.
26. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles **
Plot: A Victorian man falls in love with a shamed woman; usual plot hooks ensue.
Thoughts: I honestly found this a little stale, and seem to be the only person in the world who didn’t enjoy it.
27. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (did not finish)
Plot: The account of the Elder Days, the first stage of Tolkien’s Middle Earth world.
Thoughts: A little too fantastical for my tastes.
28. The Gentlewomen by Laura Talbot ****
Plot: A fascinating fictional portrait of two self-confessed gentlewomen in service at the same grand house.
Thoughts: Well-worked conversation and realistic (if not likeable) characters made this green-spined Virago a joy to read.
29. London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes ****
Plot: A woman’s account of life on the Home Front during the Second World War, all with her beloved capital city as focus.
Thoughts: Far less personal and more political than I thought it would be, but it is all the more interesting for it.
30. The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman by Louis de Bernieres (did not finish)
Plot: A search for sexual fulfilment for the President of a South American country, whose economy has collapsed.
Thoughts: Not at all up to the standard of Notwithstanding or Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and it simply did not interest me enough to complete it.
Have you read any of these books? Are there any which you are intrigued enough about to pick up? What do you think about the two-line format of these reviews?
Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the series!