Has anyone else been getting so much more reading done since lockdown begun? I think between January and March I had read about 2 books but in the one month we’ve been in lockdown, I’ve read 4! Ok, it’s still not a lot in the grand scheme of things but when you fall asleep after reading a page it is an achievement! It has actually reminded me just how much I love a good book to get into it.
I’ve been inspired by Beth to start creating more bookish content, including mini reviews on my blog. I love getting other people’s recommendations and hearing what people think about different books, so I’m going to share my thoughts and feelings on the books I have read so far this year. I am also going to share the GoodReads descriptions of each book.
6 Mini Book Reviews
“Ellen never expected the Hallendorf school to be quite so unusual. Her life back in England with her suffragette mother and liberated aunts certainly couldn’t be called normal, but buried deep in the beautiful Austrian countryside, Ellen discovers an eccentric world occupied by wild children and even wilder teachers, experimental dancers and a tortoise on wheels. And then there is the particularly intriguing, enigmatic, and very handsome Marek, part-time gardener and fencing teacher. Ellen is instantly attracted to the mysterious gardener, but Hitler’s Reich is already threatening their peaceful world, and only when she discovers Marek’s true identity and his dangerous mission does Ellen realize the depth of her feelings for him – and the danger their newfound love faces in the shadow of war.”
I used to love Eva Ibbotson’s book as a child, they were probably among my favourite books (discounting Malory Towers of course!) so when my Mum told me that she had also written books for adults I was so excited. Mum actually bought me this book for Christmas on my kindle so it was officially the first book of 2020.
I had high hopes, but I wasn’t completely blown away. I’ve rated it 3 stars mainly because I really struggled to get into the book in the first place. I found the storyline quite slow and long-winded and my foggy brain struggled to keep up with all of the different characters. In fact, I couldn’t remember many of the characters because they didn’t make a huge impression on me and just seemed a bit unnecessary to be honest. Part seemed over-complicated and I felt like Ibbotson had tried to make a children’s book more mature and adulty (if that is even a word!). However, I did enjoy the storyline overall. The plot was lovely and the story itself is the reason why I carried on reading it. It’s just a shame that the writing didn’t match the story.
“A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.”
I had heard so many good things about this book and actually bought it months ago. However, having been to Auschwitz and Birkenau when I was a teenager, I knew just how harrowing it is and I kept putting off reading it. I was expecting something incredibly powerful and real but it didn’t quote live up to my expectations. Similarly to A Song For Summer, I thought the storyline was really good and I would recommend reading it, as I have heard from others that they found the book incredibly powerful and moving. I think the story itself is incredibly moving and I just think it is a shame that the writing didn’t quite do it justice.
“England 1922. It’s been four years since Rudy’s brother Edgar went missing in war-torn France. Still deep in mourning and grappling with unanswered questions, Rudy and his mother struggle to move on. When the enigmatic Mariette arrives unexpectedly at the family’s manor claiming to be Edgar’s widow, and the mother of his child, Rudy urges her to stay, hoping she’ll shed light on the missing pieces.”
I docked one star from this book purely because it took me a while to get into. However, once I did get into it, I couldn’t put it down. It was really a beautiful story that encompasses the horrors of war in France without being on the front line and not being specifically about war. The characters were developed as the book went on and I really started to empathise with each of them. I found each character fascinating and complex, I wanted to dive deep into their past and their personalities, just wanting to know more and more about each one. A slow burner but worth it in the end.
“Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly-imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…”
Started it and finished in the same day – it was lighthearted, funny, sad, romantic and exactly what I needed to read. Whilst it was so heart-warming and enjoyable, the author did address more serious issues, such as emotional abuse, trauma and suffering but she deals with them incredibly well. I thoroughly enjoyed it and could not put it down.
“Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…”
I’m conflicted with this book. At first, I really struggled to get into it. I couldn’t engage with the characters – they were interesting but I couldn’t empathise with any of them. I couldn’t like any of them. But as I got through the book and events unfolded, I found myself unable to put the book down. I think it perfectly demonstrates how nobody is perfect, there isn’t the ‘perfect’ character. They all make mistakes, but some are worse than others.
“Years ago, Beth Lathrop and her sister Kate suffered what they thought would be the worst tragedy of their lives the night both the famous painting Moonlight and their mother were taken. The detective assigned to the case, Conor Reid, swore to protect the sisters from then on […] When Beth is found strangled in her home, and Moonlight goes missing again, Detective Reid can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu.”
I could not put this book down. I was completely and utterly gripped by the storyline, the characters, the plot twists, I cannot fault it. Many other reviews said there was too much description and not enough action, but to be honest, that is what I enjoyed. I love being able to really imagine the events unfold in my mind and I was able to do that with this book. Each character had their own exploration and I enjoyed getting to know each one. If you love a whodunnit, definitely give this book a read.
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I am now reading The Switch by Beth O’Leary, another good book which I am thoroughly enjoying! It is the same author who wrote The Flatshare so I am really excited to read this one. Let me know in the comments what you’re currently reading at the moment!
Until next time,