Richard and Judy summer reads

image-medium (5) Richard and Judy Summer Book Club list features some great titles. There’s a couple of thriller/mystery stories, both rated by our readers, and some lovely stories to get lost in.

Click through to our catalogue for a synopsis of the title –

James Oswald – Natural Causes  4* from Leeds reader (detective/mystery)

Sophie McKenzie – Close my Eyes 5* from Leeds reader (suspense/thriller)

Simon Mawer –The girl who fell from the sky (thriller/suspense)

Karen Thompson Walker – Age of Miracles

Liza Klaussman – Tigers in Red Weather

Kathleen MacMahon – This Is How It Ends

M. L. Stedman – Light between Oceans

Joanna Rossiter – The sea change

Gavin Extence – The Universe versus Alex Woods  (our favourite)

Lucy Clarke – The sea sisters

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

220px-ElizabethWoodvilleI love this period of Plantagenet history and always found it fascinating that Elizabeth Woodville (aka the White Queen) was called “the most beautiful woman in the Island of Britain” with “heavy-lidded eyes like those of a dragon”,’suggesting a perhaps unusual criterion by which beauty in late medieval England was judged’.

The book shows her rise to power (which seems to happen in an instant in the book) from being the widow of not royal Lord John Grey to captivating a fairly young at 22 King Edward IV, she is 5 years older.

It does not go down well as a match made in heaven – badly received by the Privy Council, who according to Jean de Waurin told Edward at the time with great frankness that “he must know she was no wife for a prince such as himself.” Gregory hints that Elizabeth’s mother may have offered a helping hand through witchcraft …

The book portrays the love affair between Elizabeth and Edward (he was not a specially faithful man) and her family’s rise to power . It touches on the rumour of Richard 111 wanting to marry her daughter.

Not Hilary Mantel as characters are a bit one dimensional but an enjoyable read — Next book is about Margaret Beaufort, mother to Henry Tudor!!

The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman covers same story.

TV series later this year Borrow book from Leeds Libraries – lots of copies

Book Review – The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Weddings

Wilfred Price CoverOur readers group at Wetherby Library recently read this interestingly titled book. Here are some of their comments:-

“The book is written in a gentle way, it completely reflects the behaviours and feelings of the characters. This quiet welsh town where people are very careful of the way they act and speak and emotions and secrets are kept very much to themselves.”

“This book made me laugh and made me sad. I thought the depiction of lifestyle and social thinking of the 1920s was well done. All the characters were well described. There are several beautifully written descriptive passages”

“At first I thought that this a nicely written but slow story. Then I realised this is to balance the second half of the book which moves more quickly – we know the characters well and are emotionally involved with them. Very much a story of its time and setting. The events wouldn’t occur now because society thinks differently. An intense thought provoking tale.”

“My thoughts having read thirty pages were “what a load of nothing, rubbish”. I was so glad that I read on. Within another thirty pages I was won over. The ending was a complete surprise. A lovely read. Let’s have more of this authors work.”

For further details of Wetherby’s and other library readers group, click here. If this has whetted your appetite you can reserve The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price online and pick it up from your nearest library.

Book Review – Room by Emma Donoghue

Some of the newspaper comments put me off – I don’t want my heart broken or my gut wrenched. However having got into the book I found it very well written, very clever in giving everything from a child’s view, and absorbing.

 There is no cloying sentimentality, and no dwelling on sensational aspects. I admired ‘Ma’ for her dedication in shielding him from the dreadfulness of their situation, she made a positive out of the most awful circumstances.

 Whether a ‘real life’ mother could have coped so well – I doubt. Her behaviour after thir release – more erratic, occasionally losing her temper – did show her returning to the world and to ‘normality’.  A really good read.

 A Halton Library Readers Group Member

You can reserve a copy of Room online and pick up from your nearest library.

Book Review – How It All Began by Penelope Lively

I picked up this book because I read an intriguing review, which said that it explored chaos theory – the idea that very small events can have enormous consequences.

It does indeed do so, but in a very small scale and human way. The event in question is the mugging of Charlotte, an elderly ex-teacher. She breaks her hip, and has to move in with her daughter Rose whilst she recovers. This causes Rose to miss a trip to Manchester with her employer Henry , who is accompanied instead by his niece Marion. What happens in Manchester has implications for both Henry and Marion, and for their friends, family and acquaintances.

And so it goes on. Like a pebble dropped into a pond, the ripples reach out, and Charlotte’s mishap affects the lives of a whole circle of people she will never know, in ways that she could not imagine.

It’s not a book that is driven by the plot, although there is quite a lot going on. Its strength is in the closely-observed characterisation, and the seemingly mundane detail of everyday life. The central concept of spiralling consequences underpins the story, but it is never laboured. Altogether a very satisfying read for anyone who is fascinated by the secret everyday lives of other people.

Book Review by a Leeds Library Reader

You can reserve How it all Began online and pick it up at your local library.

Book Review – The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

A short novel but is one that it is packed and one that is very easy to read.  It deals the past and how we can often our memories of events can be affected by the passage of time.  Are we remembering events or are we remembering our interpretation of events? 

The book is in two parts.  The first part deals with the narrator, Tony Webster,  his life at school and his friendship with three chums including the very intelligent Adrian Finn.  The four friends discover girls, sex and university and swear to stay friends for ever.  Tony meets the enigmatic Veronica and spends a really awkward weekend with her family.  The relationship fails and Adrian subsequently takes up with Veronica.  Letters are exchanged between Adrian and Tony that will haunt Tony later in the book.  Adrian’s suicide is a shock to all his friends.  Tony drifts away from his school friends and has a fairly dreary and meaningless life.  He marries but divorces but is still on good terms with his ex-wife and has a close relationship with his daughter.

The second part of the book begins with Tony receiving a letter out of the blue from solicitors saying that Veronica’s mother has died but has left him a bequest.  The bequest leads him into contact with Veronica and her brother once again and an eventual re-examination of the events told in part one of the book.

There is a twist at the end of the book that I did not foresee.  Personally I would have preferred more background information about events leading up to the twist.  The characters in the book are excellently portrayed.  There is humour in the book.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and would heartily recommend it.

A Leeds Libraries borrower

Reserve a copy of Sense of an Ending online and pick it up from your nearest library.

Book Review – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

I’ve just read and really enjoyed “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Probably not my usual read but it was recommended to me by a friend – it follows Harold as he makes an unexpected journey to see a friend. The journey is the journey of a lifetime and has all sorts of unintended consequences. A gentle but thought provoking read.

Review submitted by Allison Roberts
You can reserve The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry online and collect from your nearest Leeds Library.