Monthly Round-Ups

March Round-Up – The Books I Read In March 2016

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In March I read seven books, all of them fiction:

Nod by Adrian Barnes (Titan Books) – My first read of March transported me to a strange and frightening dystopian world. Nod is the story of what happens to society when no-one – or almost no-one – has been able to sleep. Paul, a writer, is amongst the minority of people who are still able to sleep and is forced to watch his partner, Tanya, deteriorate as the lack of sleep takes its toll. As time moves on the city falls further into disarray and violence and confusion are rife. It is an unusual story and one that had me gripped to the very end.

Out Of The Darkness by Katy Hogan (Illumine) – This moving novel is a tale of love, loss and life after death. We see nurse Jessica Gibson as she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her mother. Jessica soon meets and shares a connection with two other women and together they may have what it takes to heal one and other. This is a story that explores how we deal with grief and the restorative power of companionship. It also looks at clairvoyance and how people can find comfort and closure through it. An enjoyable read that contains heartbreak but not without a glimmer of hope.

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice (Corgi) – The second novel co-written by friends Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice is an enjoyable, humorous read. Rebecca and Ben have a seemingly perfect relationship until a throwaway remark from an acquaintance leaves them stunned and puts their relationship into question. Told in alternating chapters from both the male and female perspectives it explores what happens when one event can place doubt on what you thought you knew. An entertaining read exploring relationships, family and friendships.

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (One, Pushkin Press) – Chigozie Obioma’s Man Booker Prize shortlisted debut tells the story of four brothers growing up in a small Nigerian town. With their father away working in another town the boys seize the opportunity to fish at a forbidden river that is subject to myth and rumour within the town. Here they encounter a local madman who imparts a terrifying prophecy – that the oldest brother will be killed by another. So begins a dramatic chain of events that threaten their close bond and life as they know it. An intriguing book packed with mythology and folklore.

Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea (Scribe) – This is a brilliant historical fiction novel that features the stories of two little known women who have played a big part in history. Lizzie Burns travels to London from Manchester with her lover, Frederick Engels, by her side. A poor working class woman from the Irish slums, Lizzie dreams of the comfortable life Frederick can provide for her. However, their relationship is an unconventional one and there are challenges ahead for our fierce heroine in her pursuit of the lifestyle she craves. Based upon Freidrich Engels, a co-founder of communist theory, this is the story of the women who helped shape his life and work.

Fever At Dawn by Peter Gardos (Doubleday) – A moving novel based upon the true story of the author’s parents and how they met and fell in love. In 1945 in the aftermath of the Second World War, Miklos is transferred to a hospital and given a devastating prognosis – he is only given six months to live. Despite his fate Miklos is determined to find love before the end of his life. And so with his best handwriting Miklos writes letters to 117 women in the hope that one of them will become his wife. As the story progresses we see what happens when Miklos receives a reply and a remarkable love story is told. A heart-warming story of love and determination in the face of adversity.

Anatomy Of A Soldier by Harry Parker (Faber and Faber) – This fascinating debut tells the story of the life of a soldier through injury, recovery, rehabilitation and acceptance. What makes this even more interesting is that it is told from the perspectives of forty-five different inanimate objects connected to the conflict. From the soldier’s boots to an IED and a mother’s handbag this is truly a unique glimpse into the lives of those affected by war, seen from various perspectives and points in time. It was a book that shocked, moved and enlightened me. An excellent novel and one that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

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You can read full reviews of all of my March reads by clicking the links above and they can also be found in my March archive. Thanks for reading!

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