I had a busy month in April but managed to fit in five books, all of them fiction:
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (Sceptre Books) – My first read of April was a wonderful, moving novel set during the Second World War. Inspired by his grandparents experiences during the war it is a story of love and loss and the impact of war. Mary North finds work as a teacher looking after those children left behind after the evacuations. Alongside her is her boss, Tom, who is also a love interest, his friend Alistair who chooses to fight abroad and Mary’s friend Hilda. I loved the characters and the way they interacted with one and other as the horror of war unfolds and I was moved by their stories and the harrowing events they faced. It is a beautifully written and compelling read.
Reader, I Married Him edited by Tracy Chevalier (Borough Press) – As a big fan of Jane Eyre I was eagerly anticipating the release of Reader, I Married Him – a collection of short stories inspired by the classic novel. Edited by Tracy Chevalier it features twenty-one stories written by female writers inspired by the famous line ‘Reader, I Married Him’. It is an interesting selection of stories, some of which stay close to the original novel whilst telling the story from an alternative perspective. Others stray further away by opting for a more contemporary setting. What most of them have in common are the themes of love and marriage and it features marriages within different cultures and the various reasons for getting married and how marriage can change people It is an enjoyable collection and a great way to commemorate Charlotte Bronte’s bicentenary year.
Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain by Barney Norris (Doubleday) – Barney Norris’ debut novel can be viewed as five short stories linked together. It tells the story of five very different people who all have similar stories to tell – a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a widower and a security guard. I was gripped by each characters story as they reveal the challenges they face. Each character has faced turmoil of some sort and they each feel lonely having been separated, physically and emotionally, from a loved one. On one quiet evening a tragic accident brings these five lives together showing that whilst we may feel lonely there are people out there to help, people who are fighting similar battles. It is a gripping read that explores, love, loss and loneliness.
In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings (Orenda Books) – An expertly written psychological novel, In Her Wake explores what happens when the life we know turns out to not quite be what it seems. A family tragedy leaves Bella Campbell devastated with further events leading to a shocking revelation about her past. Bella is forced to comprehend the fact that everything she has ever known, and everyone she loves, is in doubt. So begins her journey to find the truth of what happened, a journey which takes her to the Cornish coast in search of answers. As the novel progresses more and more secrets and betrayals are revealed, making for a gripping, surprising read.
The People We Were Before by Annabelle Thorpe (Quercus Books) – The debut novel from travel writer Annabelle Thorpe tells the story of Miro, a young boy who moves with his family to a quiet village following a tragic incident in their home city. The book follows his early life as he grows up and falls in love before the outbreak of the Balkan conflict threatens his idyllic family life. As further tragedy leads him to flee to Dubrovnik the full extent of the war becomes clear as Miro and his family struggle to make it through the challenges they face. This is an insightful read which looks at family life and how it can change during war.
You can read full reviews of all of my April reads by clicking the links above and they can also be found in my April archive. Thanks for reading!