On the shelf: October 2020

In September, I read:

  • Black River by Will Dean
  • We Know You Know by Erin Kelly
  • The Taking of Annie Thorne by C J Tudor
  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper

All these books had evocative settings. Black River is set in a Swedish forest around midsummer and there are some really graphic descriptions of the bugs. We Know You Know, originally published as Stone Mothers, is set in a disused asylum which plays a key role in the action. The Taking of Annie Thorne is set in a small Nottinghamshire village and a disused mine. The Lost Man is set in the Australian outback in an incredibly barren terrain.

My favourite of these was The Taking of Annie Thorne by C J Tudor and I have just downloaded her next book, The Other People. They’re thrillers but with a touch of horror and I liked the 80s nostalgia in this book and the creepy setting.

I also read a couple of books by writer friends. All Our Squandered Beauty by Amanda Huggins is a coming-of-age novella set in the 1970s. It will be published by Victorina Press in January 2021.

All Our Squandered Beauty is a beautifully told coming-of-age tale. Kara is 18 and has her whole life ahead of her but will she choose the bright lights of London or the familiar call of the sea?

With exquisite prose, Huggins perfectly captures that transition to womanhood as Kara moves from her parochial seaside town to spend the summer in Greece with her art tutor and his bohemian friends.  

The novella is full of evocative descriptions which transport the reader to a different time and place. The poignant ending is perfectly pitched.

Reminiscent of Bonjour Tristesse, this is a story which will capture your heart and deserves to be a classic.  

You can pre-order All Our Squandered Beauty here.

I also read a great collection of short stories by Bradford crown court reporter Jenifer Loweth called Crook Who’s Talking!

Based on real-life cases, and with a nod to the Canterbury Tales, these stories are written from the point-of-view of those in the dock (apart from one who is the defendant’s brother). Loweth takes us behind the headlines into the minds of the criminals, who are mostly justifying their misdemeanours.

Some are comical, some are tragic, and one is particularly chilling, but you are left with the feeling that justice has been served.

And finally, I was lucky enough to be sent a proof of The Chalet by Catherine Cooper which has another evocative setting – a ski chalet in France. I haven’t finished it yet but will post a review when I do.

I’m going to move away from psychological thrillers in October. After I finish The Chalet, I am planning to read:

  • Still Me by JoJo Moyes
  • The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes – recommended by my friend
  • The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton – a Christmas present
  • The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea – borrowed from my mum

What are you reading? Any recommendations?

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