On the Shelf: January 2022 reads

I started 2022 with some cracking reads!

In January, I read:

  • The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain
  • Call of the Penguins by Hazel Prior
  • The Survivors by Jane Harper
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

The Family Tree is a story of love, loss and family. Amjad is a single dad raising his children with the help (and interference) of their grandmother. The opening chapter is particularly poignant as Amjad cradles his baby daughter, overwhelmed by the sense of responsibility of looking after two young children while struggling with his grief.

The novel then follows the family over the next 20 years as the children grow up and become young adults, navigating the complexities of race, religion and family in a West Yorkshire city. I have worked in Bradford for nearly the entire time covered in this book, so I knew a lot of the locations and events, and I enjoyed reading about them from a different perspective. I loved the way the storylines were weaved together, and I was rooting for all the characters. Recommended.

Call of the Penguins is the sequel to Away with the Penguins which I thoroughly enjoyed last year. Octogenarian Veronica McCreedy is now the star of a TV documentary and travels to the Falklands with her charming co-host, nine-year-old Daisy. There are relationship problems between Terry and Veronica’s grandson Patrick to sort out and a journey into the past as he searches for more information about his father. I can’t get enough of this series. I hope there’s another book on the way!

The Survivors is set in a coastal town in Tasmania and Harper’s descriptions of the windswept coastline are superb. A body is found on the beach and links are soon drawn to a teenaged girl who went missing years ago. Everyone in the town has something to hide, including Keiran who has recently returned to help his parents move house. This is a classic whodunnit, but while I enjoyed the mystery, it was the setting that really made this book for me.

I think I have read A Discovery of Witches at least 10 times now! For me, it’s very much a comfort read, an escape from the real world and into one dominated by witches, vampires and daemons. The first of a trilogy, A Discovery of Witches takes us to Oxford, rural France and the Highlands of Scotland all from the perspective of ‘creatures’ who live in plain sight. I think what I love about this series is that it is unashamedly academic – there are so many details of history, genetics, religion and science that are weaved together in this parallel universe.

Another book I read was The 5AM Club by Robin Sharma but I think I need a separate blog post for that! I will see if I can stick with it for a bit longer first.

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