Mrs Briand has been reading her way through our collection of books which were shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards this term and has, so far, read the following from the list:
The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale
“He had always been scared of flying. Now, the fear is real. A plane crash. The water is rising over his mouth. In his nostrils. Lungs. As Daniel gasps, he swallows; and punches at his seat-belt. Nancy, the woman he loves, is trapped in her seat. He clambers over her, pushing her face into the headrest. It is a reflex, visceral action made without rational thought… But Daniel Kennedy did it. And already we have judged him from the comfort of our own lives. Almost a hundred years earlier, Daniel’s great-grandfather goes over the top at Passchendaele. A shell explodes, and he wakes up alone and lost in the hell of no-man’s-land. Where are the others? Has he been left behind? And if he doesn’t find his unit, is he a deserter? Love; cowardice; trust; forgiveness. How will any of us behave when we are pushed to extremes?” NielsenBookDataOnline
Mrs Briand enjoyed this particular title very much, what do you think?
Whatever you love by Louise Doughty
“Two police officers knock on Laura’s door and her life changes forever. They tell her that her nine-year old daughter Betty has been hit by a car and killed. When justice is slow to arrive, Laura decides to take her own revenge and begins to track down the man responsible. Laura’s grief also re-opens old wounds and she is thrown back to the story of her passionate love affair with Betty’s father David, their marriage and his subsequent affair with another woman. Haunted by her past, and driven to breaking point by her desire for retribution, Laura discovers the lengths she is willing to go to for love. “Whatever You Love” is a heart-wrenching novel of revenge, compulsion and desire from acclaimed novelist Louise Doughty” NielsenBookDataOnline
One for thriller readers, perhaps?
My father’s fortune: a life by Michael Frayn
“‘An unknown place’. This was what Michael Frayn’s children called the shadowy landscape of the past from which their family had emerged. In this book, he sets out to rediscover that lost land before all trace of it finally disappears beyond recall. As he tries to see it through the eyes his parents and the others who shaped his life, he comes to realise how little he ever knew or understood about them. This is above all the story of his father, the quick-witted boy from a poor and struggling family, who overcame so many disadvantages and shouldered so many burdens to make a go of his life; who found happiness, had it snatched away from him in a single instant, and in the end, after many difficulties, perhaps found it again. Father and son were in some odd ways ridiculously alike, in others ridiculously different; and the journey back down the corridors of time is sometimes comic, sometimes painful, as Michael Frayn comes to see how much he has inherited from his father – and makes one or two surprising discoveries about both of them along the way…” NielsenBookDataOnline
Finally, Mrs Briand has read Kate Atkinson’s latest novel, Started early took my dog, and found that, despite an overcomplicated plot, it was still a good read!
“A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a shocking impulse purchase. That one moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy’s humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn. Witnesses to Tracy’s outrageous exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie who has returned to his home county in search of someone else’s roots. All three characters learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished. Kate Atkinson dovetails and counterpoints her plots with Dickensian brilliance in a tale peopled with unlikely heroes and villains . Started Early, Took My Dog is freighted with wit, wisdom and a fierce moral intelligence. It confirms Kate Atkinson’s position as one of the great writers of our time.” NielsenBookDataOnline
All four of these books can be