Monthly Archives: March 2011

Still She Haunts Me by Katie Roiphe

DATE FINISHED: March 31st, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS: When Charles Dodgson meets the Liddell family he is quickly enchanted by one of their daughters Alice – future muse for the classic ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.  It’s a historical fact that after many photographs and years of friendship, Dodgson’s contact with the Liddells was brought abruptly to an end, and the pages of Dodgson’s personal diary from this period were removed.  Roiphe offers an interpretation of what might have happened…

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The Prestige by Christopher Priest

DATE FINISHED: March 30th, 2011

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS: Two stage magicians of the 19th century spend a lifetime competing against each other professionally & feuding with each other unprofessionally.  Through the journals of the two magicians, various secrets are revealed…

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Duchess of Nothing by Heather McGowan

DATE FINISHED: March 27th, 2011

RATED: *****

SYNOPSIS: Abandoned by her lover in Rome, a woman finds herself taking care of the young brother who has also been left behind, and trying to balance the need for bread against the desire for new hats.  Told in stream-of-consciousness style, this story is not as straightforward as it might seem.

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Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

DATE FINISHED: March 26th, 2011

RATED: **

SYNOPSIS: The only white man on the island of Bougainville becomes teacher to the local children while a civil war impacts on the lives around them.  Mr. Watts introduces the children to Mister Dickens through the adventures of Pip in Great Expectations, but as the narrator, 13 year old Matilda, comes to consider Pip a personal friend, she inadvertently draws unwanted and dangerous attention to their little village.

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The Seas by Samantha Hunt

DATE FINISHED: March 24th, 2011

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS: The unnamed narrator believes she is a mermaid.  She is also in love with war-damaged Jude who holds himself apart from her.  According to legend, the mortal who will not marry a mermaid will be killed.  She does not want to kill Jude, but words have a way of winning…

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The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

DATE FINISHED: March 23rd, 2011

RATED: ** 

SYNOPSIS: Hundreds is a country manor going steadily into decline in the post-war years.  Its inhabitants, the Ayres family, believe that there is a sinister presence in the house, and the family doctor watches aghast as the family’s mental health declines as the house almost literally crumbles around them.  Is it a ghost at work, or something more human, or more sinister?

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The Wave Theory of Angels by Alison MacLeod

DATE FINISHED: March 21st, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS: As a gothic cathedral rises in the background of medieval France, Christina dies in the bed she shares with her sister Marguerite, yet wakes again on the day of her funeral.  Centuries later in Chicago, Tina falls into a coma upon answering the phone in the middle of the night, and does not recognise her sister and father when she wakes.  The answer lies within the mysteries of philosophy, physics, sleep, dreams and angels…

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I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

DATE FINISHED: March 21st, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS: Twins Thomas and Dominick have always been opposites – Thomas sweet but weak, and Dominick strong but angry.  Together they grow-up with a mother who loves them but cannot stand up to the rages of their ex-military step-father Ray, against whom Dominick feels he alone carries the burden of protecting them.  When Thomas is diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 19 and his mother dies of cancer, Dominick remains loyal to his familial duties but his feelings of anger and guilt have increasing impact on his own personal life.  Before his mother dies she hands Dominick the manuscript of his grandfather’s life story – but will it answer any of the questions which plague him?

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Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

DATE FINISHED: March 20th, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS: Ex-policeman Jackson Brodie is investigating the mysterious adoption of his client from 35 years ago; ex-policewoman Tracy Waterhouse has just bought a child at a bus-stop.  An unknown stranger is on the trail of them both.  What do either of their stories have to do with the murder of a prostitute in the 70s?

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The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

DATE FINISHED: March 17th, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS: Thursday Next is a LiteraTec (Literary Detective) working in Swindon after a botched attempt to close in on old nemesis Acheron Hades.  When Thursday’s uncle invents a machine that can transport people into the pages of a book, it becomes an issue of national security, and it is up to Thursday to rescue her aunt from being lost forever within Wordsworth’s daffodils, not to mention restoring Jane Eyre to her rightful place within the pages of her own story.  Oh, and there’s a love story thrown in for good measure.

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