May & June 2015

Started & put down too many to mention in the last couple of months. Here are the ones I managed to finish:


We That Are Left by Clare Clark – 3 

Very disappointing story about the family left behind after the tragedy of the first world war.  There just didn’t seem anything especially original about the feisty daughters of the house defying the conventions of the time, and the truth about Oskar, the boy they grew up with (son of a family friend).  I read Savage Lands by the same author a few years ago and was impressed by her subtlety and understated but decisive prose, and came to this one with high hopes, as a result.  Sadly, it’s unlikely I will be seeking out her future work.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – 3.5 

A middle-class mother & daughter are forced to take in paying guests (lodgers) when their financial situation becomes strained following the first world war: a young married couple of the ‘clerk class’.  The daughter slowly builds a friendship with the wife, a friendship that develops into a love affair – which ultimately leads to the murder of the husband.  When the case goes to trial with an innocent man accused of murder, will the two women allow him to be sent down for their crime?  Has their affair, in any case, found an early end as they struggle to come to terms with what they have done (in every sense)?

I was a huge fan of Fingersmith, and really enjoyed Affinity.  However, The Little Stranger left me cold, and I did not get beyond a few chapters of Night Watch – so I really didn’t know how I would get on with this one.  In fact, I found it very readable, if not very surprising.  It reminded me of Elizabeth is Missing by Veronica Healy.


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