Category Archives: Waters Sarah

Habits of the House by Fay Weldon

habits of the house, fay weldonDATE FINISHED: August 1st, 2013 

RATED: **** 

SYNOPSIS:  During a stay in London’s Belgrave Square, the Hedleigh family suddenly find themselves on the brink of bankruptcy, due to an unfortunate investment gone awry, not to mention a variety of gambling debts courtesy of the Earl… The daughter of the house is an ardent feminist and has declared herself out of the marriage market, so the only thing for it is for the charming but ineffectual son of the family, Arthur, to pull himself together and marry money – quickly!  The Countess and her maid work both together and against each other to bring about a ‘happy’ union with a visiting heiress (with a scandal in her past); but will Arthur’s preference for laid-back living and his sister’s horror at his mildly amoral proclivities scupper the grand plan to save the family?

THOUGHTS:  A comedy of manners both above and below stairs, I thoroughly enjoyed this period romp. Read more of this post

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Gillespie and I by Jane Harris

DATE FINISHED: May 2nd, 2012

RATED: *** 

SYNOPSIS:  In the 1930s, Harriet Baxter is an ‘old maid’ looking back on her acquaintance with the Gillespie family, back in the 1890s.  Following a chance encounter on a Glasgow street, Harriet’s friendship with the family grows over the following months, and she becomes an ardent fan of up-and-coming artist Ned Gillespie’s work.   When the Gillespies’ younger daughter disappears, however, relations become strained…

THOUGHTS:   If you have read any reviews of this book, it is impossible to approach it without the knowledge that Harriet is an ‘unreliable narrator’.   Read more of this post

Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks by Christopher Brookmyre

DATE FINISHED: January, 2012 (catch-up post)             

RATED: *** 

SYNOPSIS:  Showman & psychic Gabriel Lafayette submits himself to tests under controlled conditions, to prove his ‘powers’. A student at the university is convinced he can prove Lafayette a fraud, but why is he so determined? Following his involvement with the project, sceptic Jack Parlabane narrates from beyond the grave as he tries to figure out if & what is the greater scheme afoot.

THOUGHTS:   Although (potentially) fraudulent mediums are a subject which interests me, I felt that rather heavy weather was made of what should have been an entertaining storyline.   Read more of this post

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

DATE FINISHED: September 2nd, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  Twins Miranda and Eliot live in a house that is haunted by generations, a house with its own way of getting its own way.  Eliot seems immune to the ghosts they live with, but following the death of their mother, Miranda sees and hears more and more of them and her own existence becomes proportionally less and less.  Which family will claim her – the living or the dead?

THOUGHTS:  Oyeyemi’s prose style will not be to everyone’s taste, Read more of this post

Florence & Giles by John Harding

DATE FINISHED: April 30th, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  In a gothic mansion, Florence and her younger brother Giles are in the ‘care’ of their absentee uncle. The uncle has forbidden his niece from learning to read (and education of any kind), but she has secretly defied him and spends every available moment devouring the contents of the library. When Giles is returned home from boarding school, a governess enters Blithe House – soon to be followed by a second governess, after the first suffers a tragic accident. Florence is convinced that Blithe is now haunted, and that Miss Taylor harbours the spirit of her predecessor.  Florence is also determined to foil Miss Taylor’s plans to steal her brother away…

THOUGHTS:   Read more of this post

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…

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

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?

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

White Stone Day by John MacLachlan Gray

DATE FINISHED: March 15th, 2011

RATED: **** (4.5)

SYNOPSIS: In Oxford, a young reverend finds amusement in entertaining his colleagues daughters with riddles, stories and photography. In London, a literally down at heel journalist finds himself investigating a séance only to receive an unexpected message from his deceased brother, followed by finding himself falsely imprisoned for a murder he did not commit. These disparate & seemingly unconnected storylines intertwine into a compelling period mystery.

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

Affinity by Sarah Waters

DATE FINISHED: March 11th, 2011

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS: A visitor to a women’s prison finds herself drawn to one of the inmates, Selina, whose crime is listed as fraud and assault. Selina is a medium, whose trade before imprisonment was ‘dark circles’ in the homes of wealthy ladies. At first cautiously, a strong relationship is forged between the two women, but imagination and manipulation are equally strong powers at play…

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post