The Day of the Accident
psychological, mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie's world is torn apart.
The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.
When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter's funeral.
What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie's husband?
And why can't she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?
This is a story that draws you into its web of reality and unreality subtly but inexorably, until you really do need to know the truth of their lives.
So there was this car accident and a little girl was drowned. Her mother, Maggie, who wasn’t in the car at the time, tried to save her and nearly drowned herself.
As the story starts, the mother wakes up in hospital from a coma, in ICU, and very confused. She has amnesia and doesn’t remember the accident. Her life has changed dramatically whilst she has lain there very ill, in more ways than just the death of her child.
And then long buried secrets begin to spill out of Maggie’s life.
Compelling story telling. I didn’t want to go to sleep – just keep on reading….
The Possible World
literary fiction, contemporary, women's fiction,
July 12, 2018
'Every now and then I come across a book I wish I'd written. The Possible World is one of those... A gorgeously wrought exploration of who gets to tell the story of our lives, and who gets to inhabit that story with us' Jodi Picoult
Ben is the sole survivor of a crime that claims his mother and countless others. He is just six years old, and already he must find a new place for himself in the world.
Lucy, the doctor who tends to Ben, is grappling with a personal upheaval of her own. She feels a profound connection to the little boy who has lived through the unthinkable. Will recovering his memory heal him, or damage him further?
Clare has long believed that the lifetime of secrets she's been keeping don't matter to anyone anymore, until an unexpected encounter prompts her to tell her story.
As they each struggle to confront the events - past and present - that have defined their lives, something stronger than fate is working to bring them together...
This is a story with a difference.
I am calling it fantasy as it makes an assumption about how souls and their memories can be transferred from one person to anotehr after death.
At first I found it tricky to follow what was going on but suddenly it all came clear and I was entranced. It would have been 5 stars if I hadn’t been tempted to put the book down after a couple of chapters due my confusion.
It is gently written in a clear and unassuming style. A style that is easy to get lost in and a book that I didn’t want to end.
The description of the hurricane was devastating and Clare’s life, of penance almost, afterwards, was told with great empathy and affection for this damaged woman. And Leo, as he told his story, was so tragic, you really wanted to cuddle him forever. You forget now, just how harsh some of the religious houses were for orphans – the way they were treated like indentured servants despite their ages, and one can only be thankful, that this no longer happens. Although, orphanages are still far from good….
Read this book to find out what the Depression was really like for the American South.
Fiction, women's fiction, politics
June 14, 2018
'Essential . . . Evans is a brilliant storyteller' Stylist What do you do next, after you've changed the world? It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club - an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade. Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women's Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing - nothing - since then has had the same depth, the same excitement. Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea - but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie's militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for. Old Baggage is a funny and bittersweet portrait of a woman who has never, never given up the fight.
What do you do when the Suffragette Movement, to which you had given your youth is not more? And the First World War killed off many men and left many women single – which was not a considered a ‘natural’ state in the early part of the 20th century? And then, you still had not achieved all that you wanted to when you joined the movement, but society was not set up for you to achieve those aims – such as actually being given a degree in a degree awarding ceremony, such as running a business and obtaining a loan in your own name, or even taking part in the Olympics such that a Women’s Olympic Games was set up…
In this book we follow the stories of some of these women in the 1920s. Now middle-aged they are single – most of them – or have ‘settled’ into a marriage. And they find that young girls are rather unadventurous. And Right Wing politics were beginning to advance into the local area – which happens to be Hampstead in London.
All of which story is dear to my heart as a graduate of Mary Buss schooling.
This is a gentle story but with some serious points to make about how insidious the politics of the right can be, and how easy it was, and still is from time to time, to belittle the work of women and their ambitions – hence the lack of women on Boards – still!
I really enjoyed reading this book and found the characters believable and empathetic and was reminded – again – about my own youth and the restrictions that there still were on girls then in general.
animals, science, literary fiction
May 21, 2018
The international bestseller about friendship, second chances, and a tiny glow-in-the-dark pink elephant What would you do if you woke up to see a living, breathing, tiny, glowing, pink elephant? If you're anything like Schoch, who lives on the streets of Zurich and is decidedly down on his luck, you might well think it's time to put away the bottle before your hallucinations get any stranger, and go back to sleep. But what if the tiny pink elephant is still there when you wake up? And clearly needs someone to take care of it? And what if you discover that it's been created through genetic engineering, by a group of scientists who just want to use it to get rich and don't care about the elephant's welfare? And that they're in cahoots with a circus and will stop at nothing to get it back? What if this little elephant is about to change your life?
An apposite story of the issues and challenges of genetic manipulation of embryos, just as the UK law permits such manipulation for Cystic Fibrosis. The thin edge whereby such ‘surgery’ may occur in the future, either for illnesses that are caused by faulty genes, or for traits that are, or are not, required – such as a pink glow-in-the-dark skin! (and as there may, or may not be, a malfunctioning gene for fat cells, could I have this surgery too please?)
Initially, I was not sure of this book and story, but I was gradually drawn in to finding out about the homeless and their lives, and then the circus. And then there was the geneticist and the elephants.
In the end, you could say that this is a fable for scientists. Or you could call it sentimental, or even redemptive. for me, it was all of these things. This tiny elephant was born for a reason, and she impacted a number of lives to bring them what, you could argue, they deserved. For good or ill.
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
history, literary fiction, social history, military
Follows the turbulent life of the young noblewoman who became the style icon of late eighteenth-century England.
I loved the film and found the history and character of Georgiana fascinating. She was a complicated and complex person in a very complex and complicated world, where one did not marry for love but for family enhancement and improvement.
Unfortunately, I did not find the novel quite as fascinating and maybe I shouldn’t have seen the film first? Films of novels are never quite true to the story and sometimes the history changes for convenience. I probably expected too much from the novel.
It is good but not good enough to keep me enthralled and not unputdownable.