Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Published by Vintage

24th May 2012

Paperback Edition

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:
Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn

As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.
Le Cirque des Rêves
The Circus of Dreams.

Now the circus is open.
Now you may enter.

I am not kidding you, this book has been sat, unread, on my bookshelf since I brought it when it was first published! Yep, years of a great story being unread for no real reason at all.  I recently decided it was about time that alongside buying and reading new books, that I ought to actually read some of the unread books that adorn my many bookshelves, so I chose myself this.

The Night Circus is a magical tale that is set in the 1800s and tells of a dual; a competition between two unknown contestants with rules that neither are aware of.  It is a tale of magic and emotion and illusion that is unlike anything I have read before.  The book reminded me of the The Lost Carnival that we visited a few weeks ago and it made the story even more real for me.

There are so many characters in this story that it would be unfair to pick out any particular ones to focus on.  Each plays their own role within the web that is woven and I have to be honest, I would love to see this book on the big screen as the imagery created by Erin Morgenstern is so vivid and detailed.

If circuses and magical realism are what floats your boat, then if you haven’t already, go grab a copy of this book and immerse yourself into this wondrous world immediately.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair

The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker

Published by Quercus

Paperback Edition

7th May 2015


August 30, 1975. The day of the disappearance. The day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence.

That summer, struggling author Harry Quebert fell in love with fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan. Thirty-three years later, her body is dug up from his yard, along with a manuscript copy of the novel that made him a household name. Quebert is the only suspect.

Marcus Goldman - Quebert's most gifted protégé - throws off his writer's block to clear his mentor's name. Solving the case and penning a new bestseller soon merge into one. As his book begins to take on a life of its own, the nation is gripped by the mystery of 'The Girl Who Touched the Heart of America'.

But with Nola, in death as in life, nothing is ever as it seems.

What can I say, it’s another Richard & Judy book that had me gripped from the very start.  I loved this story and I actually couldn’t tell that it was a translation which sometimes you can.  Joel Dicker has written a good and clever novel. The chapters descend rather than ascend so you kind-of get the end of the story before you get the beginning of it but it is a great thriller; not the dark, spooky sort that makes you afraid, but more of a grown-up ‘whodunnit’ and we all know I love those.

Marcus Goldman was the man who everyone wanted to be when his first novel was published. However soon the public are baying for his eagerly awaited second book and he is having a hard time finding any inspiration to get started.  He decides, as the pressure is mounting in New York, for a bit of r&r at his old lecturer’s house and that is where our story takes hold.  Harry Quebert was once an author who wrote a fantastic novel and was then never heard of again in the literary world.  What happened to the man who wrote the bestseller The Origin of Evil? 

You see, Harry was once in love, with a young girl called Nola, only their love was forbidden and Harry harbours a dark secret that he has never revealed, until now.  Marcus finds himself on a journey to find out more about the man he has admired for years, and the man who he now sits opposite in a prison.  Can they really be one and the same?  Delving deep into the lives of the people of Somerset, Marcus wants to discover the truth, no matter what the odds may be.  Only someone seems to want to stop him from doing so.

This is a great page-turner and I think a fab holiday book too.  Take it to the airport, begin it on the plane and keep going until you discover the truth – who did kill Nola Kellergan.  I know.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Woman who Upped and Left

The Woman who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson

Published by Avon

25th February 2016

Paperback Edition

Forget about having it all. Sometimes you just want to leave it all behind.

Audrey is often seized by the urge to walk out of her house without looking back – but she can’t possibly do that.

She is a single parent. She is needed. She has a job, a home, responsibilities…and a slothful teenage son’s pants to pick up.

But no one likes being taken for granted – Audrey least of all – so the time has come for drastic action. And no one’s going to stand in her way…

Sometimes you just need some light-hearted relief and that was what was necessary in my life when I was perusing the bookshelves in my local supermarket the other week. I spied Fiona Gibson's latest novel and immediately decided that it was the tonic I was after.  I started it the very next day, and finished it the same evening.

Audrey is a dinner lady and single parent to the rather lazy Morgan.  She is having a relationship with Stevie, a man whom she only ever meets at service stations up and down the country as he passes through with his work dealings - cue: highly suspicious thoughts towards Stevie from the outset.  When she wins Dinner Lady of the Year she has the option of a £5000 cash prize or a week at a luxury hotel learning how to cook alongside celebrity chef Brad Miller.  Initially she decides to take the cash, who wouldn't? but when her son presents her with a list of 'wants' to be purchased from her winnings, Audrey starts to question whether she has made the right decision.  Without telling anyone, she changes her mind, and heads off to a week at a luxury hotel for a course in French cookery.  After all, what could possibly go wrong?

From the moment she arrives in the hotel, you can tell that Audrey feels out of her depth.  Her son can't use the washing machine, and Stevie fancies rocking up and emptying the mini bar.  However what Audrey does learn is that she can, in fact, cook and she's pretty good at it too.  Meeting new friends and enjoying herself, Audrey begins to let her hair down but then when disaster overtakes, she finds herself cutting her trip short and heading back up the motorway in the middle of the night.

Did Audrey make the right choice in accepting the cookery course, or should she have stayed at home and taken the money?  Could it have solved all of the problems she now faces with Stevie and Morgan?  Can Audrey get her life back on track?

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x