Thursday, January 28, 2021

HAMNET by Maggie O'Farrell


 












5.5

Knopf

Available now

About

In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.

A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.

REMOTE SYMPATHY byCatherine Chidgey

 













Europa Edition

Available April 4th 2021

Presently reading

About

Moving away from their lovely apartment in Munich isn’t nearly as wrenching an experience for Frau Greta Hahn as she had feared. Their new home is even lovelier than the one they left behind, and best of all—right on their doorstep—are some of the finest craftsmen from all over Europe. Frau Hahn and the other officers’ wives living in this small community can order anything they desire, whether new curtains made from the finest French silks, or furniture designed to the most exacting specifications. Life here in Buchenwald would appear to be idyllic.

Lying just beyond the forest that surrounds them—so close and yet so remote—is the looming presence of a work camp. Frau Hahn’s husband, SS Sturmbannführer Dietrich Hahn, is to take up a powerful new position as the camp’s administrator.  As the prison population begins to rise, the job becomes ever more consuming. Corruption is rife at every level, the supplies are inadequate, and the sewerage system is under increasing strain.

When Frau Hahn is forced into an unlikely and poignant alliance with one of Buchenwald’s prisoners, Dr. Lenard Weber, her naïve ignorance about what is going on so nearby is challenged. A decade earlier, Dr. Weber had invented a machine: the Sympathetic Vitaliser. At the time he believed that its subtle resonances might cure cancer. But does it really work? One way or another, it might yet save a life.

A tour de force about the evils of obliviousness, Remote Sympathy compels us to question our continuing and willful ability to look the other way in a world that is once more in thrall to the idea that everything—even facts, truth and morals—is relative. A novel of devastating beauty that will leave readers shaken and exhilarated.

MY GRANDMOTHERS BRAID by Alina Bronsky


4.5



Europa publishing

ARC
Now available

About

Sharp and tender at once, a humourous take on family dysfunction and human weakness seen through a young boy’s eyes.

Max lives with his grandparents in a residential home for refugees in Germany. When his grandmother—a terrifying, stubborn matriarch and a former Russian primadonna—moved them from the Motherland it was in search of a better life. But she is not at all pleased with how things are run in Germany.
His grandmother has been telling Max that he is an incompetent, clueless weakling since he was a child. While he may be dolt in his grandmother's eyes, Max is bright enough to notice that his stoic and taciturn grandfather has fallen hopelessly in love with their neighbour, Nina. When a child is born to Nina that is the spitting image of Max’s grandfather, things come to a hilarious if dramatic head. Everybody will have to learn to defend themselves from Max’s all-powerful grandmother.

My take

Just finished my third novel by  Alina Bronsky, a five star read for me.
Her novels might be an acquired taste, perhaps not for everyone. Women are strong protagonists who do not shy away from expressing themselves, often without censor but always hiding a generous heart.
We meet grandmother, a refugee from Russia accompanied by her husband "Tschingis" referred as grandfather and, "Maxi" their grandson.
Soon life takes many turns more or less successfully until we meet "Nina" and, "Vera", her daughter.
Such begins life for our Russian emigrants

Saturday, November 28, 2020

WHEN THE ABRICOTS Bloom by Gina Wilkinson















Kensington Books
Publishing Date February 2, 2021
Historical Novel
NetGalley arc
5.5

About

At night, in Huda's fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat--the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador's wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenaged son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own.

Huda's former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family's wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women's lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.

My thoughts coming close to publishing date




Friday, November 27, 2020

THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS by Isabel Wilkerson


 

















🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Now available

About

The Warmth of Other Suns shows how hope can get people through the most intense situations, but action is required to make them something more than a dream. These actions will likely involve sacrifices – but they may not be in vain. Individual hopes can collectively change history.

A must read

Pulitzer Prize-winning