Showing all 8 results

  • At The Edge Of The Orchard

    At the Edge of the Orchard – Tracy Chevalier

    0 out of 5

    Tracy Chevalier’s minutely-researched historical novels are a pleasure to read. The only other one I’ve read is Beautiful Creatures, which I  loved. As a history-lover I particularly enjoy an author whose account of historical fact in a fictional context can be trusted. The story starts with a pioneering family, James and Sadie Goodenough and their children, landing up in the swamps of Ohio in 1838. There they try to grow the requisite 50 trees to secure their land claim. But a swamp is not an ideal place for an apple orchard; an unsuitability extends to their marriage and dysfunctional family unit. The narrative then jumps to 1853 as their son Robert travels through California, and this raises questions around the circumstances of his departure. Robert meets the genuine John Chapman (AKA Johnny Appleseed) through his occupation of collecting seeds for wealthy English buyers. Richly described, full of fascinating botanic detail and evocatively written.

  • Barbarian Days

    Barbarian Days – William Finnegan

    0 out of 5


    Surfing only looks like a sport. To devotees, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a mental and physical study, a passionate way of life.

  • Black Brain White Brain

    Black Brain, White Brain – Gavin Evans

    0 out of 5

    Shortlisted for 2016 Media 24 Literary Awards.

    Racist thinking – that intelligence is influenced by racial origin, for example – was part of mainstream science a century ago and, surprisingly, is still endorsed by maerick scientists at some of the world’s most respectable institutions today.

  • Orhan  X

    Orphan X By Gregg Hurwitz

    0 out of 5

    For fans of well-plotted, action-packed thrillers, in the same vein as I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, at last here is a book that will fill the gap in your hunt for similar excellence. Gregg Hurwitz seems to go from strength-to-strength and this is the first book in what will become a series. Twelve-year-old Evan Smoak is rescued from a life of neglect and trained in a secret government program as an assassin. You may roll your eyes at this point, but, rest assured this is not remotely infantile, or cheesy – even though it’s a familiar plot structure. Hurwitz’ great writing, clever plot twists and character complexity result in a wonderful new hero, who, when he drops out of the program, dedicates his life to helping others who have no one else to turn to. I loved it – highly recommended.

  • Showdown At The Red Lion

    Showdown at the Red Lion: The Life & Time of Jack Mcloughlin – Charles Van Onselen

    0 out of 5

    Shortlisted for 2016 Media 24 Literary Awards.

    Johannesburg was – and is – the Frontier of Money. Within months of its founding, the mining camp was host to organised crime: the African ‘Regiment of the Hills’ and ‘Irish Brigade’ bandits. Bars, brothels, boarding houses and hotels oozed testosterone and violence, and the use of fists and guns was commonplace. Beyond the chaos were clear signs of another struggle, one to maintain control, honour and order within the emerging male and mining dominated culture. In the underworld, the dictum of ‘honour among thieves’, as well as a hatred of informers, testified to attempts at self-regulation.

  • The One-in-a-Million Boy

    The One-in-a-Million Boy – Monica Wood

    0 out of 5

    A poignant story about the unlikely relationship between a 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant, Ona, and an 11-year-old boy. The boy is assigned to help Ona with her household tasks for a scout’s merit badge. The two share a social awkwardness, but they form a unique bond as Ona’s prickly defences are overcome by the boy’s obsession with the Guinness World Records, and his wish to assist Ona in reaching one. Then the boy inexplicably dies and his father, Quinn, tries to better understand a son he battled to connect with. It seems he can do this through knowing Ona, and rediscovering his son through her eyes. Wood’s characters are beautifully drawn, and her writing is eloquent. The sad theme doesn’t monopolize the book emotionally. It is the peculiar beauty of the relationships between the characters which make this book so special.

  • Sympathizer

    The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen

    0 out of 5


    It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country.

  • The Widow

    The Widow by Fiona Barton

    0 out of 5

    This darkly thrilling title falls into the genre-of-the-moment: domestic noir. Jean has stood by her husband when he was the chief suspect in the kidnap and murder of a child. But when he dies, the motivation behind her silence and her loyalty are removed. An excellent debut novel; Barton is adept at playing with the reader’s emotions and I enjoyed the way my opinion of certain character’s changed and developed with the plot. The perspective shifts between the various main characters so we are always in a position of restricted insight, and this is clever device to build suspense. I was hooked at wanting to discover the truth behind Jean’s dark secrets.