Book Reviews: January 2020

The Binding by Bridget Collins
Harper Collins £8.99
Set in a magical quasi Victorian world, this unusual and captivating novel first introduces the reader to young Emmett Farmer when, after a long and mysterious illness, he takes up a bookbinding apprenticeship at an isolated house. Here he learns to bind stunningly beautiful books which hold people’s hidden and often traumatic memories that they are then able to forget. One day Emmet himself finds a book with his name on it, just as the collection falls into unscrupulous hands. This compelling novel is a fable about how dangerous it can be when people forget about the sins of the powerful but is also a very touching love story about Emmet and the enigmatic Lord Lucian Dabay.
Highly recommended by Gill at the bookshop!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Little Brown £8.99
This impressive debut novel by Delia Owens, an American wildlife scientist, follows the progress of young Kya Clark as she grows up in the 1950’s and 60’s in a shack in the swamplands of North Carolina after being abandoned by her family. She learns from the wildlife around her, surviving on her wits and the hunting skills that she learned from her father and brothers. But her forays into the outside world lead to emotional challenges and to a death. Compelling plotting, convincing characters and beautifully depicted landscape make this deeply satisfying read. Highly recommended by so many people, this is a novel particularly for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Celeste Ng.

John Piper’s Brighton Aquatints by Alan Powers
Mainstone Press £30
John Piper’s atmospheric aquatints of Brighton architecture were originally published in 1939 by Gerald Duckworth to great acclaim, despite the country having other things on its mind. Beautifully reproduced by Mainstone Press with an extensive introduction by Alan Powers, and comparisons between the black and white and hand coloured versions of the prints, this is a lovely book for fans of 20th century art and printmaking.

Big Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans
David Fickling Books £6.99
A reissue of the very amusing story of ten-year old Stuart, small for his age, who has inherited his great-uncle’s Magic Workshop, or would have done if the will hadn’t mysteriously vanished. The sequel to the equally amusing Big Change for Stuart this exciting quest means that hapless Stuart has to succeed before danger looms!
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