Book Reviews: March 2020


In March we have three heavyweights of British fiction with eagerly awaited new titles. Hilary Mantel with The Mirror and the Light, Maggie O’Farrell with Hamnett, and Sebastian Barry with the book below. We are delighted that one of these literary giants, Sebastian Barry, will be with us at our Festival, on 22nd May.

A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry
Faber £18.99 published 19th March
Sebastian Barry won the Costa prize for his beautifully written astounding tale of love and warfare in the American West, Days Without End. This time we follow the fortunes of Winona the young Lakota orphan adopted by former soldiers Thomas McNulty and John Cole in the first novel. In 1870s Tennessee, Thomas and John have a farm that they work, and Winona is educated and loved by her adoptive fathers, putting her violent and tragic past behind her. But this is the turbulent period at the end of the Civil Wal and inevitably the outer world intrudes, bringing with it a traumatic event which threatens the fragile idyll that she has enjoyed.
'Told in Sebastian Barry’s gorgeous, lyrical prose, A Thousand Moons is a powerful, moving study of one woman’s journey, of her determination to write her own future, and of the enduring human capacity for love'  Faber Publishing.

Nine Lives Newton by Alice McKinley
Simon & Schuster £6.99
 Meet Newton - the little dog who thinks he has nine lives and infinite luck. And if Newton has nine lives, then that means he can do all his favourite things but be MUCH more daring. But what if Newton's got it all wrong and he's not quite as invincible as he thinks he is? Luckily he has a good friend (who really does have nine lives) to watch out for him. This is a charming and wittily illustrated story suitable for age 2-4 year olds.

The Accidental Countryside by Stephen Moss
Faber £16.99
Stephen Moss, one of our best known and loved nature writers, follows in the footsteps of Richard Mabey with this lovely account of our human landscapes and the wildlife that has adapted to them, or even taken them over. From the diminutive storm petrels who have colonised the ancient walls of Mousa Broch in the Shetlands, to flower rich old railway paths and road verges, the black redstarts that colonised old bombsites, crested grebes in old gravel pits, and nature friendly new housing developments, this is an ultimately hopeful look at how nature recolonises old industrial sites, or can be accommodated in new developments, for the benefit of all.

Daisy and the Trouble with Nature by Kes Gray

Random House £6.99
Another nature-based offering from one of my kids’ favourite authors, Kes Gray. Reliably hilarious. Daisy is tremendously excited when their new school nature garden is unveiled. But where’s all the nature? Where are the birds, butterflies, grizzly bears and wolverines? And Daisy is not known for her patience…
Luckily she and her best friend Gabby have a plan up their sleeves. But the trouble with nature is… it’s really hard to control!

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