Book Reviews: November 2019

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
Harper Collins £8.99

A fiendish puzzle of a murder mystery set in a remote Scottish hunting lodge bringing the appeal of an Agatha Christie-style house-party whodunit to a thoroughly modern thriller. Set intensely over a 48-hour period, the novel follows a group of ex-Oxbridge friends, now privileged thirty-somethings, as they gather for a New Year reunion. As the snow outside mounts, so do the tensions and undercurrents of old rivalries and resentments. After a blizzard, a body is found, and the group are trapped, snowed in – with a murderer in their midst! What sets this story apart is the thoroughly modern structure, vividly desolate setting and deft characterisation. An excellent winter read.

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver
Head of Zeus £8.99

Michelle Paver, loved for her prehistoric fantasy series for children, Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, here has produced another compelling Gothic novel for adults.
In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands in a lost corner of the Fens. Maud is a lonely child growing up motherless, ruled by her repressive father. When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces awaken. Maud's battle has begun. Completely absorbing, full of unusual imagery, creating a chilling and all too believable world, Paver skilfully juggles the supernatural with the possibility that the horrors are psychological in origin.
The Times Best Book of 2019.

The Colour of Time by Dan Jones and Marina Amaral
Head of Zeus £9.99

A collaboration between a gifted Brazilian colourist and the historian Dan Jones, this amazing book spans more than a hundred years of world history. 200 black and white photographs from the late nineteenth century to the mid twentieth have been coloured using digital processes to produce miraculously vivid images.  Dan Jones’ narrative offers a perceptive commentary, skilfully contextualising the events and people depicted.  A wonderful and very readable book, now in this compact format.

The Flame by Leonard Cohen
Canongate 14.99

The final work from this legendary poet and musician, now in paperback, containing poems, excerpts from his private notebooks, and song lyrics, some of which are previously unpublished. Illustrated by strong pen and ink self-portraits, this fascinating collection provides both gentle humour and Cohen’s trademark lugubriousness as the reader is transported into the world of this wonderfully creative and humane artist.

One Christmas Wish by Katherine Rundell
Bloomsbury £8.99

Theo’s parents are busy and they are out on Christmas Eve, leaving him with a babysitter. And even she has fallen asleep. But when Theo wishes on a shooting star (or passing aeroplane), he suddenly finds himself with more, and stranger company than he anticipated…
An absolutely delightful Christmas story by master children’s writer Katherine Rundell with gorgeously evocative illustrations by the wonderful Emily Sutton. Perfect for sharing with 5-9 year olds during the festive season.

Meerkat Christmas by Emily Gravett
Macmillan £12.99

Sunny the meerkat wants a white Christmas. And a decorated tree, and Christmas carols and a roast dinner with sprouts. None of which can be found in the Kalahari desert, where he lives. So off he sets across the world in search of the perfect Christmas. But maybe the trimmings are not what Christmas is all about, and what he’s been looking for was at home all along…
A funny and festive offering from bookshop favourite Emily Gravett.
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