BOOKS

Elise's favourites ...
(or not)

The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker

Julia lives with her parents in a coastal town in California. Petrified, they sit in front of the television and take in the news of the rotation of the earth that’s slowing down. Days are getting longer. What would be the long-term consequences? What would happen to gravity? Governments all over the world are desperately trying to keep control over a phenomenon they cannot control at all. A clock time of 24 hours is set. Soon, sunrise and sunset no longer coincide with time. At a certain moment, days are sometimes completely enveloped in darkness or, on the contrary, overflowing with sunshine.
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A Dangerous Goodbye – Fliss Chester

“If you are reading this, then in all likelihood I am dead.”

This is how A Dangerous Goodbye begins. It is written in a letter to Fen Churche from her fiancé Arthur. It is 1944 and soldiers are sent all over Europe to fight in World War 2. Fen does not know where Arthur is stationed or even what his job is, she only knows he is in danger. About a year later when the war has finally ended, Fen decides to set out on a quest to find Arthur, from whom she hasn't heard anymore after his alarming letter. Might he really be dead?
Arthur and Fen used to enjoy solving cryptic crosswords together. Their letters were always full of riddles and clues. This is also the case with Arthur's last letter, leading Fen to France. In France she finds work and lodging at a local winery, not knowing she would soon be busying herself with solving three murders. Would solving these murders lead to Fen finding her fiancé?
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Naamah – Sarah Blake

You might know the story of Noah's Ark, the biblical story in which God sends a worldengulfing flood. God warns Noah in time and commands him to build an ark for a pair of all species of animals and for his family. This book describes the same story but from the viewpoint of Noah's wife Naamah, a strong woman with some good common sense.
The story starts on the Ark, after the rains have stopped. There is only water surrounding the ark, nothing in sight. Naamah's family has been on the ark for a couple of weeks together with all sorts of animals, from
goats to tigers, with all its consequences. Naamah is struggling. "I don't understand how I could have been judged differently from all those other people. All those children." She is struggling to keep her faith in God and starts to get restless being stuck on the ark. To make the waiting bearable Naamah decides to swim around the ark.
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When all is said - Anne Griffin

Maurice Hannigan is sitting at the bar in the Rainsford House Hotel, in the Irish town of Rainsford. His wife has passed away two years ago and his son lives abroad. The last two years without his wife have been very hard on Maurice. This evening he thinks back on his life. At 84 he is finally ready to tell his story. He does so by toasting to the five most important people in his life: his brother Tony, his sister-in-law Noreen, his daughter Molly, his son Keving and last, but not least, his wife Sadie.
As a small boy Maurice is send to school, but after years of barely any progress is sent to the Dollard's house to work. At the house he is mistreated by Hugh Dollard's son. So much so that Maurice is scarred for life, visibly and invisibly. Maurice's brother Tony dies in his teens from tuberculosis. Up to then Tony has always been a big influence on Maurice. Tony's loss is a heavy one.
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A Room Made of Leaves - Kate Grenville

Normally I'd start my review by summarising the plot of the novel. However, A Room Made of Leaves is no ordinary novel and therefore asks for a different approach. I found this book captivating from the beginning right up until the ending. Then, I happened upon the Author's note. "Wait, what?" was my thought.

Author Kate Grenville starts the book by stating these are the memoirs written by Elizabeth Macarthur at the end of the 18th century and recently found concealed on Elizabeth Farm. The only thing Grenville did was transcribe and edit. Well, alright, bring it on.
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My dark Vanessa - Kate Elizabeth Russel

It was a regular weekday. I was a little early for my train and decided to enter the bookstore. That is always a bad idea for the to-be-read pile! My Dark Vanessa caught my eye; I didn't even read the blurb, but just bought it. It was later I found out what this book was about. Child abuse, sexual abuse, by a teacher! Could I handle such a subject? Would I dare to write a review of the book afterwards? I let it lie around for a couple of weeks, until I couldn't resist anymore. I needed to read this book and get it over with! I picked it up and finished it in two sessions.
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