3 Stars Reviews

Book Review: A View of the Empire at Sunset by Caryl Philips

Caryl Philips tells the story of Ella Gwendolyn Rees Williams; a girl born in the British colony of Dominica at the height of the Empire who grows up to become Jean Rhys, the mid-century Modernist writer who penned Wide Sargasso Sea. Philips’s novel tells the fictionalised story of Jean Rhys’s life prior to the success of the Jane Eyre prequel, building up to an anxiously anticipated return voyage to her birthplace.

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3 Stars Reviews

Book Review: The Fall of the House of Byron: Scandal and Seduction in Georgian England by Emily Brand

While the poet Lord Byron is well-known as being ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’, as it turns out his ancestors may have had something to do with that reputation. Byron’s heritage is full of adventures and wealth but also ruin, promiscuity, and even murder. Emily Brand’s meticulously researched history of the Byron family draws on correspondence of the Byrons and those who knew them, newspaper and tabloid reports of the family’s doings, and other historical records to paint a portrait of the lineage of one of literature’s most notorious poets.

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3 Stars Reviews

Book Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Raxter School for Girls lies at the tip of an isolated island off the coast of Maine. Eighteen months ago it was hit by the Tox, a mysterious illness that killed off most of the teachers and leaves the students suffering from horrific and violent mutations. The island has been in quarantine ever since. The only people to ever leave the confines of the school are those chosen for Boat Shift; a select few tasked with collecting meagre supplies shipped in by the Navy to be brutally fought over by the surviving girls at the school.

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3 Stars Reviews

Book Review: The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray

The year is 2059 and the Earth has ceased orbiting the sun; an event that has become known as the Stop. Half the world burns in never-ending sunlight, whilst the other freezes under the cover of darkness. A thin slither of the globe that exists in permanent twilight has managed to survive. Within this small area lies Britain; under Prime Minister Davenport it is a country that has done monstrous things to preserve its resources, block its borders, and continue in some semblance of normalcy.

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3 Stars Reviews

Book Review: Red Snow by Will Dean

Journalist Tuva Moodyson has just two weeks left in the sleepy Swedish town of Gavrik. Soon she’ll be on a sleeper train to the south, to a new job and a fresh start. As she begins to pack up her life, a mysterious suicide and a horrific homicide occur within days of one another and plunge the town’s main employer, the family-owned liquorice factory, into the middle of a murder investigation. A local writer recruits Tuva to research the Grimberg liquorice dynasty amidst the police’s attempt to find what has become known as a the Ferryman killer. There are two bodies, and Tuva has just precious little time to figure out what the Grimbergs are hiding.

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3 Stars Reviews

Book Review: Pine by Francine Toon

Driving home on Halloween night, a young woman stumbles out onto the road in front of Lauren’s father’s truck. Niall bundles her into the cab, taking her home and caring for her all night. In the morning, she is gone. When Lauren asks what happened to the woman from the road, Niall irritably tells her he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

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3 Stars Reviews

Book Review: Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth

Jenny is in her mid-thirties and by all accounts, her life is pretty great. She has a good job at a cool magazine, owns a house in London, and has an array of funny friends just a text away. Problem is, she now has to live with three painfully hipster housemates since breaking up with her semi-famous artist boyfriend, her relationship with her best friend is also on the rocks, as is her career, and her fortune-telling mother has decided to show up on her doorstep. But the worst bit? Suzy Brambles just unfollowed her on Instagram.

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3 Stars Reviews

Book Review: Peaky Blinders – The Real Story by Carl Chinn

The television show Peaky Blinders brought Birmingham’s interwar backstreets to life when it introduced us to the violent and compelling Shelby family. Noted historian and Brummy-born Carl Chinn delves into the Black Country’s archives to find out who the real peaky blinders were, separating fact from fiction and showing what a devastating effect this early 20th century gang violence had on working class Birmingham, and how it spilled onto the nation’s racecourses.

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