Gretel hasn’t seen her mother in sixteen years. Growing up on a boat on the Oxfordshire canals, Gretel and her mother created a world of their own, with words of their own, and a creature they called the Bonak that haunts the dark currents of the river. Now Gretel is grown, a lexicographer who tries to make sense of the words of the real world whilst not being able to make sense of her own past. Too many questions are left unanswered, and she hunts hospitals and morgues searching for her mother and for answers that only her mother can give her. When the two are reunited, Gretel begins to trawl through fragmented memories and asks, what happened to Marcus? What happened to the boy that lived with us that winter?
When immigrant Jane is offered a chance to make a life-changing amount of money at Golden Oaks Farm, she hesitantly agrees. After all, she’s not left with many other options. Jane leaves her cramped Queens dorm that she shares with her baby daughter, her super-nanny cousin Ate, and a host of other immigrants, to become a Host. For the next nine months she’ll carry the unborn child of an ultra-rich Client. Every piece of food she consumes, every action she takes, every phone call she makes, will be monitored by the Coordinators, headed up by the ambitious Mae Yu. At first Jane marvels at her surroundings, more luxurious than she’s ever known herself, but fear soon sets in as she begins to fret about her daughter’s well-being and the other Hosts’ suspicions about Golden Oaks become her own.
Living alongside the violence of Pablo Escobar’s Colombia are two young girls whose lives collide in ways that neither of them will ever forget. Seven-year-old Chula Santiago lives in a gated community in Bogotá with her sister and parents, though her father’s work often takes him out of the city. She grows up in a ‘kingdom of women’, but her kingdom is haunted by stories of the car bombs and kidnappings that go on outside the walls of her community. Petrona is a teenage girl from an invasión, an impoverished area in the hills of the city, who comes to work as a maid for the Santiagos. Chula is fascinated by Petrona’s silence and as the two grow closer, Chula herself adopts this silence, keeping Petrona’s secrets as though her life depends on it. Petrona desperately tries to steer her younger siblings away from trouble, but she soon falls for a young man who sees her wealthy employers as the perfect target.
A short story that has become a staple of feminist literature, The Yellow Wallpaper consists of journal entries by a young woman who slowly descends into madness. The narrator is taken to a colonial mansion by her physician husband in an attempt to cure her ‘nervous depression’ through rest and relaxation. Sternly advised not to write or take up any pastime, the narrator takes to examining the garish yellow wallpaper in the room she’s staying in, soon becoming convinced that there is a woman trapped behind the florid patterns.
It’s coming to the end of April, a month in which we’re usually subject to Spring showers. Yet we’ve had uncharacteristically warm weather here in the UK, so not many opportunities for rainy days in bed with a book. For me, a Rainy Day Read is something short that I can devour in a day under the duvet with the miserable weather kept firmly outside, maybe cracking the window an inch to let the noise drift in.
Ijeoma is coming of age during the Nigerian Civil War, a conflict that devastates her home and her family. Sent away by her mother for her own safety, Ijeoma finds herself embarking on a passionate love affair with another girl. She quickly learns the consequences of expressing this part of her identity and struggles to navigate the violent prejudices of her people.
Happy Easter! I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend however you’re spending it. We’ve had amazing weather here in London, so far I’ve spent most of this four-day weekend in the sunshine but today I think I’m going to cosy up with a book and work on my OWLs! This tag was created by Rosie the Reader, but I first saw it on Paperbacks and Planners. It looks super fun and I haven’t posted much this week so I thought I’d join in. I won’t tag anyone but drop you Easter Book Tag posts in the comments below so I can check out your answers if you do take part.
In a not-so-distant future, abortion is once again illegal in America. Red Clocks explores the impact of these laws on five women living in a rural Oregon fishing town: The Biographer, The Explorer, The Daughter, The Mender, and The Wife.
In a future ravaged by biotechnology, Rachel scavenges to survive, even raking the fur of the giant bear, Mord, that wreaks havoc in her ruined city. It’s amongst Mord’s stinking pelt that she discovers Borne, a small sea-anenome-like creature that soon grows to be much more than he seems.
Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly book-themed discussion surrounding a question posed by Rainy Day Ramblings. This week’s question is: What are some of your favourite series that you would like to see revisited or a spin-off?