The Generation Game by Sophie Duffy

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This was an incredibly engaging novel; it has to be one of the best books I’ve read recently!

 

This is the story of Philippa Smith’s life, starting with her birth in 1965. Alongside this, there are chapters which detail Philippa’s present life in 2006, featuring the birth of her very own daughter. The two timelines slot seamlessly together and merge perfectly towards the end of the book. Helena, Philippa’s mother, is young and unmarried; leaving London behind with a Harrod’s bag full of nappies, she heads to Torquay with Philippa. Torquay becomes the place where friendships are made, lifelong bonds are formed, and secrets are both buried and revealed.

 

The Generation Game spans the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and finishes comfortably in the 2000’s. We are treated to some really nostalgic memories within the chapters, which I’m sure, will be familiar with many! Each chapter that tells Philippa’s history is named after a game show and there are references to major news events dotted throughout. The characters are all brilliant; I loved and rooted for each one of them. The writing is fantastic and the story has such depth to it, with many layers and numerous small reveals connecting everything with each turn of the page.

 

The synopsis on the back of the book does a great job of detailing the overall story, but doesn’t hint in any way to the bottomless pit of indulgent fiction between the covers, a veritable feast of a story! I’m not going to say anything more about it, as I really enjoyed finding out every single unknown detail for myself and want future readers to experience the same.

 

Please don’t miss this one, the characters will stay with me for a while and I know I will remember the story for a long time to come.

 

You can find and follow this author at – http://www.sophieduffy.com/ or https://twitter.com/sophiestenduffy

How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman

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Set within an insular, Scandinavian community, we are introduced to Marta and Hector, husband and wife who follow the well-trodden path of many shared years together. Hector, heading towards retirement, and Marta, twenty years younger and coming to terms with her adult son, Kylan leaving home.

The writing creates a fantastically menacing air, and alongside the troubling thoughts of Marta, the reader finds themselves devouring a dark and at times peculiar tale.

I read this book in one sitting and enjoyed the slow reveal of Marta’s story. Fragments are pieced together to form a narrative that has two possible realities running side by side. Once I’d finished I was left wondering about the characters and where they slotted into the true story.

A book which will have you guessing, questioning and wanting to talk about it once you reach the end – I quite fancy giving this a second reading to see if I can now spot hints I may have missed the first time!

Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer

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This is the story of Leo and Emmi, who have an accidental meeting of emails when Emmi sends an email to Leo in an attempt to cancel a magazine subscription. From this follows a handful of witty emails between the two of them. When an obvious connection through words evolves the correspondence continues. It soon begins to form an important part of both their days, both looking forward to contact from the other and if both are online together at the same time emails ping between themselves as conversation deepens and becomes more intimate.


Very quickly emotions develop and are written about as a dangerous closeness rises to the surface – Emmi is married and has two step children.

I thought the novel was excellent, I read it in one sitting as I just couldn’t put it down, I had to see how it was going to continue. The email format makes for a very addictive read, most of us today are familiar with email correspondence and this seemed so genuine, it was slightly voyeuristic! 

It shows how important and addictive the Internet can be, the impact it can have on personal lives and emotions and its place in modern society.

An added bonus is that the book has a sequel, so there is more to read of Leo and Emmi, I will definitely be seeking it out as I just wanted to continue reading when I came to the end.

A love story for the Internet age and one that will not fail to pull you in – excellent.

 

 

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

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An enchantingly lyrical novel mixed with shockingly menacing overtones, sees two sets of parents worst nightmares emerge. Deep within the woods during a humid Iowa summer, two seven year old girls disappear, already gone when their parents wake early one morning and go to check on them.


The story follows the characters of Fielda and Martin, parents of Petra, and Antonia, Griff and Ben, parents and big brother of Calli, as the events of the day unfurl and with them bring many uncomfortable moments, thoughts and memories to the forefront.


The novel is tightly wound with suspense that really does keep you turning the pages. It explores the secrets and consequent silence surrounding these secrets that can shape the path our lives take.


Calli suffers from selective mutism, she has not spoken since she was four years old, and we are taken on an unsettling journey which traces back to the moment her speech ceased.


The book is told in parts by each of the main characters and the descriptions of the woods are extremely life like, you can almost smell them!


A highly intelligent and poetic novel, that unravels at a quickening pace, bringing with it the questions of how the choices we make in life effect us and the consequences of these choices and missed opportunities

More information on Heather Gudenkauf can be found here – http://www.heathergudenkauf.com/