They found it an easy but fascinating read, concerned with memories and past lives, which impact on the present. Lots of conflicting emotions at play, and some surprises. Sensitively drawn characters and well-written.
We are a female reading group which definitely affects our reaction to this book. Not sure would suit male readership. We all enjoyed it. Those who hadn’t encountered TC before did so rather more than those who were familiar with her previous work.
We enjoyed the way she weaves a great deal
Girl with a Pearl Earring is a far better novel, and perhaps Chevalier is beginning to churn out historical novels: we wonder whether , in a few years time, we would find ourselves saying “oh right, here’s the latest Tracy Chevalier novel” with a lack of glee in our voice, rather than anticipating it. We think perhaps she might milk this genre dry quite soon….of research into her novels with a light touch, so that it doesn’t feel as if she is shoehorning her research into the story, come hell or highwater-some other novelists ( Waters? ) can overload on research findings. We agreed that the first half is slower than the second,but loved the evocation of pioneering life in the US ,and learning about the underground railroad. Some of us got bored of so much detail about quilting and domestic detail, while others loved that social history side of the book. We didn’t think much of the characterisation of the women, and found the romance a bit superfluous.
So we agreed that it’s a good read, but not her best. We all finished it, which says something as that doesn’t always happen!
Thank you so much Warwick Business School, for such an excellent review! I totally agree with you that it is not her best. In fact, I much prefer her early novels ( including Girl with a Pearl Earring) My favourites are Virgin Blue and Falling Angels.
Pallett Perusers Group in Nuneaton, loved And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. They found it gave good insight into the Afghani culture and life-style, as well as being a really good read. Much like his previous book The Kite Runner. Both are wonderful reads.
Also in Nuneaton, Bookworms group enjoyed the quirky and charming Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie. It is a look at dysfunctional families, sprinkled liberally with humour , a light touch, and squirrels! They thought it excellent, and would highly recommend it . ( So would I ! )
The Children Act by Ian McEwan , has had a very good review by a group in Studley. They considered it thought-provoking, with a difficult subject matter , but one which provoked good discussion. There was a lot of detail throughout, but the ending felt abrupt.
If you are looking for a good holiday read, then The Escape Artist by Diane Chamberlain should fit the bill. This is what Kings group in Bedworth thought, at any rate. It’s an easy read, generating good discussion, not too deep, but enjoyable.
Another “excellent” verdict came from Kinmond Court group in Leamington, for David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. It did receive a mixed verdict in the group though, as not all enjoyed it, but overall it was considered utterly absorbing, imaginative and captivating.
Jessie Burton‘s The Miniaturist was also considered excellent by Treacle Bards in Nuneaton. This has previously had good reviews by other groups. They found it a real page-turner, with so many questions posed. Who was the miniaturist? A magician ? The book has romance, mystery and is a real tear-jerker in places. It is a tale of the power of prejudice and suggestion, and the limits of individual choice. The writing style is lovely, the characters becoming known as the book progresses, expertly done. It is a book which might not be picked from the shelves, but the group were quickly hooked, and couldn’t put it down.
( There’s recommendation for you! )
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Send you reading group reviews to Jandawson@warwickshire.gov.uk