Alaa Al Aswany    The Automobile Club of Egypt


Structure of story was confusing at first for some members of Bishops Tachbrook group, but then it soon fitted into place. Good idea ending each chapter on a cliff-hanger. It is a good example of growth of a family-social history-at a time of political unrest.

Isabelle Allende   The Japanese Lover

Bookworms in Harbury loved this book.

The detailed account of Japanese culture was impressive.

Fredrik Backman    A Man Called Ove

The Wolfords WI, Whitnash Library, & Radford Readers all thought this was excellent. They liked the humour, found it well-written, made them laugh and cry in equal measures. An unusual well-crafted book.

Tracey Chevalier    At the Edge of the Orchard

This was a hit with Harbury Book Worms; Acorn ladies in Warwick had a very interesting discussion they said:

“it was interesting to read about the history of apple trees and sequoias, and learn about the dismal life of living in the black swamps  of Ohio.”


Jean-Paul Didierlaurent      The  Reader on the 6.27

he knew there was a vast  difference between living alone and living alone with a goldfish”

Somehow, Didierlaurent’s musings on characters living alone, dealing with loneliness, lacking significant elements in their lives kept drawing us back to a discussion of goldfish. Was the goldfish the real author, peering out of its bowl and commenting on human frailties?  Is each character confined to his or her separate goldfish bowl, not all seeking a way out, but some of them finding one?

These are some questions posed by Scholar’s Court group in Stratford upon Avon.  They loved the book, thought it very good.

Claire Fuller    Swimming Lessons

Both Oaks Club and Bookworms in Stratford enjoyed this. They had good discussions around it, thought it well-written, unusual and liked the style of interspersing letters in the narrative.

Guinevere  Glasfurd     The Words in my Hand

PECC Group really enjoyed this. They thought the characterisation was good, and the settings well drawn.  Helena, and her desire to read, brought up issues of gender, education and class.

Out of 10 it scored 8.1.

Eowyn Ivey     To the Bright Edge of the World

Wolston Reading Group liked the journal style from the two main characters, one that was enhanced by the expedition leader’s wife back at home.

An authentic account of a difficult expedition.

Thomas Keneally     Napoleon’s Last  Island

A book which starts with a bang, waning rather in the middle, but ending in triumph, with everything happening in the latter part of the book!  U3A Heart of England in Stratford recommends this book, and are looking to read more by Thomas Keneally.


Kay Langdale   The Comfort of Others

Two groups loved this book. It is well-written, with great characters and a believable storyline. It is a story of friendship, forgiveness and hope.

Penelope Lively     The Purple Swamp Hen

These short stories are excellent, not just as they stand, but the way they relate to different life experiences within the group (Dunchurch Bookends)  Also thought  excellent by Book Worms in Stratford. They said “none of us had read Penelope Lively previously, but all thought we would now.”

Interesting, believable stories.

Paula McLain    The Paris Wife

The book highlights the fashionable age of jazz in 1920s and 1930s Paris and Italy, and the people (including Hemingway) who were part of this time.

David, from Bulkington U3A group says:

“I think Paula McLain’s portrayal of the characters and the snapshot of Paris and Italy, combining the life of artists and writers, is most remarkable.”

 Helen Simonson    The Summer before the War

This book compares favourably with Helen’s first book Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, according to Newbold Book Club. They thought it more meaty and engaging, with a great sense of location.

Dominic Smith     The Lost Painting of Sara de Voss

This was considered an excellent page turner by Wolston Reading Group.

Beautifully written.

Set in different places and times, but it worked well, and there was no confusion about which setting was being described.

Lovely descriptions of seventeenth century Dutch life.

Sally Vickers   Cousins

Farnborough group says: Excellent book which got better and better towards the end. As well as discussion on the book itself-the importance of the locations, the telling of the story through three generations of women- it also gave rise to other issues- assisted suicide and sentences for the “crime”.

Well written, pacey and gripping.