Book Reviews - September 2010 Part I
Spring is here in all its glory and there’s no better way to celebrate the flowering season than to travel to Namaqualand! But if that’s not doable right now, may we suggest you curl up on the sofa with a hot cuppa and any (or all!) of the following bestselling titles:
The Mistaken Wife by Rose Melikan (Sphere)
This late 18th century historical thriller from Melikan is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars where a secret battle is being fought between English and French spies. Mary Finch, the adventure-loving young English heiress, goes on a secret mission to France in order to rattle negotiations between France and America. She pretends to be married to an American artist with whom she embarks upon a life-threatening journey. Finch realizes soon that her ‘husband’ may not be who he claims to be and that she must outwit powerful enemies threatening to disclose her true identity. The Mistaken Wife is a suspenseful espionage novel that will keep you guessing until the end.
Losing Charlotte by Heather Clay (Hutchinson)
As the pretty one, Charlotte has always stolen the limelight from her sister, Knox, who resents her. After moving to NYC to try her luck as an actress, Charlotte tells Knox that she’s met a finance whiz named Bruce who’s proposed to her. Very soon, however, a profound tragedy strikes the family, leaving Knox at a crossroads. Losing Charlotte is essentially a family drama revolving around three people brought together by bereavement. The novel is an observant character study – remarkable for a debutante. Losing Charlotte will impress you with its elegant style, beautiful prose, characters and insights into the ways relationships can evolve.
Blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris (Doubleday)
With Blueeyedboy Harris explores dark territories unlike her previous pastoral novels that were set in the French countryside. The narrative of the novel is presented through online journal postings by a user whose ID is Blueeyedboy – a janitor in his 40s who lives with his domineering mother. He seems to confess to several murders in his online posts, but the readers never really know for sure what’s going on. This whodunit will keep you intrigued with its “story-within-story” format and an ingeniously woven plot full of twists, lies, disguises and secrets. Blueeyedboy revolves around a dysfunctional family, mind games, deception, identity shifts and the implications of living life online.
Home Away edited by Louis Greenberg (Random House Struik)
This is a charming collection of literary pieces written by 24 South Africans including Fiona Snyckers, Zukiswa Wanner, Naomi Nkealah, Jo-Anne Richards, and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers. Edited by Louis Greenberg, all the stories revolve around the theme of being away from home. Each story is set at different times in different parts of the world but have at their core, themes of deracination, belonging and migration. The 24 chapters give readers a bird’s eye view of one day around the world and invite them to define what and where ‘home’ truly is. Beautiful and thought-provoking; the stories are remarkably different in tone and style, yet fit together as a cohesive whole to make a powerful statement.