Seeing how my last ‘books that weren’t for me but could be for you’ post went down really well, I thought it was about time for another one.
As I said before, it’s one of the utter joys of book blogging to be sent books for review but it wouldn’t do if we all liked the same thing and, unsurprisingly, not every book that I receive ends up floating my boat. That said, I can often see the appeal of these books for others and this post is, in essence, a chance to shout about some very deserving books that, although not quite right for me, could well be the perfect next pick for you!
As with my last post, I’ve given Goodreads links to all of the books, along with the blurb and publisher information as well as a link to a full review from another lovely blogger!
Seven Steeples by Sara Baume
Publisher: Tramp Press, 256 pages
Blurb: It is the winter following the summer they met. A couple, Bell and Sigh, move into a remote house in the Irish countryside with their dogs. Both solitary with misanthropic tendencies, they leave the conventional lives stretched out before them to build another—one embedded in ritual, and away from the friends and family from whom they’ve drifted.
They arrive at their new home on a clear January day and look up to appraise the view. A mountain gently and unspectacularly ascends from the Atlantic, “as if it had accumulated stature over centuries. As if, over centuries, it had steadily flattened itself upwards.” They make a promise to climb the mountain, but—over the course of the next seven years—it remains unclimbed. We move through the seasons with Bell and Sigh as they come to understand more about the small world around them, and as their interest in the wider world recedes.
Review: Susan over at A Life in Books provided a full review of Seven Steeples and thought the novel was ‘a quietly brilliant novel’ with ‘richly imaginative’ descriptive writing and ‘vividly summoned’ depictions of the natural world.
The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson
Publisher: Mantle Books, 336 pages
Blurb: The longer the marriage, the harder truth becomes . . .
Meet the Hanrahan family, gathering for a momentous weekend as famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for a new exhibition of his art – the first in many decades – and one he is sure will burnish his reputation for good.
His three children will be there: beautiful Leah, always her father’s biggest champion; sensitive Patrick, who has finally decided to strike out on his own; and insecure Jess, the youngest, who has her own momentous decision to make . . .
And what of Lucia, Ray’s steadfast and selfless wife? She is an artist, too, but has always had to put her roles as wife and mother first. What will happen if she decides to change? For Lucia is hiding secrets of her own, and as the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice.
Review: Claire over at Years of Reading Selfishly thought that The Exhibitionist was ‘an incisive and funny novel, filled with moments that make your toes curl, and nod your head in recognition’ featuring a protagonist who ‘will make your jaw drop and your skin crawl’. Claire ‘absolutely loved it’ and you can read full her review here.
Nine Lives by Peter Swanson
Publisher: Faber & Faber, 291 pages
Blurb: If you’re on the list you’re marked for death.
The envelope is unremarkable. There is no return address. It contains a single, folded, sheet of white paper.
The envelope drops through the mail slot like any other piece of post. But for the nine complete strangers who receive it – each of them recognising just one name, their own, on the enclosed list – it will be the most life altering letter they ever receive. It could also be the last, as one by one, they start to meet their end.
Review: Emma over at Damppebbles thought that Nine Lives was ‘flipping marvellous’, saying that the novels’ Agatha Christie elements ‘effortlessly hooked me and kept me rapt until the very last word’. High praise indeed! You can read Emma’s full review here.
A Single Rose by Muriel Barbery (translated by Alison Anderson)
Publisher: Europa Editions, 160 pages
Blurb: Rose has turned forty, but has barely begun to live. When her Japanese father dies and she finds herself an orphan, she leaves France for Kyoto to hear the reading of his will. Paul, her father’s assistant, takes Rose on a mysterious pilgrimage designed by her deceased father. Her bitterness is soothed by the temples, Zen gardens and teahouses, and by her encounters with her father’s friends. As she recognises what she has lost, and as secrets are divulged, Rose learns to accept a part of herself that she has never before acknowledged.
Through her father’s itinerary, he opens his heart posthumously to his daughter, and Rose finds love where she least expects it. This stunning fifth novel from international bestseller Muriel Barbery is a mesmerising story of second chances, of beauty born out of grief.
Review: Franco Files UK has a thorough and detailed review of The Single Rose in which they praise the novel’s ‘delicious detail’ and say that it makes a compelling read for ‘those looking to rediscover or reassess the joy of life’ as well as anyone who loves French and/or Japanese culture.
Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguro
Publisher: Tinder Press, 432 pages
Blurb: It’s a lonely life for Stan, at a new school that feels more ordeal than fresh start, and at home where he and his mother struggle to break the silence after his father’s death. When he encounters fearless, clever Charlie on the local common, all of that begins to change. Charlie’s curiosity is infectious, and it is Charlie who teaches Stan, for the first time, to stand on his own two feet. But will their unit of two be strong enough to endure in a world that offers these boys such different prospects?
The pair part ways, until their paths cross once again, as adults at a London party. Now Stan is revelling in all that the city has to offer, while Charlie seems to have hit a brick wall. He needs Stan’s help, and above all his friendship, but is Stan really there for the man who once showed him the meaning of loyalty?
Review: Rosie at the Little Bird Book Blog praised Common Ground for its ‘beautiful depiction of an unlikely friendship of two boys, turned young men, learning who they are and their places in the world’, saying it was ‘ a touching and beautiful read’. You can read her full review here.
My Policeman by Bethan Roberts
Publisher: Vintage, 352 pages
Blurb: It is in 1950s’ Brighton that Marion first catches sight of the handsome and enigmatic Tom. He teaches her to swim in the shadow of the pier and Marion is smitten – determined her love will be enough for them both.
A few years later in Brighton Museum Patrick meets Tom. Patrick is besotted with Tom and opens his eyes to a glamorous, sophisticated new world.
Tom is their policeman, and in this age it is safer for him to marry Marion. The two lovers must share him, until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.
Review: Simon Savidge over at Savidge Reads has talked about his love for My Policeman a few times over on his YouTube channel but also provided a full review on his blog in which he said that the novel ‘highlights a bit of our history that we often brush under the carpet’ and praised the perspective of the novel, as well as its emotional highs and lows.
My thanks go to all of the publishers who sent me copies of these books. Unfortunately, they weren’t quite my cup of tea but, as the reviews I have chosen shown, these might just be the perfect books for a different reader!
Are there are books here that you’ve taken a fancy to? Please do let me know if you pick up any of the books mentioned in today’s post!
If you can, please support a local indie bookshop by ordering from them either in person or online! Some of my favourites include Booka Bookshop, The Big Green Bookshop, Sam Read Booksellers, Book-ish, Scarthin Books, and Berts Books.
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