Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall: ‘There will always be a need’  

The premise of Heather Marshall’s Looking for Jane immediately appealed to me: the chance discovery of a misdelivered letter sets the woman who stumbled upon it on a quest to find the addressee, long since gone elsewhere. Marshall uses this trigger to explore the underground networks that existed in both Canada and the USA providing …

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Cover image for Groundskeeping by Lee Cole

Groundskeeping by Lee Cole: ‘Isn’t that what fiction is, though? Sanctioned lying?’  

This is the third novel in as many weeks I’ve read with a writing theme although it’s entirely different from either Antoine Wilson’s Mouth to Mouth or Andrew Lipstein’s Last Resort. It was part of my attraction to Lee Cole’s Groundskeeping but if I’m honest it was that lovely jacket that first snagged my attention. …

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Cover image for The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson

The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson: ‘Hearts are elastic, but only up to a point’ 

Regular readers won’t be surprised to hear that it was the art theme that first drew me to Charlotte Mendelson’s The Exhibitionist but it’s a background note to the overriding one of dysfunctional families, another favourite, and they don’t come much more dysfunctional than the Hanrahans. Mendelson’s novel follows the family over a weekend when …

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Cover image for The Wonders by Elena Medel

The Wonders by Elena Medel (transl. Lizzie Davis and Thomas Bunstead): Precious independence

Spanish poet Elena Medel’s first novel, The Wonders, was much acclaimed in her homeland, winning the prestigious Francisco Umbral Prize. Unsurprisingly, not being a poetry reader, I’d not heard of her but I’m always keen to read novels by poets and this one’s themes of feminism and class made it very appealing so I put …

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