Simon & Schuster

The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester: A rollicking good read

Sometimes what you need – particularly at this time of the year when the weather’s dire, Christmas jollifications are over and the bills are rolling in – is a rollicking good read. Nothing fancy in the writing department, no phrases to savour and linger over – just a good old-fashioned piece of storytelling with a …

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A Separate Peace by John Knowles: Hard lessons in life

This is the second American classic I’ve read in a month; the third if we’re counting discrete works rather than volumes. There must be something in the publishing air. This one’s very different from Nella Larsens’s Quicksand and Passing which explore race and identity in the 1920s in a very personal way. Written in 1959, …

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House of Ashes by Monique Roffey: ‘Power is Love’

I’ve long been a fan of Monique Roffey’s novels – all of them very different, from the slightly fantastical Sun Dog to Archipelago with its lovely descriptions of the natural world. House of Ashes is no exception – a powerfully political novel which makes some cogent points while maintaining the pace of a page-turner. Bookish …

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The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman: A rattling good yarn

If you fancy a good old-fashioned piece of storytelling with beauty, the beast, freaks of nature, love stories, redemption and a faithful, loving pit bull who doesn’t know how to fight I have just the book for you. Alice Hoffman’s new novel has all this plus a hefty helping of suspense. What’s not to like? …

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Of Love and Other Wars by Sophie Hardach: A different sort of war novel

There’s an awful lot of war around at the moment. Sadly, the real kind is always with us but it seems to be more widespread in fiction than usual, an inevitable result of the First World War centenary I suppose. Having already reviewed Anna Hope’s Wake and Helen Dunmore’s The Lie I’d sworn off war …

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