My stand-out read for February was Dervla McTiernan’s new crime fiction release, The Scholar – such an engaging book that I didn’t want it to end. But this post is all about general fiction and the work that our busy reviewers have been doing across February.
In February, there was a total of 49 reviews of 40 titles. Two books shared the top spot as most-reviewed, with three reviews each. These were:
Amanda @ Mrs B’s Book Reviews writes that The House of Second Chances is “a memorable journey of overcoming loss, welcoming love and embracing new chances.” Moving between the green hills of Ireland and coastal Australia, Amanda was impressed with the sense of place evoked by the author and the warmth of the writing reminiscent of Maeve Binchy or Monica McInerney. Amanda concludes that this is a “poignant book that reminds us that we do have the ability to make changes in our lives in order to become healthier, happier and more fulfilled people, The House of Second Chances is a highly relatable novel that will be appreciated by a broad audience.”
Houses are clearly the theme of February’s most-reviewed books, with The Cottage at Rosella Cove another house that has stood empty for too long, waiting for someone to give it a second chance – and get their own. Sharon Hill gave the book five stars, saying that for her it matched up to Sandie Docker’s debut novel The Kookaburra Creek Café. Sharon says, “Sandie has written about all the things I love and find intriguing to read about such as love, loss, friendships, betrayal, oh and let’s not forget hidden letters. I love reading about those and trying to work it all out.” There’s nothing like a few secrets to keep a reader intrigued!
An all-too-pertinent new release that gathered two reviews in February was Fiona Lowe’s novel Home Fires, reviewed by Jennifer Cameron-smith and Brenda. Set in a bushfire-devastated town in Victoria, the story invites readers into the recovery of the town and the ongoing trauma of the fire. Jennifer gave the book five stars. “I picked this novel up and was swept into the community of Myrtle and the people portrayed. I could feel their frustration: six new public buildings (but no pub) people living in temporary accommodation because bureaucracy moved too slowly or because they could not afford to rebuild.”
Every year our hearts go out to those who suffer the ferocious fires our Australian climate has to offer, and it sounds as though Fiona Lowe has effectively tapped into this collective empathy. Brenda described the book as ‘outstanding’: “The depth of emotion the author has given the characters is breathtaking; my heart was breaking for what I knew they were going through.” This certainly seems to be one to look out for, for keen readers of general fiction.
Until next month, happy reading!
About me: I read and write across genres with a preference for smart, accessible fiction. The Australian Women Writers Challenge has opened my eyes to a whole new range of favourite authors who’ve been hiding right in front of me. You can find out more about me and my reading and writing at www.aislinnbatstone.com