Looking over the reviews this month there were a few things that stood out to me. A number of our readers and reviewers appear to be spending time looking at their bookshelves and picking up books that they haven’t got to – they have either been waiting for the right time or possibly finding that have more time to finally read them. The other thing is how COVID-19 is impacting on how we are living at the moment as compared to what we are generally used to. For some of us it may have influenced the response we have to storylines and characters, maybe because we are we more emotional, more wary or more anxious? The third thing is our wonderful authors who are launching new books in the middle of this craziness, fortunately book stores are either open or providing home delivery services and thanks to the many many authors who have conducted a virtual book launch. I have attended a few online launches through instagram this week and our fabulous Australian Women Writers are certainly making the best of things and it’s awesome we can still share their excitement and passion for their new works that are released out into the world. Congratulations to a couple of authors that feature here including Lisa Ireland and B.M Carroll (also writes as Ber Carroll) who released their books this week. Keep an eye on social media for any more launches, the authors love your company – and of course love you even more for reading their new novels.
So with all that said there is a mix of new and old in our 40 reviews this month, thanks to everyone for putting your thoughts and opinions into your reviews and sharing them with us.
A very interesting perspective from the Giraffe Days blog about reading a book that was published quite a few years ago and has been selected as her book club’s first read (now virtual book club). The book selected is Liz Byrski’s A Month of Sundays
“Byrski’s characters come together because of books, but it’s not what keeps them together. Wanting to help each other, caring about each other even when they barely knew each other, being willing to listen and let others into their lives – maybe that comes with age. Maybe I’m an old soul, but I would love that. A Month of Sundays is testament to the strength of female bonds, and I did love it for that.”
Brenda’s reviewsMercy Street by Aussie author Tess Evans is a beautiful tale with two main characters – occasionally grumpy pensioner George and sweet, slightly unsure little Rory. Both played a delightful part from beginning to end. Richie the dog came into the story half way through; every little girl needs a dog and they loved each other. Mercy Street is a story I highly recommend.
Congratulations on the release of Who we were this week by B.M. Carroll
The story is set in 2020, but it’s not the written-by-Stephen-King 2020 we currently inhabit, it’s the 2020 we might have had if COVID-19 had not reared its ugly head. The mystery aspect (which definitely has a Big Little Lies/Liane Moriarty feel) is skilfully done, and even the most astute reader will be kept guessing until the final chapters. This is a brilliant novel, a moving and thought-provoking read.
An interesting response article that provides inside information from the author is included and it comes from Theresa Smith Writes
And another exciting release this week is Lisa Ireland’s new novel, no doubt there will be many more reviews of this one in the future. I look forward to grabbing a copy of The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan
Mic Loves Books“The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan shows us a lot about life, love and the secrets we keep to protect our family. The struggles that those of past generations had to carry inside them every day because they weren’t things that you shared.”
Veronica @ the burgeoning bookshelf enjoyed Fiona McCallum’s The Long Road Home
“The Long Road Home is an emotional story of self discovery, long held secrets and finding your true calling from one of Australia’s much novelists”. More from Veronica’s review is here The Burgeoning Bookshelf
One of our backlist reads comes from mrsbbookreviews
“The Fence is a book filled with conflict and we see this through the rich interrogation of various themes in this novel. Jaffe explores careers, ambition, finances, work/ life balance, parenting, childcare, marriage, infidelity, ageing, dementia, strained family relations, grief, trust and friendship. These issues are presented with insight, as well as sensitivity. The emphasis on gardening thanks to Gwen’s work as a columnist offering gardening tips and advice provides an overarching theme of gardening to the mix. I enjoyed these bursts of text between the involving narrative.”
Another new release which includes a trigger warning here as it deals with themes of domestic violence. The reviews so far have included their mixed reflections and strong emotions it draws out of you from this well written but often confronting novel by Rebecca Freeborn called The Girl She Was
Brenda’s reviews“The author has handled a hard topic well, and in places it was difficult to read”
Theresa Smith Writes“The strong themes of female friendship were a lovely bonus within this novel and I particularly enjoyed Layla’s 20-year high school reunion. This is very much a novel for our times and while it deals with extremely heavy and distressing themes, I believe it does so with a meticulous attention to raising awareness and a high degree of affectability.”
And to finish up the round up is Nene Davis’s Whitethorne
It made quite an impression on mrsbbookreviews
“Davies does a fine job of outlining all aspects of her characters. I developed a very clear picture in my mind of the cast. These protagonists are interesting, complex and at times unpredictable, but there is also a sense of normality that follows them, so it is easy to relate to the story at hand.
The narrative unfolds around questions on morality, selfishness, jealously, trust, mental illness, marriage, relationships and self-preservation. There is a sense of here and now about Whitethorne that firmly anchors this novel to the contemporary domestic fiction genre. The pace speeds along well and builds up to a frantic conclusion. It is best to go into this one with a blank canvas and enjoy all the twists the author throws at you. Nene Davies certainly presents the reader with a tumultuous journey to contend with in Whitethorne.
Intense, vehement, shocking and consuming, Whitethorne is one that will be sure to clasp a hold of contemporary fiction fans.”
Hope there has been something amongst this general fiction list that appeals and that you also find some interesting reads from your own backlist in May. I have got mine ready to go and it looks like the weather where I am will be perfect to relax by the fire and get cracking!
About me : Ever since my year nine English teacher placed My Brilliant Career, Harp in the South, Coonardoo and The Timeless Land in my hand Australian Women Writers who pen historical and contemporary fiction has been been my favourite genre. Managing a rural library service in Northern Victoria I am surrounded by books all day and it is hard to remain on the task-in-hand rather than be amongst the shelves (particularly the Australian Fiction section and now more recently we have no lovely customers visiting us each day!). But no, librarians do not read all day but I certainly try and make up for it any time I can!
Cheers for now, stay safe, stay well (and stay warm)