I read six novels in August and some poetry which I will blog about separately.
The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. Read on Kindle. Two timelines – one contemporary, the other in World War 2 and Occupied France. In the present day Liv, owner of a painting of a beautiful woman, a gift from her recently late young husband, has to go to court to defend her ownership, as descendants of the artist are claiming it was looted. In the harrowing other timeline, Sophie runs a hotel visited by the occupying Germans. Her beloved husband, artist Edouard, is fighting at the front. The portrait he painted of her hangs in the hotel and is much admired by the German Commandant …
The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. Read on Kindle. This one is contemporary (I love that all her books are so different) and, oh joy, it’s a road-trip book. Not an American road-trip … but a car journey from the south of England to Aberdeen where single mother Jess’s daughter Tanzie is to take part in a Maths Olympiad, the first prize for which is a desperately needed £5,000. In the car is also Nick, Jess’s troubled teenage stepson, and a very large flatulent dog called Norman. The car is driven by Ed, erstwhile employer of cleaner Jess, who has his own reasons for wanting to leave home for a while. Jojo Moyes is so perceptive about family dynamics and Jess is a wonderful character – I am interested to find out who will play her in the forthcoming film.
Cross Country with Grandma by Karen Testa
Christian Aid Booksale purchase. This is an American road-trip book –I will probably never take one but can live vicariously. The first chapter pulled me in straightaway: it’s headed Herring Bay, Maryland and begins ‘The envelope I hold in my hand will break my heart.’ Then events take the narrator and her eighty-five-year-old grandmother, feisty Maude, on a literal journey across America and a metaphorical journey into Maude’s past. My copy was signed by the author in 1995 – I wonder how far it travelled before ending up in a second-hand booksale in Edinburgh?. Copies are available on Amazon: 16 used from 0.1p – and one new from £2499.50 ...
A Night on the Orient Express by Veronica Henry
Christian Aid Booksale purchase. A zip-through read about various couples/groups who are travelling on the Orient Express for different reasons. I particularly liked the young couple, who’d never met before but who had ‘won’ each other in a lonely hearts competition, and the step-family on a bonding holiday.
The Long Weekend by Veronica Henry
Christian Aid Booksale purchase. Format as above, this tells the stories of the guests in a beautiful Cornish seaside hotel and one of the co-owners. Secrets, lies and scandals are exposed over one hot weekend. The author is also a script-writer so she handles the various storylines effortlessly.
The Hour Before Dawn by Sara MacDonald
Christian Aid Booksale purchase. Described as ‘A rich, multi-generational saga, set in Singapore and New Zealand. The mysterious disappearance of a young child sets in motion a series of events that will haunt future generations of the family.’ Good plot and some lovely descriptions especially of rural New Zealand.