The Tree of Heaven – May Sinclair (British Library Women Writers)

The Tree of Heaven, by May Sinclair, tells the story of a middle-class family caught up in the tumult of the early Twentieth Century. Frances Harrison is wife to Anthony and mother to three children, the latter role being an all-consuming concern as she watches them grow. We first find her sitting ‘under the tree … Continue reading The Tree of Heaven – May Sinclair (British Library Women Writers)

John Steinbeck’s East of Eden

I’m divided on this one, I have to confess. He’s one of my favourite writers, I was fairly gripped by the plot… but there’s also much about this novel I didn’t like. Beginning in the 1860s, the story follows two families new to the Salinas Valley, the Trasks and the Hamiltons. The latter have been … Continue reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden

The Vanished Bride – Bella Ellis #TheBronteMysteries

Taking as its premise the idea that the Brontë sisters embarked on brief careers as crime-fighting ‘detectors’ in 1845, the period between Charlotte and Emily returning home from Brussels and the three sisters becoming published authors a year later, this novel offers us a delicious new version of the famous siblings, superbly reimagined by Bella … Continue reading The Vanished Bride – Bella Ellis #TheBronteMysteries

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ – Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities

I'd be lying if I said that the recent use of this novel's famous opening paragraph in an advert (BT?) hadn't been a small nudge to finally get reading this classic. I have been setting the opening as a prac. crit. text for years, feeling like a complete charlatan each time because I have an … Continue reading ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ – Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities

Lissa Evans’ Old Baggage – simply marvellous.

Mattie Simpkin is a brilliant character. There’s been so much written on the fight for female emancipation, both in fiction and elsewhere, but Evans’ novel, set in 1928, is a moving and often very funny account of what a woman like Mattie, an ardent suffragette and unflagging campaigner for equality, does next. ‘Mattie wore her … Continue reading Lissa Evans’ Old Baggage – simply marvellous.

‘There She Blows’ – Herman Melville’s Moby Dick

Well, that was some read. I read quickly (it’s my only useful skill) and this has taken me weeks. It’s on a par with Richardson’s Clarissa in terms of the stamina required, but I’m glad I’ve read it - and unlike my experience with Richardson’s epic tome, I wasn’t being whipped along by the demands … Continue reading ‘There She Blows’ – Herman Melville’s Moby Dick