Newest General Fiction Reviews

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Review of

There's Only One Danny Garvey by David F Ross

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

Years ago, Danny Garvey was a footballing prodigy playing for his local club. Everyone predicted a bright future – but his career in professional football never quite worked out. Thirteen years on, convinced to return home by his "uncle" Higgy to visit his dying mother, Danny takes over the shambolic and once-great team he used to play for and tries to reform them. Full Review

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Review of

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

Eleanor Oliphant is almost 30. She lives in Glasgow, alone. And she likes it that way. She works 9-5, 5 days a week, and spends the weekend not drunk, but not sober. alone. And she likes it that way. She lives by a routine, and that's fine, thankyouverymuch. Nothing is missing from her life. Except everything is. Until one day, at a concert she won tickets for in an office raffle, she sees the man she is sure will be her husband. Eleanor begins a journey to make herself the best version of herself that she can, in order to secure this beautiful musician. Then, as she's on her way home one Friday, she and the new IT guy at her office see a man collapse in the street and stay close to him in hospital. Then, before she knows it, her once quiet life becomes a hubbub of social engagements with the man's family and friends, with Raymond from IT and of course her side project of falling in love with Johnnie Lomond. But just as her life seems to be looking up, things take a turn for the worse. Is Johnnie all he's cracked up to be? What secrets does Eleanor have from her childhood? Eleanor's walls have been broken down and she has to fight her way out of the shadows - but maybe she doesn't have to do it alone. Full Review

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Review of

The Karma Trap by Lisette Boyd

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

George Jackson is thirty-three years old, absolutely gorgeous to look at - and single. She's not had sex for eight months and she's stuck in the karma trap: an awful lot of bad luck is being visited on her and she has a real talent for attracting drama. Her life's chaotic: she dealt with the leak from the shower by putting something down at the bottom of the stairs to absorb the water - then the shower fell through the roof whilst she was in it and left her, stark naked, staring at the pervy postman. She only has to take her mother's dog out for a walk for her to end up with dog poo spattered across her face - and a photo being taken by someone who shares it around the office. Full Review

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Review of

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

5star.jpg General Fiction

Between life and death there is a library. And so, 38 minutes after Nora decided to die, she finds herself in the Midnight Library. Everything that could've gone wrong in Nora's life has. Her cat died, she lost her job, her brother won't speak to her, her parents are dead, the boy she teaches piano to no longer cares about piano, she called off her wedding, and old Mr Banerjee next door no longer needs her help. She gave up on all the things that would've let her escape the wet, cold town of Bedford and given her life some purposeful direction. So at 23:22, she realises that she isn't made for life and decides to die. But instead of death, she finds the library. Each infinite shelf is filled with books, each book providing a chance to try another life she could have lived, in a parallel time. And so, just after midnight on Tuesday the 18th of April, Nora Seed begins to live every life she could've. Full Review

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Review of

These Thy Gifts by Vincent Panettiere

4star.jpg General Fiction

2006 is a tumultuous year for the Catholic Church. Reports of horrific sexual abuse are becoming widespread. Monsignor Steven Trimboli is troubled. He worries for the future of the church—and rightly so. A new crime will soon reverberate throughout his church and hit closer to home than he ever imagined.

As ageing priest Steve Trimboli begins to try to make sense of the child sexual abuse scandal that is rocking his beloved Catholic church, he discovers that one child in his own parish has been abused by a priest sent by his bishop. And this isn't just any boy: this is Steve's grandson whose mother is the offspring of a long past relationship between Steve and a gangster's widow. Steve is determined to seek justice for this boy and all children victimised by priests who have been protected by his church. But he must also face up to his own failings, going right back to his breaking of the celibacy vows. Full Review

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Review of

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

5star.jpg General Fiction

In 1952, Kya's mother disappeared up the dirt track to town, wearing her alligator heels, and never came home. Then one by one her siblings left, ran from the shack on the North Carolina marsh that served as home and the life that would lead to nothing but suffering, leaving 7-year-old Kya with her drunken father. Years pass and Kya - now nicknamed 'Marsh-Girl' – still yearns for a mother that would never return and grew up far too fast for a girl who can neither read nor write. Finally, one night her father never came home leaving Kya completely alone to survive on the marsh. Eventually, as the years drift painfully by, the time comes when Kya, now an emotional and vastly intelligent young woman, yearns for company besides the gulls and the land, yearning to be loved and to be held. So, when 2 boys from the town of Barkley Cove find their way to her, she finds a new way of life. But in 1969, the body of former star quarterback and new husband Chase Andrews is found lying in the mud of the marsh, and everyone in town immediately suspects the mysterious, run-down Marsh-Girl. Who is Kya now, after years of isolation and a broken, hardened heart? Is she really capable of murder? Full Review

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Review of

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

4star.jpg General Fiction

Dawn Edelstein is a death doula: that's someone who is there for the person who is dying, to make their passage to whatever they believe in as easy as possible and to support their carers. It's a rewarding, caring occupation and Dawn puts her heart and soul into it but this wasn't always her life. Some fifteen years ago she was a graduate student at Yale working towards her doctorate: as an Egyptologist, she was working with her supervisor, Professor Ian Dumphries, on the Djehutyakht tombs at Deir el-Bersha on the Nile in Middle Egypt. Then she was Dawn McDowell: that was her maiden name, the name she published under. Full Review

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Review of

Trio by William Boyd

5star.jpg General Fiction

It was 1968: the year when Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated. It's also the year when YSK Films are making a movie in Brighton. It's called Emily Bracegirdle's Extremely Useful Ladder to the Moon, or Ladder the Moon as it's known on set. Anny Viklund is the female star in a production which is proving to be just a little bit rackety. There are odd pressures on the producer, Talbot Kydd, to employ this old actor friend for a couple of days because he needs the money, allow a fading star to use his catchphrase, or include a song from the leading man, whose musical star is fading. Full Review

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Review of

Ordinary Hazards by Anna Bruno

2star.jpg General Fiction

Some books either grab you or bore you. And this was one that I wanted so badly to like but unfortunately, I just wasn't hooked. Full Review

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Review of

Jamie's Keepsake by Michael Gallagher

4.5star.jpg Teens

When we first meet Alex Hannah, he's just being released from the Southern General Hospital. The nurse thinks he'll come back to visit the other patients but Alex has no intention of doing that: he's been there for a year, on the same ward where his brother died and now, with his hair all shorn off, he's going home in his dead brother's clothes. He wants to get outside and back with his friends: his brother, Forbes, says that the fresh air will do him good and his mother tells him that he's not to mention TB and to say it was tonsillitis. Good luck with that one, Alex. Full Review

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Review of

Space Hopper by Helen Fisher

3.5star.jpg General Fiction

Faye lost her mum when she was very young. She was raised by some elderly neighbours after her mum died from a cold that got worse, and although they were kind and very good to her she of course missed her mum enormously. So when, unexpectedly, she discovers a time travel conduit (via an old space hopper box in her attic) that takes her back to the 70's and her mum, she revels in the chance to create some memories and get to know the woman who meant so much to her. The time travelling, however, is neither easy nor safe, and Faye fears that her husband won't believe what's happening and so lies to him instead. The lies grow more tangled, and Faye begins to wonder if it's safe for her to return one last time to the past. Should she try to see her mum one last time before her mum's death, or will it change her own future forever to attempt it? Full Review

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Review of

The Push by Claire McGowan

5star.jpg General Fiction

Six mums-to-be meet at a prenatal class. It's NCT style, but not the proper NCT. This bit is important, but you have to wait a little to see why. This being London, such a class attracts a wide variety of people, from all sorts of backgrounds, but for most of the ladies the thing they have in common is it's their first baby. Probably after the first one, you don't have time for classes, or think you've got child-rearing down pat. Full Review

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Review of

One Perfect Morning by Pamela Crane

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

A husband is about to have his throat cut in his own bed. To find out who - and why - we need to go back nine days and twenty years.

Mackenzie, Robin and Lily met when they all went to the same college in Monroeville, Pennsylvania and twenty years later they're still the best of friends. When they first met they called themselves the Spicier Girls as a nod to the famous girl band of the day. Lily would be Adventure Spice, Robin the Homemaker and Mackenzie - well, Mackenzie would be the supporting actress in her own life. She married Owen, her college sweetheart and they have a daughter, Aria, who's now fifteen-year-old. Full Review

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Review of

The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce

5star.jpg Thrillers

Year six student Robin Spence isn't happy about having to start a new school. She's left the school she loved in New York and now she's going to Ashams in North London. It's very upmarket; places are rare as hens' teeth and as the pupils have all been there forever, they have their established groups. Robin's going to be an outsider. And why is this happening? Well, over a matter of a few days her parents' marriage fell apart. Andrew Spence is staying in New York - he works for a securities firm - and her mother, Sadie Roper, has come back to London to pick up her practice as a criminal barrister. That's easier said than done when you've been out of the market place - and the country - for more than ten years. Full Review

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Review of

The Readers Room by Antoine Laurain

3.5star.jpg General Fiction

Violaine's publishing house has had a great success, and it was through the slush pile of unsolicited manuscripts. The three people who work in the Readers' Room to sift through what is ninety-nine per cent dross – plus the fourth advisor in her rarefied mansion up the road – all agreed the book would be a huge smash, and so it has proven. But there are several 'howevers' to that. As in, however – Violaine herself is not having life all her own way, for she has been involved in a near-fatal accident, and starts this book coming round from a coma. And, however – despite all urging, the author of the book has never once made themselves known to the publishers in person, and in fact, offered up a most peculiar statement-come-threat in their last email. What is going to befall Violaine, her memory, her staff – and how much is any of it due to the hit novel? And just where the heck did that come from? Full Review

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Review of

Rodham: What if Hillary hadn't Married Bill? by Curtis Sittenfeld

4star.jpg General Fiction

I was tempted to read Rodham by the success of Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife. That book wasn't marketed as being a portrait of Laura Bush, but the word thinly-veiled seemed to occur very regularly in reviews. How would Rodham compare? Unfortunately, there is a difference: relatively little was known about Laura Bush, which gave the book a freshness which the first third of Rodham lacks. We've all heard the stories, read the books - about Hillary and particularly about Bill. It's still an interesting concept, though: how would Hillary have fared if she hadn't subsumed her own ambitions into Bill's career, if she hadn't had to carry the burden of all Bill's baggage and if she hadn't left her own run at the presidency so late? Could she have done better without the Clinton surname? Full Review

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Review of

Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

5star.jpg General Fiction

I've always believed that places and buildings absorb what happens within them and reflect it back; this is how we can tell that a sacred space is sacred. Cate Morris believes a similar thing, she believes that A house absorbs happiness, it blooms into the wallpaper, the wood of the window frames, the bricks: that's how it becomes a home. She is having these thoughts as she packs up her home. She has to leave. A combination of circumstances means that is not only redundant but also homeless. With nowhere else to go, she has called on her late husband's family for help. Just for a few weeks. Full Review

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Review of

A Life Without End by Frederic Beigbeder and Frank Wynne (translator)

4star.jpg Literary Fiction

I looked at the calendar the other week, and disappointedly realised I have a birthday this year – I know, yet another one. It won't be one of the major numbers, but the time when I have the same number as Heinz varieties looms on the horizon. And then a few of the big 0-numbers, and if all goes well, I'll be an OBE. (Which of course stands for Over Bloody Eighty.) Now if that's the extent of my mid-life crisis, I guess I have to be happy. Our author here doesn't use that exact phrase, but he might be said to be living one. Determined to find out how to prolong life for as long as he wants – he would like to see 400 – he hops right into bed with the assistant to the first geneticist he interviews, and they end up with a child, which is at least a way of continuing the life of his genes, and a motive to keep ongoing. But how can he get to not flick the 'final way out' switch, especially when foie gras tastes so nice? Full Review

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Review of

The Greenbecker Gambit by Ben Graff

5star.jpg General Fiction

I suppose the odd fleeting sense of loneliness is a price all truly successful people must pay for our gifts. I tell myself that I do so willingly.

Tennessee Greenbecker. Isn't that a name to conjure with? There are hints that it might not have been the name he was given at birth, but many of us have moved on, so far as names go, from the one we were originally saddled with. Greenbecker's life is one of constant reinvention. He tells us that he's the foremost chess player never to have been world champion, and it does seem that he has some considerable talent as far as chess goes. He's determined that he's going to fulfil what he sees as his destiny. He just needs to do some study to be able to beat the current players ranked at numbers one and two in the world. Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana will not stand in his way. Full Review

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Review of

Daisy by J Paul Henderson

4star.jpg General Fiction

This is the story of Herod S. Pinkney, a rather unusual (yet somehow charming) man who is in search of a woman called Daisy, whom he first sees in an episode of Judge Judy on television and instantly falls in love with her! Rod is writing the novel of his quest, guided by an embittered ex-literary agent who is now clearing glasses in a pub for a living. Determined to find and meet Daisy, the book takes us through Rod's life, introduces us to his friends, and tells us of what happens in his quest for love. Full Review

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Review of

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

When we meet Professor Frank Hobbs and his wife, Maggie, Frank is playing chess against his computer, although not very successfully. Maggie, on the other hand, has just taken some pills - eight of them, in fact - and before long she will collapse. When Frank rings the emergency services in Oxford he has a bit of a problem. He has to admit that he and Maggie haven't actually spoken for a while. How long? Well, it's about six months since he spoke to Maggie and he can't really say if it's likely that Maggie has tried to take her own life. Full Review

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