Newest General Fiction Reviews

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The Place Where Love Should Be by Elizabeth Ellis

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Edward is six weeks old and I’ve had no sleep. I had thirty stitches in my perineum, the wounds still tug and itch. They had to do the stitches twice because the first lot became infected. The old-school midwife told me I wasn’t paying enough attention to personal hygiene. I must shower twice a day, or better still, take a salt bath. Do they really expect me to do that? Have they ever tried to shower when a baby is crying and you’re so tired you can barely stand and your partner is banging around downstairs because he’s late for work again?

I think most women have felt like this shortly after having a baby. Many of them simply managed to put one foot in front of the other until things calmed down but some will have found it harder and developed post-natal depression Full Review

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The Amber Maze by Christopher Bowden

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Hugh Mullion goes away to Dorset for the weekend and, while waiting for his wife to arrive, finds a mysterious key down the back of an antique chair. The grubby and torn label to which is attached reads... Full Review

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The Water Thief by Claire Hajaj

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Literary Fiction

Nick is in the middle of wedding preparations when he decides to leave his fiancée behind in London and take up a post in some un-named west African country providing engineering support for the building of a children's hospital. He has no idea what he is getting himself into. Full Review

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Landslide by Melissa Leet

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Women's Fiction The area where Jill and Susie lived wasn't highly populated so it was fortunate that they became such good friends, despite the fact that Susie was a year older than Jill. Susie lived with her mother, an alcoholic, and Jill lived with her mother, who dedicated herself to her garden. Jill's father was Jay Tutle, the photographer, but he spent much of his time working away - often for months on end. In reality there was little difference between the two families: Mrs Smith's alcoholism caused serious illness whilst Susie was still young. Joy and tragedy would visit Jill's home. Landslide is the story of how what happened determined the course of Jill's life and how great tragedy can breed resilience and hope. Full Review

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Aftershocks by A N Wilson

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Literary Fiction, General Fiction

In a country very much like New Zealand, but at the same time most avowedly not, two women will find love. Strong love too, for our narrator will say that her first attraction for her partner was the only thing to make sense of all those exaggerated songs she'd heard, and books and poems she'd read, and plays she'd acted in – works of art that had until then seemed sheer hyperbole. It was entirely unrequited love for quite some time, but it does burgeon, or so we're promised from the off, because of something quite drastic – a major earthquake very much like the one that hit Christchurch, but at the same time most avowedly not. This book then is the combined exploration of the lovers and the story of the quake. Full Review

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Hell's Unveiling by Laura Solomon

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Short Stories, General Fiction, Fantasy

A little while ago I really enjoyed Marsha's Deal and I was delighted by the opportunity to read the sequel, Hell's Unveiling. It's probably not much of a spoiler to say that Marsha bested the devil in Marsha's Deal, but the devil is not one to take defeat lying down. He's out to wage war on Planet Earth and particularly on Marsha (who's thought of as a 'goody two shoes' in Hell). Although a strong person, she's vulnerable where her foster children are concerned. Daniel is framed for a crime he didn't commit and sent to juvenile detention and refused permission to return to live with Marsha. Then, of course there are all the other children who are not only targeted, but - worst of all - subverted to the devil's evil ends. He's out to prey on their fears and weaknesses and as with many foster children, their self esteem is very fragile. This is no small-scale operation, either - the devil has set up a training complex on earth, complete with an elevator to Hell. Full Review

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Staying On by C M Taylor

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Tony Metcalfe is a Yorkshireman through and through and being honest, Yorkshire's where he'd really like to be. You suspect that Scarborough would be perfect, but he's living in a mountain village just beyond the Costa Verde and running a pub. The Viva Espagñe isn't flourishing: Tony would really like to sell it and return to the UK, what with the uncertainty of Brexit and everything, but there are a couple of problems. First off, his wife - Laney - refuses to go back to the UK. She'd have you believe that she's not well, but there's a backstory there that's not being talked about. Then there's the pub, which isn't doing well enough to sell. In fact Tony's cleaning the swimming pools of expats who have left Spain and returned home, in order to make a bit of money to try and make ends at least come in sight of each other, even if they never meet. Full Review

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The Day of the Orphan by Dr Nat Tanoh

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Saga is eighteen and, like many eighteen-year olds, his prime concerns are listening to what his mum calls hop-hip, eating copious amounts of food, and learning about girls. Living in an affluent, liberal and protected suburb, he has a good life. However, the suburb is in Africa, where childhoods can be snatched in an instant. When his friends and family are dragged into the conflict raging around the dictatorship that Saga lives under, he is forced to become an unlikely revolutionary. Can chubby Saga really stand up to a murderous regime? And can he stay one step ahead of the soldiers desperate to stop him? Full Review

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Murmuration by Robert Lock

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Historical Fiction

Murmuration follows the lives of a host of characters from 1863 to the present day. From a risqué comic to a fortune teller, we see the birth of Blackpool and its steadily fading glamour. There is a hint of mysticism to the tale, with the mesmerising dance of starlings over the pier acting as an anchor throughout the distinct narratives here, drawing together disparate stories of lives captivated by the sea. Full Review

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Smoking Kills by Antoine Laurain and Louise Rogers-Lalaurie (translator)

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Meet Fabrice Valantine. He's a headhunter, and a successful one too, in an office in Paris. All around him however his world is changing – yes, there is a new ban on smoking in all workplaces. Goaded by his non-smoking wife, even though they met over an ashtray, of sorts, he sees a hypnotist who had success with a mutual friend in stopping their nicotine habit. The session seems to have been successful, however he faces the prospect of having such a change to his own personality, his imbued habits and lifestyle, with fear, when he realises it will never again grant him any pleasure. He needs this pleasure when further changes at work come about – but it's what he replaces the habit with that will surprise the most. Full Review

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The Island by M A Bennett

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens, General Fiction

A contemporary take on the savage classic Lord of the Flies: a group of mismatched, modern-day teenagers must fight to survive on a deserted island. Link is a fish out of water. Newly arrived from America, he is finding it hard to settle into the venerable and prestigious Osney School. Who knew there could be so many strange traditions to understand? And what kind of school ranks its students by how fast they can run round the school quad - however ancient that quad may be? When Link runs the slowest time in years, he immediately becomes the butt of every school joke. And some students are determined to make his life more miserable than others... Full Review

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The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Literary Fiction

William Woolf is a letter detective, working in the Dead Letters Depot in East London. He spends his days deciphering smudged addresses, tracking down mysterious people and reading endless letters of love, guilt, death, hope, and everyday life. Full Review

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Marsha's Deal by Laura Solomon

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Short Stories, General Fiction, Fantasy

Marsha didn't have an easy ride in life the first time around. She'd been afflicted with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, a rare disease which turned parts of her body to bone when they were damaged. Finally she was unable to stand her life any longer and went to Dignitas, the Swiss euthanasia clinic. She'd thought that would be the end, but after cremation her body went straight to hell and she found herself face-to-face with the devil. And that was when she made the pact. In exchange for details about some of those who had been close to her - their strengths and weaknesses - she would be reborn on the same day to the same parents, but would live her life free of disease. Full Review

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Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Fantasy, General Fiction, Teens

Miryem comes from a long line of moneylenders – but her Father isn't very good at it at all. Lending freely and rarely collecting, he leaves the family on the edge of poverty, until Miryem must step in. Hardening her heart and collecting what is owed from local villagers, she becomes a person of great interest when she borrows a pouch of silver pennies from her Grandfather and returns it full of gold, soon becoming entangled with an array of strange creatures, from the dark beings that haunt the wood through to a King who's eager to exploit Miryem's talents – she soon becomes aware that her skills may be more trouble than they're worth… Full Review

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Four by Andy Jones

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Friends are nice, and couple friends are doubly nice, giving you like minded people to spend time with. A pair of pairs, or a couple of couples. Married couple Sally and Al have known Mike for ages – Sally from university, Al through work. His new girlfriend Faye completes their foursome and though she doesn't have their shared history, she's a lot of fun – a bit younger than the rest of them, an actress and so on. Full Review

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A Child Called Happiness by Stephan Collishaw

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Mazowe Valley, 2011 – Natalie hears a sharp cry that she thinks at first might be a bird, but turns out to be a baby, abandoned to the birds on the kopje. She is there with her uncle and they take the child, back to his farm initially and then to a local village where it is taken in. They do not report it to the police. Full Review

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Mr Peacock's Possessions by Lydia Syson

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Historical Fiction, General Fiction

On a remote volcanic island off the coast of New Zealand, a family of settlers struggle to make such an unforgiving place a home. When a ship appears, they feel that their wishes have been granted and their community reinvigorated – but high hopes are swiftly dashed when a vulnerable boy disappears. As both settlers and newcomers come together in the search for the child, they uncover far, far more than they were looking for – discovering dark secrets about both the island and those who inhabit it. Full Review

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Underwater Breathing by Cassandra Parkin

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

A tumble-down Edwardian house that will sooner rather than later tumble down the mud cliffs and away into the sea is where we meet Jacob and Ella. They share a bathroom in the turret, old and cold and not really supposed to be used…but this is where they hide away from the shouts of their parents' arguments. Here they play the Underwater Breathing game, submerging themselves in the water holding their breath for as long as they can. For sixteen year old Jacob it's just a way of drowning out the arguments…but for Ella it is more than that. She is terrified of the sea, of the fact that it will come and swallow their house. She needs to know that she can survive under water. She has to practice. Full Review

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The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews LGBT Fiction

The Great Believers follows a group of friends whose lives are devastated by the AIDS crisis in Chicago during the late 1980’s. Beginning in 1985, the reader follows Yale and his friends as they come to terms with the increasingly virulent illness spreading throughout their community, alongside their demonisation at the hands of a conservative America. Thirty years later Fiona, a devoted friend to Yale, is searching for her estranged daughter on the streets of Paris, trying to rebuild a relationship beset by memories and old hurt. Full Review