Richard and Judy's Summer Reading List 2011

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Richard and Judy's Summer Reading List 2011


Eight books to take to the beach or settle down with in a shady spot in the garden and all recommended by Richard and Judy

The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn

4star.jpg Historical Fiction

Katherine Howard was Henry VIII's fifth wife. She was perhaps the most seductive of his wives and a considerable contrast to her predecessor, Anna of Cleves. She's been consigned to history as a silly girl, but careful reading gives the lie to this. Suzannah Dunn begins her story when Katherine was twelve years old and went to live in her step-grandmother's household. There she met Cathryn – generally known as Cat – Tilney, but the two girls were very different and didn't hit it off initially. Cat was quietly ambitious, aware that she needed to make a good marriage, whilst Katherine was image-conscious and very interested in the boys. Full review...

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

5star.jpg General Fiction

Karen is ending her university years and has her future mapped out. But then she meets Biba, who opens doors to a world she's never seen before, and to the type of intense friendship that she's never experienced either. As Karen embarks on this friendship, she collects all kinds of new experiences along the way. At the start of that summer, she could never have predicted just how indelible the mark left by the friendship would turn out to be. Full review...

The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen

4star.jpg General Fiction

Letty Fleming, recently widowed, is driving her three children hundreds of miles north to a new and hopefully happy life on a remote Scottish island. We get a peek at the personalities of the children straight away: Alba is opinionated and strong-willed, for example. Still young she's managed to acquire a list as long as her arm of her 'hates' in the world - fish, English teachers and doors which are ajar all feature and I didn't care as I couldn't help liking her. At least she knows her own mind. What will she be like when she's grown up, for heaven's sake? Full review...

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

5star.jpg General Fiction

Mary Beth Latham is contemplating her average, ordinary life where every day is more of less the same. Would things be better if life were more exciting, varied, newsworthy? Is that a legitimate thing to hope for? They say to be careful what you wish for, and Mary Beth never comes right out and says this is what she wants, but there are hints to this effect. Full review...

The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld

5star.jpg General Fiction

It's three years since we were all blown away by The Interpretation of Murder but Jed Rubenfeld is back with the sequel, which takes place ten years later. And what a decade that has been, with the appalling tragedy of the First World War and the influenza outbreak which followed. There's a hope that things are getting better as New York moves into the twenties and Stratham Younger and Captain James Littlemore meet up for the first time in ten years. They're in Wall Street on September the sixteenth – just as a quarter of a ton of explosives is detonated in the worst terrorist attack in the country's hundred and fifty year history. Full review...

The Novel in the Viola by Natasha Solomons

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

Elise Landau arrived in England in 1938, a refugee from Vienna where she and her family had had a good lifestyle. In England she's destined for Tyneford in Dorset where she'll be a parlour maid at the big house. She's not exactly looking forward to it, but she's escaped Vienna with some of her mother's jewels sewn into the seams of her dresses and her father's latest novel, in manuscript, is hidden in the body of her viola. Her sister is leaving for the USA and her parents hope to follow. Surely Elise will be able to join them before too long? She knows that she won't like England. Full review...

The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

Laurence Bartram has survived the war, but his life has changed dramatically. It will never be the same again. It's almost as if he doesn't recognize himself. Domestic life is now non-existent and he has no-one to please but himself. He is unsettled and edgy. War has obviously left its mark. He retreats graciously and wonders what he'll do with the rest of his life. Full review...

When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

4star.jpg General Fiction

When God Was a Rabbit is a book that tugs at the emotions in a sweet but uncompromising way. It's in no way a RomCom but if you are a fan of that genre of film, I would suggest that you might too enjoy this book as it shares many of the traits if not the storyline. The analogy to a movie is apposite too as first time author Sarah Winman's 'day job' is as an actor - she has appeared recently in Holby City, for example. Full review...