The Testaments by Margaret Atwood Book Cover Image

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood: Searingly Plausible Dystopian

Rating: 5 stars

Category: Literary fiction, Dystopian

Synopsis: Lydia is one of the most feared Aunts in Gilead – but she’s about to go rogue with a secret manuscript.

Agnes and Daisy are both navigating the trials of coming-of-age – but with one raised inside and one outside Gilead, they might as well come from different planets.

These three unlikely women will be brought together to unite against the powerful Gileadean theocracy – challenging every single one of their assumptions about reality in the process. Continue reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood: Searingly Plausible Dystopian

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy Classics Book Cover Image

Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: Classic Pastoral Tale with a Hint of Proto-Feminism

Rating: 3 stars

Category: Classics

Synopsis:

When John Durbeyfield learns that he is descended from a grand ancient lineage known as the d’Urbervilles, he sends his daughter Tess to their nearest relations in the hope of claiming kin and improving his family’s prospects. As the family sinks ever-further into poverty, she is only too aware of the keen urgency of her mission.

However, Tess knows nothing of the world outside her village, or the attention she draws by nature of her youth and beauty. Her experiences at the d’Urberville house will leave her torn between preserving secrecy – and her reputation – or risking honesty with the people she loves most. Continue reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: Classic Pastoral Tale with a Hint of Proto-Feminism

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy Laurence Sterne Book Cover Image

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne: Ultimate Survival Guide (+ free chapter summary cheat sheet)

Should you ever be forced to read this book, or feel some masochistic urge to, I’ve included a free chapter-by-chapter summary sheet in solidarity with my fellow sufferers. Also, to lessen the pain slightly, this list of funny 1* Goodreads reviews will remind you that you’re not alone in this epic, frustrating endeavour. May the odds be ever in your favour. Continue reading The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne: Ultimate Survival Guide (+ free chapter summary cheat sheet)

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith Book Cover Image

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: Unsettling and Subversive Crime Novel

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Crime Fiction

Synopsis:

“Did the world always mete out just deserts?”

Tom Ripley is struggling to make his way in New York City, chasing the elusive American Dream while treading the edges of illegality. When the father of an old acquaintance approaches Tom in the hope that he can persuade his son, Dickie Greenleaf, to come home from Europe and take on the family business, Tom leaps at the chance.

However, from the first, it becomes clear that Dickie has no intention of obliging his father. His life in the Italian village of Mongibello is everything Tom has ever dreamed of: wealth, status, a luxurious lifestyle. Tom will have to return empty-handed to his sordid life in New York – unless he takes measures increasingly more extreme. Continue reading The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: Unsettling and Subversive Crime Novel

My Favourite Books Image

My Top 10 Books of 2019

2019 has been a wonderfully busy, varied reading year. Both my English Literature course and feminist book club have pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to try something new. At the same time, the inspiring community of book bloggers continues to keep reading exciting – I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings!

So without further ado, in no particular order (because I am extremely indecisive!) my top 10 books read in 2019 are… Continue reading My Top 10 Books of 2019

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier Book Cover Image

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier: Disturbing Gothic Enigma

Rating: 5 stars

Category: Gothic Romance

Content Warnings: Death of close family member, grief, capital punishment, terminal illness, violence, domestic abuse

Synopsis:

“Someday, somehow, I would repay my cousin Rachel.”

Ambrose has been like a father to Philip, raising him single-handedly ever since the death of his parents. They live undisturbed on their Cornish estate, surrounded entirely by men – not even a female housekeeper. So when Ambrose travels abroad for his health, only to send word he has fallen in love and married, it is understandable for Philip to be jealous.

His feelings of hatred towards this woman only increase when Ambrose dies in Italy, with his new wife by his side. Philip is left the grand estate, but no chance to say goodbye. However, this bitterness soon alleviates upon meeting Ambrose’s widow, the beautiful and enigmatic Rachel. He may be falling for her. And that may be exactly what she wants. Continue reading My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier: Disturbing Gothic Enigma

Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler Book Cover Image

Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler: Macho Detective Fiction That Screams “Male Gaze”

Rating: 2 stars

Category: Crime Fiction

Synopsis:

Private investigator Phillip Marlowe, a little strapped for cash, is on yet another assignment to track down an adulterous spouse when he runs into Moose Malloy. This cold, violent gangster has a soft spot: a barmaid named Velma whom he was going to marry before being jailed for armed robbery.
Marlowe strikes out to find Velma, but soon uncovers a black hole of gangs, blackmail and corruption in which she may well be lost forever. Continue reading Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler: Macho Detective Fiction That Screams “Male Gaze”

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite Book Cover Image

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite: Sharp, Provoking Crime Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Crime Fiction

Synopsis:

“You can’t sit on the fence forever.”

Zorede takes the role of older sister seriously. She protects Ayoola. Takes the blame when she gets in trouble. And – quite literally – cleans up the bodies. Ayoola has now killed three of her boyfriends, and, although she pleads self-defence, Zorede is not convinced.

So when Ayoola starts dating the doctor Zorede is in love with, it’s finally time for her to pick a side. With family loyalty stretched to the limit, Zorede questions whether she should continue to defend her little sister – no matter what. Continue reading My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite: Sharp, Provoking Crime Fiction

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie Book Cover Image

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie: The Mother of All Plot Twists!

Rating: 5 stars

Category: Crime Fiction, Classics, Mystery/Adventure

Synopsis: Shortly after confessing to a close friend that she is being blackmailed, Mrs Ferrars is found dead: the police conclude it was suicide. The case takes a much darker turn when that same friend is found murdered in his own study.

An unassuming newcomer to the village seems the last person the police will call upon for help. He spends his days fondly tending a vegetable patch. However, this newcomer is not your average hobbyist gardener, but a retired detective going by the name of Hercule Poirot… Continue reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie: The Mother of All Plot Twists!

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins Book Cover Image

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins: Clever, Tightly Plotted Mystery

Rating: 3 stars

Category: Crime Fiction, Classics, Mystery/Adventure

Synopsis: A diamond is stolen from one of the most sacred shrines in India. A young lady receives an extravagant birthday present in the will of her deceased Uncle. A London philanthropist is attacked in what seems to be a case of mistaken identity.

Connecting all of these events is the superstition surrounding the diamond: that it will leave a trail of blood in the lives of all those in possession of it. As inexplicable events plague the family holding the mysterious heirloom, Franklin Blake seeks to record witness testimonies and find a rational cause for the occurrences.

The family and their connections each contribute their version of events, but suspicions are rife and nobody knows who to trust. Not even the reader… Continue reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins: Clever, Tightly Plotted Mystery