The Corset by Laura Purcell Book Cover Image Sticky post

The Corset by Laura Purcell: Feminist Historical Fiction with a Magical Realism Twist

Rating: 3.5 stars

Genre: Historical fiction

Summary: Dorothea has enough of her own worries – trying to continue her studies of phrenology under the disapproving eye of her father, dodging her simpering stepmother-to-be at society balls, and dissuading men with matrimonial hopes. Yet when visiting a woman’s prison on charitable errands, she feels drawn to the tragic story of Ruth Butterham, a maid and seamstress condemned to death for the murder of her mistress.

Ruth is an enigma, a girl of only sixteen who has already endured a lifetime of suffering. Always refusing to become a victim, this young prisoner holds onto a burning core of vengefulness that allures and repels Dorothea in equal measure. Is Ruth guilty, or is her confession the product of her own disturbing delusions? Continue reading The Corset by Laura Purcell: Feminist Historical Fiction with a Magical Realism Twist

The Book of Pride by Mason Funk Book Cover Image

The Book of Pride ed. by Mason Funk: Get Inspired by LGBT+ History!

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: Non-fiction

Summary: Feeling a debt of gratitude to his queer community’s elders, and determined not to let their stories be lost to history, Mason Funk established Outwords, a charity dedicated to travelling the length and breadth of America to interview LGBT+ elders. From swanky offices to rural snowstorms, the Outwords team seek queer stories wherever they can find them, determined to record as many of the movement’s perspectives as possible.

The result is The Book of Pride, a collection of interviews with LGBT+ pioneers, including John S. James (HIV treatment campaigner), Diana Rivers (author and women’s rights activist) and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy (trans community leader). Continue reading The Book of Pride ed. by Mason Funk: Get Inspired by LGBT+ History!

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson Book Cover Image

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson: Quirky Lesbian Coming-of-Age Tale

Rating: 3 stars

Genre: Literary, Semi-autobiographical

Summary: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a semi-autobiographical bildungsroman novel that draws upon the author’s own childhood and life experiences. In a small Northern town in the 1950s and 60s, Jeanette is being raised by her formidable mother as a good Christian girl who dreams of becoming a missionary.
However, after falling in love with one of her female converts, Jeanette embarks on a series of lesbian love affairs that will force her to confront the darker sides of her community. Determined not to choose between her love of women and her calling as a preacher, she must fight to retain her identity, sexuality, and faith intact. Continue reading Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson: Quirky Lesbian Coming-of-Age Tale

The Confession by Jessie Burton Book Cover Image

The Confession by Jessie Burton: Emotive Literary Drama

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Literary fiction

Summary: In 1980, Elise follows her lover Connie from London to LA, where Connie’s novel is being adapted into a major film. Their stormy love affair will leave its mark on the city.
Three decades later, Rose is on the trail of the mother who left when she was a baby. The only clue she has is a book by elusive novelist Constance Holden, who may hold the key to why her mother left everything behind. Continue reading The Confession by Jessie Burton: Emotive Literary Drama

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell: Thriller-Edition Escapism

Rating: 3 stars

Category: Thriller

Summary: When Libby inherits a mansion from the biological parents she never knew, it offers life-changing possibilities and the ticket out of her dead-end job. However, this once-lavish house holds the story of Libby’s first months of life, and she can’t sell until the truth is uncovered.

A newspaper article records how the house became infamous decades ago, when three adults were found dead in what was suspected to be a cult-related suicide pact. Concerned locals reported children living there too, but their identities were unknown and no trace of them remained. These missing children could be the only family Libby has ever known: the question is whether they want to be found. Continue reading The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell: Thriller-Edition Escapism

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein Book Cover Image

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein: Brave and Compassionate Biography

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Biography

Summary: Sarah Krasnostein first meets Sandra Pankhurst at a forensic services conference, where Sandra is promoting her trauma cleaning company. The lives (and deaths) touched by Sandra through her work, from murder victims to obsessive hoarders, immediately make an impression and inspire Krasnostein to learn more.

There is one story, however, that will become the greatest fascination – one that holds all of these other disconnected and diverse lives together. It is the story of the trauma cleaner herself. Continue reading The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein: Brave and Compassionate Biography

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams Book Cover Image

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: Character-Driven, Witty and Vulnerable

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Literary fiction

Summary:

Following a sort-of breakup with her boyfriend, Queenie enters full rebound mode. But as she trawls dating apps, she soon realises that hooking up is hard enough without the added problem of racial fetishisation. To make things even worse her old-fashioned relatives view therapy as shameful and her boss at the magazine isn’t letting her write about anything she genuinely cares about.

As she bounces haplessly from one poor decision to another, Queenie realises that there’s nothing like hitting rock bottom to give you a whole new set of priorities. Continue reading Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: Character-Driven, Witty and Vulnerable

An Improbable Life by Trevor McDonald Book Cover Image

An Improbable Life by Trevor McDonald: Astonishing Journalist’s Memoir

Rating: 3.5 stars

Category: Non-fiction, Autobiography, Memoir

Synopsis: Sir Trevor McDonald’s career as a journalist began at Radio Trinidad in his home country, where he tried his hand at everything from reading the news to commentating on water polo! When he moved to London to take a job at the BBC World Service, he had no idea that he was soon to become one of the top journalists of his day.

Working for ITN and Channel 4, his reporting work has taken him from a South Africa stricken by Apartheid to Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington, and he has interviewed people as diverse as death row inmates and the dictator Saddam Hussein. Continue reading An Improbable Life by Trevor McDonald: Astonishing Journalist’s Memoir

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe: Classic Breaking Eighteenth-Century Moulds

Rating: 3 stars
Category: Classics
Synopsis:

“I am giving an account of what was, not of what ought or ought not to be.”

If she’s to get on in the world, Moll Flanders must rely only on her own wit, toughness and experience. And, as one misfortune after another is thrown her way, that’s precisely what she intends to do… Continue reading Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe: Classic Breaking Eighteenth-Century Moulds

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The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer: Achingly Poignant Mental Illness Portrayal

Rating: 4.5 stars

Category: Literary fiction

Synopsis: The Shock of the Fall begins with nine-year-old Matthew experiencing a tragedy which he cannot tell us about. It’s just too painful. For the rest of the story, we follow him through the years of childhood, adolescence and into his first grimy flat and minimum-wage job.

All the while, Matthew’s grasp of reality fragments as he struggles to come to terms with what happened that fateful night on the coast. Continue reading The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer: Achingly Poignant Mental Illness Portrayal