Book Club – 18th September 2013

This month we discussed Sophie Hannah’s Little Face, her first psychological thriller featuring Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer. A novel which some of us at first, thought was set in America from the descriptions of the grand house and health club. It transpired that the drama was to unfold in the leafy suburbia of south England. Not wanting to to give away any spoilers, here is the blurb:

When Alice Fancourt returns home after having been out for the first time without her two-week-old daughter Florence, she insists that the baby she finds at home, in the care of her husband David, is not their daughter but a child she has never seen before. David denies it, claiming that the baby is Florence and that Alice has gone mad. Is she crazy, or is David lying, and if so, why would he do such a thing? And where is the real Florence? Alice has no proof, but she needs the police to believe her, and quickly. While they wait for the DNA test that will settle the matter, valuable time is being lost, and David’s behaviour towards Alice becomes increasingly threatening and sinister. Can Alice make the police listen to her before it’s too late?

It was a clever and sinister novel with lots of twists and counter twists to keep you guessing until the end.

Sophie is talking about her books this Thursday 26th September, 7,30pm at Central Library, St Helens. An opportunity to hear about her thrillers and also her new commission by the Agatha Christie estate to write a new Hercule Poirot novel.

The second book we discussed was The White Woman on a Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey. Set in Trinidad, it had an engaging back to front plot and was an insightful glimpse into the history and turmoil of a country breaking free from colonial rule and finding it’s way to democracy. The backdrop of the changes and unrest were mirrored in the lives of the main characters and Roffey admits that her own mother was the inspiration of the woman riding around on her green bicycle. If that sounds a bit too dry and serious then the blurb brings alive the story by billing it as an unforgettable love story:

An unforgettable love story, brimming with passion and politics, set over fifty years in Trinidad – a place at times enchanting, and at times highly dangerous . . .

When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England as young newlyweds, they have with them just a couple of suitcases and Sabine’s prized green bicycle. Their intention is to stay for not more then three years, but George falls in love with the island. Sabine, however, is ill at ease with the racial segregation and unrest in her new home, and takes solace in the freedom of her green bicycle.

George and Sabine become more entangled in their life on the island – in all its passion and betrayals – and Sabine’s bicycle takes her places she wouldn’t otherwise go. One day George make a discovery that forces him to realise that extent of the secrets between them, and is seized by an urgent, desperate need to prove his love for her – with tragic consequences.

The third book was Simon Mawer’s The Girl who Fell From the Sky. Unfortunately only one member had read this book, but she did recommend it. Although it was not a particularly easy read it was thought provoking and worthwhile.

Barely out of school and doing her bit for the war effort, Marian Sutro has one quality that marks her out from all the others – she is a native French speaker. It is this that attracts the attention of the curious Mr Potter who calls her to an interview in an anonymous office in London. Potter is a recruiting officer for the Special Operations Executive, which trains agents to operate in occupied Europe. So it is that Marian finds herself undergoing commando training, attending a school for spies, and ultimately, parachuting from an RAF bomber into the South-West of France to join the WORDSMITH resistance network.

However, there is more to Marian’s mission than meets even the all-seeing eyes of the SOE. Before long a friend from the past returns and it soon seems that Marian could hold the key to the future of the whole war effort. A fascinating blend of fact and fiction, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is an old-fashioned adventure about a woman who did the most extraordinary things when the ordinary was not enough.

We were rather low on numbers this month, with only 3 members attending book club. For the next discussion on Wednesday November 20th we’ve chosen a couple of lighter books, which we hope will appeal to more of you. They have both been chosen for the Richard and Judy Autumn reads list too, so should be easily available in the usual 2 for 1 outlets.

The first is by the author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Deborah Moggach, her latest novel Heartbreak Hotel

After the far-flung charms of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Deborah Moggach moves to the Welsh countryside in her hilarious new comedy. When retired actor Buffy decides to up sticks from London and move to rural Wales, he has no idea what he is letting himself in for. In possession of a run-down B&B that leans more towards the shabby than the chic and is miles from nowhere, he realises he needs to fill the beds – and fast. Enter a motley collection of guests: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who’s been unexpectedly dumped by her (not-so) weedy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend is much too much for him to handle. But under Buffy’s watchful eye, this disparate group of strangers find they have more in common than perhaps they first thought…

The second book is The Husband’s Secretby Lianne Moriarty.

From the author of the critically acclaimed What Alice Forgot comes a breakout new novel about the secrets husbands and wives keep from each other.

My Darling Cecilia
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died . . .

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia – or each other – but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s devastating secret.

If you have any comments or questions about any of the books or the book club then please leave them below.

Happy Reading!


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