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‘Circling the Sun,’ by Paula McLain (with references to ‘West with the Night,’ by Beryl Markham)

‘Circling the Sun,’ by Paula McLain (with references to ‘West with the Night,’ by Beryl Markham)
Post Date: October 24, 2015

The opening chapter of McLain’s fictionalised version of the unconventional life and loves of the pioneering aviator and racehorse trainer, Beryl Markham, epitomises the sense of impending doom that dogged Markham all her life.  In 1936, attempting to be the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic from East to West, she struggles[…]

‘The Book of Aron,’ by Jim Shepard.
Post Date: August 5, 2015

  Amidst the plethora of Holocaust literature, it would be easy to dismiss Shepard’s novel as just another tale woven around one of the darkest periods in history.  But, ‘The Book of Aron’ is different.  In unassuming and unquestioning language, the tale of survival in the Warsaw ghetto is told in the sometimes understated voice[…]

‘They Left Us Everything,’ by Plum Johnson.
Post Date: July 13, 2015

For anyone who has dealt with the loss of parents and resultant sifting through the ‘stuff’ they left behind, while coping with grief, guilt, and anger, Johnson’s memoir will put a humorous and touching spin on a toxic situation.   Imagine tackling the task in a 23-room home bulging with possessions accumulated in the fifty-something[…]

The care and management of lies – A novel of the Great War by Jacqueline Winspear
Post Date: September 17, 2014

In this her standalone novel, set in the early months of World War I, Jacqueline Winspear, the author of the Maisie Dobbs series, steps away from the classic mould of war novels.  However, the passive writing style diminishes what is, in essence, a good storyline.  Opportunities to make scenes come alive are lost.  Even amid[…]

Red Joan by Jennie Rooney
Post Date: July 9, 2013

Rooney’s thought-provoking third novel is loosely based on the true story of Melita Norwood, the 87-year-old (nicknamed ‘The Spy who came in from the Co-op’!), arrested in England in 1999 after spying for the Russians for four decades.   Unlike Norwood, protagonist Joan Stanley, was never a committed communist, and the story provides a credible[…]