Book Reviews of the Week 25.05.20

Here are our picks for Books for the Week. They were published either just before or during lockdown and they are all highly recommended.

Imogen edwards-jones

The Portrait

Ilaria Bernardini

A gripping story of love, death, art and deceit, which is also strange, beautiful and deeply original. The Portrait is unlike anything else I’ve read.

Sofka Zinovieff, author of PUTNEY

‘A stunning “pas de deux” that is enchanting, thrilling and incredibly moving.’ 

Marie Claire Italia

The Portrait is a fantastically gripping, beautifully tale about a renowned writer, Valeria Costas, who is so grief stricken by her lover’s sudden stroke that she commissions her lover’s artist wife, Isla, to paint her portrait, thereby invading the family home. It is made all the more extraordinary as it is not written in Ilaria Bernardini’s first language.

A prolific and well-known Italian screenwriter and author of 8 novels in Italian, this is her English debut and it is outstandingly good. The tension builds beautifully as the two women sit opposite each other talking and sharing their lives, while the man they both love lies in a coma, quietly dying in the room next door. Does Isla know that Valeria is her husband’s lover of thirty years? Or that he was planning to spend the rest of his life with Valeria? This is a breathless tale of deception that holds the reader’s attention until very end. Brilliant.

The Portrait by Ilaria Bernardini is published by Allen & Unwin £14.99

Buy ‘The Portrait’ from your local Bookseller:

Clothes… And Other Things That Matter

by Alexandra Shulman

Clothes is the perfect isolation read – clever, emotionally intelligent, revelling in style without making us yearn to shop’

Hannah Betts, The Times

Chosen as ‘book of the week’

by the Observer

‘Self-deprecating and stylish, this is sure to become a classic.’

– Vanity Fair

‘Its jacket of bubblegum pink letters on grown-up navy certainly suggested to me that it might just be the perfect lockdown pick-me-up, among its pages, there are some lovely, resonant set pieces.’

‘Shulman can craft a good story and has an eye for great pictures, it will make perfect lockdown reading, an opportunity to shut out the real world and meander through the Arcadian years of fashion.’ – The Sunday Times

Already a Sunday Times Bestseller, Alexandra Shulman’s brilliant, Clothes…And Other Things That Matter, is part memoir, part-fashion history, part-social commentary and a veritable love song to the art of dressing. From bras, to navy, to many kinds of black, to aprons, sloppy joes, trainers and having her double E Startrite shoes fitted at Harrods as a girl; Shulman examines what it really means to be woman and how the clothes we wear change attitudes and outcomes. A glorious tribute to fashion and a fascinating memoir, it’s as sharp and as chic and as stylish as you would expect from the longest serving ever editor of Vogue. Fabulous.

Clothes…. And Other Things That Matter by Alexandra Shulman is published by Cassell £16.99

Buy ‘Clothes… And Other Things That Matter’ from your local Bookseller:

Ten Things About Writing

By Joanne Harris

“Joanne Harris’s Ten Tweet are a constant source of pleasure, equally welcome to writers and readers….Frankly, they are marvels in miniature.’

Ian Rankin

“Joanne Harris’s Ten Tweets have been tiny islands of sensibleness and wisdom…. I’m delighted they are going to be collected in one place”

Neil Gaiman

Joanne Harris’s Ten Things About Writing is absolute gold dust to any aspiring writer, anyone writing already and even those with several books under their belts. Brought to life by popular Twitter demand, where Joanne’s Ten Tweets listing have already become legendary, Ten Things About Writing, is a clear, succinct, inspiring guide on the day-to-day nature of writing. Filled with smart ideas, wise words and pithy observations, Harris really knows her stuff. She is Chair of the Society of Authors and author of 18 novels including Chocolat that was made into an Oscar nominated movie; her knowledge of the industry is unsurpassed. It is a funny, inspiring read full of empathy and understanding. A must-read for anyone who’s ever picked up a pen and stared wistfully at the blank page. Genius.

Ten Things About Writing by Joanne Harris is published by September Publishing as an Ebook £4.99 and later as a Hardback in December £12.99

Buy ‘Ten Things About Writing’ from your local Bookseller:

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