Book Reviews of the Week: 22.07.20

All The Lonely People, Mike Gayle

Buy All The Lonely People from your local Bookseller:

‘Mike takes ordinary people and makes them extraordinary. Hubert Bird is a gentle hero and I loved him. All The Lonely People is a book that is perfect for the times we live in, but also one to treasure for many years to come’ – Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things

‘A tremendous read, as always. A funny, warm, heartbreaking, wonderful story about family and friendship and the power of caring in an imperfect world. Hubert, Ash & the gang are unforgettable characters’ – Tracy Rees

‘I’m such a fan of Mike’s, and think this is absolutely his best yet. The characters are so warm and so real, and the issues of loneliness and displacement are so very topical and important’ – Claire Mackintosh

Mike Gayle, the king of contemporary fiction, is on brilliant form again with this tender, compassionate, funny tale of love, loneliness and race in the UK. The novel opens with lonely widower Hubert Bird forced to face up to the fabricated life he has created to pacify his daughter who calls him on a weekly basis from overseas. The novel then proceeds to examine the life of Hubert and work out what happened, and how in fact he became lovely. Offering wry, gentle observations on ageing, race and the bonds of friendship and family, all set against the background of the Windrush generation, All the Lonely People is feel-good fiction par excellence. Asking the vital question, where do all the lonely people come from? It also reminds you of the power of ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference. Fantastic.

All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle is published by Hodder and Stoughton  £14.99

Rodham, Curtis Sittenfeld

Buy Rodham from your local Bookseller:

‘This addictive novel is the Sliding Doors of American politics. Gripping’ – Stylist

‘A lot of fun. A wonderful, sad dream of what might have happened’ – Guardian

‘An explosive new book’ – Grazia

‘Sittenfeld’s Rodham offers the catharsis of uncomplicated regret’ – The New Yorker

‘While telling a compelling story, Rodham provides an insightful analysis of the function of sexim in our political discourse. Sittenfeld is at her wittiest when recreating the men who dominate American politics’ – Washington Post

Rodham, a Sliding Doors version of Hilary Clinton’s life, if she had refused to marry on his third time of proposing, is taking the US by storm and is already a Sunday Times Top Ten best-seller in the UK.

Part historical fact, part historical fiction it is  meticulously research and written with sharp humour, bright prose and addictive pace. It takes you from the hallowed halls of Yale to the heart of the White House, it contains real scandal and sharp well-observed truths about the internal machinations of power, and what might have been.

Thought provoking and entertaining at the same time. Rodham knocks it out of the park. One of the best reads this summer.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld is published by DoubleDay £16.99

The Confessions of Frannie Langton, Sara Collins

Buy The Confessions of Frannie Langton from your local Bookseller:

‘Between Collin’s historical research, Frannie’s voice and a plot that never slows, this novel both pulls the gothic into new territory and links it back to its origins.’ – The Guardian

‘A powerful gothic romance.’ – The Sunday Times

‘There is lots to love in this impressive debut’ – The Times

‘A bold and timely reinvention of the classic gothic novel ( . . .) which, with its tentative exploration of passion and transgression of boundaries, is reminiscent of the best of Sarah Waters.’ – Observer

‘An impressive debut, dazzlingly original.’ – The Times

‘Bold and powerful.’ – The Sunday Times

The debut to beat all debuts, Sara Collin’s The Confessions of Frannie Langton has bee lauded from every quarter and won the Costa Prize last year. A powerful, brilliant, mesmerising story of slavery, secrets, love and freedom set in 1826 London, the book opens with the trial of Frannie Langton in the Old Bailey for the murder of Mr and Mrs Benham. 

The testimonies against her are damning – slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

A stunningly written, haunting tale about one woman’s fight to tell her story, The Confessions of Frannie Langton  is a tour de force leading you through laudanum-laced dressing rooms and dark-as-night back alleys, into the enthralling heart of Georgian London. Outstanding.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins is published by Penguin £8.99

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