Book Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing - Yaa gyasi

I’d seen this book surfacing on social media quite a bit and was really interested to read it – three weeks after clicking reserve, the library ebook was mine to read.

Book Description:

Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer. Continue reading “Book Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi”

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Book Review: The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse

The Woman in the Wood - Lesley Pearse

I’ve been wanting to read a book by Lesley Pearse for ages, she’s penned so many books and a few have caught my attention (namely, Dead to Me); when I read the synopsis for The Woman in the Wood, I knew it would finally be my first Lesley Pearse book!

Book Description:

Fifteen-year-old Maisy Mitcham and her twin brother Duncan lose their mother to an asylum one night in 1960. The twins are sent to their grandmother’s country house, Nightingales. Cold and distant, she leaves them to their own devices, to explore and to grow. That is until the day Duncan doesn’t come home from the woods. With their grandmother seeming to have little interest in her grandson’s disappearance, and the police soon giving up hope, it is left to Maisy to discover the truth. And she will start with Grace Deville. A woman who lives alone in the wood, about whom rumours abound . . . Continue reading “Book Review: The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse”

Book Review: Soot by Andrew Martin

Soot - Andrew Martin

It’s time to re-enter the world of historical fiction with a murder mystery set in 1799.

Book Description:

York, 1799.

In August, an artist is found murdered in his home – stabbed with a pair of scissors. Matthew Harvey’s death is much discussed in the city. The scissors are among the tools of his trade – for Harvey is a renowned cutter and painter of shades, or silhouettes, the latest fashion in portraiture. It soon becomes clear that the murderer must be one of the artist’s last sitters, and the people depicted in the final six shades made by him become the key suspects. But who are they? And where are they to be found?

Later, in November, a clever but impoverished young gentleman called Fletcher Rigge languishes in the debtor’s prison, until a letter arrives containing a bizarre proposition from the son of the murdered man. Rigge is to be released for one month, but in that time, he must find the killer. If he fails, he will be incarcerated again, possibly for life.

And so, with everything at stake, and equipped only with copies of the distinctive silhouettes, Fletcher Rigge begins his search across the snow-covered city, and enters a world of shadows… Continue reading “Book Review: Soot by Andrew Martin”

Book Review: Defectors by Joseph Kanon

Defectors - Joseph Kanon

A very happy publication day to Joseph Kanon, Defectors publishes today – the perfect read for fans of intelligent thrillers.

Book Description:

Some secrets should never be told.

Moscow, 1961: With the launch of Sputnik, the Soviet Union’s international prestige is at an all-time high. And the most notorious of the defectors to the Soviet Union, former CIA agent Frank Weeks, is about to publish his memoirs. What he reveals will send shock waves through the West. Weeks’ defection in the early 1950s shook Washington to its core – and forced the resignation of his brother, Simon, from the State Department.

Simon, now a publisher in New York, is given the opportunity to read and publish his brother’s memoir. He knows the US government will never approve the publication of what is clearly intended as KGB propaganda. Yet the offer is irresistible: it will finally give him the chance to learn why his brother chose to betray his country.

But what he discovers in Moscow is far more shocking than he ever imagined … Continue reading “Book Review: Defectors by Joseph Kanon”

Book Review: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple - Alice Walker

Alice Walker has written a deep and moving novel, The Color Purple truly is a classic that is worthy of all the praise it’s received. This is my second time reading this book and despite my copy being slightly warn due to age, I treasure it and all that reading it has taught me.

From the back cover:

Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves. Continue reading “Book Review: The Color Purple by Alice Walker”