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Books I Read In October

Books I Read In October

 

girl reading by water - october

 

This month I read thrillers, historical fiction and Jewish historical fiction.

 

Spare Room

Spare Room – Dreda Say Mitchell****
Summary of Plot:
Lisa rents a room in a beautiful old house. The couple who own the house are weird, have odd rules and ask her to leave on the second day. Lisa is also trying to uncover the truth about an incident that occurred when she was five years old.
Liked:
Overall I liked the story. I listened to it on audio and at one stage during a description of an insect infestation, I found myself standing still with my hand over my mouth. The book kept my interest throughout.
Disliked:
Lisa claims to be afraid of insects but then decides she will just have to cope. I have a fear of insects and nothing short of imminent death would have kept me in the room, if that. I found Lisa’s parents incomprehensible and I’m not sure I fully understood her landlord’s motivation or that of her psychiatrist.

 

 

Girl in the water.jpgThe Girl In The Water – AJ Grayson *****
Summary of Plot:
Amber is happily married and works in a bookshop. The discovery of a body in a river near her home disturbs her tranquil routine. Soon she realises nothing in her life is as she thought it was. The story is told by Amber and her husband David. At first you think you know what type of book you are reading but then the story goes off in an entirely different direction. Very suspenseful.
Liked:
Slow start but after that I loved it. The story introduced three twists and I didn’t see any of them coming.
Disliked:
The first chapter is a detailed description of Amber’s day to day life. It’s incredibly boring and if I hadn’t been gardening at the time and desperate for a distraction (I listened to it on audio) I would have given up. I’m very glad I didn’t because the story really takes off in the next chapter when David is the narrator.

 

 

 

Three QueensThree Sisters – Phillippa Gregory *****
Summary of Plot:
This is the story of Margaret Tudor (Henry VIII’s sister). Phillippa Gregory states that very little is known of Margaret’s thoughts or emotions so this is really PG’s interpretation of Margaret’s actions.
Liked:
I really enjoyed it. Because I knew nothing at all about Margaret, I found the story full of suspense. It might not be so enjoyable for those who know the history of Scotland in Tudor times. Margaret is a totally spoiled, selfish person and, as a fictional character, I would have found her annoying. The fact that she existed and managed to get herself in and out of the most amazing situations fascinated me. PG mentions that Margaret, her sister Mary and her sister in law Catherine of Aragon were all born into luxury and all spent parts of their life practically destitute. I found that fascinating also.
Disliked:
I know this is PG’s interpretation of Margaret, but could she really have been this stupid or did the people in Tudor times portray her as an idiot because they disliked women in powerful positions? PG’s interpretation of Margaret’s relationship with her second husband seems to be mainly based on a comment Margaret made on her deathbed. I think PG is underestimating the power of Catholic guilt. Margaret had been told for years that she was a sinner and would end up in hell. I would imagine that this bothered her on her deathbed and it was concern for her soul that led to that comment. I don’t believe it reflected her attitude to her husband.

 

 

TatooistThe Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris****
Summary of Plot:
Based on the true story of Lale and Gita who met in Auschwitz, fell in love, were separated towards the end of the war, reunited and spent the rest of their lives together.
Liked:
I first heard of Auschwitz in my early teens and for several years I read every book I could find on the subject. This is the first book I read as an adult and I put off reading it for months because I thought it would be too disturbing. I find it difficult to review. I can’t say I enjoyed it. Who could enjoy such a story? As regards Gita and Lala, I think people who could find something positive in such an appalling environment must be very special.
Disliked:
This story is billed as ‘based on’ Gita and Lale’s lives. How much of it is fact? The depiction of Auschwitz in this book bears no resemblance to any other I’ve come across. I’ve read stories of people desperate for crusts of bread while Gita and her friends want chocolate. This may be explained by the fact that they both had very privileged positions in Auschwitz. I remember reading another book where the main character’s brother had a job as an interpreter and she couldn’t get over the way he dressed and the fact that he worried about polishing his shoes while she was barefoot and starving. But then Lale is caught stealing jewels and allowed to go free. I’ve read of people being executed for stealing potato peelings. Another thing that bothered me is that throughout the war, both in and out of Auschwitz, people seemed to be throwing precious jewels at Lale. Is this really likely to have happened? And the idea of Gita and her friends giggling about boyfriends in the middle of a death camp struck me as highly implausible. Having read that approximately two million women were raped after the war, I also have difficulty believing that the Russian soldiers wanted the services of a pimp. The one thing that really disturbed me was the epilogue when we are told what happened to Gita’s friend after the war. I presume this must be true as I imagine it could be easily verified. I finished the book weeks ago and that girl’s fate still disturbs me.

 

By | 2019-11-02T01:09:19+00:00 November 2nd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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