#BookReview HOUSEKEEPING by MARILYNNE ROBINSON

ABOUT THE BOOK

A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town “chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere.” Ruth and Lucille’s struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.

PUBLISHED BY  MACMILLAN

224 pages

MY REVIEW

This was the January choice for the GoodReads Book Club I am part of  – Readalongs With Karen

This was an unexpected little gem of a book! I knew nothing of it before I picked up a copy, and found myself totally swept along with the compelling and often heartbreaking story of 2 sisters who are dealing with a number of tragedies in their lives, but they have one another. Lucille and Ruth are devoted to one another as they’re pushed from pillar to post with various family members over the years, until they settle down with their Aunt Sylvie.

What becomes clear is that Sylvie is not the most stable of women to be caring for 2 young girls, but there’s something about her that Ruth and Lucille connect with, even if that means they live a very unstable life while under the care of Sylvie. Skipping school becomes the norm, and haphazard meals is what they come to expect.

As the girls grow, they start to become their own people, none more so than Lucille and she seems to crave ‘normality’ and finds herself drifting apart from her sister and aunt to live a more conventional life. So Ruth becomes more attached to her aunt and the two of them seem more like sisters at time.

This was beautifully written and a haunting read as you cared for these women as they’d been scarred by so much tragedy in their lives. It’s a subtle story that never goes OTT and one to be savoured.

★★★★

#BookReview THE ICE PALACE by TARJEI VESAAS

ABOUT THE BOOK

The schoolchildren call it the Ice Palace: a frozen waterfall in the Norwegian fjords transformed into a fantastic structure of translucent walls, sparkling towers and secret chambers. It fascinates two young girls, lonely Unn and lively Siss, who strike up an intense friendship. When Unn decides to explore the Ice Palace alone and doesn’t return, Siss must try to cope with the loss of her friend without succumbing to a frozen world of her own making. 

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

This was the December book club pick for the GoodReads Group – Readalongs With Karen.

A hypnotic and haunting little book that centres around the friendship between 2 girls – very different in life experiences, but very similar in looks and feelings and how the loss of one impacts on the other.

The girls meet at school – Unn is the new girl who is lonely but there’s just something about her that fascinates Siss and they become inseparable immediately. But one day Unn doesn’t come to school and goes missing, and what follows is the story of the search for and the realisation for Siss that she’s bereft without her friend.

It really captures the isolation of grief – the utter despondency that she feels and how she thinks that nobody around her understands her feelings. Unn’s aunt provides some connection for Siss to the past and watching her trying to reach out and get Siss to open up is really touching.

It’s a short book that really makes an impact on you as a reader – it explores that spark that connects people and how even spending just a short time with them can leave such a massive hole in your life and just how important it is to have people around to make you see they are there to support you. 

★★★★

Urbane Publications Book Club

Thanks to the world of social media and Twitter in particular, I’ve become more aware of the many independant publishers in the UK and how they interact with readers and the way that they publish such a wide range of books to cover all reading tastes!


One of my favourite indies are Urbane Publications , surperbly run by Matthew Smith and his team who have over 20 years of experience in publishing.  Their aim is to produce the books that readers want to read –  hip, contemporary, groundbreaking  fiction and non-fiction designed to entertain, excite, and engage.


They recently announced they were starting up their own bookclub where for the princely sum of £99.99 a year, if you signed up you would receive a printed AND e-copy of all of their 2017 releases!  How could I not sign up for that??!! They currently produce about 5 books a month – do the maths!! It’s a book lovers dream!!  Here’s more details…..

WELCOME TO THE URBANE BOOK CLUB – ALL OUR NEW TITLES FOR A YEAR FOR JUST £99.99!

A full year of Urbane books – hot off the press!

From fiction to biography, politics to childrens, you’ll have a unique collection of books and more.

As an URBANE BOOK CLUB member you’ll receive a print and ebook edition of every new Urbane title published from the date you join for an entire year. Urbane currently publishes around 5 books a month

You’ll receive a 75% discount on any further purchases of Urbane titles through the Urbane website, including the entire backlist – all with free p&p in the UK

You’ll receive exclusive invitations to Urbane events and author signings

Each member will have the chance to receive pre-publication scripts of forthcoming titles

Every member will be able to book exclusive one-to-one writing and publishing sessions at a significant discount

All for the ridiculously low price of £99.99!

ORDER NOW FOR YOUR FULL YEAR OF BOOKS AND SO MUCH MORE – BE A KEY PART OF URBANE’S FUTURE!

I received my welcome pack today, something I wasn’t expecting but a fantastic way to start off this book club and here’s a look at the goodies I received this morning!

The 3 books are a selection from the Urbane back catalogue so I am very excited to get the chance to read those and as for the mug – who can resist a mug??!! Bring on the tea!!!

Really impressed with this book club idea which is an amazing way to help support independant publishers, so if you are looking to get a good deal for yourself or friends for Christmas there is still time to sign up so get over to the Urbane Publications Book Club site now and sign yourself up!! !