As one of the Bahlsen Book Club members I was sent a copy of ‘The School Gates’ by Nicola May to enjoy with a couple of packs of biscuits… If you’ve never heard of Bahlsen biccies before then you are missing out! The Leibniz ones have chocolate on top that are impossible to eat without nibbling round the edges first! Each month I’ll be reviewing a book for them, along with a few other bloggers. You can keep up to date on twitter here: #BahlsenBookClub.
Anyway, cuppa in hand and biscuits next to me I got started and thundered through it in 2 days. The School Gates is written in a way that little tid bits and characters get introduced at quite a lick, but you want to keep reading to see how all the situations pan out. All the characters in the book become entwined with each other in some way, small or large and sometimes in ways I didn’t see coming! Amongst the characters there is a single parent, a gay dad and someone whose husband is not a nice man… although these stereotypes are not necessarily typical and each character is written in a way that you can empathise with them even if you would act different in their situation! Written spanning the school year the novel encompasses a few different storylines (some of which are pretty far fetched admittedly). Within each ‘term’ the storyline does skip from one parent to another quite rapidly with an absence of chapters, I managed to keep track most of the time but it could get a little confusing for some.
Overall a fairly easy and very enjoyable read (once you have accepted the more ‘out there’ plot lines!) and I’ll look out for more from Nicola May in the future! Her website is here if you want to see what else she has written, and there is an interview with her on the Bahlsen website too!
Next up is The Farm by Tom Rob Smith. I can’t even remember how this ended up on my kindle to be honest, I think I ordered it when it was reduced on the amazon store after Christmas but I can’t be sure! A Crime thriller with a family twist, the author wrote this after being inspired by a psychotic episode by his own mother. If your happily married parents suddenly tell you different stories, and your mother turns up on your doorstep convinced she can trust nobody but you what would you do? This moved slowly at times but had a twist at the end. Dealing with some sensitive subjects (child abuse) the story is mainly told in the form of a mother speaking to her son and telling him the events that have led up to her appearing on his doorstep having escaped from Sweden, her husband and many people who want her in an Asylum. Not a particularly easy read but it was compelling and thought provoking. (Image from Goodreads)
Lastly for this month is Above All Things by Tanis Rideout. This arrived through the post from Penguin which was a nice surprise, and isn’t anything I would have picked to read myself I don’t think, which is a shame as I really liked it! Following the story of George Mallory as he attempts to be the first man to reach the tip of Mount Everest in 1924, the novel follows his journey physically and mentally, as well as his wife who is back in England with their children. A perfect mixture of historical fact and captivating fiction, it is clear a lot of research went into this book, which is the authors debut novel. The sheer work that went into attempting climbing Everest in the early part of the last century is astounding to say the least, and even without the personal stories that entwine themselves with the attempt I think I would have enjoyed this novel! (Image from Goodreads)
What have you been reading recently? Feel free to follow me on Goodreads to see everything I read, not just the ones I review here!