Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of The Diary of Esther Small 1886 edited and transcribed by Sarah Sousa

Sousa was not simply intrigued. She was invested. She deciphered the entries, sleuthed the cemetery records and censuses, and extensively researched nineteenth century women’s diaries, as evidenced in her luminous afterword on the subject. Surpassing the role of transcriber of Small’s logbook, Sousa became conservator and steward of the archive of her daily life.

A review of Kilted Yoga by Finlay Wilson

Because the text is minimal and the pictures large, it’s easy to follow along, especially if you’ve done yoga before. It might be a little trickier for absolute beginners, although none of the poses are particularly complex. The book can also be used as inspiration, as a way of adding to an existing practice with a few new poses, meditations or visualisations. All in all, Kilted Yoga is a bonny wee resource to help anyone get the most out of a regular yoga practice.

A review of And Then I Am Gone by Mathias B Freese

Not only do Freese and I concur on how a psychotherapist best engages with a client, but our approach to writing books also bisects. I too write to try to understand myself, indeed without outlines or a rigid plot structure. I daresay he would nod eagerly in understanding that your characters, given the chance, tell the story for you if you’ll listen to them, and in a more honest, exciting way.

A review of Missing Christina by Meredith Whitford

Whitford effortlessly interacts her characters along with their assorted baggage across many oceans and towards the inevitable discovery of their mother’s past. Along the way a realistic account is set within these families’ boundaries and excellently detailing every aspect of domestic interaction. But what about this secret? I’m not impatient, just tantalised and compelled to find out. Chapter 13 draws me into Whitford’s net and from now on my curiosity holds no limits as now the story darkens. 

A review of The Night The Penningtons Vanished by Marianna Huesler

Discourse between the characters is credible, believable and plausible as the girls wrangle among themselves, tussle with Aunt Tallulah and seemingly snag setups, circumstances and explanations out of the air to describe what is happening. Heusler’s capability for portrayal, scene setting and elucidation serves her well, The reader is drawn right into settings: we see the frightening, feel the cold, and taste the bitterness.  The storyline is well plotted, moves along from first pages to final paragraphs without problem, and culminates with a satisfying conclusion.

A review of Shriek: an absurd novel by Davide A Cottone

Perhaps the cover says it all? Yes, you can begin to judge this particular book by its cover because inside and throughout all those white pages a hurricane is at work endeavouring to yank everything of life’s rationalizations into shards of disbelief.

A review of Broken Branches by M Jonathan Lee

I love me a good psychological thriller and that’s what we get with Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee, with a little visual horror thrown in. When it opens up we are treated to several pages introducing us to the malignant presence of a towering sycamore tree with bony branches scratching the farmhouse’s roof, walls and windows like a demon’s fingers.

A review of Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Morrigan is an empathetic character with just the right combination of pluck and humility, and her increasing awareness of the importance of friendship, and of her growing sense of self-discovery is a subplot that drives the narrative forward, along with the competition trials and Morrigan’s desperation to find her gift.

A review of Three Nations Anthology edited by Valerie Lawson

At the end of “Turtle Island Turtle Rattle”, author Sarah Xerar Murphy writes, “If we cannot find a way to welcome and treat fairly with the stranger, how will we ever find our own way home?”It would be a good thing if there were more books like Three Nations Anthology, to highlight things that human beings have in common

A review of The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc by Ali Alizadeh

The facts are engaging enough as a history, but Alizadeh’s portrait of a young women in love, coupled with his exploration of the patriarchal, uncertain nature of both historical account and memory (“Or does she?”) takes this story to a new level.  Alizadeh’s Jeanne allows for the contradictions in the varied voices that are both inside and outside of his subject and also calls attention to the fact that narrative is something that is constructed rather than something inherent.