Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Reading round-up: May

30. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan - 7/10 (full review). A brisk, clever and thought-provoking story about a group of survivors who escape on a lifeboat after the sinking of an ocean liner. I enjoyed the narrator's deviousness, but the book hasn't really lingered in my memory since I finished it.
31. Signs of Life by Anna Raverat - 10/10 (full review). This is one woman's account of an affair she had some years ago, which destroyed her life - but it's so, so much more than that. Beautifully written, uniquely structured and a slow-burning delight. Definitely one of my favourites of 2012 so far, read it!
32. Empress of Rome by Kate Quinn - 4/10 (full review). The third of Kate Quinn's novels set in ancient Rome, this was unfortunately a letdown after its enjoyable predecessors. All the ingredients were there, but I didn't care for the characters and the plot dragged far too often.
33. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - 8/10 (full review). Dark, twisted and full of unpredictable revelations, this is a great mystery told by two thoroughly unreliable narrators. I was fascinated (mostly in a negative way) by the characters and there was so much tension I don't know how I managed to resist reading ahead. Recommended.
34. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman - 6/10 (full review). Set in Australia in the 1920s, this tells the story of a lighthouse-keeping family who, unable to have children of their own, adopt what they think is an orphaned baby - only to discover the child's mother is still alive. An original idea which held my interest, but I didn't relate to the characters much and it lacked excitement.
35. The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall - 7/10 (full review). An extremely evocative and nostalgic story in which the narrator looks back on the summers of her youth, spent in Hungary with her impulsive mother. This was very atmospheric - though slight - and perfect for sunny days.

Signs of Life was far and away my favourite of the month, and might turn out to be my favourite book of the year - it was utterly brilliant. I'd also recommend Gone Girl, which was very enjoyable and easy to read, but packed with twists I hadn't anticipated. The Book of Summers was lovely too, although I do think it could have been better. I had been really looking forward to the release of Empress of Rome, so it's a pity it turned out to be a disappointment, but never mind - on the whole, May's books were a decent bunch.


  1. On your recommendation I read Signs of Life (in less than 3 hours so definitely an easy, light read) and enjoyed it - well-written and created some lovely images (such as her flat). It was untypical and not remotely romantic considering it was a book about relationships, which I suppose made it refreshing.

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