Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Beach books that leave the rest in the shade

Very good article in The Irish Independent today recommending books "that will make you sad to leave your sunlounger."
The Love Letter by Fiona Walker
Review: "The Love Letter is a fabulous romp with great characters, lots of twisty-turny plots and plenty of laughs.Allegra 'Legs' North is a refreshing heroine who has not one, but three, love interests -- her ex-fiance, Francis, her boss, Conrad, and enigmatic Irish man Byrne. Legs works for a literary agency, and her job takes her back to the seaside town of Farcombe, where she spent her childhood holidays, home to her ex, his eccentric family and their exclusive annual literary festival...an absolute pleasure to read."
Would I Lie To You? by Clare Dowling
Review:"Clare Dowling's Would I Lie to You? follows the lives of three girls who shared digs as students. Hannah has just been dumped by Ollie, her long- term partner and father of her daughter, Cleo; heartbroken, she heads to France where her friend, Ellen, and her husband, Mark, are living the rural dream. Barbara, who is in the middle of a torturous adoption process, goes along for the holiday. But things in Ellen and Mark's rural idyll are not all they seem and when Hannah uncovers the cracks in their relationship she risks losing one of her oldest friends."
Can We Still Be Friends by Alexandra Shulman
Review: "Alexandra Shulman's three heroines in Can We Still Be Friends? are also roomies from college. When we first meet Sal, Annie and Kendra it's 1983 and they've just graduated from university. The novel follows the trio over the next five years as their individual romantic lives and respective careers test their friendship to its limits. Even though the book is set in the Eighties, it could just as easily have been set in the present, so don't be put off if you think you're too young for a retrospective."
White Wedding by Milly Johnson
Review: "Bel, Violet and Max in White Wedding by Milly Johnson are brides-to-be who have only just met. Max is determined, despite the wishes of her long-term boyfriend, to have an over-the-top extravaganza, Violet isn't looking forward to her 'Big Day' just as much as you'd expect, and Bel has discovered something shocking about her fiance. Fans of chick lit should love this, but anyone who likes a bit of revenge-lit will adore it --Bel acts out a delicious comeuppance scene that many of us would love to emulate, but would never dare."
 The Playdate by Louise Millar
Review: "Louise Millar's stunning debut The Playdate also focuses on three women, but, in the case of this impossible-to- put-down psychological thriller, their lives don't simply intertwine, they collide, with disastrous consequences. Single parent Callie finds herself isolated after the breakdown of her relationship... Callie doesn't have any friends and appears to have been ostracised by all of her neighbours except for vivacious American Suzy. When teacher Debs moves in next door to Suzy, Callie makes a concerted effort to befriend the woman and, as a result, things begin to rapidly unravel for all three women."
Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin
Review: "The cover of Tyringham Park, by Rosemary McLoughlin, announces: "If you like Downton Abbey, you'll love this". The Tyringham Park of the title is the aristocratic Blackshaw family's country house in Ireland.In 1917, heroine Charlotte is eight years old when her baby sister, Victoria, goes missing in suspicious circumstances."
 A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham
Review: "Graham has created her own genre (part chick lit, part historical fiction ) retelling famous moments in history from the perspective of (fictional) bit players whose own stories are just as compelling as those of the real historical figures. Graham's latest novel follows the fortunes of Nellie Welche, the daughter of a royal steward, who in 1788, at the age of 12, becomes the 'humble companion' of Princess Sofy, one of George III's 15 children. The novel follows Nellie and Sofy for the rest of their long lives -- they live to witness the reign of four sovereigns, the French Revolution and the advent of the steam train."
(Anne Marie Scanlon at http://www.independent.ie/ )

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