Atonement

A Review by Hannah

McEwan’s bestselling novel is intensely moving and atmospheric, and not only provides a breathtakingly vivid glimpse of the 1930s and ‘40s but also the active imagination of a thirteen year old girl.

Briony Tallis is precocious, naïve, isolated and almost obsessively compelled to write stories, so when, on the hottest day of summer, she witnesses several events that don’t seem to make sense, she attempts to stitch them together inside her head. Through an upstairs window, Briony sees her older sister, Cecelia, recently returned from Cambridge, take off her clothes and jump into the fountain while her childhood friend, Robbie, stands back to watch. Confused and frustrated, Briony moulds these images to her own fancies and unwittingly sets off a chain reaction that threatens to rip her family life apart.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves

A Review by Hannah

A great guide to everyday grammar usage, as well as being hilariously funny, this book is unique and vital to anyone interested in the mechanics of the English language. Truss has a gift for breezily explaining those points of punctuation that continue to baffle the majority of English speakers, including the apostrophe and the elusive semicolon. Truss’s infectious enthusiasm for the written word is clear from the start, and her exploration of the history of punctuation, as well as its modern usage, is highly entertaining. A delightful read.

Lizzie Bennet’s Diary

A Review by Frances

Lizzie Bennet’s Diary” by Marcia Williams is an imaginary diary influenced by Jane Austen’s “ Pride and Prejudice”. Beautifully illustrated with facsimile invitations and notes as well as sketches and small cartoons, this is a wonderful introduction to to Austen’s famous love story. Really for adults or children!

The Middle of Nowhere

A Review by Frances

“The Middle of Nowhere” by Geraldine McCaughrean is set in the Australian outback during the 1890s and tells the story of Comity Pinney aged 11 whose mother is killed by a snake in the washing basket. Her father, Herbert, retreats to his work, overcome by the loss of his dear wife and completely oblivious to the trials of his young daughter. Comity takes over most of the roles her mother fulfilled and for an adult to read about this poor child, stuck without protection in such a harsh environment is quite heartbreaking. Children, made of sterner stuff will enjoy Comity’s adventures, real and imagined, with her Aboriginal friend Fred, but the desperate situation just gets worse and worse. Being a children’s book you know that Grandma (who has been receiving misspelled letters supposedly coming from her educated daughter) will no doubt come to the rescue, although in the end when rescue does come it is from an unexpected source. Beautifully written this book brings to life the dust and heat of the Australian outback and the intolerance of nineteenth century society where the friendship between white Comity and the aboriginal Fred is not just frowned upon but deemed as outrageous. Suitable for children from 9-12 and adults only with plenty of hankies!

Enchanted Palace

A new glittery series of books for little girls of about six who are just starting to read comes from Rosy Banks ”Enchanted Palace” is the first of the “Secret Kingdom” stories about Ellie, Summer and Jasmine who find a lovely box which leads them to a secret kingdom peopled by fairies, unicorns and pixies and ruled by King Merry. His constant foe is the evil Queen Malice and the girls are drawn into adventures where they have to help good King Merry fight the evil forces threatening him. £4.99 each and books 1-6 are available now.

 

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