Book Review: The Silver Dark Sea by Susan Fletcher

The Silver Dark Sea by Susan Fletcher

The Silver Dark Sea: What it is about

From the publishers: “A profound tale of love, loss and the lore of the sea. The islanders of Parla are still mourning the loss of one of their own. Four years since that loss, and a man – un-named, unclothed – is washed onto their shores. Some say he is a mythical man from the sea – potent, kind and beautiful; others suspect him. For the bereft Maggie, this stranger brings love back to the isle. But as the days pass he changes every one of them – and the time comes for his story to be told… Tender, lyrical and redemptive, The Silver Dark Sea is the dazzling new novel from the author of Eve Green (winner of Whitbred First Novel award) and Witch Light. It is a story about what life can give and take from us, when we least expect it – and how love, in all its forms, is the greatest gift of all.”

The Silver Dark Sea: What I thought

I read this book for my face-to-face book group. It sounded good but unfortunately, I didn’t finish it. I read over a third of the book, but it never gripped me. The language seemed forcefully literary. The story I found a little silly, given that the book was a modern story. Really, a fish man? I found it hard to get into the story.

But not only because of that. I also had problems with the narration. The perspective changed every chapter (or even paragraph) and the writer did a good job at making sure you didn’t at first know whose perspective we were following next. It irritated me, it seemed the book was made unnecessarily vague – infuriating!

There were quite a few characters, but luckily there were two family trees at the beginning of the book. They did help understand who was who.

Some people in my book group managed to finish the book and enjoyed it. They gave it 3.5 to 4 stars. They said it was a book to sit down for and to take your time to read it. In the (very) end, a lot becomes clear about the past of the characters and the reason why some things happen as they do.

It’s a pity especially when I can’t finish a book group book, because it makes it harder to contribute to the discussion. But it happens, just every now and then…


Rating: Did Not Finish

Number of pages: 336 (read until page 160)

First published: 2012

I got this: from the library

Genre: contemporary fiction

 

Book Review: Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

Hidden: What it is about

From the publishers: “While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Not one but two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son and contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother, her ex-boyfriend Tim.

With Tish’s co-workers in the dark about her friendship with Jeff outside of the office, she volunteers to attend the funeral on the company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life. Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish, and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, the repercussions of our personal choices, and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.

Hidden: What I thought

I’ve read all three of McKenzie’s earlier books. They were chick-lits with a serious note to them. This new book is different, not at all chick-litty. It’s a well-written, serious story about a man who dies, leaving behind a wife and child, and a female colleague, who may well have been his lover.

The book follows both ladies in their mourning and we find out during the book how strong the relationships between Jeff and his wife and him and the colleague really were.

Like I said, well-written. However, in places it was a little boring. I just didn’t care all that much about the main characters, but all in all it’s a decent book that deserves 4 stars, except… I took half a star off for (shock!) using dead Jeff as one of the narrators. No, he’s not present in the book as a ghost, nothing. He’s just there, telling his part of the story. Nah!


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (Okay to good)

Number of pages: 292

First published: 2014

I got this: from the publishers, New Harvest, for review

Genre: contemporary fiction

Other books by Catherine McKenzieSpinArranged, and Forgotten.

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

itsmonday“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and are planning to read next.

*****

The last two weeks

I had a fun meeting with a small group of editors, writers and publishers last week: lunch in the sun, on the roof terrace of a department store! Things are looking up, weather-wise.

I’ve been very busy with work, but if you need a proofreader or someone to help you improve your story line, be in touch!

Coming Friday is book group. I’ve started the book but I’m not sure I’ll finish it. It’s rather {shhhh} boring! The book is The Dark Silver Sea by Susan Fletcher. The day after is my XXth birthday. It’s impossible I’m turning this age. I’m 34 forever, 44 even, if pressed!

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Books I finished in the last TWO weeks: 3 + 1 DNF

Mind of Winter By Laura KasischkeDe blokkade [Writer's Block] by Renate DorresteinZonder noorden komt niemand thuis [Without a North No One Gets Home] by Nelleke NoordervlietThe Sweetness of Liberty James by Janey Lewis
Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke. Creepy good story about one Christmas morning when a woman and her teenage daughter are home alone. 5 stars

De blokkade [The Blockage] by Renate Dorrestein. Non-fiction about the author’s writing block, Dutch. 4 stars

Zonder noorden komt niemand thuis [Without a North No One Gets Home] by Nelleke Noordervliet. A Dutch man flees to Canada when the murderer of his wife is let out of prison after eight years, Dutch. 4.5 stars

The Sweetness of Liberty James by Janey Lewis. Too sweet for me but some really nice descriptions. About a woman setting up her own café after her husband leaves her. Did not finish.

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Books I’m reading & planning to read

Hidden by Catherine McKenzieThe Silver Dark Sea by Susan FletcherVerstrikt in wraak by Pietro RonchiniThe Word Exchange by Alena GraedonThe Book of You by Claire Kendal

Reviews

.Bred in the Bone by Christopher BrookmyreThe Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry

Bred in the Bone by Christopher Brookmyre. A private investigator and a police officer are both researching different cases, that turn out to be related. Thriller. 4 stars

Wat ik weet [The Truth That's in Me] by Julie Berry. A girl returns to her village after she’s been missing for a few years. Her tongue has been removed. Historical YA fiction. 4.5 stars

 Other news

I got some great-looking New Books. Check it out!

That’s it!

What are you reading this week?

Book Review: Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke

Mind of Winter By Laura Kasischke

Mind of Winter: What it is about

From the publishers: “On a snowy Christmas morning, Holly Judge awakens with the fragments of a nightmare floating on the edge of her consciousness. Something followed them from Russia. Thirteen years ago, she and her husband Eric adopted baby Tatty, their pretty, black-haired Rapunzel, from the Pokrovka Orphanage #2. Now, at fifteen, Tatiana is more beautiful than ever—and disturbingly erratic.

As a blizzard rages outside, Holly and Tatiana are alone. With each passing hour, Tatiana’s mood darkens, and her behavior becomes increasingly frightening . . . until Holly finds she no longer recognizes her daughter.”

Mind of Winter: What I thought

This was a really spooky novel, although not really a thriller. It starts more or less with Holly waking and thinking, Something followed them from Russia. She wants to write this down but she doesn’t have the time. It’s Christmas morning and she overslept. Her husband is picking up his parents from the airport and Holly is at home with their teenage daughter.

The weather soon turns from a bit of snow into a dangerous blizzard. It seems… strange. No snow was even forecast! And then there is something with Tatiana, her daughter. She keeps changing her outfit and her mood. One moment she’s nice, the next she is a terrible teenager. I got a bit frightened by Tatiana, who turns up behind Holly a few times at moments when Holly thinks she’s sulking in her bedroom.

Tatiana was adopted from a Siberian orphanage but what could it be that followed them home from Russia thirteen years ago? Why didn’t they notice before and why is Holly even thinking this?

The book describes just one Christmas mid-morning and afternoon but is never slow. There are a lot of flashbacks to the orphanage and Holly and her husband’s vists there before they took Tatiana home. At first, it isn’t clear why the reader needs all the information about the orphanage but that becomes quite clear towards the end of the book. Don’t read the last page first, it reveals a lot!

I loved this spooky read. If you like a literary novel with some suspense, this is a great read.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (very good)

Number of pages: 288

First published: 2014

I got this: from the publishers, Harper

Genre: contemporary fiction

 

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