Archive for February, 2011

THE SWEET RELIEF OF MISSING CHILDREN by Sarah Braunstein

In this discomforting debut book, every character – and there are many – is guilty of the crime of passivity. It starts with the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl, Leonora – a good girl, who does everything right, a cautious and obedient young lady who possesses “calm confidence, concern for the lower classes, a dimple in her right cheek.”

February 28, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Short Stories, y Award Winning Author

INSTRUMENTS OF DARKNESS by Imogen Robertson

Imogen Robertson’s INSTRUMENTS OF DARKNESS is set in the village of Hartswood, West Sussex, at a time when the colonies were waging war against England. The male protagonist, the brusque Gabriel Crowther, is an eccentric and a recluse who has a wide-ranging knowledge of and interest in human anatomy. One day, a local woman, Mrs. Harriet Westerman of Caveley Park, pays him a visit and insists that his maid give him the following note: “I have found a body on my land. His throat has been cut.”

February 27, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Mystery/Suspense, United Kingdom

HEARTSTONE by C.J. Sansom

In his latest Tudor mystery, HEARTSTONE, C. J. Sansom embroils his hero, lawyer and do-gooder Matthew Shardlake, in several intrigues that take him away from London for a large part of the novel. It is 1545, and the profligate King Henry VIII is squeezing his subjects dry in order to wage an expensive military campaign against France. The king has ordered English currency devalued, levied heavy taxes, conscripted every able-bodied Englishman, and even hired foreign mercenaries to wage war against the enemy.

February 27, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Mystery/Suspense, Sleuths Series, United Kingdom

A PALACE IN THE OLD VILLAGE by Tahar Ben Jelloun

In A PALACE IN THE OLD VILLAGE Tahar Ben Jelloun tells the elegiac and moving story of a simple man from a small village in Morocco, who feels completely lost in the fast moving, modern world. Mohammed had to change “from one time to another, one life to another” when back in 1962, this young peasant was persuaded to leave his remote village in Morocco and join the immigrant labour force in France. Now forty years later, he is about to start his retirement and this new situation preoccupies and worries him deeply. From one moment to the next, it will end the years of daily routines which have made him feel safe, secure and needed. They have also protected him from reflecting on his life and its challenges : “Everything seemed difficult to him, complicated, and he knew he was not made for conflicts.”

February 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: France, Middle East, World Lit

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain

Before Ernest Hemingway was ERNEST HEMINGWAY – one of the most revered, studied, analyzed, and parodied authors of American literature – he was a young man with a burning talent, staking his claim to a bright future.

And part of this future included Hadley Richardson, his first wife, a woman who was his equal in many ways – a risk-taker, adventurer, and copious drinker. Paula McLain – in an addictive and mesmerizing debut book – breathes life into their life together in Paris in the 1920s, when everything was just starting to come together.

February 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, France

WHEN THE KILLING’S DONE by T.C. Boyle

Never one to shy away from sacred cow territory or the ruthless ways in which humans stampede it, T.C. Boyle’s latest wise epic puts ecologists on a restless collision course with agitated animal rights activists. In his vintage style of tackling issues with snarling drama and incendiary humor, Boyle plots a political novel without sending the reader a preachy message, although he comes right up under it.

February 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: California, Contemporary, Theme driven, y Award Winning Author