Pigs in Heaven, by Barbara Kingsolver
My first ever Barbara Kingsolver novel. Wow, what a writer she is – the whole book was full of wise quotes I want to print out and stick up on my walls. Pigs in Heaven tells the story of Taylor and her adopted Cherokee daughter, Turtle. A chance brush with fame leads to questions over the legitimacy of Turtle’s adoption – should she be returned to the Cherokee Nation, or stay with Taylor? It’s a tale of unconventional families, cultural belonging and the importance of nature v. nurture. The characters and settings were so beautifully written I felt I was there too. Kingsolver takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary – this is a special novel that will stay with me long time.
Autumn, by Ali Smith
The autumn part of Ali Smith’s quartet of seasonal novels. It’s set just after the EU referendum and it evokes that confusing and conflicted time so perfectly. Like many of Smith’s books this is a lyrical and beautiful collection of vignettes. I felt an affinity with Elisabeth, born in 1984 just like me. Autumn is a mixture of her childhood reminiscences and dream-like sequences from her elderly former neighbour, Daniel. Elisabeth’s mother speaks a lot about arty art – well, this is arty fiction. Don’t expect a plot, just lose yourself in its beauty. As well as being possibly the only novel about Brexit, it also deserves a prize for the best description of a post office queue ever written.
So Lucky, by Dawn O’Porter
Want a feel-good read? Look no further than So Lucky, the new novel by Dawn O’Porter. The story is cleverly divided between three women, all with their own thoroughly modern problems and hang-ups. As the book progresses their journeys towards self-acceptance criss-cross, and by the end they’ve all come together. It’s a funny, flirty romp, which also manages to be utterly heartwarming and captivating. A big thumbs up from me!
The Women at Hitler’s Table by Rosella Postorino
This chilling historical novel is based on the true story of Hitler’s food tasters. It’s 1943 and an increasingly beleaguered Hitler is goring paranoid, convinced that the allies are conspiring to poison his food. A group of ordinary women are chosen (forced) to sample every dish of food before it reaches his table. Rosa is our narrator and guide through these disturbing events. Through her eyes we experience all kinds of dangerous friendships, desperate bargains and the fragile comfort to be found this most ugly and brutal period of history. A thrilling page turner that’ll leave you reeling. I loved it.
A big thank you to Harper Collins for sending me So Lucky and The Women At Hitler’s Table to review.