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The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson #Review

  The Wartime Book Club is a marvellous historical novel set on Jersey in World War Two. Written by Kate Thompson , it was published by Hodder $ Stoughton on February 13th. Jersey, 1943. Once a warm and neighbourly community, now German soldiers patrol the cobbled streets, imposing a harsh rule on the people of the island. Grace La Mottée, the island's only librarian, is ordered to destroy books which threaten the new regime. Instead, she hides the stories away in secret. Along with her headstrong best friend, postwoman Bea Rose, she wants to fight back. So she forms the wartime book club: a lifeline, offering fearful islanders the joy and escapism of reading. But as the occupation drags on, the women's quiet acts of bravery become more perilous - and more important - than ever before. And, when tensions turn to violence, they are forced to face the true, terrible cost of resistance . . . Based on astonishing real events, The Wartime Book Club is a love letter

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia Macgregor

I was sent an advance copy of this book by the publisher, Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells pulled me in from the start and proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. It centres around what happens when 'the Mother who left', Norah, returns to her family six years later, only to find that they have moved on and there is now  'the Mother who stayed', Fay, in her place. I admired how the fallout of emotions was dealt with as we explored the repercussions of Norah's absence on each of the family members, even their beloved dog, Louis. 

Virginia Macgregor maintained the pace of the story to the end. I was particularly taken with the little pauses through the book as she told us what was happening for each person. The telling of the story through the eyes of different family members was cleverly done. I felt that the voices of the different age groups were captured deftly, especially the younger daughter, Willa. 

 Behind the deceptively simple scenario, there were some probing questions to explore. What makes someone a Mother or a Father? Is it always better to know the truth? Can you love two people? I found parts of the story quite moving yet the author managed to balance that with a wry look at family life, not to mention the twitter fans and nosey neighbours who observed it all. 

In short: An enjoyable, well paced book which was intriguing  and at the same time, humorous.


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