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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

Yuki Chan in Brontë Country by Mick Jackson

If I'm honest, the main reason for reading this book lay in the title and its mention of Brontë Country. As I read on, I realised that that in fact  is a bit of a red herring, as it is for Yuki herself. Yuki, a young Japanese girl with limited english, is touring the Brontë sights in search of the truth about her mother, who she believed visited the area ten years previously. Her mother has died and Yuki is desperate to know the truth behind her death. She meets Denny, a local girl and they set about unravelling what her mother was doing in that area, led by some old photographs which Yuki has brought.

     As a character, Yuki is a bit of an enigma. The loss of her mother dominates and she has an underlying loneliness, emphasised at first with her lack of connection with any of the other women who are on her tour bus. If I really tried to stretch  it, I could see in the isolation of the motherless Brontë sisters a similar element of living a little apart and, especially with Emily, an interest in spirituality and other worldly experiences. These elements are there with Yuki's story. 

    This is a surprising book which tends to wrong foot the reader as the plot unravels. I liked the humour and quirkiness of Yuki. She is a stranger in a foreign land who looks at her surroundings with a detached and quizzical air. She is no fan of the Brontë's and can't really empathise with the Brontë enthusiasts she sees. Her friendship with Denny could have been further developed but it is Yuki herself, so independent and irreverent, who steals the show.

In short: quirky, eccentric on a mission to uncover a mystery- Yuki leads us on an entertaining, if slightly odd, quest.

 Thanks to Faber & Faber who sent me a copy of the book via NetGalley for an honest review.


  1. It's interesting how the Japanese are so keen on the Brontës, so I can see the motivation for this book. Sounds suitably quirky.

    1. Part of the enjoyment is seeing how Yuki is on a totally different wavelength to all the Bronte fans but I think there are parallels to be drawn between the sisters and Yuki, all observers of life. Yuki's relationship with her father and sister could be spelled out deeper, you get the impression there is a whole second book lurking there.


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