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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 Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

    In The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, we go on a detective trail with Arthur as he discovers people and events in his late wife's life which were unknown to him. At the beginning he is a slightly lonely middle aged widower. His two adult children have grown apart from him and he is stuck in a life of routine and memories. One year on from his wife's death, he happens upon her charm bracelet which he has never seen before. Stepping out of his comfort zone, he sets off to investigate the stories behind the charms. 

    Arthur's investigations lead him around the world to India, Paris and show him that there was much more to Miriam, his wife, than he ever suspected. It is entertaining and poignant in equal measure.  Phaedra Patrick presents us with a diverse cast of characters, each with their own backstory and we see Arthur change as well. In a way, it is a coming of age story but with an older character. It is interesting to see how Arthur works his way through his insecurities.  In fact, it is really about what Arthur discovers about himself, rather than about his wife.

    I preferred the first half of this book as the entertaining situations which Arthur found himself in kept the momentum going well. I liked the exchanges between Nathan, a slightly awkward late teen, and Arthur who had found it so hard to talk to his own children. In fact, I would say that communication between people was central to the story and how people connect to each other.

    Warm, with a little whimsy thrown in, this book would appeal if you have enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, or its sister book, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy (See my review of that book here).

 In short: quirky, entertaining look at relationships 

I received a copy of the book from the publishers,Harlequin (UK) Ltd. via Netgalley.

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