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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 Perfect Gift by Emma Hannigan

    The Perfect Gift is ideal summer reading. It is light, romantic and heartwarming. Set in Ireland, the story has two strands. Roisin, who was adopted at birth, receives a letter on her thirtieth birthday from her birth mother. All Roisin knows is that her birth mother died soon after her birth but she has received a birthday card message from her every year. She is at a crossroads in her life with a threat to her livelihood at 'Nourriture', the foodie shop she has established. Back from France where her relationship with Jacques has ended, she has a lot to consider. Her family, though close, have their own secrets and problems to unravel.  Meanwhile, Nell, an elderly inhabitant, who lives at the local lighthouse, has kept herself apart from the village. One day, she finds a young girl hiding in her boiler house which leads her to reassess her feelings about her own daughter.

     The characters draw you in as their lives interweave.  Mother and daughter relationships come under the microscope but also they have wider family matters to address. Emma Hannigan creates a picture of a warm community where the pace of life is slower and everyone knows each other. My only quibbles would be that sometimes the detail was too much and also the turn round of Mouse from a young runaway who could not read to the well adjusted member of the community who made such rapid progress at reading and even learnt to drive all within a few months stretched credulity a little. 

In short: a heartwarming read- perfect escapism

Thanks to the publishers at Headline for a copy of the book


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