THE GLASS PAINTER'S DAUGHTERI finished this book a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Main character, Fran is drawn back into both her own childhood due to the hospitalisation of her father (she has to return to her home-town to take care of his glass studio) and also into the past of Laura, the rector's daughter whose journals Fran finds hidden in her father's flat above his studio.
I'm not a great fan of 'flashbacks' but as these didn't form the main character's life, they became almost a separate story and I loved the idea of both characters living on the same street, a century apart and found myself rooting for both girls.
The only slight problem I had was with the amount of 'sub-stories' that were going on at the same time and I thought some of these could have been diluted at no expense to the enjoyment of the book.
THE SWEETEST THING
Main character Jennie started off annoying me - especially as I'm also a (not so) jolly divorcee myself and when she takes her three children from the city following her divorce and moves to a tatty white cottage in the country, starts buying hens, falling in love even though she's determined not to, sets up a cake-making business and buys her daughter a pony, I actually started hating her for her bloody good fortune. And then I remembered this was fiction..... give her a break etc... deep breath..... and continue....
It was VERY sweet and very cutesy and a bit predictable but I found myself absolutely rooting for main character Jennie towards the end when her troubled teenage son starts to upset everything she's been striving for. Light and fluffy, I wouldn't have read this if the lovely Random House people hadn't sent it to me, but I'm very happy I did.
THE SECRET HISTORY
Everybody else seems to have read this. Or they know someone who has. So it was only a matter of time before I succumbed. And as it's become a contemporary classic there's even more reason to see what it's all about.
I'd say it was like a cross between 'Shallow Grave' and 'Prep' which hopefully doesn't give too much away and I could see it as a film (is it/has it been already? I'm so far behind everything in the normal world). And although it was getting on for 600 pages, I did enjoy it. I would have preferred shorter chapters and for two of the main characters NOT to have been called Charles and Camilla for the obvious reasons, but apart from that, I thought it was a good read. I wouldn't have used 'compelling' or 'harrowing' or any of the other extraneous plaudits given it, but it was definitely thought-provoking with some excellent dialogue.
THE MAKING OF US
I've saved the best 'til last.
Being in front of a crackling fire on a chilly night, being enveloped in a sofa that literally hugs you, feeling the warmth of the sun after the bleak greyness of winter.... this is how reading a Lisa Jewell book makes me feel.
I can't remember the last time I was so excited about getting a book through the post - a pre-publication copy hot off the press which made it all the more thrilling - and it was an absolute JOY. From the very first sentence, I knew it would be.
There aren't many writers who can make me feel so wrapped up in a story, who can create such believable characters that I instantly fall in love with, want to protect and actually feel a need to befriend. 'The Making of Us' is like that stunning piece of art you can't avoid staring at - it's beautiful, it's simple and it's so perfectly painted that you can't believe nobody's done it before.
Lydia, Dean and Robyn don't know each other. And they don't know Daniel is their father. Add on-line Donor Sibling Registration and you have the ingredients of a fabulous, tightly-written, compelling, deeply moving novel you can't help but be swept away by.
Oh, I've also had the amazing good fortune to be able to ask Lisa some questions for a special guest spot on Strictly Writing where she'll be appearing on Friday 6th May - make a date in your diary!
Right now I've just started reading THE UNSEEN by Katherine Webb and am thoroughly enjoying it - thanks to the lovely Essie Fox, aka the Virtual Victorian and author of the upcoming novel, 'The Somnambulist' for running the giveaway competition on her beautiful blog and for picking me as a winner!