My April reads round-up doesn’t contain as many books as I’d like, but I’m ahead on my Goodreads Reading Challenge so it’s not something to worry about just yet.
My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry*
Opening with news of a violent crime My Husband’s Wife* rewinds fifteen years to unravel the events, which led to murder.
Lily and Ed meet at a party, Ed proposes on their second date and they marry shortly after. But all is not as happy as newly married life should be. Lily and Ed are keeping secrets from each other, secrets that will put their marriage to the test if revealed.
Lily is a criminal defence lawyer while Ed works in advertising, but dreams of making it big as an artist. Lily’s first case involves Joe Thomas, a man she finds herself irresistibly drawn to.
Carla is a young girl struggling to fit in at school. A combination of being Italian and not being able to afford the latest “must have” clothes or toys mean she is marked as different. Carla knows what she wants and finds a way to get it.
When Lily agrees to look after Carla, while her mother is at work, Ed finds his muse. ‘The Italian Girl’ eventually brings success Ed’s way.
Told from alternating perspectives, My Husband’s Wife* explores what it means to be human – flaws and all. Jane Corry skilfully intertwines the lives of complex characters leaving the reader in no doubt that good people sometimes do bad things.
The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh by Marina Fiorato*
Kit Kavanagh is an extraordinary woman. When her husband “disappears” off to become a soldier, Kit, disguised as a man, enlists in order to follow him across war-torn Italy.
The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh* is based on a true story, with Fiorato obviously putting her own spin on these events.
As I watched Kit grow in strength and courage I was left feeling cold and detached. The story is intriguing, so why wasn’t I connecting with it? Is it because it took me a couple of months to read? Or did it take me longer to read because I wasn’t connecting with it? I don’t know, but I found Fiorato’s writing duller and slower moving than Kit Kavanagh deserves.
The Truth About Julia by Anna Schaffner*
Julia White blows up a coffee shop in central London, killing 24 people, before turning herself in to the police. Apart from publishing a manifesto, she refuses to explain her actions. But the manifesto may not be what it seems.
Clare Hardenberg, an investigative journalist, has been commissioned to write a biography of Julia but at the beginning of the novel Clare is on her way to prison herself. How did she end up here? And what part did Julia play?
Clare narrates the story through a manuscript sent to her colleague. Clare begins writing from a hospital psychiatric ward where she has been admitted prior to being transferred to prison. As the story unfolds Clare and Julia’s lives intertwine in ways that have far reaching consequences.
While I enjoyed the ambiguous ending, I found the narration in the form of a manuscript frustrating at times. It meant that everyone, including Clare, was kept at a distance and made understanding her motives and actions that much harder.
Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan
Needlework was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016 and I wasn’t disappointed. Dealing with the aftermath of abuse, Needlework begins where many other novels would end.
Ces is smart, vulnerable and understandably angry a lot of the time. She may no longer be in the abusive situation, but it still has a hold over her. What follows is an unflinching, powerful, haunting, often times harrowing and poetic look at a teenage girl trying to get her life back.
My words can’t do Needlework justice, but trust me you need to read it.
A Room Of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
My love of Virginia Woolf is no secret, so when A Room Of One’s Own was chosen as April’s Feminist Orchestra Book Club pick I was only too happy to reread it.
This is an extended essay, based on a series of lectures that Woolf delivered, exploring women in literature both as writers and characters. Using multiple fictional narrators, Mary Beton, Mary Seton and Mary Carmichael, Woolf argues for both literal and figurative space for women within literature.