Audio Books
The Stillwater Girls
By Minka Kent
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Oct 8th 2019.
The Stillwater Girls by Minka KentThis story has two female narrators whose lives are destined to interact. First, Wren, who is 19 and lives with her younger sister Sage in a cabin in the forest, with no electricity or technology. The other is Nicolette, who is married to a successful photographer, Brant (what? Brant is named after a goose?). The couple live in a comfortable on the edge of a forest in upstate New York, and go into Manhattan for sophisticated art events. We follow the two narrators as they tell their sad stories and the connection is made. It turns out that Wren used to live with another sister and their mother
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Keeping Lucy
By T. Greenwood
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Oct 1st 2019.
Part feminist road trip, part morality tale about attitudes towards children with Down syndrome, Keeping Lucy is a satisfying read. It is 1969 when Ginny Richardson gives birth to a baby girl, Lucy, with the genetic condition. The doctors keep her drugged while her husband and his father sign the baby over to a local "school," Willowridge, where she will live permanently. Ginny protests but is given assurances that Lucy is better off having no contact with her family. It is 2 years later when Ginny's old friend Marsha calls her to tell her that there has been an exposé in the
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Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Outside Looking In
By T.C. Boyle
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 24th 2019.
Outside Looking In by T.C. BoyleT.C. Boyle has established himself as a big name novelist, reflecting on twentieth century themes, and writing fictionalized accounts of some major figures. This one is about Timothy Leary, once a Harvard professor, who gained notoriety for promoting hallucinogens. But Boyle makes his main character a graduate student, Fitz Loney, who has Leary as his advisor, and who follows Leary even after they get kicked out of Harvard. Fitz is already married to Joanie, and they have a son, Corey, he has responsibilities. But he is fascinated by a large project to find ultimate truths about nature, G
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Bring Them Home
By D. S. Butler
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 10th 2019.
Set in the northern English town of Heighington in Lincolnshire, Bring Them Home is a detective mystery with a feminist slant. It is the first featuring Detective Karent Hart. It starts with the abduction of two 10-year-old girls, features a case of persistent domestic abuse of a woman, and links to another case of a 19-year-old woman who disappeared several months ago. Butler is a prolific writer who churns out detective novels under several different names. The book has a hastily written feel and the characterization is pretty weak. The plot has some major gaps of plausibility. But
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Bring Them Home by D. S. Butler

The Song of the Jade Lily
A Novel
By Kirsty Manning
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 3rd 2019.
The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty ManningAustralian author Kirsty Manning has written two historical novels, but The Song of the Jade Lilly (or just The Jade Lily in Australia) is her US debut. It combines different genres, switching between Shanghai during the second world war and in the present day, giving the reader romance, mystery, tragedy, strong female lead characters, Chinese medicine and cooking. Fundamentally it is a book about war, the dehumanization of some groups by others, and the atrocities that result. But it is also illuminating an aspect of World War II that will be unfamiliar to most readers: th
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Putney
By Sofka Zinovieff
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Aug 27th 2019.
Sofka Zinovieff is English, of Russian heritage, and is married to a Greek man. She grew up in Putney, a suburb of London, and has lived in Greece, Russia and the Peloponnese.. She is about the same age as Daphne, the main female character in her novel Putney, who both lives there now and who grew up there. Daphne has an English father and a Greek mother, and visits Greece often. So while there is no indication that this is an autobiographical novel, it's clear that Zinovieff uses some of her life experience to inform her novel. In addition to her experience of different cultures, she has
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Putney by  Sofka Zinovieff

Trust Exercise
A Novel
By Susan Choi
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Aug 27th 2019.
Trust Exercise by Susan ChoiTrust Exercise has gained a fair amount of attention from critics because it is so meta-. The first half of the book turns out to be a novel based on real experience within a novel, and the next part of the book is another memoir by one of the people described in the first part, angry at how they were described by the first author, and angry about the past. The book ends with a shorter final part, this time told by an impersonal narrator, apparently the voice of truth, about two characters from the earlier story. It takes some working out how the three parts fit together, and it isn't cle
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The Bookshop on the Shore
A Novel
By Jenny Colgan
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Aug 20th 2019.
Jenny Colgan has been writing pleasant romantic dramas for a couple of decades now. I reviewed her first two novels Amanda’s Wedding and Talking to Addison when they were released. Her early books were set in London. Since then she has broadened her scope to Birmingham and the Scottish highlands. The Bookshop on the Shore features characters from both London and Birmingham who were in some of her previous novels, but it is mainly set in Scotland next to Loch Ness. The plot features Zoe and her four year old son Hari, who start out in London but are havi
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The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

 
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