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IMG_0072What’s it all about?

Stevie Flint is a presenter on a TV shopping channel (she used to be a journalist), with a job that seems to suit her (up to a point) and a glamorous doctor for a boyfriend. But something is going wrong in the London she works in; a mysterious disease, “the sweats” is spreading though out the population at a rapid rate. When her boyfriend fails to turn up for their planned date she finds him dead in his flat and of course first thoughts are that he too has succumbed to the same sickness as so many others. But it becomes clear to Stevie that his death doesn’t fit, and she starts to investigate his apparent murder against a backdrop of death and paranoia and societal breakdown.

Why did I want to read this?

I’ve not read much of Louise Welsh’s work but I’ve really enjoyed what I have read, particularly The Girl on the Stairs which was one of my last reads of 2013 and was really gripping, so a dystopian thriller slash murder mystery which is also the first of a trilogy couldn’t be resisted.

What did I think of it?

I enjoyed it so much I mentioned the author in a Tweet (what a fangirl I can be sometimes, even at my age) (and she very kindly replied, even better!).

A Lovely Way to Burn is a really interesting book which starts off with some action (the random shootings carried out by three different people) implying one sort of book and then heads off in a rather different and in some ways more interesting direction.I kept expecting certain things to be connected and was consistently wrong-footed which I particularly liked. Stevie is a fabulous character, strong but vulnerable, and determined to get answers.

I read this in two sittings over a weekend and was desperate to get to the end. The stuff about how quickly society can fall apart under duress was really convincing and provided an unsettling backdrop to what could have been a fairly standard murder mystery. I’m so glad this is part of a series, I can’t wait to see what the next volume has in store. Recommended.

Scan 30What’s it all about?

The Child’s Child is a book within a book, or at least a contemporary story wrapped around a tale of an unmarried mother in Devon which starts off between the wars. Grace is working on her thesis about illegitimacy in the English novel and is asked to read the story of Maud and her pregnancy and the things she has to do to maintain face at a time when this sort of thing was a major problem (disowned by her parents, that sort of thing). The events of Maud’s story start to echo what’s happening in Grace’s life as she shares a house with her brother Andrew and begins to deal with his partner James who moves in with them setting off a chain of events that will change them all.

Why did I want to read this?

I really like the Barbara Vine novels; I’m pretty sure I have read all of them over time, and I certainly have come to prefer them to Ruth Rendell’s (for it is she, of course) more straightforward police procedurals. So it’s always a bit of an event when a new Vine is published.

What did I think of it?

I enjoyed reading this novel but the lingering feeling I have, almost six weeks later (I am SO behind on my posts) is one of vague disappointment. I came to find Maud really, really annoying, and although I know that the way she behaves is a product of what has happened to her and the way she has had to adapt to her circumstances but I came to find her deeply unlikable. I know very well that you don’t have to like a character to find their story compelling but I came to care about the futures of almost everyone except her. At the same time I wanted to know more about Grace and the modern-day setting which I found much more interesting and which seemed to me to be a bit rushed. And for me the connections between the two narratives were a bit tenuous.

dewey-300x300So by no means bad, well written as always and worth reading, it just seemed to be missing something for me at any rate. Will still look forward to her next novel, though!

This was my final book for Readathon !!

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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June 2014