Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters, Charlotte Moseley

This is an amazing book, the like of which we probably won’t see again! The six Mitford sisters wrote letters to each other throughout their quite astonishing lives and their correspondence covers major events of the 20th Century, name-dropping an altogether astonishing set of celebrities, politicians and royals.

I’d read some of Nancy Mitford’s books and knew some of the history of the family, but
the letters bring so much insight into their world.

My only regret about this book is that I read it on my kindle instead of buying a ‘proper’ book as I think it would have been so much easier to read. There are notes at the end of each
chapter but it is harder to keep skipping back to the relevant part in the book. It isn’t a book to read all in one go, I’ve been reading it for months, just dipping in and out while reading other things but when I got to the last letter I felt almost bereft – hard to imagine just how hard it must have been for Deborah, the last surviving sister.

It is a really wonderful book, regardless of what ‘class’ you might be or what your politics are – such a portrait of a life that probably doesn’t exist any longer, of sisterly rivalry, arguments and love. I’m going to buy it again but the real thing this time as I want to read it again now I’ve got to the end.


Book Review: Coming Clean, Kimberley Rae Miller

This was a fascinating but uncomfortable read – an autobiography about growing up as the child of hoarder parents. It is a brutally honest and unflinching look at the mental issues
behind hoarding and what it means in practice – unable to keep anywhere clean, hiding the truth of how the family live from friends, ending up living in a tiny corner of the house.

It is a sad tale in lots of ways and yet the author tells it in a very matter of fact, calm way – this is her parent’s reality and although she can (and does) help them to clear up the worst of it regularly, nothing can stop them living their lives in this way.

Although it is a difficult story to read, her obvious love and care for her parents is
heartwarming and you end up having a great deal of sympathy for them all.

Book Review: Mercy (Department Q), Jussi Adler-Olsen

I enjoyed this Scandi crime drama, with an anti-hero detective, who has lost all his ambition and energy following an event where a colleague was killed and another seriously injured. Carl tries very hard to do as little as possible even when he is given his own department looking at old cases.

HIs cleaner/assistant Assad clearly has a very interesting background and begins to look into a past case which quickly leads us into a tense kidnap storyline. The tension really builds as the two stories begin to come together and the flashback chapters from the kidnap victim’s
viewpoint really draw you in.

Although I don’t think the book is quite up there with the Stieg Larsson Millennium Trilogy, it is an original take on the detective/thriller genre and I’m looking forward to reading the other two Department Q novels published to date.

Book Review: The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The WWII Codebreaking Centre & the Men and Women Who Worked There

This was a really interesting look behind the scenes at the very secretive wartime activities at Bletchley Park. I knew a little bit about Enigma and the code breaking successes during the war but had no idea just how big and vital the Bletchley Park operation was.

The book was more about the lives of some of the individuals who worked at the Park than the code breaking work, which I would have liked to have learnt a bit more about. But the stories really painted a picture of what society’s expectations were back then and how people had to put their lives on hold during the war – and yet, life still went on.

A fascinating glimpse of wartime life in England.

Book Review: Testimony, Anita Shreeve

I’ve got a problem rating this book as I thought it was well written, it caught my attention and I wanted to keep reading – the ‘different voices’ proved a great way to tell the story from all the different points of view. BUT I really didn’t like the way the girl was portrayed and the difference that made to where sympathies are clearly being directed to lie. I think her back story would have maybe given a different view.

Can’t really say any more without giving huge spoilers but now I’ve finished the book, I have lots more questions about the motivation of various people and the back stories as you end up getting a tiny glimpse into a wide number of people’s lives instead of more in depth into a few.

I can’t really say I enjoyed this book – giving it a compromise of 3 stars for the writing, which is very good.