The Salt Path Sister by Raynor Winn
This is a bittersweet memoir. A couple in their fifties suddenly find themselves bankrupted and homeless. Unsure of how to cope, they walk the coastal path from Somerset to Cornwall.
Encountering both kindness and cruelty along the 630-mile journey, the couple ultimately forge a plan and find a way through. Despite their resiliency and fortitude, this is a cautionary tale and leaves one both saddened and strangely inspired. An engaging read for our times.
Panegyric by Logan Magnair
This is a clever book lush with rich vocabulary and two interesting characters. A struggling writer is engaged to ghost write a biography of a political figure. As we learn more about each of the men, we discover that nothing about them is quite as it first seems. An interesting and challenging read. (See Crystal Fletcher’s YouTube channel for a fabulous interview with the author.)
The End of Her by Shari Lapena
Lapena’s books are like that old Lay’s potato chip commercial: “Betcha can’t eat just one!” You can’t just read one of her books either. This book deals with a happily married young couple with twin (colicky) babies.
Through a sequence of events, the young wife finds out that her husband may be responsible for the death of his first wife and that he hasn’t been truthful about it. Distrust seeps into their relationship and everything changes and takes on a menacing light. I can’t say more or I’ll spoil it for you. This is a page turner and a wonderful read.
Miss Austen by Gill Hornby
Jane Austen fans will savour this book! Hornby has done a brilliant job writing a fictional memoir of Cassandra Austen at the end of Cassy’s life. The book is a carefully constructed reimagining of characters and dialogue taken from all of the Austen books, married with some academic scholarship and a delightful set of invented letters that bring everything together into a compelling and compassionate tale. The life, loves and fortunes of both Jane and Cassy are writ large in this accomplished and engaging book.
The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
Alka Joshi takes us to post-partition India in the fifties, when women were first allow to own property, divorce their husbands and support themselves financially albeit with many restrictions about caste and tradition still in place.
The story of Lakshmi and her sister struggling to navigate their independence in this world is so vivid that I felt as though I myself had been on a journey. An incredible book filled with heartbreak and hope. Highly recommended.
Consent by Annabel Lyon
This is an engaging story of sisters and families and the ties that connect them. The intimacies of sibling relationships are unpacked as we follow the lives of four young women. Questions about individual identity, care-giving, end-of-life decisions, and grieving are sympathetically presented in this surprising narrative.
Annabel Lyon has woven a tale filled with intrigue and suspense in a manner not unlike an old Hitchcock movie. I’m sure this book would make an incredible film. A fabulous read.
The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd
This is a truly incredible book! Based upon the letters of Eliza Lucas, the author creates the world of South Carolina in 1739 on a small plantation. Eliza’s father leaves the estate in Eliza’s care while he joins the war effort.
With the help of a small group of allies including some slaves, Eliza turns the plantation into an indigo-producing enterprise. This book has it all: careful historical research, social history and romance. Beautifully written in an assured and credible voice this is a MUST READ. Loved it!