Historical fiction · Political

Rodham – Curtis Sittenfeld ★★★★

Blurb; From the New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Eligible, a novel that imagines a deeply compelling what-might-have-been: What if Hillary Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton?

In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. And then she meets Bill Clinton. A handsome, charismatic southerner and fellow law student, Bill is already planning his political career. In each other, the two find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced.

In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.

But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.

Brilliantly weaving a riveting fictional tale into actual historical events, Curtis Sittenfeld delivers an uncannily astute and witty story for our times. In exploring the loneliness, moral ambivalence, and iron determination that characterize the quest for political power, as well as both the exhilaration and painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world still run mostly by men, Rodham is a singular and unforgettable novel.

My Review; This was a different read for me but I thought I would give it a go and I’m so glad I did. I’ve always had a fascination for America and their presidents I don’t know why but I generally do find it interesting. This is fiction but based off true past events. Very political. Personal in parts. Includes Clinton, Obama, Hillary and Trump.

The writing in this story is very small and the chapters are very long but I still devoured it. I learnt a few things while reading it too. Different but I enjoyed it. A well deserved four stars from me.

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Bestsellers · contemporary

The Reading List – Sara Nisha Adams ★★★★★

Blurb; Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in the London Borough of Ealing after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries.

Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home.

When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list… hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again. 

My Review; I am one of those readers that if the book has the word reading, bookshop or library in the title I know it will be a brilliant read and this was spot on. Highly recommend. A must read. One that will stick with me for a long time.

This story brings a lot of people together over books. From non readers, widows, to carers to the lonely people from old to young in society they all come together over one reading list but do not know where the list has come from or who wrote it. Heart-warming. Uplifting. The story focuses on two characters in particular Mukesh and Aleisha with a few chapters from others inbetween.

A story that will stick in your heart. One you won’t regret reading. A must read for me. High chance this could end up in my top reads of the year. A well deserved five stars. A beautiful ending which might make you tear up. Books are powerful things.

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Killers · suspense · thriller

Dead Head – C.J. Skuse ★★★★

Blurb; Can a serial killer ever lose their taste for murder?

Since confessing to her bloody murder spree Rhiannon Lewis, the now-notorious Sweetpea killer, has been feeling out-of-sorts.

Having fled the UK on a cruise ship to start her new life, Rhiannon should be feeling happy. But it’s hard to turn over a new leaf when she’s stuck in an oversized floating tin can with the Gammonati and screaming kids. Especially when they remind her of Ivy – the baby she gave up for a life carrying on killing.

Rhiannon is all at sea. She’s lost her taste for blood but is it really gone for good? Maybe Rhiannon is realising that there’s more to life than death…

My Review; This is book three in the sweetpea trilogy. I adored the previous two books but for me book one was the best. This was still a brilliant read but also very different from the previous two books as Rhiannon is on the run in this story. This isn’t as dark as the previous books but still a brilliant ending to the trilogy… Is she still a psycho? Did she get away with it all? So many questions.

Easy, fast paced read with short chapters. Going to miss Rhiannons character. An ending that could split readers. Highly recommend the whole trilogy. A well deserved four stars from me.

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