contemporary · Bestsellers · Religion

The stranger in the lifeboat – Mitch Albom ★★★★★

Blurb; Adrift in a raft after a deadly ship explosion, ten people struggle for survival at sea. Three days pass. Short on water, food and hope, they spot a man floating in the waves. They pull him in. “Thank the Lord we found you,” a passenger says. “I am the Lord,” the man whispers. So begins Mitch Albom’s most beguiling novel yet.

Albom has written of heaven in the celebrated number one bestsellers “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” and “The First Phone Call from Heaven”. Now, for the first time in his fiction, he ponders what we would do if, after crying out for divine help, God actually appeared before us? A fast-paced, compelling novel that makes you ponder your deepest beliefs, “The Stranger in the Lifeboat suggests that answers to our prayers may be found where we least expect them.”

My Review; I randomly saw this book on Tiktok one day and the rest in history my first book by this author, and it may have changed my life. I have found a new favourite author and already ordered all the rest of his books through my local library. It is such a beautiful, heart-breaking, inspiring, and survival story that involves god. I was hooked! The story is told in two those on land and those at sea. Short chapters. Amazing read. Highly recommend. Devoured it. A well-deserved five stars from me.

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Little Prisons – Ilona Bannister ★★★★

Blurb; When you can’t get out, let kindness in.

In a non-descript building in a gentrifying corner of London, Penny is doing daily battle with her mind. She is convinced that the world beyond her door is too dangerous for her, though her heart knows it isn’t. Penny’s neighbour, Carla, an American expat and single mother of two teens, has lived in a coercive relationship for many years, too worn down by her controlling husband to escape her situation. Mable, Penny’s upstairs neighbour, an elderly Jamaican pensioner and devout Jehovah’s Witness, has sacrificed everything for her faith, including her relationship with her family. And Woman, the housekeeper and nanny on the second floor, has been trafficked. When she is not cleaning and cooking, she works in the laundrette the landlord owns on the ground floor, a hidden slave in full view of the public.

Through grocery deliveries, glimpses through windows, and overheard conversations in the stairwell, the women come to know each other. Their small acts of compassion help them each find a way to mend the broken paths in their lives.

My Review; This was one off my library pile and is told through each of the different characters who all live in the same block of flats with thin walls. Each character has their own problems, and there are some hard-hitting subjects to contend with in this story, including control, slaves, religion, and anxiety about leaving their home. It’s is a story of hope, coming together and all wraps up beautifully at the end. This book is unique as the author actually gives us four different endings to choose from, and you pick the one you want it to end on. I love that. Highly recommend. A well-deserved four stars from me.

Amazon Link UK

Apologies could not find this on Amazon US.


The People on Platform 5 – Clare Pooley ★★★★★

Blurb; Nobody ever talks to strangers on the train. It’s a rule. But what would happen if they did? From the New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of The Authenticity Project, a heartwarming novel about unexpected friendships and the joy of connecting.

Every day Iona, a larger-than-life magazine advice columnist, travels the ten stops from Hampton Court to Waterloo Station by train, accompanied by her dog, Lulu. Every day she sees the same people, whom she knows only by nickname: Impossibly-Pretty-Constant-Reader and Terribly-Lonely-Teenager. Of course, they never speak. Seasoned commuters never do.

Then one morning, the man she calls Smart-But-Sexist-Manspreader chokes on a grape right in front of her. He’d have died were it not for the timely intervention of Sanjay, a nurse, who gives him the Heimlich maneuver.

This single event starts a chain reaction, and an eclectic group of people with almost nothing in common except their commute discover that a chance encounter can blossom into much more. It turns out that talking to strangers can teach you about the world around you–and even more about yourself.

My Review; A new author to me. I got this because I bought it a while back for my friend so I gave it a go. I was not disappointed. An easy, fast paced read. An uplifting read. A coming together, happy ending for all story. Perfection. I enjoyed every page. I think this book also highlighted to me how ignorant we have all become in this day and age. How many of the same people do you see each morning? Walk by? Travel with? What if we all just said hello or smiled? I believe similar to this story the world would be a much happier place. I myself walked past a certain lady and her children every morning for must have been a year and guess what? We are now really really good friends. Crazy right? The story is told through each other the different characters but the main character Iona started it all and becomes a huge part of all the other characters stories. Each character is facing their own personal problems but Iona will help each of them. But what about Iona? Does she need help? Honestly a brilliant read and all while mostly set on a train. Short chapters. I really think this will end up in my top reads of the year. A well deserved five stars. Highly recommend.

Amazon Link UK

Amazon Link US