Novels

by

Lyn Shea

The Legendary
Awakening of

Gerald Monkton

Woman
with a White Umbrella

Lone Horse
in the
Hinterland

The Enduring
Wisdom of
Refracted Glass

HOT PLOTS

 

A good book lasts forever - in the mind and in the collective consciousness. Fashions in literature come and go but a good book lives on, having various phases of interest. Literature endures in the way art endures. We can pick up a book at one time in our life and not take to it, then go back to it another time and find it compelling, such is the nature of the relationship between writers and readers. In ‘Hot Plots’ we present books both new to the market and not so new. Some literature never sees critical acclaim, and some works may remain hidden gems in the vast world of novels. Our selection here is eclectic and random, apprising many sorts of stories and genres.

 

 

‘La Belle Sauvage’

Philip Pullman

 

The prelude to ‘The Northern Lights’ it tells the story of Lyra from infancy and pre-dates the best selling trilogy. This is an epic book, itself part of another trilogy – ‘The Book of Dust’. For fans of Pullman and his metaphysical look at the universe and life it is a feast. Written again from the eyes of two young people, Malcolm and Alice, who embark on a voyage in a canoe in the midst of a great flood to rescue Lyra from the CCD and the Magisterium so that she may go on to fulfill her life’s mission and the proof of consciousness against religious tyranny.

 

 

‘We Had it So Good’

Linda Grant

 

This Booker Prize nominate is an insightful look at three decades of change – 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and through to the millennium as seen through the eyes of four people meeting at Oxford University in the 60’s ….the drugs, the philosophies and the realities. Plus some interesting glimpses into American life at the time. Two couples and a few fringe characters take us on the journey and anyone alive in any of those decades – or even curious about them - will love this book. A chronicle of lives as felt and seen and a truthful survey of the human condition.

 

 

‘The Curse of the House of Foskett’’

M.R.C. Kasasian

 

One of the most unusual detective stories you may ever read. Set in the eighteen hundreds, it chronicles the activities of the private investigating duo, Sidney Grice and March Middleton. Both humorous and truly gruesome its wry look at life and its undeniably quirky characters sees it set as a classic in its own genre. It is at first hard to know how to take the novel; as a horror spoof, a comedy excursion into the fascinating world of a hundred and odd years ago or just a true Novel. A ‘marmite’ sort of book it either grabs you and engages you or repels you after the first few pages. One in a series of nine.

 

 

‘Last Seen Alive’

Claire Douglas

 

This book is of the popular genre of ‘secrets-lies-and-who-is-actually-who-they-seem-to-be’ thriller novels. A relationship between a young English couple turns sour while they engage in a house swap with folks they have never met. The past creeps up on the present, but unlike some other books of this same genre the story is moderate and the plot paced, nor is it larded with expletives. The reader is entreated to have sympathy with these protagonists who are quite normal suburbanites living a mediocre life. The book maintains pace and is highly readable, with twists unexpected and original.

 

 

‘Temptation’

Douglas Kennedy

 

Despite the frothy and exotic title, which in our estimation does not do justice to the story, this is not a romantic fiction or a steamy sex caper. An American screen writer has a meteoric rise to fame and success, and falls foul of one of the world’s wealthiest men who sets out to systematically deconstruct his career and reputation. This is a great read, by a prolific author who clearly knows his craft and has his own unique style.

 

 

‘Started Early, Took My Dog’

Kate Atkinson

 

A stunningly good book. Powerful, vibrant and tight, by the author of ‘Behind the Scenes at The Museum’. This book has it all, a gritty cameo of Northern life in and around Leeds, U.K. Described by The Times newspaper as a comedy (we don’t know which book they were reading) it is witty but not funny unless your sense of humour is warped. Pithy and insightful, it deals with dark subject matter: Police corruption, desperate female professionals and a laid back private detective who is seen in other of this writer’s books – she has to be a rising star in the contemporary thriller genre. But to say too much about the storyline spoils the fast moving plot which explains itself wonderfully from the first page.

 

 

‘A Crack in Forever’

Jeannie Brewer

 

An iconic love story of the 1990’s this tale of tragic love is exquisitely told, stops short of melodrama by its down to earth narrative and dialogue. A young female artist meets a pre-med student who models for her and a relationship begins. This is not hearts and flowers but more souls and landscape. The circumstances change quickly but the book is never maudlin - a credit to the endurance and strength of the human heart at its most resilient. For romantics and cynics of both genders.

 

 

‘Camino Island’

John Grisham

 

A great read from this most readable of authors. Slower paced than some of his books, it takes in the world of rare books and manuscripts and a list of intelligent and sophisticated characters who make up the heist and the fall-out. One of the best thriller writers alive today, Grisham never fails to hit the mark with storyline and plot and maximum feasibility. When a young female writer fails to deliver her third novel she turns to the world of espionage for financial injection and is in deeper than she cares to be.

 

 

‘On The Other Hand”

Chris Cleave

 

The true power of this book does not reveal itself until possibly half way through. It is haunting and moving and evocative, but not for the squeamish. If you finish the first two chapters you won’t be able to stop reading. It tells the story of two women, one white and English and in publishing, the other black and African and seeking asylum. Their lives come together in one shocking hour on a beach, and to say more is to spoil the read.

 

 

‘Till We Meet Again’

Lesley Pearse

 

It’s hard to describe this as a murder mystery, but to some extent that is what it is. Not a who-dun-it type yarn, but a story which takes time to build its own powerful plot.. Plainly written, not one of fancy twists or quirky characters but one which piles intrigue onto highly moving tragedy through back-story. Two women who have met in their girlhood meet again under vastly different circumstances and purely by accident. One a lawyer, the other a struggling and grieving loner. This is a genre which is hard to describe but it’s certainly a very unique human interest story.

 

 

‘A Rake’s View’

Stephanie Laurens

 

A surprisingly erotic tale set in the Georgian British period. This novel is too classy to be labelled a corset ripper. Though profoundly romantic in essence she defies the stereotype by her intelligent prose and insights into male/female dynamic. This author has written a whole series and has effortless style and natural story telling ability. A book for male and female enthusiasts of the historical novel with a sexy plot.

 

 

The Swallow and The Hummingbird’

Santa Montefiore

 

A thoroughly absorbing read. A romantic novel set between the Devon coast and Argentina between the forties and the sixties. Not so much boy-meets-girl as boy knows girl all his life and then comes back from the war emotionally scarred and goes away to recover and then stays away for a couple of decades. Interesting and likable characters. It is obvious that this author has written from life experience and this is moe than a love story; it’s a veritable saga of events involving the surrounding characters who are as vital to the tale as the two lovers.

 

 

‘Snow Blind’

Ragnar Jonasson

 

This is not a fast paced thriller, but a steady and thoughtful revelation into the minds and lives of people and their deepest fears and desires. It is of that genre of the Scandinavian crime story which has become popular over the last two decades or so. It is written in a truthful way that loses little in translation. A young policemen moves to the northern regions of Iceland in the depth of winter to pursue his career, where the weather conditions are extreme and the town lazy and unchanging until a sudden suspicious death of one of its local theatre’s writers and a further death soon after. Struggling with his own depression and homesickness he follows a trail to unravel the truth. Scenery described beautifully and characters brought to life realistically. Patient crime lovers will enjoy.

 

 

‘The Muse’

Jessie Burton

 

A masterpiece in its own right. A superbly crafted novel of the art world and artists, Set between two worlds and eras – that of Spain in the 1930’s and Britain in the 1960’s. A tale of revolution, betrayal, and cunning. Two strong female protagonists unfold a compelling story which is both unique and thrilling while losing nothing of its complex layers. By the same author who gave us ‘The Miniaturist’.

 

'Lone Horse in the Hinterland'

Lyn Shea

 

Three couples unfold a story of ideals, land feuds and past life memory.  Diverse personalities of differing ages, temperaments and  professions. English rural life combines the infinite and seamless potential for life beyond the known agenda with the continuing mundane struggles of pressure and success amid the well-heeled and the poorer.  An interesting montage of plot and action that spins the story into realms unexpected.  Told with simplicity, wit and acute observation into human affection and frailty, it is unsentimental and honest. The style of writing evokes visual drama and is a colourful arc of discovery.

 

 

‘In a Dark Dark Wood’

Ruth Ware

 

A debut crime novel. Almost Christie-esque in its structure and plot, but contemporary in setting, and carefully crafted and paced and easy to read. Very much a page-turner and a lot of readers would say establishing the status of classic thriller genre. A hen party held in the wilds of Northumberland goes horribly wrong among six old friends.

 

Astrological Outlooks

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Novels
Novels