The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon contained lots of rich, if painful, historical detail. However mystery element of the novel was uninteresting and set alongside a large, and often, unlikable cast of characters.
There is something remarkable about an architect who designs a building without any idea of how to actually build it. Yet this is what happened when the original plans for a new Cathedral in Florence were drawn up in the late 1200s. What is even more incredible is that the foundation stones were laid, followed by 100 years of building without anyone having resolved the question of how to build
Confessions of Young Nero is another strong first person historical novel from Margaret George. Not only does she bring first century Rome vividly to life she also repositions Nero from the degenerate that we mostly know him as today to a significantly more nuanced character. Can’t wait for the second part!
Conclave by its nature is not action packed. Much of the book is quiet dialogue between elderly men locked away from the world in a series of rooms. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating view of how the conclave process works to select a new Pope and an interesting take on power, honesty and faith. It was well paced for an easy read that was quick to consume yet a thought
In Post Truth Ball succinctly digs beneath the catch all of “fake news” and explores how the emotional and sensationalised, the half truths and full on lies came to be so prevalent in US and UK politics and culture. The book is structured in four parts. The first, “The Power of Bull Shit” summarises both the 2016 US Presidential election and Brexit and provides the framing and context for much
The Underground Railroad is a book I am sure will deservedly become known as a classic. Whilst not without flaws I found the exceptional writing, careful characterisation, and interesting take on the Railroad along with the condensing of historical narrative to be a chilling and enlightening read.
The Vacationers is everything that makes me nervous when a novel is described as literary fiction. A novel set in a beautiful part of the world filled with well described but utterly awful characters who do very little.
Towers of Tuscany is a little bit of a mixed bag of a book. The descriptions of life in medieval Tuscany were absolutely excellent and I also really enjoyed the scene setting of the life of an artist in the period where so many of our now famous artists were creating. However, in characterisation and overall plotting I think this fell short and did not do real justice to the
This is not a fast paced novel by any stretch of the imagination. However it is one filled with rich characters and strong sense of place. Together these components made for an evocative and moving story of both war and the pain of making the peace that stayed with me after completing the book.