Wednesday 26 June 2013
When Book Club Mum handed over this book and then sneakily suggested: "perhaps you could write a review?" I surprised myself by agreeing. Lisa Jewell is one of my favourite authors and I'd finished her most recent novel, Before I Met You, a week ago with a joyous bounce and a greedy eye for her next page turner.
With this book, The House We Grew Up In, still unread, my theme was going to be how good it is for children to learn to play on their own, and how my children learned to do this while I, in the interest of good parenting, sat in the garden and chomped through pages and let them get on with it.
This book isn't a romance though. This is a sad book. It's sad in a reflective, thoughtful, gently peeling back the wallpaper sort of way.
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Born in the middle of a snowstorm in 1910, she dies before even taking a breath because the umbilical cord is wrapped around her neck, the doctor and midwife kept away by the weather.
On the next page, her birth is a very different story - the doctor has managed to get there in time and the baby is saved.
Thus the novel unfolds, with Ursula’s idyllic, Merchant Ivory-style childhood regularly peppered with untimely death. A baby is smothered by a cat, a child slips off a roof, two girls drown playing in the waves, a murderous paedophile roams the countryside and Spanish ‘flu is hard to avoid.