Lisa Hobman - Dreaming Under and Island Skye
Juliette leaves her Costwolds home to find solace in the village where her mother was born on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. She's looking to heal her grief and find a reason for starting afresh. Although some of the locals welcome her, there are others who seem to resent her arrival. But soon a young boy and his dog are making inroads on her heart. Can Jules heal the hurts of those around her before her time in the atmospheric visit is up, and moreover is there laughter and love for her as well in the future? An enjoyable read, with an agreeable Scottish flavour.
Minka Kent - When I was You
Orphaned Iowa heiress Brienne is recovering from a mugging, and has taken in a lodger, a young male doctor who works at the local hospital. She hasn't been out much, and can't deny that she's beginning to fall for Niall. Strangely, a key is delivered to her, one which means nothing to her. When she begins to investigate it, suddenly her life descends into chaos. It turns out that she's not who she thought she was. But why does she have all these false memories? Who is the young woman who is using her name? The only constant in her life is Niall. The reader goes on a journey full of twists and turns as Brienne's life spirals into danger, and she tries to work out who she really is. Full of suspense.
Emily St John Mandel - Station 11
This was recommended to me some time ago by a member of my family, and I finally got round to reading it in April. I was quite taken aback when I realised that it was about a pandemic! But to be honest, the 'Georgia Flu' in the novel is just a device for wiping out 99% of the earth's population and leaving it in a post-apocalyptic state: sparsely populated, without technology, governments, or law. The storyline flips between different time lines: before, during and after the plague, with not much about 'during'. The death of actor Arthur Leander onstage while performing Shakespeare's King Lear in Toronto is a key moment. All the other main characters are connected with him, whether it's Kirsten the child actress who witnesses his death, his ex-wife Miranda who is the artist and author of the science fiction comics about Station Eleven, Jeevan the trainee paramedic who tries to revive him, or his friend Clark who later collects pre-pandemic artifacts. Years later, Kirsten eventually finds a home with the Travelling Symphony, a group of musicians and actors who perform orchestral music and Shakespeare plays to the survivors. Their slogan is 'Survival is Insufficient', a quote from Star Trek. The characters are drawn with depth, their reactions to an apocalyptic situation fascinating and believable.