Angela Petch - Mavis and Dot
Bought because it was written by a fellow writer from the RNA with proceeds going to charity, I finally settled down to read the book this month. I was soon hooked! Mavis and Dot are two very different elderly women who have recently moved to Worthington-on-Sea. Both lonely, without family, they meet at an event in the local church hall, and find that they somehow bond. The novel follows the two as they gradually get to know each other, one open and outgoing, the other quiet and rather prickly. The novel abounds with warm-hearted characters, spots of mirth, and poignant moments. Full of colour and genuine feeling, this was a novel that kept me turning the pages. If you want a book that's captivating and different, I highly recommend it.
Fiona Valpy - Sea of Memories
The second novel by this author that I have read, and another one to enjoy. In 2014 Edinburgh, Kendra feels that her marriage is stretched to breaking as she and her husband struggle to cope with the intense needs of their autistic son. At the same time, she's begun visiting her grandmother, Ella, who has become frail and is now in a local nursing home. There's a long-standing rift between Rhona, Kendra's mother, and Ella; Kendra has never understood the reason for this, as she finds the old lady warm-hearted and interesting. Ella begins recording her life story, on the understanding that Kendra writes it up. Along with Kendra we are drawn back into a time just before World War II when the young Ella visits France and befriends the twins Caroline and Christophe. They introduce her to a new way of life, and her horizons expand only to be cruelly diminished when they are separated by war. Love, heartbreak, and unexpected twists forge the paths of Ella's life, reaching down the years as a solace to her granddaughter.
Liz Harris - The Best Friend
The novel opens in 1989 when Caroline faces the woman who has stolen her husband from her - only to discover that it is someone she knows very well. Flash back to eleven years earlier, 1978, when Caroline is sharing a flat with three other young women. Caroline's a reluctant, newly-qualified teacher. All she wants is to marry a wealthy man and focus on raising their children. Louise is training for a career in public relations, Terri-Lee is aiming to be an actress, while Emily is a pupil barrister with her sights on a brilliant career unencumbered by a family. The girls go through highs and lows, influenced by their own childhood years but finding sisterhood in the other three. They support each other through love and loss, making some good choices and some unwise ones. But the question still hangs in the air - who will steal Caroline's husband? Plenty of nostalgic detail, four girls with different characters, and secrets to unravel. An enjoyable read.