We’d chosen two books to read for the April book club:
Exposure – Helen Dunmore
London, November, 1960: the Cold War is at its height. Spy fever fills the newspapers, and the political establishment knows how and where to bury its secrets.
This book really divided opinion. in turn some of us enjoyed it, and thought it was well written, especially the duplicitous main character, Giles. The description of the romance between him & Simon was very strong,as was everything his wife had to endure. Whereas others thought that it was a good idea but lacked content towards the end, as if the author lost motivation to make it into a good read instead of just an OK read. Its biggest fan liked it best because it was a simple story, not complicated, well written, and especially liked the nostalgia and thought it showed the ruthlessness and back-stabbing of the spies, however felt it wasn’t a spy story like a La Carre, but could imagine the characters. One person didn’t like story, because I thought it was a depressing subject, whereas two didn’t finish the book, feeling it was dragging on.
Overall we scored it 6/10, with marks ranging from 4 to 8 across the seven of us.
The Secret Wife – Gill Paul
We all enjoyed this one and many of us couldn’t put it down. We loved the descriptions of the Romanovs and wanted to learn more about them. We thought the historical writing was good, whereas the modern writing could be clunky in places. Some of us thought Kitty’s reunion could have won a bad sex in fiction award). Others felt that, unlike Exposure, this had a good start and middle which really all flowed through to the final chapter with the two stories working well together. Some enjoyed the historical afterword with the could it be possibly be based on fact or not. The consensus of opinion was that it was lovely, very romantic (slightly overly so in places), but that we all really enjoyed a very nice story, although it was a very romanticised version, with Tatiana & Dmitri’s ill-fated romance being over a very long time period. Overall it scored 8/10
We next meet on Tuesday 16 May in the comfy chairs the foyer of the Village Hotel in Farnborough at 7.30pm. Again we chose two books to read – read one or read both and come along to discuss them with us:two suggestions for next reads
Lion: A long way home. (Book of the film) by Saroo Brierley
The Secret Lives of Bees. By Sue Monk Kidd
We also identified these books for another month – The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegge, The Power by Naomi Alderman and Girl on a Train by A J Waines.
For our April AGM meeting we’re bringing a book we’ve enjoyed to swap. Please wrap it in brown paper with a clue on the outside, such as “Romantic Russian historical novel with a modern twist”, and remember to say if we’ve read it at the Book Club already so we don’t take books we’ve already read!
Finally, please do help to man the book club table at our April AGM meeting to encourage other members to come and join us. We’ll have crib sheets to remind us all of the books we’ve read so far and what we thought of them. Bring your Kindles!