A pushmi-pullyu book: The Way of All Flesh

Anyone who knows me, or this blog, knows that I’m a sucker for historical fiction. Since I picked up Alias Grace many (many) moons ago, I’ll always choose historical fiction over any other genre. So I was a warm target for The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry. Set in the 1840s, it fuses the medical world of Edinburgh with a series of violent crimes against women to produce an unusual historical crime novel.

Despite many 5 star reviews, publicity for the book seems overly reliant on the kudos of its authors. ‘Ambrose Parry’ is a pseudonym for a collaboration between the renowned Scottish author Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman, a consultant anaesthetist. But does it work?

 

Ambitious and Astonishing: Homegoing

Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is hugely ambitious in every way a book can be – it tackles the history of the slave trade, the story stretches across 400 years, it alternates its setting between two continents and has a different central character for each chapter. Given this scale of ambition, the book doesn’t always hit its mark, however it is a powerful, haunting read that will stay with me for years.

Finding the truth in unlikely places: The Truthseeker

Heidi Catherine has done it again! The Truthseeker, her second book in The Soulweaver series, continues to explore the realm of kindred spirits and how love can endure, and even blossom over time. From the opening chapter The Truthseeker, I was captivated by the relatable characters, the hugely imaginative settings and the pivotal notion that love can transcend time and place.

In my chat with Heidi, we talk about the toils of creative writing, how it feels to kill off your characters and what it’s like to have “made it” as an author.

Heart breaking and heart warming: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

When a very good friend in Glasgow texted me especially but urgently to recommend a book, I took note. “This needs to be on your shortlist”, Susan wrote, “I’m half way through. Great book… sad and hilarious”. Susan was right: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is beautifully sad and touchingly hilarious. It’s also compelling and heartwarming. What’s more, it works brilliantly as an audiobook.