I've recently finished reading Sonia Lambert's first novel Three Mothers for a reading group - we are meeting the author in September, along with another reading group in our area. This was well-written, although I found the timeline, which kept jumping back and forward as the memories of the women were related, somewhat confusing. Not precisely enjoyable, as one of the themes is terminal illness, but well handled and interesting. A fairly accomplished book for a first novel.
Another recent read was Can any mother help me? by Jenna Bailey. Based on a collection of letters which formed a secret correspondance club, now housed in the Mass Observation archives. The letters were written as articles , then circulated by mail to the next reader. They make fascinating social history, and although when I started the book I had doubts about how interesting I would find it, I carried on and found myself gripped by the lives of these women, mostly of my mothers generation. The editing of the letters has been skillfully done, and there is sufficient biographical detail to give a picture of their individual circumstances. A fascinating book.
We are off to France at the weekend, so am hastily gathering reading matter for a week in the Auvergne, which seems to be as wet as here!
Wednesday, 11 July 2007
I've just finished reading Love songs and lies, the latest novel by Libby Purves. I have enjoyed her radio programme Midweek, on Radio 4 Wednesdays at 9am for a long time, although Francine Stock is presenting it at the moment - don't think she lets the writers and others have their say in quite the same way as Libby sometimes did. I've followed Ms Purves writing career since reading her first novel Casting Off and have enjoyed most of her books. Casting off is about a middle aged woman sailing away , leaving her husband standing on the quayside, after a marital row. Like all good fiction , there is a happy ending, but with some exciting and dangerous adventures along the way. Many of her other books reveal some of life's major issues - the latest novel brings up the subject of paternity and the consequences of concealing it. I have also chuckled wryly at the descriptions of the chaos family life can sometimes become in even the most well-educated homes, while reading How not to be a perfect mother and its follow-ons. It certainly was an excellent antidote to some of the other baby and child care books at the time, and helped me keep my sanity as a working mother with babies.