THIS MONTH'S HOT READ: Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
Rachel Joyce, well-known for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, has written an engaging, quirky and emotionally moving historical adventure novel set in the 1950s, following two very different women,who appear to have little that could possibly connect them, embarking on a journey to find the golden beetle of New Caledonia. Margery Benson is awkward, friendless and living alone in London when she determines to embark on the adventure of a lifetime to journey across the world to try and discover the golden beetle. Her assistant Enid Pretty is not who she had in mind, but together they are drawn into an adventure that exceeds all Margery’s expectations.
Rachel Joyce has created two wonderful characters and the tale of the unlikely friendship that develops between them is told with compassion and humour. This novel is an engaging, warm and hilarious read. Highly recommended!
When She Was Good by Michael Robotham
Criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven and Evie Cormac return in this new thriller from Michael Robotham.
Evie Cormac is a girl with no past, discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Cyrus discovered she had an ability to tell when someone is lying and she was valuable to him in solving a criminal investigation. In this book Cyrus is trying to uncover some answers to questions about her past and her family. However the more he discovers, the more he exposes Evie to danger, giving her no choice but to run. Robotham creates characters that are immensely intriguing and well-developed. As a reader you really want to know their personal histories and you become invested in their stories.
The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke
The Unadoptables is a wonderful dark comedy adventure set in Amsterdam in the late 19th century. This is a story for the time and setting, like a Dickens novel. Five babies have been left at the Little Tulip Orphanage in very unusual circumstances: one in a tool box, one in a coal bucket, one in a picnic hamper, one in a wheat sack, and finally one in a coffin-shaped basket. The babies are named Lotta, Egg, Fenna, Sam and Milou, and the matron of course is cruel. These babies appear to be unadoptable but their precocious and courageous behaviour makes them special. In the challenge to discover their own histories the children become a family. Enjoy the high-speed journey with these loveable children as they chase through a totally different world from ours. I thoroughly enjoyed this atmospheric, gothic tale and hope each child may appear in their own story eventually.
Suitable for readers ages 7+.
I Am the Universe by Vasanti Unka
I Am the Universe is a beautifully illustrated picture book by the award winning Auckland author Vasanti Unka. The good design and colourful pages are perfect for illustrating the scale of the glittering universe, galaxies, stars and planets, within which we are led to our wonderful world brimming with all kinds of life including yours. Expect this book to be on the book awards list for 2021. Fantastic, original and sure to open up interesting discussions with children aged three and up. Think ahead for Christmas.
The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante
This is the new novel by the celebrated author of the hugely successful novel My Brilliant Friend and its sequels.
Giovanna is a meek, obedient 12-year old girl who overhears her father comparing her to his estranged sister Vittoria, who her parents have always described as someone in whom “ugliness and nastiness were perfectly matched”. His words precipitate a series of events that throw Giovanna’s life into chaos. Ferrante follows Giovanna’s life from age 12 to 16, charting her development from the sweet girl who adores her parents to a sulking, aggressive teenager who finds pleasure in making those around her uncomfortable. Ferrante is masterful at drawing you into the mind of a teenager: this is a compelling read .