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Book Reviews

All of the titles reviewed and recommended further down this page can be found or reserved at Low Fell Library by dropping in or calling (0191) 433 6408.

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

posted Jul 20, 2020, 7:03 AM by lf lf

Carol enjoyed this book, which can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.

Can you commit the perfect crime? Pilgrim is the codename for a man who doesn't exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation. But that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detective Ben Bradley track him down. And it will take him to a rundown New York hotel room where the body of a woman is found face down in a bath of acid, her features erased, her teeth missing, her fingerprints gone. It is a textbook murder - and Pilgrim wrote the book. What begins as an unusual and challenging investigation will become a terrifying race-against-time to save America from oblivion. Pilgrim will have to make a journey from a public beheading in Mecca to a deserted ruins on the Turkish coast via a Nazi death camp in Alsace and the barren wilderness of the Hindu Kush in search of the faceless man who would commit an appalling act of mass murder in the name of his God.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

posted Jul 20, 2020, 6:55 AM by lf lf

Terry reviewed this book, which can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.

This book is extremely funny, poignant and sad. There is the progressive unveiling of a complex character that is partly inherited and partly driven by circumstances. Victor Meldrew is positively saintly compared to Ove. The story is engaging and well-constructed as you move through Ove’s life.


The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

posted Jul 20, 2020, 6:44 AM by lf lf   [ updated Jul 20, 2020, 6:46 AM ]

Cathy enjoyed this book, which can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.

In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father's funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.

Now he's back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region; a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose.

A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew's new home; a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

Finding the killer is Venn's only focus, and his team's investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.

Wylie: The Brave Street Dog Who Never Gave Up by Pen Farthing

posted Jul 20, 2020, 6:37 AM by lf lf

John enjoyed this book, which can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.

For a street dog born in the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan, to be crowned top dog at Scruffts, a competition for rescued crossbreeds held during Crufts, is nothing short of a miracle. But for Wylie, the gentle, cropped eared ball of fur, miracles seemed to happen quite regularly.

Beaten and abused while being used as a bait dog, Wylie suffered terrible injuries that needed urgent treatment. Rescued close to death, with hacked off ears and a severed tail, he was attended to by soldiers who feared he would not last the night. Astonishingly he did, only to return days later with new injuries.

However, a lifeline came when he was handed over to animal welfare charity Nowzad and flown to Britain in the hope of finding a new life. But would anyone take a chance on a seemingly nervous and undomesticated stray? Luckily for Wylie his biggest adventure yet was about to begin...

This is the incredible and heart-warming story, full of tragedy and triumph, of a dog who never gave up hope.

Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman

posted Feb 11, 2020, 7:15 AM by lf lf

Jennifer, one of our customers, enjoyed this book. It can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.

On the twentieth anniversary of the death of Rebecca, the hauntingly beautiful first wife of Maxim de Winter, family friend Colonel Julyan receives an anonymous parcel. It contains a black notebook with the handwritten words, ‘Rebecca's Tale’, on the title page and two pictures. One is a photograph of Rebecca as a young child and the other is a a postcard of Manderley.Rebecca once asked Julyan to ensure she was buried in the churchyard facing the sea. If she ended up in the de Winter crypt, she warned, she'd come back to haunt him. Now, it seems, she has finally kept her promise. Julyan's conscience has never been clear over the official version of Rebecca's death. Was Rebecca the manipulative, promiscuous femme fatale her husband claimed? Or was she the gothic heroine of tragic proportions that others had suggested? The official story, the 'truth', has only had Maxim's version of events to consider. But all that is about to change . . .

Beneath an Indian Sky by Renita D’Silva

posted Feb 11, 2020, 7:09 AM by lf lf

Eileen enjoyed this book, which can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.

An unforgettable and heart-wrenching story of love, betrayal and family secrets. In colonial India a young woman finds herself faced with an impossible choice, the consequences of which will echo through the generations…

1928. In British-ruled India, headstrong Sita longs to choose her own path, but her only destiny is a good marriage. After a chance meeting with a Crown Prince leads to a match, her family’s status seems secured and she moves into the palace, where peacocks fill the gardens and tapestries adorn the walls. But royal life is far from simple, and her failure to provide an heir makes her position fragile. Soon Sita is on the brink of losing everything, and the only way to save herself could mean betraying her oldest friend…

2000. When Priya’s marriage ends in heartbreak, she flees home to India and the palace where her grandmother, Sita, once reigned as Queen. But as grandmother and granddaughter grow closer, Priya has questions. Why is Sita so reluctant to accept that her royal status ended with Independence? Who is the mysterious woman who waits patiently at the palace gates day after day? Soon Priya uncovers a secret Sita has kept for years. A secret which will change the shape of her life forever…

Becoming by Michelle Obama

posted Dec 10, 2019, 7:36 AM by lf lf

Cathy enjoyed this book, which can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America, the first African-American to serve in that role, she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history.


She also established herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives. She stood with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments.

Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir Michelle Obama chronicles the experiences that have shaped her from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world's most famous address.

With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it in her own words and on her own terms.

Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen

posted Dec 10, 2019, 7:29 AM by lf lf

Liz reviewed this book. It can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.


I didn’t know much about Bruce Springsteen or his music which seems to have passed me by, but some months ago I read the autobiography of Sarfraz Manzoor on which the recent film Blinded by the Light is based.  Manzoor, a teenager feeling trapped in his home town of Luton, became a huge fan after being lent a cassette of the music of Springsteen, a man also desperate to escape his own home town. The singer was such an inspiration to Manzoor that I was curious to learn more.


Born to Run is a detailed, honest account of Sprinsteen’s life.  Born into a working class family in Freehold, New Jersey, when he got his first guitar he had a burning desire to play and write music.  He worked tirelessly to fulfil this musical ambition, practising and practising until he started to succeed.  He details his career and the musicians he worked with, a kind of family to him, but also tells of his difficult relationship with his Irish father, his guilt over his first marriage and his depression. There is no ghost writer here; it is the author himself making scene after scene come alive.

You would not need to be a fan of Bruce Springsteen’s music to find this intelligent autobiography hugely absorbing.


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child A new play by Jack Thorne

posted Dec 10, 2019, 7:23 AM by lf lf

Carolyn enjoyed this book, which can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.


Nineteen years has passed since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Voldemort is a shadow of the past; Harry Potter is now an employee at the Ministry of Magic, the wizarding triumphs of his youth shelved for the demands of family life. Once again, the vaulting arches of Kings Cross become the gateway to wild adventure as Albus Severus Potter, Harry’s son, boards the Hogwarts Express…


What lies ahead is as much about the past as it is the future; it will be a time of unexpected alliances and the extraordinary lure of potentially changing what has already come to be. Although much-loved comrades, Ron and Hermione, play their part, this is very much the next chapter. It is a story where the son of the world’s most famous wizard finds camaraderie and friendship in a surprising place, the boy Scorpius Malfoy, son of Draco.


A companion to the play and a standalone volume in its own right, in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, one of the great creations of children’s literature, the incredible world of Harry Potter, lives once again.

In the Light of Morning by Tim Pears

posted Dec 10, 2019, 7:19 AM by lf lf

Eileen enjoyed this book, which can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.


May 1944. High above the mountains of occupied Slovenia an aeroplane drops three British parachutists; brash MP Major Jack Farwell, radio operator Sid Dixon, and young academic Lieutenant Tom Freedman. Greeted upon arrival by a group of Partisans, the men are led off into the countryside.


Despite the distant crackle of gunfire, the war feels a long way off for Tom. The Partisans, too, are not what he was expecting. He finds them courageous, kind, and alluring, especially Jovan, their commander, and the hauntingly beautiful Marija.


As the enemy's net begins to tighten, the group find evidence of massacres, of a dark and terrible band of men pursuing them. As they stumble their way towards a final, tragic battle, so the relationships within the group begin to fray and Tom finds himself forced to face up to his deepest, most secret desires.

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