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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.

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.


Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World by Simon Callow

posted Jan 28, 2019, 8:02 AM by lf lf   [ updated Aug 29, 2019, 5:33 AM ]

Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World by Simon Callow 

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

Liz thinks that even readers who are not fans of Dickens’ novels might enjoy this biography of a larger-than-life, extraordinary man.


Acclaimed actor Simon Callow captures the essence of Charles Dickens in a sparkling biography that explores the central importance of the theatre to the life of the greatest storyteller in the English language.
Liz thinks that even readers who are not fans of Dickens’ novels might enjoy this biography of a larger-than-life, extraordinary man.

From his early years as a child entertainer in Portsmouth to his reluctant retirement from `these garish lights' just before his death, Dickens was obsessed with the stage.

Dickens was the original ‘celebrity' author, who attracted thousands of adoring fans to his readings in Britain and across the Atlantic, in which he gave voice to his unforgettable cast of characters.

Simon Callow brings his own unique insight to a life driven by performance and showmanship. He reveals an exuberant and irrepressible talent, whose ‘inimitable’ wit and personality crackle off the page.

Big Week: The Biggest Air Battle of World War Two by James Holland

posted Jan 28, 2019, 7:57 AM by lf lf   [ updated Jan 28, 2019, 8:08 AM ]

Big Week: The Biggest Air Battle of World War Two by James Holland

John enjoyed this book, which can be found on the shelves, or reserved at, Low Fell Library.
It was to be the battle to end the air war once and for all. During the third week of February 1944, the combined Allied air forces launched their first-ever round-the-clock bomber offensive against Germany. The aim was to smash the main factories and production centres of the Luftwaffe and at the same time draw the German fighter force up into the air and into battle.

‘Big Week’ is the knife-edge story of bomber against flak gun and fighter, but also, crucially, fighter against fighter. Following the fortunes of pilots and aircrew from both sides, this is a blistering narrative of one of the most critical periods of the entire war. Big Week was the largest air battle ever witnessed, but it has been largely forgotten - until now.

Polisses and Candymen The Complete Works of Tommy Armstrong The Pitman Poet

posted Jan 28, 2019, 7:51 AM by lf lf   [ updated Jan 28, 2019, 8:10 AM ]

Polisses and Candymen
The Complete Works of Tommy Armstrong
The Pitman Poet

Elsie enjoyed this book, donated by a customer, because of the link to her family. Elsie’s grandfather was one of the Durham miners jailed for striking during the First World War. See ‘Durham Jail’.

Tommy Armstrong (1848-1920) was born in Shotley Bridge and died in Tantobie. Most of his working life was spent in the collieries of the North East.

Mines and mining provided the background to Tommy’s life and songs. He wrote about miners, their conditions and their families. Many of his works were humorous. They were sold as broadsheets and also funeral directors bought his verses for their cards. This was one of the ways that Tommy came to earn a living and to help those in need, especially those bereaved and injured following mining disasters.   


Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

posted Apr 18, 2016, 5:35 AM by lf lf


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

David Harwood is asked to look in on his cousin Marla, who is still traumatised after losing her baby. But when he arrives, he is disturbed to find blood on Marla’s front door. He is even more disturbed to find Marla looking after a baby, a baby she claims was delivered to her ‘by an angel’.

Soon after, a woman’s body is discovered, stabbed to death, with her own baby missing. It looks as if Marla has done something truly terrible. But while the evidence seems overwhelming, David just can’t believe that his cousin is a murderer.

In which case, who did kill Rosemary Gaynor? Why did they take her baby and give it to Marla? It is up to David to find out what really happened, but he soon discovers that the truth could be worse than he ever imagined…

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