Home‎ > ‎

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.

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

posted Jan 28, 2019, 8:02 AM by lf lf   [ updated Jan 28, 2019, 8:11 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…

A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow

posted Apr 18, 2016, 5:31 AM by lf lf


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

Kate Shugak is a native Aleut working as a private investigator in Alaska. She's five feet and one inch tall, carries a scar that runs from ear to ear across her throat and owns a half-wolf, half-husky dog named Mutt.

Resourceful, strong-willed, defiant, Kate is tougher than your average heroine; she needs to be to survive the worst that the Alaskan wilds can throw at her.

Somewhere in twenty million acres of forest and glaciers, a ranger, Mark Miller, has disappeared. Missing six weeks, it is assumed by the Alaskan Parks Department that Miller has been caught in a snowstorm and frozen to death, the typical fate of those who get lost in this vast and desolate terrain.

But as a favour to his congressman father, the FBI send in an investigator, Ken Dahl. Last heard from two weeks and two days ago. Now it's time to send in a professional. Kate Shugak; light brown eyes, black hair, five feet tall with an angry scar from ear to ear. Last seen yesterday... 

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

posted Apr 18, 2016, 5:25 AM by lf lf


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

A monastery:  Hidden deep in the wilderness are the cloisters of two dozen monks. These are men of prayer and music, famous the world over for their glorious voices.

A murder: A brutal death throws the monastery doors open to the world. Through them walks the only man who can shine light upon the dark deeds within and that is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.

A mystery: Who among the brothers has become an angel of death?

As the peace of the monastery crumbles around him, Gamache finds clues in the divine, the human, and the cracks in between.

Ingenious, gripping, and powerful, The Beautiful Mystery is an outstanding novel from international bestselling author,  Louise Penny.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

posted Apr 18, 2016, 5:21 AM by lf lf

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

Liz thought that this book really picked up once a crime has been committed…

It is 1922 and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change.

In South London, a genteel Camberwell villa, now bereft of brothers, husbands and even servants, life is about to be transformed as impoverished Mrs Wray and her daughter are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the ‘clerk class’, the routines of the house are shaken up in unexpected ways.

As passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

A compelling story with believable characters, real tenderness, excruciating tension and some surprises.

Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin

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



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

Retirement doesn’t suit John Rebus. He wasn’t made for hobbies, holidays or home improvements. Being a cop is in his blood. So when DI Siobhan Clarke asks for help on a case, Rebus doesn’t need long to consider his options.

Clarke has been investigating the death of a senior lawyer whose body was found along with a threatening note. On the other side of Edinburgh, Big Ger Cafferty, Rebus’s long-time nemesis, has received an identical note and a bullet through his window. Now it is up to Clarke and Rebus to connect the dots and stop a killer.

Meanwhile, DI Malcolm Fox joins forces with a covert team from Glasgow who are tailing a notorious crime family. There’s something they want and they’ll stop at nothing to get it.

It’s a game of dog eat dog; in the city, as in the wild.

Even Dogs in the Wild brings back Ian Rankin’s greatest characters in a story exploring the darkest corners of our instincts and desires.

Enemy Coast Ahead by Guy Gibson

posted Apr 18, 2016, 5:15 AM by lf lf


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

First published in 1944, Enemy Coast Ahead quickly became regarded as the classic Bomber Command book.

It follows Guy Gibson's RAF career from flying the Hampden and Manchester at the beginning of World War Two to the triumphant return home of the Lancasters from the famous 1943 Dambuster raid. Gibson led the Dambuster raid for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Enemy Coast Ahead is also the inside story of life in Bomber Command throughout the first five years of World War Two, culminating in breath-holding drama as the RAF planned, practiced and strove towards breaching the dams on that famous night in May 1943.

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

posted Apr 18, 2016, 5:12 AM by lf lf


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

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the island that had become his adopted country. The book which resulted from the trip, Notes from a Small Island, became the bestselling travel book ever.

Two decades later, Bill Bryson makes a new journey round Britain to see what has changed.

Following a route from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, which he calls the Bryson Line, Bryson sets out to rediscover the eccentric and unique country he thought he knew, but doesn’t entirely recognize anymore.

Despite Britain’s occasional failings and bewilderments, Bryson is still pleased to call our rainy island home. In this book, he gives the reader an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.

‘If you are from another country, you may need to be told that the New Forest isn’t in fact new and is not altogether a forest.’    ‘The Road to Little Dribbling’ by Bill Bryson.

1-10 of 56