Hare House by Sally Hinchcliffe
She develops a friendship with her landlord, Grant, the somewhat reserved owner of Hare House and the surrounding estate. His flamboyant younger sister, seventeen-year-old Cass, is more forthcoming on returning from boarding school for the October half-term break, but are her stories of her deceased brother to be believed?
As winter closes in, and Cass becomes more eccentric, objects appear and disappear. Holed up in the manor house during a power cut, talk of witchcraft and madness make us wonder if anyone is safe. A perfectly paced and lyrical debut about how things are seldom what they seem. Thanks to publishers Mantle for my advance proof copy.
Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart
I expected more depth and/or humour from a book by this highly renowned author, described as a masterpiece by one of his chums. I don’t think the reader is meant to like the characters – apart from the unsuccessful Vinod, perhaps – but I didn’t find them interesting enough to care for their ins and outs. (One exception is the landowner’s precocious adopted daughter; I’d love to read a rewrite solely from her point of view.) My interest sparked when it became political – addressing the implications for American immigrants with the backlash against the Black Lives Matter protests – but waned towards the cynical ending, with an unnecessary betrayal of a friend.
New Yorkers – not that I know any – would probably love this novel, along with men who secretly like chic lit but would never be seen with such a book in their hands. Thanks to publishers Allen & Unwin for my review copy.
Click on the image below to discover my novel about people cut off from the wider community, forced to rely on the company of people they wouldn’t choose as friends.
Click below for more about my novel about friendship. I’m getting excited about the new blog tour at the beginning of next month.