Category: On Books

Margaret Atwood’s — Alias Grace *****

Margaret Atwood’s — Alias Grace *****

Grace leaves Ireland to settle in Canada, but family hardship forces her into employment. When she moves away from her family to work for Thomas Kinnear, her life unravels. She is accused, along with another of Kinnear’s workers, of murdering Kinnear and his mistress.

This novel is based on the notorious nineteenth century murder when many believed Grace was evil and possibly insane, while others thought her innocent. So which is it?

Margaret Atwood is a prolific Canadian writer. For me, her two best novels are Alias Grace and The Handmaid’s Tale.

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Abdulrazak Gurnah’s — Desertion *****

Abdulrazak Gurnah’s — Desertion *****

When Hassanali heads to his Kenyan mosque one morning, he encounters an Englishman who collapses at his feet. Hassanali takes care of him until he can pass the Englishman on to the colonial officer. After his recovery, he visits Hassanali’s house to thank him where he encounters the man’s sister, Rehana. The Englishman immediately falls in love with the beautiful woman and begins a taboo love affair.

Another five out of five

Pearl S. Buck’s — Good earth *****

Pearl S. Buck’s — Good earth *****

Several years after Wang Lung marries O-lan, they begin to prosper from their hard work. But a lazy uncle soon wants to take advantage of Wang Lung’s success. At the same time, mismanagement within the emperor’s court leads to its decline.

This Pulitzer prize winning novel may have been written sixty years ago, but it is still captivating in its portrayal of the upheaval that took place in China at the beginning of the 1800s, seen through the eyes of this farming family.

Tea Obreht’s — The tiger’s wife *****

Tea Obreht’s — The tiger’s wife *****

While Natalia works in a Balkan orphanage, her mind is drawn back to the recent death of her beloved grandfather. She cannot understand why he set off for an unknown place when, as a doctor also, he must have known he would die. Natalia reflects over the stories her grandfather told her as a child until she discovers a connection that leads her to a greater understanding of him.

Kimberley Freeman’s — Wildflower Hill *****

Kimberley Freeman’s — Wildflower Hill *****

After Emma, a talented ballerina, damages her knee and her career is ruined, she leaves London and returns to Australia where she learns of her grandmother Beattie’s death and her inheritance — Wildflower Hill. Emma heads to the property that was once a prosperous sheep station, where she discovers her grandmother’s possessions packed away in boxes. As she sorts through each box, she uncovers the mystery of her grandmother’s past and a new beginning for herself.