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The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!, 31 Jan. 2005
I just have to say how amazing this book is, I just couldn't put it down! I thought it was brilliantly original and at the end I just balled my eyes out!! It's well worth the read, I promise you, and I don't normally do the whole love story thing, however this book embraces much wider concepts associated with the possibilities of time travel and is well researched I thought. A lot of the narrative is attributed to art, classical music and poetry, so at times you may kind of miss the finer points of reference, but you still get the general idea. It really is a powerful book, thoroughly recommended.


Small Island
Small Island
by Andrea Levy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

19 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!, 23 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Small Island (Paperback)
This book is exciting and different, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The story is literally told through the eyes of the three main characters, and for each of these the author writes in the first person so its kind of strange at first but only serves to heighten the interest of the reader. It is also quite funny in places, and overall an informative piece of work. I felt rather ignorant when I began reading as I had no idea that Jamaican men served in the Second World War on the side of the British. Therefore I had no knowledge of how the veterans then went on to survive within British society. Also you kind of feel slighlty ashamed at the whole British superiority complex! I don't think that was an intended reaction from the reader as I didn't really see the book in the light of an attack against the British Empire, however it does open your eyes to certain attitudes. All in all a good read and highly recommended!


The Virgin's Lover
The Virgin's Lover
by Philippa Gregory
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps not so marvellous in our eyes......., 23 Nov. 2004
This review is from: The Virgin's Lover (Hardcover)
After reading the fabulous "The Other Boleyn Girl", I have since been keen to read any succeeding novels by Philippa Gregory for I enjoy her writing immensely. However, I kind of struggled with this one and just wanted to finish it to get it out the way to be honest. I think the main issue I had with this book was the characterisation of Queen Elizabeth. I found it difficult to read a portrayal of Elizabeth that deviated so much from my pre-conceived notion of a grand, iconic, proto-feminist figure of the sixteenth century .Maybe I have confused the mythical grandeur of the Queen with the reality that Elizabeth was in fact, a woman living in an age of patriarchy, striving to be a King. I found it irritating that she could barely function without the presence of Lord Dudley and was practically spoon fed by Cecil. In short, she didn't really live up to my expectations.At the end of the novel I found that I couldn't quite reconcile the two aspects of Elizabeth - the fearless,married-to-England-Queen with the simpering I-must-take-to-my-bed-for-fear-of-making-a-decision Queen.To confuse things even more, she is then implicated in a murder - was she really so jealous and vile?Therefore I found her character far too ambiguous and couldn't quite get my head around her. Maybe that is how she was. I did also find that I could not relate to her as a woman, I just kept on reading and all the while thinking noooo!! I also didn't like the way in which Cecil appeared to have initiated the whole 'stomach of a king' speech and kept repeating it -I always thought that those powerful words came direct from the Queen, (which is the impression I got from David Starkey's biography of Elizabeth) and so this also confused me as I thought Philippa Gregory always remained true to the facts.I didnt see the point of twisting that fact as it didn't really benefit the narrative in any way.
Aside from this, it is still worth the read, for the whole Tudor setting is fantastic and Philippa Gregory is brilliant at re-creating the whole ambience of the time. It is not as devoursome as "The Other Boleyn Girl", yet it is still an interesting story. Parts of it do relate to "The Queens Fool", so it might be an idea to read that before this one.


A Short History Of Nearly Everything
A Short History Of Nearly Everything
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing read, highly recommended!, 1 Oct. 2004
It took me a while to get through this beast, however not because it was hard going, but literally because it was so full of exciting facts and things that I did n't want to miss a moment of it! It's the first Bill Bryson I have read so I am unable to compare this one to his others, but I absolutely loved it! There is some good stuff in here, especially if you can memorise a few of the facts so you can repeat them to others and look really knowledgable! If you are really fascinated by the development of human evolution as well as the origin of our planet and the ENTIRE solar system, then I would highly recommend this book to you. It gets a bit technical in the middle when Bill discusses the atom and water formation etc but it really isn't anything horendous. There are also some really good insights into the lives and minds of the famous geologists, mathematicians and scientists that have shaped the progression of all the knowledge that we have about our world. I especially enjoyed reading about Isaac Newton and Einstein, they were really incredible men. The most scary thing about this book is that literally everything we know, or think we know about the world and the universe is purely theory, how scary is that though?! Well worth tackling this read if you can.


Sarum
Sarum
by Edward Rutherfurd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.79

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!, 1 July 2004
This review is from: Sarum (Paperback)
Edward Rutherfurd must have a brain like a huge sponge! This book literally absorbs every ounce of English history and then uses it to narrate the entire history of Sarum, AKA Salisbury! The result is a rollercoaster journey through time, told through the eyes of characters who are not unlike those who once may have inhabited the island. The story spans from the lives of the first Britons, who witness the end of the Ice Age and the creation of a new island, through to the present day. Each generation develops amid the shifting Wiltshire landscape and sociology, centred around the ancient ubiquitous presence of the spiritual Henge, a structure which resonates throughout the novel with its ambiguous origins.Take a few Romans, add a few Celts and a couple of Normans and the English ancestory unfolds before your very eyes! I initially thought that the book would cover a similar ground to 'London', however this book only serves to complement it with a far more enticing and mystical approach! Rutherfurd really knows his history and at times there is a lot of historical text between the stories but this is really interesting and helps you understand what is actually happening to the characters. This book enhances the enchanting history that the island has, probing at ancient mythologies and beliefs which altogether provide a fascinating and exciting read. I'm going to go for 'The Forest' next!


Monsoon
Monsoon
by Wilbur Smith
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant!, 1 July 2004
This review is from: Monsoon (Paperback)
This book is totally captivating - the research and detail is just amazing! It is the first Wilbur Smith book I read - I just saw it laying about one day at work, read the first line and could not put it down! I love the way he writes, he is so passionate and raw and in turn the characters are the same.This book really makes you crave adventure and experience the mysticism and awe of the 18th century.
I would personally like to thank Wilbur Smith for creating Tom Courtney because I am totally in love with him!


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