I for one have welcomed in Spring a little prematurely, packing away my wooly sweaters and wishing it warm before it's due. With Siberian winds and snow falls forecast, I've had to rethink my wardrobe and surrender myself to Winter activities for a little while longer. The silver lining of this unseasonally chilly weather is an excuse to get stuck into some new reads. I've got three new books waiting for me on my nightstand and just in case you are looking for any recommendations, now is as good a time as any to share with you my February book recommendations.
Since my last recommendations, I've read six books; two of which I'm not even going to mention here and four of which I'm more than happy to recommend. Just a word of caution, I'm an equal opportunities book lover and my taste is wide and varied, so before you choose one from the list below, have a quick read of my thoughts before you settle on one for yourself.
Keep scrolling for my February book recommendations and happy reading xx
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This book was recommended to me by a few people on Instagram and I'm so glad it was. If you have an entire afternoon free, I bet you could read it from start to finish in one sitting. The novel starts with a raging house fire, but immediately travels back in time and leads us through the events that lead to the fire. The novel tells the story of two families living in the planned community of Shaker Heights, Ohio. The Richardsons are an affluent all-American family, who seem to have everything going for them save for the youngest child who is seen by the rest of the family as an odd-ball. The other family is made up of a Mia, an artist and single mother and her daughter, Pearl who live a nomadic lifestyle travelling from place to place. They move into the Richardson's rental property in Shaker Heights and Pearl becomes friends with the Richardson children. Things come to a head between Mia and Mrs. Richardson over a custody battle for a baby girl adopted by a childless couple who are friends with the Richardsons and a Chinese immigrant mother, a friend of Mia. The novel also looks at the relationships between teenagers, and between teenagers and their parents.
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
This was another book that I saw mention of on Instagram and truth be known when I started reading it I didn't know what it was about. I feared it might be another "marriage thriller" type book and I was less than excited. As it turned out, I read this book start to finish over two days; I was under the weather and this was just the type of book to keep me company. Not too difficult to read and very easy to stick with. It's a story of a sexual assault scandal involving an English Tory MP and junior minister. The novel follows the resulting rape trial from the perspectives of Kate, the prosecuting QC; James, the accused; and Sophie, James; wife. The book jumps back to James' time as a student attending Oxford University and we are also introduced to Holly who also attended Oxford at that time. Central to this novel is the question of whether relationship rape is seen in the same light as predatory rape. The book is well written, engaging and never boring. I've quickly passed this on to my Mam, who I know will love this book.
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
It's fair to say I liked Manhattan Beach rather than loved it. My favourite part of the book was the final quarter and I was disappointed when I finished. The novel tells the story of Anna, a young girl from an Irish family living in Brooklyn during the second world war. The novel starts with an encounter between an 11-year old Anna, her father, Eddie and a mobster, Dexter Styles on a beach in front of Dexter's home. Eddie has been hit hard by the great depression and is looking for a job with Dexter. Fast forward eight years and Anna is living with her mother and sister who is in ill health, her father having disappeared and left them. Anna finds work at the naval yard and eventually becomes a diver. Manhattan Beach is a coming of age novel, as Anna discovers her passion for diving, encounters Dexter Styles again this time as a young woman, deals with grief and tries to comes to terms with her father's disappearance. It's only when we are re-introduced to Eddie's character late in the novel, that we get a more rounded picture of what happened after that opening meeting on the beach.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
The first thing I will say about this book is that I didn't love it but I'm still going to recommend it. It comes with lots of hype about the twist at the end and I will admit that I could never have guessed it, but only because it is plain ridiculous. Leaving the ending aside, the book drew me in and had me grabbing a read at every opportunity I could get. The story is told from two perspectives, Adele's and Louise's. Adele is the beautiful wife of psychiatrist David and they are just starting a new life in London. Louise is David's new receptionist who hooked up with David when she met him in a bar not knowing he was married or that he was her new boss. The story goes from there. I won't go into more details but needless to say, if you like psychological marriage thrillers, this is the book for you.