Anna Campbell

February 2021

Recent Reads – Part 7

There’s a few more book review months to come, partly because with Covid, I’ve been doing an awful lot of reading lately and so many of the books have been fab. Seems a pity not to share them with you!

Today I’m going to talk about some fiction I’ve recently really enjoyed, starting with Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers. This one was pure pleasure. I love stories about people who seize life with both hands once the world and they themselves believe that life has passed them by.

Julia Garnet is a spinsterly history teacher from London who decides to spend six months in Venice after the death of her closest friend. As those of you who follow me on social media know, I’m a bit of a sucker for Venice and one of the greatest pleasures of reading this book was revisiting so many places I’d been myself, most recently during my three weeks there in 2019. So when Miss Garnet falls under the city’s spell and makes a wide variety of friends who would never have crossed her path otherwise, I was right there with her.

A wise and witty and wonderful book, and somehow just right for reading around Christmastime! It’s really heartwarming to see how this reserved, unfulfilled woman opens to Italian warmth and beauty and finds a joy in life that she’d never imagined before.

My next book is a completely different kettle of fish. Richard Osman is a popular TV personality in the UK – I’m completely addicted to the quiz show he does with Alexander Armstrong called Pointless. Last year, he released his first novel, a romp of a mystery called The Thursday Murder Club, which I’m delighted to say is the first of a series.

This one’s charm, charm, charm the whole way and will leave you with a big smile. A group of well-to-do retirees in an upmarket retirement village band together to puzzle over unsolved murders they’ve read about. Imagine how excited they are when there’s a murder on their doorstep.

It’s the characterization in this one that grabs you. The club members are completely irresistible, then throw in a feisty female police constable on her first big case and a huge cast of potential baddies often of the heart-of-gold variety and you’ve got a delicious ride. The Thursday Murder Club is funny and witty and surprising and wise and one of my reading highlights of the last few months. Definitely give it a go!

My last recommendation for today is a corker of an Australian thriller. Bruny by Heather Rose is one of those stories ripped out of the headlines and I found it impossible to put down.

When I read this one, I was reminded of Louis B. Mayer’s dictum to his writers: “I want a film that starts with an earthquake and works up to a climax.” Bruny opens with a terrorist bombing on a new multi-billion dollar bridge in Tasmania between the mainland and the beautiful island of Bruny. And then it works up to the explosive climax in a rush of drama and suspense. It’s a breathless ride and a story I’ve thought about often since I finished it last week.

UN conflict negotiation specialist Astrid Coleman returns to Tasmania at the request of her brother, the state premier, to smooth the locals’ ruffled feathers about the new bridge. But she is suspicious about what is the real truth behind the bridge and as the story unfolds, she finds herself trapped between family and a new love when it comes to taking sides. Who can she trust? Can she trust anyone? Definitely one to pick up when you’ve got time to dive into it and not come up!

See you next month for some recent romances I’ve enjoyed!