This week has been a blur of DIY and unpacking as I settle into my new pad, but I’ve still managed to skive off to indulge in some rest ‘n’ reading! And what better incentive to put down that screwdriver then two of the biggest new books published this year…
Yes, the day I moved in a little present was waiting for me: a shiny new hardback of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s first adult book. Plus, I got stuck into TV presenter (and half of the Richard & Judy Book Club) Judy Finnigan’s debut novel – and you could win a copy here!
This week I’ve been reading:
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (£20, Little, Brown)
When Barry Fairbrother dramatically drops dead in the small town of Pagford, it’s not just his family who are left shocked. Loved by many of the town’s inhabitants, but disliked by others, Barry had been a key member of the town council. But his death has caused a ‘casual vacancy’ – a spare seat that is now up for grabs. But the council is divided over a central important issue – the Fields, a troubled estate erected years before and full of what some see as down-and-outs and benefit bingers, and what others view as people who need their help. Barry’s death means the deadlock could be broken if the right person is elected to his seat, and so the battle for votes begins…
OK, so the subject matter itself doesn’t scream thrilling novel at you, but J.K. Rowling’s story is about far more than this local council election. It’s about the class war raging in towns like Pagford throughout the country; it’s about teenagers growing up in a small town, experimenting outside school and driving teachers to distraction in the classroom, no matter what their background; it’s about love, hate and the fine line between the two.
There are lots of different characters introduced in the first few chapters, and at times, I found it difficult to remember who was who, but as the book develops, so do the characters, and each becomes more rounded and real. But be warned, it is quite bleak and depressing! Adult readers who loved the Harry Potter books won’t find any spells, wands and horcruxes in The Casual Vacancy, but what is similar to HP, is the way the many characters are interwoven to draw you into the story. Not one for chick lit fans, perhaps, but J.K Rowling does the seemingly impossible: makes small-town politics very readable!
This week I’ve also been reading:
Eloise by Judy Finnigan (£16.99, Sphere), out Thursday
Like The Casual Vacancy, Eloise is about the aftermath of a character’s death, but it has a very different feel, with twists and turns that lure you in. Cathy’s best friend Eloise has lost her battle with breast cancer, leaving behind her husband Ted, twin daughters Rose and Violet and mum Juliana, but Cathy is struggling to come to terms with what has happened. Her husband Chris is doing his best to support her and stop her falling back into the depression she has so recently recovered from. But Cathy can’t shake off the feeling that there’s something not quite right about her friend’s death and is having vivid dreams in which Eloise appears to her and asks for her help. Then Juliana confides in her that she too has questions and doubts about Eloise’s death and thinks she is sending messages from beyond the grave, while Ted hints that she kept secrets from Cathy and there is much she doesn’t know…
This is a haunting, eerie read that leaves you wondering whether everything is really as it seems. Cathy’s husband is the sane voice of reason, but you can’t help get sucked into her visions and dreams and start to question what is Cathy’s depressions and grief, and what is real. It’s a haunting, pacy page-turner, with a real ghostly feel – a must-read.
Intrigued by Judy’s book? You could win a copy – we’ve got 20 to give away! Just click here to enter.
What have you been reading this week? Tweet me @FabFrosty and come back next week for more fab reads!