Love by Roddy Doyle

Title: Love

Author: Roddy Doyle

Pub Date: May 14th, 2020

My Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

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‘A profound examination of friendship, romantic confusion and mortality’ John Boyne

One summer’s evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant.

Old friends, now married and with grown-up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a grief he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be.

Neither Davy nor Joe know what the night has in store, but as two pints turns to three, then five, and the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwine around them. Their first buoyant forays into adulthood, the pubs, the parties, broken hearts and bungled affairs, as well as the memories of what eventually drove them apart.

As the two friends try to reconcile their versions of the past over the course of one night, Love offers up a delightfully comic, yet moving portrait of the many forms love can take throughout our lives.

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Catherine House by Elizabeth Thomas

Title: Catherine House

Author: Elisabeth Thomas

Pub Date: 12th May, 2020

My Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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Dark . Claustrophobic . Compulsive

That was the Catherine experiment: give the house three years – three profound, total years – then become anything or anyone you want to be.

Catherine House is an American college with a difference. Only the most brilliant minds enter, and its graduates earn prestige, wealth and honour. But over the three years they attend the school, they remain within its black gates; they have no contact with their loved ones; no association with the outside world. Those who break these rules will find themselves facing time in the school’s infamous tower.Ines enters Catherine House on the run from an incredibly dark secret, and welcomes the school’s isolation. Sharing a room with the sweet, damaged Baby, she slowly begins to build the group of friends she never had outside its walls.

One day, however, Baby is summoned to the tower – and never returns. Ines is heartbroken, left to uncover the secrets that Catherine House conceals while slowly becoming more and more seduced herself by its dark, magnetic power.

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Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

Title: Little Secrets

Author: Jennifer Hillier

Pub Date: 7th May, 2020

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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From the author of Jar of Hearts, a mother driven to the edge by the disappearance of her son learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped him.
Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado’s four-year-old son.

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman.

Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he’s rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn’t her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he’ll be the last. She’s falling for him—and that was never part of the plan.

Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek’s lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek.

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Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman

Title: Unorthodox: The scandalous rejection of my Hasidic roots

Author: Deborah Feldman

Published: 2012

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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The instant New York Times bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman’s escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, featuring a new epilogue by the author.

As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. It was stolen moments spent with the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott that helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, for the sake of herself and her son, she had to escape.

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Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski

Title: Swimming in the Dark

Author: Tomasz Jedrowski

Pub Date: April 28th, 2020

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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Set in early 1980s Poland against the violent decline of communism, a tender and passionate story of first love between two young men who eventually find themselves on opposite sides of the political divide—a stunningly poetic and heartrending literary debut for fans of Andre Aciman, Garth Greenwell, and Alan Hollinghurst.

When university student Ludwik meets Janusz at a summer agricultural camp, he is fascinated yet wary of this handsome, carefree stranger. But a chance meeting by the river soon becomes an intense, exhilarating, and all-consuming affair. After their camp duties are fulfilled, the pair spend a dreamlike few weeks camping in the countryside, bonding over an illicit copy of James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. Inhabiting a beautiful natural world removed from society and its constraints, Ludwik and Janusz fall deeply in love. But in their repressive communist and Catholic society, the passion they share is utterly unthinkable.

Once they return to Warsaw, the charismatic Janusz quickly rises in the political ranks of the party and is rewarded with a highly-coveted position in the ministry. Ludwik is drawn toward impulsive acts of protest, unable to ignore rising food prices and the stark economic disparity around them. Their secret love and personal and political differences slowly begin to tear them apart as both men struggle to survive in a regime on the brink of collapse.

Shifting from the intoxication of first love to the quiet melancholy of growing up and growing apart, Swimming in the Dark is a potent blend of romance, post-war politics, intrigue, and history. Lyrical and sensual, immersive and intense, Tomasz Jedrowski has crafted an indelible and thought-provoking literary debut that explores freedom and love in all its incarnations.

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Down the TBR Hole #12

Down the TBR Hole is a weekly meme hosted by Lia @Lost in a Story. Rules are:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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Anna K by Jenny Lee

Title: Anna K.

Author: Jenny Lee

Pub date: March 5th, 2020

My rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads


Welcome to the dizzying heights of New York’s Upper East Side: where privilege, partying and scandal rules.

And Anna K knows the rules by heart. Beautiful, rich and popular, she takes care to maintain her status as the perfect girlfriend, daughter and student.

Then a chance encounter at Grand Central station with notorious playboy Alexi ‘Count’ Vronsky changes everything. Anna knows she needs to avoid Alexi, but sometimes fate has other plans . . .

Soon Anna finds it impossible to resist him, and finds herself willing to risk everything she has to be with him – no matter the consequences.

After all, the course of true love never did run smooth . . .

Perfect for fans of Crazy Rich Asians, Gossip Girl and American Royals, ANNA K is an addictive, romantic and subversive reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina and above all, it is a story about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.

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