I walked up to the librarian.
“Hello,” I said, “I would like to read a book in which the protagonist’s point of view switches between the present and the past. Do you have any suggestions?”
He didn’t, and I couldn’t really blame him, because it was quite a specific request. So I set to browsing the shelves, and ended up bringing home a stack of novels, which I’m currently about halfway through. This is a pain, because I have lots of other things on my reading list, but it’s fun because they’re novels, and I like those.
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
I picked this up because the cover looked a bit magical, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s about a woman whose husband died a year ago, who feels like she’s been in a kind of sleep ever since.
Waking up one day, she realises that she’s been letting life disappear away from her, and with it her eight-year-old daughter, the inimitable Devin.
Loading up the car with suitcases, she drives Devin down to Lost Lake, a place where she spent a wonderful summer as a teenager. What follows is a reunion of families and friends; a group of characters gradually growing as people; and a little touch of magic.
Wonderful, fantastical and yet somehow still believeable, Lost Lake is a lovely, gentle book that will probably make you cry.
The Way Back Home by Freya North
Reading this book made me realise I’ve probably been unfair on Freya North in the past. I remember reading at least one of her books – one of those that has a woman’s name as the title (Cat? Sophie? Hannah? something like that) – and not enjoying it, because it was just a bit too light. I therefore didn’t read anything else of hers, until now.
I took this one home because it fulfilled the past-present juxtaposition I was looking for. Oriana, who was brought up in an artists’ commune in Derbyshire, left after a terrible accident happened when she was fifteen. She’s never been back – in fact, she’s spent her adult life an ocean away – until now.
Facing her fears, dealing with stresses in friendships and the rekindling of an old love triangle, not to mention having to see her estranged father, Oriana must find the strength to face up to the past and use it to forge a future.
The Way Back Home is a good read that you’ll race through while the bathwater gets cold around you.
That Dark Remembered Day by Tom Vowler
Stephen’s dad is a soldier. He’s returned home from his latest assignment, and he’s changed. He’s grown a beard, for one thing: but he also seems distant, as if there’s a part of him that didn’t return at all.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and Stephen hasn’t been back to the town he grew up in since that day. But a call from his mother’s friend Peter brings news of her illness, and he feels he must go. So he heads off, telling his wife only that he’ll be visiting his mother. His wife knows nothing of the events that happened there while he was a teenager, and Stephen has changed his name and become a different person since then.
But the events of that day still hang over him. Will he be able to clear away the cobwebs by going back, or will the awful events that took place never stop haunting him?
A dark and suspenseful novel, That Dark Remembered Day will be enjoyed by anyone who likes a good thriller.
What have you read this week? What do you think I should read next?
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