Mari’s Book Club

If you're looking for something extra to read (as well as Baby, Baby and The Labyrinth Year, which we hope you’ve bought and read!) some reviews of others you may enjoy, from Mari Howard… 

Mari HowardJune 1, 2021
more to read, mystery novel, social comment

Two Village Based Novels: Murder Lost & Found, and The Diary of Isabella M. Smugge
by Debbie Young, and Ruth Leigh

, both published 2021

Paperback: £8.99, £8.56
Ebook: £2.99, £5.99

After Sarah Moss’s three linked, feminist, rather serious novels, (Night Waking, Bodies of Light, and Signs for Lost Children), read in autumn and winter, I have turned to a couple of lighter books. Each author is someone I know: Debbie Young, who introduced me to the Alliance of Independent Authors, and later invited me to… Read More

Mari HowardMay 3, 2021
social comment

Behind the Crime
by Colin Ferguson

Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd, 2019

Paperback: £7.99

I’ve recently read a short book, Behind the Crime by Colin Ferguson, who has worked in the Probation Service and after retirement as a Family Mediator.  The author’s intention is to set before his readers what lies behind their criminal behaviour which led to prison sentences, and the part probation can and may play in… Read More

Mari HowardOctober 29, 2020
art & culture, historical, social comment

The Art Fiasco
by Fiona Veitch Smith

Lion Hudson, 2020

Paperback: £9.99
Ebook: £9.99

“Poppy didn’t like being on the receiving end of a journalist’s questions…” No, she certainly wouldn’t! Our protagonist in The Art Fiasco is a journalist herself…  a lady journalist, and the year is 1924. The Art Fiasco is the fifth in the Poppy Denby series of mysteries, and having read all four preceding books I… Read More

Mari HowardOctober 2, 2020

Red Cabbage Blue
by Annie Try

Instant Apostle, 2019

Paperback: £8.99
Ebook: £5.99 (Kindle)

Red Cabbage Blue is a gently told story of enormous tragedy, family secrets, and intergenerational conflict. I don’t do spoilers if I can avoid them, but the book follows a therapy journey: a young girl, Adele, an art student, who turns up in a counsellor’s office presenting unusual symptoms… That is enough to sketch out… Read More

Mari HowardSeptember 1, 2020

Conversations with Friends
by Sally Rooney

Faber & Faber , 2018

Paperback: £6.00 (Amazon)
Ebook: £4.68 (Kindle)

When I finished reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, I thought that is the saddest novel ever. When I re-read it some years later, I felt the same. Now Sally Rooney has updated my list: Conversations with Friends is up there with Tess, the saddest tale – though not ‘told by an idiot, full of… Read More

Mari HowardAugust 13, 2020

Stranger at St Brides
by Debbie Young

Hawkesbury Press, 2020

Paperback: £8.99
Ebook: £2.99

Stranger at St Brides (a school story for grown-ups) is the second in a series by my writing friend, Debbie Young, and here she is really into her stride. Whatever we think of Public (boarding) schools, packed with the local and the overseas offspring of doting parents who can do without their teenage daughters for… Read More

Mari HowardJuly 20, 2020

Normal People
by Sally Rooney

Faber & Faber, 2019

Hardback: (Amazon) £8.93
Paperback: (Amazon) £4.50
Ebook: (Kindle) £4.28

I watched the television adaptation of Normal People before I read the book. If this mistake was shared by a large audience then many, like me, could’ve initially understood the main point of this story as mainly significant looks and glances, and episodes of “having sex”. Most indoor scenes were filmed in half darkness, the… Read More

Mari HowardJune 4, 2020

Bird Summons
by Leila Aboulela

Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2019

Hardback: £16.99
Ebook: £3.99 (Amazon Kindle)

The book I have just finished reading, Bird Summons, by Leila Aboulela, is unusual, deeply thoughtful, and obviously inspired by the author’s combined knowledge and interest in politics and faith. Aboulela is a practising Muslim, born in Cairo and raised in Khartoum. She now lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. She studied economics at the University of… Read More

Mari HowardMarch 6, 2020

Flight Behaviour
by Barbara Kingsolver

Faber & Faber, 2013

Paperback: £9.99

‘Living systems are sensitive to very small changes…’ so says Dr Ovid Byron, lead scientist of a group investigating the strange appearance of pretty much the whole population of Monarch butterflies to a farming area of the Appalachians in Tennessee, when they should have flown, as usual, to overwinter in Mexico. I wrote this review… Read More

Mari HowardFebruary 28, 2020

The Natter of Knitters
by Debbie Young

Hawkesbury Press, 2020

Paperback: £2.99
Ebook: Kindle £1.99

Here’s another escapade for Sophie Sayers, the young woman who’s recently moved to the Cotswold village of Wendlebury Barrow. This time, the story’s conveniently contained in an envelope-sized format, great for slipping into a birthday card to your retail-therapy friend or old-school-chum (or others!) I recently enjoyed this mini-volume as a relaxing break between two… Read More

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